Rented Heart (Rented Heart, #1)by Published 10 Sep 2016
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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
This is a Call-out to Michelle, Trio, Jamie, Daesy, Eugenia, Ula’ndi and Tammy.
Why haven’t you read it yet? Make it happen. You won’t regret it 😉
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. But I wasn’t the only one here: 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.***
The first 2/3 of the book was a five star read. Then, a combination of insta-love and miscommunication ruined it for me. Most of the things that happened in the last 3rd of the book seemed rushed and contrived. But, I'm off to read the next book so I obviously liked it plenty enough.
He'd missed the warmth of another body stretched out beside him so much his bones ached with the weight of it. He'd never known loneliness could hurt.
Gahhh... Why on God's green earth did I wait so long to read this book????????????????????????
Okay, maybe because of the rent boy theme which is usually not my go-to story, but by now I suppose Garrett Leigh could write about slot machines doing the hula-hula and I would love it. She is simply a master in making me feel all the feelz. Every. Single. Time.
This story provided once again what my inner angst-junkie craves so much, and with topics like turning tricks, drug addiction, grief and the long and painful process of valediction of a loved one suffering from dementia, angst was delivered in spades.
But leave it to the author to put my shredded little heart together again in the end by making me laugh...
Liam slowed and pulled Jamie to one side. "What's his name?"
"Zac. Is that his real name?"
"Of course it is. We're hookers, not MI5."
... and that's what I love the most about her books!
Oops, I almost forgot!!! You might want to know that this book is steamy as hell, as in shower-scene(s) steamy... ;-)