Review: Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

Rented HeartRating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Businessman Liam Mallaney left London to be closer to the beach and grieve the loss of his husband. He has kept himself mostly isolated for the past year and with work busy, that’s all he’ll allow himself time for.

Zac has also left London and his drug addiction behind and has moved to a smaller town. His life as a rentboy is all he knows and when he sees Liam outside of a club, he sees his score for the night. But Liam surprises him when he treats Zac with respect and their one night remains on Zac’s mind for weeks. As much as Zac wants to imagine that he could have a life with Liam, he has his best friend, Jamie, to think about. He would never leave Jamie behind, but Jamie’s drug addiction is threatening to destroy the small life they have made.

challenge month 2016While Liam is still caught up in his grief, he is also caught up in the chemistry between him and Zac. So caught up that he doesn’t give much thought to Zac’s home life until danger comes straight to Zac’s door. Liam must then find a way to ease his own grief while showing Zac that he could be his permanently and not just a heart available for rent.

Garret Leigh writes authentic British characters from different areas that offer a view of life in England. This book is perfect for the Around the World Challenge for what reads as a genuine British experience.

Liam is devastated after the loss of his husband, Cory. They had been together for ten years and Cory was the only man Liam had ever been with. The traveled together and built a business together and Liam went from surfer, to graphic designer, to CEO after Cory’s death. Liam’s interest was never from the corporate side, but he had to step up to fulfill Cory’s legacy. On a rare night out, Zac approaches him and only after Liam agrees to go home with him does Zac name his price. What follows is a night of unexpected chemistry mixed with unexpected passion and the guys fall in love just a little bit in that one moment, but it’s certainly not that easy.

Zac has been on his own for what feels like forever and being a prostitute is all he knows. A former drug addict, he moved away from the temptations of London. He lives day to day or really night to night as he looks for his next mark. He figured this was his life until Liam put his hands on him. But Zac can’t even begin to figure out what else he can do with his life and he can never leave his drug addicted best friend, Jamie. I found it clever that Zac and Jamie’s backgrounds were briefly explored, but the details were intentionally omitted as that wasn’t the focus of the story.

This is a character-driven story that deals with self respect from two different sides. Zac thinks all he will ever be is a “whore” and Liam can’t get past paying Zac for his services and having Zac see him as just another “john.” Each time they are together and each time they are apart they tie each other in knots in different ways, but in the end it’s the same as they are both incredibly lonely. But despite all of this, in addition to the heat they bring, there is an underlying sweetness when these two are together. It can’t be easy for them because then there would be no story. There were clues along the way, but this story isn’t about startling revelations and although there was a misunderstanding followed by no communication, when the break came it was still devastating.

What truly impressed me here was the dialogue. Leigh writes everyday conversation without pretense and the characters sound so very real. This is the best of a Garrett Leigh book with great characters, authentic dialogue, and a love story for two guys from different worlds whose hearts beat the same.

This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for Around the World Challenge Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Riptide Publishing. One lucky winner will receive a selection of print Advanced Review Copies of Riptide books before they are even released (non-US winners will get ebook copies upon release instead). Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Around the World Challenge Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!

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  1. Great review. And i definiteley will read this one.

  2. I am so glad to see your great review.  I have Rented Heart queued up on my Kindle to read this week.  Now, am looking forward to it even more.

  3. I have this one too – though being British, it wont work for the challenge week read!! (Though does mean all those US based stories are eligibke for me!)
    I do enjoy the British stories as the dialogues generally resonate well so glad you thought the dialogues worked well here.
    Looking forward to it

    • Great you have this one as well. The dialogue read as natural conversation and was one of my favorite parts of the book.

  4. Thanks for the review! I’ve been waiting for this book the whole month. I’ve read other books by G.L. and I enjoy her writing style, plus her stories are always intereing and nothing is never easy peasy for the characters.

  5. I’m embarrassed that I’ve only read a few shorts by Leigh…this may be a good way for me to remedy that!

  6. I enjoy books by British writers a lot, but I don’t think I’ve got anything by Garrett Leigh. I’ve got 2 Kindles with tons of unread books so I think I’ll check to be sure. This one sounds so good I’ll need to put it on my TBR. 🙂

  7. I’ve read several books by Garrett Leigh and have enjoyed them all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Michelle.

  8. Thank you for the review. The book sounds great and the cover is lovely.

  9. I haven’t read too many of Leigh’s book. But the guy on this cover looks so much like Colin Morgan, I am pretty tickled and intrigued to read this LOL. Thanks for the review

  10. Purple Reader says:

    Nice review, and this sounds like a good tbr. And I like the setting in England.

  11. I loved Misfits by this author partly because it was so British. I’ll have to put this on the tbr. Thanks for the great review.

  12. I hear so many great things about Garrett Leigh books and have picked up a few, and I have still not read one yet. I don’t even understand why. Great characters are certainly the backbone of any romance, so I loved reading how well Leigh got these guys and their dialogue. I’ll add this one to my wishlist and get to it soon. I haven’t chosen a book for this week’s challenge so maybe I should go with one of hers. I was going to try to go with a setting that wasn’t the US (since I’m here) or the UK (since I read those second most), but we’ll see! Thanks, Michelle.

    • If you enjoy character driven novels you should like her work. I was also looking for something not set in the UK for the challenge as they are more common but I’m pleased I settled on this one. Hope you get to try one of her books soon.

  13. Thank you for the review, Michelle. I do love Garrett’s books, every single one is a must read for me. She’s got a thing about describing feelings which touches you really deep, doesn’t she? Every single one of her books I read leave reeling and feeling emotional for some time.

  14. It’s so great when an author can do that for you. Thanks for commenting, Susana.

  15. I have to confess that I’ve never read anything by Garrett Leigh – but on the basis of this review, it looks like I should make a start with “Rented Heart” (not this week though as I’m on the hunt for non-UK books, of course!).

  16. I’ve enjoyed the Garret Leigh books I’ve read so far & this one looks good as well. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for your review!

  17. I’ve enjoyed the Garrett Leigh books I’ve read so far & this one looks good as well. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for your review!

  18. I adore Garrett Leigh’s writing. This is definitely on my list!

  19. Great review, i already had Rented Heart on my wishlist but after reading your review it is definitely on the top of that list, i love story’s that are character driven, and it looks like this will be an emotional read with really developed characters.

  20. Oh this sounds like a great read with some angst! 😀 I’ll have to add it to my list.

  21. I just read this book. I like Garrett Leigh, but I had a couple of problems with this book. I was confused for a while about Cory. Who was he? We didn’t find out until near the end of the book. We also didn’t get a good idea of who Liam was for a while. He was described as a “surfer” but it wasn’t really clear that he was a free-spirited traveling surfer-type before Cory died. The book was good, but I would have like more info on Liam earlier in the book.

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