Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.
Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.
Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.
Two years ago I read a book that shook my world. Misfits smashed any preconceived notions I had to bits and helped me not only understand but appreciate the beauty and complexity of a triad. Poly relationships never quite made sense to me…until Tom, Cass, and Jake. Suddenly, I could see and feel the extraordinary bond they have. This fiery trio commandeered a place in my heart. I was so excited for this sequel and then…I was afraid. What if something happened? What if things changed? What if…what if…what if. So I waited until I was recently reminded that I was still holding this at arm’s length. And I needed to trust them and their glorious maker…and move forward. See how they are getting on and well, Nero was waiting. And let me tell you, Nero doesn’t like to wait. Nero and Lenny have a compelling and piercing story to share. I was caught, bound, and unresisting…desperately lost to the pages. And *spoiler* the backbone of Urban Soul are still steadfast and true. *gleeful smile* Thank you, Garrett.
If you’re new to the mouth-watering world of Urban Soul, I encourage you to stop and head back to the beginning. It’s not “technically” necessary but definitely worth starting with the first book. It’s clear Leigh masters both literary art and culinary art and we have double the pleasure while feasting on her creations. I would love nothing more than to eat my way through each and every component of Urban Soul. This time around we spend significant time at Pippa’s. It was fun slipping into the back of the house, spying on the intricate dance of a smooth and efficient kitchen. Nero has very little peace in his life, but creating luscious creations for patrons to enjoy is one of the few. When his best friend calls in a favor, he is helpless to resist him. Then he meets the colorful but skittish man he’s tasked with and any defenses he thought he had vanished. Lenny does something that no other soul has done before. He doesn’t just see him…he sees into him. Nero has spent most of his life hiding the core of his pain and Lenny splits him open. No hiding. No secrets. But can Nero share his burden? It may prove to be more than he can handle. But wait! This is a GL special…never fear.
As ever, the emotional upheaval was intense. Both Nero and Lenny are running from monsters. They may take different forms, but the crippling effect is the same. Their fear was palpable. their pain pulsating, and the absent drifting was distressing at best. A couple of stray cats, both Nero and Lenny have been wandering, unable to settle. Nero’s natural defense mechanism consists of a knitted brow accompanied by biting words. He’s put up walls. He doesn’t do people. He does food. And he does food properly. He’s the captain of any kitchen he walks into for good reason. Controlling the intricate harmony of the “back” with an iron fist, he’s the best of the best. But he’s a sourpuss lonely best. Until he finds the vital and elusive piece he’s been missing…Lenny. I would not be exaggerating when I say Lenny makes Nero better. As luck would have it, Nero makes Lenny better too. And that’s what I loved best. The city, the food, the nervous excitement and of course, the sensual lovemaking delivered everything I was craving and then some. I was expecting the shattering of my happy bubble in regards to Lenny’s demons but I was blown away by Nero’s nightmare. Oh, my heart! It was hard but I was grateful karma got her say. I’m not much for quotes but this one, in particular, sang to me…
“You did know what it meant, just not what it meant to me. And I like that. You don’t have to know it all to know what matters.”
A building was restored, freedom was recovered, and a soul was resurrected. It’s an exceptionally touching tale that you don’t want to miss. If you decide to give it a go, give all the boys my love will you please? Oh, and remind Cass to take care of himself. He’s an essential puzzle piece I don’t want to see missing.
A hideous huntsman. A torturous childhood with seeping scars. A roaming scrapper that sends most running…until he finds what he never knew he needed. And a love story that only comes along once in a lifetime.
If you can handle a punch in the gut on the road to a love story that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced…grab a seat and prepare for a story full of real life and loads of heart.