Jas grew up with his mother in London, but spent the summers on his father’s farm in Porthkennack. He never felt that he fit in as well in the seaside town, but after heartbreak consumes him in London, Jas retreats to the farm and the family project of opening a canteen.
It’s not long before he meets Kim, whose artsy furniture catches Jas’s eye. But it’s the man himself that truly captivates Jas. When a photography job has Jas and Kim in the same place, a hot impromptu hook up sends their desire for each other sky rocketing.
The men know they are limited in what they can give each other, but their connection is beyond reason and they become friends…with benefits…only they both know it’s way more right from the start. But Kim’s carefree appearance is simply a front for all the demons he’s carrying. His goal is to be a retired alcoholic, but that is one demon that he finds hard to defeat.
When Kim is hired to help build the canteen, their connection grows even more, but Kim’s demons threaten his balance and one move could have his word toppling all over again. The men not only want each other, but need each other, and together they have to prove to each other, and themselves, that they deserve to be loved.
I did not start this review right after I finished this book. I let it sit for a day, wrote a little, and then stopped and came back again. Some books affect you in such a way that you want to leave them intact and not pull apart the pieces and this book is one of those.
Garrett Leigh writes somber books that have an atmosphere to them and Junkyard Heart is more lyrical than her usual style with that dreamy, misty feeling to it. This book also had that certain something extra and the feel of this book stayed with me for days. It’s rare for me to reread, but here I read a few scenes again, and when I was pulling together quotes, I started reading scenes again. It’s fair to say I got a little lost in this book.
The book is told through Jas’ POV (short for Jasper). He’s come back to Porthkennack after his life was turned upside down and over and around by his now ex-boyfriend. His father, brothers, and stepmother live on a farm there and while they are overjoyed to have him nearby, Jas doesn’t feel like he fits in since he didn’t grow up in the close-knit town by the sea. But then he spots Kim:
With his dark windswept hair, scruffy jawline, and inked skin, he looked like a rock star—a skinny one, though he wore his slenderness like a dream.
While the guys are wildly attracted to each other and act on it quickly, there is something deeper going on here with them. But, they can’t get beyond their real own problems of lack of trust for Jas, and addiction issues for Kim. They come together physically while trying to push each other away emotionally, but when they realize what they need, it’s a magical moment and this quote defines how well Leigh knows her characters:
I took his face in my hands and kissed him, really kissed him, falling into him the way I should’ve been falling all along. Falling into his arms. Falling in love. Because I could love him, and he could love me if only we’d both stop sitting down at the foot of the hill.
The scene that follows this quote is stunning. It is a defining moment for both Jas and Kim and leaves them exposed in a way that is extremely difficult to pull off as a writer and Leigh changes the dynamics of what is going on here in a way that takes true talent. And when another character calls them, “Beautiful boys,” it’s all true.
Leigh writes fascinating characters that have intriguing ways of seeing the world, along with interesting occupations that enable them to see things from a different perspective. Jas and Kim both have real issues that leave them a little bit broken, but there is hope for them and there is love for them to reach out and grab onto. Their stories are layered as if they were real people and that is simply what you hope for when investing time in a fictional world. I was torn at times between wanting even more of their backstory, but also thinking it was just enough. I did want more from them at the end, an epilogue would have been amazing, and while their story will still evolve, they do end up in the best place.
Junkyard Heart is part of the Porthkennack universe and Leigh brings this small town to life as if it was a character itself. Kim was introduced in House of Cards, and it was a treat to see Brix and Calum once again. Calum knows all about what Jas is going though as he is also in love with a Porthkennack boy and he shares his wisdom with Jas. “These Porthkennack boys are born thinking they don’t deserve to be happy, that anything good needs to cost blood, but they’re wrong.” It’s a journey for Jas and Kim to find that happiness, for a moment, for a day, for a lifetime; it can always be fleeting, but find it they do.