Rented Heart (Rented Heart, #1)by Published 10 Sep 2016
|Rented Heart (Rented Heart, #1).pdf|
LAMBDA Finalist 2017
Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.
Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.
Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.
Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.
"Rented Heart (Rented Heart, #1)" Reviews
Ahhh, true love. It always starts out the same way.
“Oh, and by the way, it’s a hundred for the fuck . . . three if you want to stay all night.”
Okaaaaaay, so maybe not always.
In the case of Garrett Leigh's latest book, "Rented Heart," it actually begins with one financially-strapped ex-junkie, trying to pay his rent, and one graphic designer, turned reluctant-CEO, so lonely that he just wants to feel something again, other than the pain of losing his husband two years prior.
Even from the start, though, this story never felt like Zac was only Liam's hooker and Liam was only Zac's most eligible john, which was definitely refreshing.
For me, a large part of this story had to do with respect and self-worth.
Liam treats all of his employees at Sea Rave as though they are family, refusing to take shortcuts for higher profits. And he shows Zac that same respect, even after finding out that his time has a price tag associated with it.
And Zac has never known anything other than selling himself to stay alive, so he's constantly stating what he feels is the obvious. That he's a whore. Nothing more.
I loved that Liam wouldn't let him get away with that derogatory talk and never felt that his success made him a better human being simply because most others would see Zac's life as a failure.
“Where’s your ring?”All of this is bewildering, and definitely new, to Zac, who's never been asked what he wants from someone paying for his time, so Liam's caring nature quickly has Zac wanting more.
“Your wedding ring. You’re not wearing it.”
"I took it off to come here.”
“Why? Didn’t want to wear it to spend the night with a whore?”
“Whore? When have I ever called you a whore?” Liam didn’t know why it mattered, whore was just a word like any other, but Zac’s flat tone rankled him. “You’re not a whore unless you want to be. You’re Zac, regardless of how you see me.”
Yes, the money is good and the sex is great, amazing even, but no one has made their way past Zac's protective barriers in years, not since his best friend, Jamie, so he's still fearful of getting too close to Liam, who's practically perfect.
I especially enjoyed this book, having expected it to be significantly more angst-ridden than the story that I read, like my previous reads from Leigh. She's definitely no stranger to penning drama. : )
The characters were both charming and selfless, with the only real drama in the entire story stemming from Zac's association with Jamie, who is still a hardcore heroin addict.
I seriously wanted to ship Jamie off to a two year rehab program, to make sure that he got clean. And that it actually stuck. And *maybe* to get his toxic presence away from my boys. He isn't a bad guy, but sweet baby Jesus, if anyone has ever needed a freaking intervention, it is that bitch.
I saw Jamie's unintentional actions breaking these two up coming from miles and miles away, but fortunately, the separation was fairly short-lived and our heroes straightened out "the big misunderstanding" (not of their own making) to get their HEA.
The sexy scenes were insanely hot and the touching scenes were intense as well, but the secondary characters, made up of Liam's immediately family, also played a large part in my overall enjoyment of the book.
The editing in the story was flawless, but I must admit that I did enjoy the first two-thirds of the story a wee bit more than the last part, which I'd already mentally sussed out.
Potential Trigger Alert: One thing that I would note for apprehensive potential readers is that Zac does continue to 'work,' even after he and Liam begin having sex for money, (but before any type of exclusivity was discussed,) which would normally put me off my lunch, but that strangely didn't happen in this story.
I'd definitely recommend this one, coming in at around 4.25 stars, to anyone who enjoys a nice working boy meets his rich Mr. Right tale.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
Well, that was - without a doubt - the least angsty Garrett Leigh book I have ever read. I didn't think it was possible. Even after my friend Todd said that the angst level was low, when he read it, I still didn't quite believe it. Color. Me. Shocked.
Rented Heart is about getting a second chance at life and at love. Zac Payne is a 24 year old ex-junkie who only knows one way to make a living. He's been on his own since he was 15 and he and his friend Jamie have stuck together through everything and have always looked out for one another. Zac has never felt attraction to one of his john's before, so he certainly didn't expect this time to be any different.
Liam Mallaney is 35 and still mourning the loss of his husband, Cory, the year before. He's taken over Cory's role in the business they started, but the passion for it - and for just about everything else - has gone. Liam may still be alive, but he isn't exactly living. So when the loneliness got to be too much, and his family and friends talked him into going out, he decided he could do worse than going home with this really gorgeous younger guy.
Zac filled Liam in on what the transaction was about, pretty much right away. And there are rules. One of them was "no kissing" -- this isn't Pretty Woman, you know. Liam agreed to the terms and paid up. And then discovered that sex with Zac was a helluva lot better and more intense than he ever imagined it would be.
What I loved about Rented Heart was that Liam was such a normal and nice guy. He treated people with respect and wouldn't let Zac put himself down. Liam just didn't roll that way. He didn't know what Zac needed the money for, but he gave it willingly and generously because he hoped that Zac might be able to take a day or two for himself. And their relationship, while it was still a business transaction, evolved into a bit of a friendship.
