Rating: 5 stars
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By most accounts, Harry is successful. He’s an accomplished physiotherapist and has a book deal. However, he doesn’t have time to write the book. Harry knows he shouldn’t have accepted the deal without finding the time to write, so he books himself a retreat on the coast. The room Harry is renting at the horse farm is nothing like he expected, but it will serve Harry’s purpose. So may Joe, who owns the horse rescue farm.
Whisper Farm has been in Joe’s family for generations. Joe can’t say no to any of the mistreated horses that come to the farm, but he’s been operating in the red for a long time. He’s lonely and disillusioned, but there’s not much to be done about it as his mother and sister depend on him. Not to mention the horses, as Joe does it all to save the horses.
Joe had no interest in having a stranger stay in the empty bedroom, but the chunk of change it will add to the farm’s bank account is desperately needed. But Joe certainly doesn’t need the distraction of the gorgeous man that shows up at his door step. Harry has to focus on his writing, but Joe proves to be the best kind of distraction Harry didn’t know he wanted or needed.
The men would seem to have nothing in common, but the friendship and heat that grows between them is impossible to ignore. When an accident has Joe out of commission, Harry helps out at the farm as well as with Joe’s care, but the farm is still on it’s last legs.
I have read many Garrett Leigh books and this may be one of my favorites. The book had a quiet intensity that snuck up on me. Leigh accomplishes so much and pulls out so much emotion in just a few words or in the way a character glances over at the other or a simple thought that is so well crafted it becomes anything but simple.
Joe is the draw here for me. His life is a wreck. He loves rescuing horses, but the farm has been failing for a long time and he inherited it when it was already in the red. Everything is a struggle and so many people, as well as the horses, depend on him. He has family issues with an absent father and he’s angry and worn down, but he keeps going. Joe’s history is brought in during the beginning of the book and there was so much going on with him and so much he’s carrying that by only 9% into the book it was a show of strength that he was still standing.
It’s his sister who has the idea to rent the room, the room that belonged to Joe’s grandfather, the room that Joe will not enter. But the boost to the finances cannot be overlooked. When Harry and Joe meet, it’s also a quiet but raw introduction. The attraction is immediate, but these guys are not going to act on it right away as the book winds through great character development for both men.
Harry has his own issues with family and trying to maintain control of his life and when stress gets the better of him, the small cracks begin to show. But, while the relationship surrounds Harry and Joe, I felt like this was a little more Joe’s story and Leigh wrote a love story just for him. He’s broody and gruff on the exterior, but his whole life is about looking after his family and saving animals in dire need. But Joe needs someone, and not just anyone; Joe needs Harry. Their need for each other becomes a living thing and it was magical how Leigh crafted Joe and then broke him down when he falls hard for Harry.
Whisper is book two in the Skins series, but can be read as a standalone. However, Leigh does add in an amazing and entertaining connection involving the MCs from the first book, along with Harry’s brother Rhys who will have the next book. It’s always a treat to lose yourself in a Garrett Leigh book and Whisper is one to look for.
This does sound appealing. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, Michelle.