Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet place—he just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.
Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he can’t quit, but when Jamie—so wild and beautiful—bursts into his life, working himself into the ground isn’t as compelling as it used to be.
Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamie’s fragile facade. He’s winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.
I have a moment of heart-racing glee when I open a new Leigh story. A sudden overpowering surge of happy agitation washes over me. I know it’s gonna hurt…but I also know it’s going to be worthy of any heart pains. It’s a beautiful book rush. This is the second book in the Rented Heart series and “technically” could be read as a standalone. As usual, I wouldn’t recommend that because you lose some of the power without having the history. That being said, Jamie is looking to forget his past and trying to move forward. In the last book he was losing his fight with his drug addiction and when his best friend Zac almost lost his life because of it, Jamie was rattled to the point of getting clean. No one can make an addict get help, it’s a choice that lies completely within them. But sometimes witnessing the consequences of what their demons are doing to their loved ones can push an addict into taking that first step. Jamie ended up in California with help from Liam, Zac’s man. It was everything he needed to kick off his fresh start.
After his first year anniversary of sobriety he felt the pull of home. He never truly had a home or a safe haven but he’s certain he can’t make one in the States. Leaving his new cocoon of safety and planting roots back in England takes courage and his confidence begins to waver on the flight back. He can’t recall his first flight during his system-shocked-withdrawal state, but he can definitely confirm that he’s not a fan of flying. Luckily, his seat neighbor’s soothing presence and calming techniques stemmed his panic attack. To his utter surprise, his path merges with the handsome stranger once more. This time he pleasantly discovers they are nearly neighbors again. Is fate trying to tell him something?
Garrett’s stories always impress me with the deep sincerity. If I had to coin her style with one word it would be heartfelt. This particular story isn’t busy with an overwhelming plot; it’s two men and their connection. It’s so…real. Jamie is learning to manage his recovery and slowly forgiving himself. He holds a lot of guilt and anger within him. Letting that go isn’t easy. When the strong sexy doctor around the corner sees through his walls, he freaks out. He is scared he’s not ready. He’s terrified he’ll prove to be a disappointment. He’s devastated that he’s losing control. He must be in control. And he must do it by himself. And that’s where Mark comes in and shows him how wrong he is. He reminds him that leaning on loved ones and family is perfectly acceptable. It can be a privilege actually. Mark wants to take care of Jamie, that’s what he does, he’s a caretaker. An army medic, a trauma doctor, and a natural fixer, he yearns to help and right now his focus is solely on the broken man who has taken over his dreams. But Jamie is not a project and refuses to be a charity case. Will their stubborn heads keep their hearts apart?
I clicked with both Jamie and Mark from the very beginning. I’ll admit that I was still a bit miffed with Jamie from the last book. It didn’t take long for my annoyance to disappear and my mamma bear instincts to kick in. I wanted to protect him. I wanted to shield him. I wanted to see him showered in blessings and happiness. Mark is easy to adore from the start. He’s always held everything together when it seemed impossible to do so. Even when he lost his leg, he pushed himself to inconceivable expectations. In his endeavor to take care of everyone else, he lost sight of taking care of himself. He is a soldier and a hero but even our heroes’ need someone to shine a light when it gets dark. It’s difficult for Mark to admit he needs anything. Soon he realizes that he does need Jamie and maybe even more than Jamie needs him. It’s one of my favorite things when a couple merges together and discover they bring out the best in each other. As I mentioned, there’s not a crazy packed plot, these two are simply figuring out how to love each other. It was lovely to witness. I hope you have the pleasure to see it firsthand as well.
Recovering addict, PTSD, OCD and severe anxiety are just a few of the challenging traits these men are battling. If you didn’t notice the cover, be careful, don’t choke on your tongue. Whoopsie, I almost forgot to mention the age gap. Which shows how little it bothered me.
Leigh is a heavy hitter with angst but always strikes true when it comes to love. It may not be an easy road to travel, however the destination is worth it…Every. Time. Seriously though, check out Zac and Liam first, it’ll make your heart twice as happy.