Zac felt comfortable with Liam. He relaxed and let his guard down a bit. He didn't share much about his situation, but he never lied, or stole, or scamed when it came to Liam. He'd never had anyone really treat him like a real person before.
I saw the thing that tore them apart coming from a mile away, but the thing that brought them back together blindsided me. And I was happy when some good came from it all.
So, yeah. Surprisingly enough, Rented Heart really is low angst. It isn't exactly fluffy, though, so don't think it will be. But it won't rip your heart out and eat it in front of you, either. And I completely enjoyed Rented Heart.
ARC of Rented Heart was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist
Normally I don’t have much patience to read a book to the end if I don’t like it, but I made to my mission to finish this one. Yes, I wanted BADLY to read it to the end –that was not easy at all, believe me – for three main reasons:
1) I needed to know what the readers who enjoyed it saw in it. I couldn’t figure it out.
2) I do not rate DNF books, but this one DESERVES to be rated.
3) I assume that it will be a book that many readers will give 4-5 stars, so it doesn’t harm to hear another opinion.
Honestly, I ALWAYS try to find something positive in a book, I manage to read to the end. And normally I start my review with positive thoughts: let's talk about what I liked
Well, let's skip this point. This book has absolutely NOTHING for me to like.
So, let's talk about my rating:
A gay version of Pretty Woman, with a bit more drama and without charm of Richard Gere and Jiulia Roberts.
A hooker meets a john, they fall in love (AFTER the first encounter), have some misunderstanding-drama (AFTER the fourth time they saw each other)[spoilers removed]- that part in the book some readers will see as angsty - but don’t worry: true love will win at the end. Applause.
Zac, a twenty-three year old attractive guy with a mental development of a ten-year-old teen, who makes a living as a hooker. Liam is a thirty four year old attractive man, with a mental development of a twelve-year-old teen - I bet that my nephew who is six year old is much more eloquent in his everyday conversation - a GEO, of course super reach, but he obscure his wealth and- as the icing on the cake - an extremely nice person. No kidding, really nice, his firm found a way to produce affordable clothing without killing and maiming children”. *eye-roll*
I didn’t get WHY Liam fell in love with Zac? Totally and utterly. I though wasn’t the only one. I think they didn’t get it either. And up to the end they didn’t stop to repeat how they didn’t deserve each other. Liam because he “was probably not the most exciting john Zac saw”, and Zac, because Liam “deserved so much better than this.”
The worst, really the worst in this book was the writing.
I hate how and how often the F-word was used here, I can’t see the words JOHN and HOOKER any longer. This book is f-h-j-over-loaded. I could have counted how often they were used here, but I’m not in the mood, to waste my free time with this masterpiece any longer. Sorry.
A brief introduction to the writing:
“Fucking Jamie was comfortable and familiar. Simply touching Liam was beyond the fucking stratosphere.”
“He wanted to touch Zack’s cock, with his hands, perhaps his mouth.”
“But this wasn’t the time for weed-laced daydreams. This was Liam’s bed, they were hooker and john, and Zac had a job to do, albeit a job that made his mouth water.”
“Come for me and I’ll come for you.”
Get a porn movie. At least they don’t talk there.
(And a smooth transition to the next issue)
“Have you ever-“ Liam stopped. Was he really about to ask if Zac had ever pretended to come with him? Did he even want to know?
Zac’s hand on his face startled him. “I’ve never faked it with you. Chance would be a fine thing. You only have to look at me and I’m ready to bust.”
The bed was odd, though, and it took Zac a moment to work out why.
“Is that made of trees?”
“Yup. Made it myself.”
“Wow. That’s pretty cool.”
“I can’t believe you made this. I bet you knocked it up in an afternoon, didn’t you?”
“Two, but it really wasn’t that hard. I hacked the trees down, sanded them, then bolted them together. Nothing epic.”
“Because I don’t want to feel like a john any more than you want to feel like a hooker.”
It was my second and my last book by this author.
But I’m in the minority here, so don't get discouraged.
No recommendation from me.
***Copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***
This was a fabulous story - it is stories like these that make you believe in Happily ever after and that good things do happen to people. Top 5 Reasons I loved this book: Damaged MC, Angst, Hot Sex, Romance, and Second Chances - All of these things combine to make a great story!!
Full Review to Follow - but until then if you have the chance to read this story, Do It!!
(¸.•´ (¸.•`*Review Copy provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Jaime from Alpha Book Club
*sighs* I was tired - ready for bed actually and I said, "Let me just check out the first few pages of this book." I should've known. Up till 4AM to finish. Truth. I love rent boy stories and this is so well done - it's hot and beautiful and perfect. Zac is just - I wanted to HUG him through the Kindle - and Liam was just...they were just..
(This is what her books do to me. It's the good kind of stupid that you can't wait to recreate with a reread :)
What I want to know is, Jamie? When? Where? And how can I steal it off Garrett's computer...