Luis Pope lived by his brother’s rules for a long time. When things went bad, Luis went to prison for six years. He did his time, has the scars to prove it, and now he’s back. While Luis isn’t sure what he is going to do, he knows he wants nothing to do with his brother, Dante, and the gang life.
Paolo runs his grandfather’s café alone. He gets up early and does all of the jobs. He has a temper and he hasn’t tried to hire any staff in a while and when Luis asks for a job, Paolo isn’t sure what kind of trouble Luis is really after.
Luis works hard and he and Paolo are in perfect rhythm, both in the bedroom and out. But Dante’s demands on Luis are getting harder to ignore and all Luis wants to do is keep Paolo safe, even if it means walking away.
Garrett Leigh is truly one of my go-to authors. Her characters are always interesting, the angst is always coming through the story, and the dialogue always feels natural for her hard-working men.
Luis knows he isn’t a good guy, but he’s trying to be better. There were circumstances to his crime and he never wanted to be there. His brother had a tight hold over him and Luis knew he needed to survive. Luis and Paolo fit together immediately. From the way they work together, to their attraction, to the way they just feel better when they are together. Paolo was raised by his grandparents and he has a lot to manage with their care, along with running the restaurant, and he’s maxed out all of the time. Luis takes some of that pressure off.
Redemption is a character-driven novel that and I was able to fully immerse myself into Luis and Paolo’s world. When they are together, the chemistry between them is easy, but life for them is not. Throughout the story, we see Luis’ brother, Dante, make demands on his time and, while Luis ignores him, he knows it’s a matter of time before he has to go see him. Luis truly feels like he has no choice, but cutting off Paolo to keep him safe feels like he’s cutting off the only oxygen he has.
The time with Paolo and Luis was the best part of this book for me. A good portion of the story is the tension of how they are going to make a life together and how Luis will get out from under his brother’s demands. And that’s the part that ran out of steam for me by the end. The final scenes with Luis and his brother got a bit messy in how they flowed and the outcome didn’t feel that tightly put together and didn’t match the buildup for me.
Most of the book was true Garrett Leigh style and that’s what keeps me coming back. This book is the first in series and, with several interesting characters having been introduced, I will be looking for their stories as well.