Reformed gang boss Dante Pope is out after a four-year stretch in prison. But freedom has found him faster than he’s ready for. His only brother hates him, and with nothing but PTSD and a newfound fascination with plants for company, the outside world is a terrifying place.
A prisoner rehabilitation scheme lands him at a stately home that might as well be the moon. Working for gorgeous gardener Sid is a welcome distraction—his shoulders are broad, his rugged jaw unshaven, and his long, tanned legs?
But Sid has problems of his own. A life-changing disease has left him limited in ways he can’t bear and accepting help, even from a stranger, makes him want to curl up and die.
If Dante would let him.
Newsflash: he won’t, and he’s not a stranger for long. With his dark smile and sinister ink, Dante Pope is the most beautiful man Sid has ever seen. Life is hard, but falling for each other is easy.
Sunshine and shadows.
Old ghosts can haunt Dante all they like. Loving Sid is the only salvation he’ll ever need.
Identity is a complex and fluid notion. Who you are, what you are, and how you are defined is ever-changing. Both Dante and Sid are morphing from one aspect of their life cycle to another. And the struggle is real. Dante has just been released from prison for good behavior. This is sadly ironic since he doesn’t believe there’s a good bone in his body. He’s no longer “Pope” the road boy who ruled. He’s shed his peel but doesn’t know what’s next. Sid is working on accepting his fate after diagnosis and is at odds with the world most of the time. Until Garrett’s smooth wrist flicks them together. Sid sees Dante for who he is now. His vision isn’t clouded with sins from before. He doesn’t hear screams from his past. He only knows somehow Dante has the road map to his tangled mind, body, and soul. He navigates smoothly around barricades and breaks as if he has some secret clues. The path of tomorrow is terrifying and exhilarating. But neither man will ever be free of who they were so they may discover who they can be unless they break self-imposed chains. But sometimes, the past just doesn’t want to let you go.
Every time I open a new story from Leigh I think, “Okay, I’m ready. Let’s do this!” Then I dip a toe in and the outside world fades away and I’m caught, spinning in a cyclone of emotions. I clutch my chest as if to protect my heart and surge ahead anxious yet confident. I know I’m going to hurt because they will hurt. But I also know that we will all be okay in the end. I was slightly concerned this time because I wasn’t impressed with Dante in the previous books. I mean let’s face it, he did horrendous things. Be that as it may, dreadful actions do not make a dreadful person. Prison is not some magical rebirth, cleansing stains from your soul. But for Dante, it released him from a cage. Being locked up was the first time he was ever actually free. As if destiny was mocking him, this newfound freedom was quickly snatched away by invisible demons. He was never proud of who he was but he can’t stop himself from hating not only his previous actions but his very being. Blinded by hate Dante can’t see the future ahead…till Sid stumbles into his path and forces him to refocus. He forgets about his own wounds and craves to ease the pain in Sid’s gorgeous eyes. He can’t think about tomorrow just yet…but maybe he can let himself have today, a quiet day with the sexy gardener that lets him fly with his feet firmly on the ground.
I could never pick a favorite when it comes to Garrett’s guys but Sid is like no other. He astounds me with his determination. He’s as stubborn as a toddler in the midst of a tantrum but his headstrong drive keeps his disease from taking over his entire life. Mostly. Accepting his limitations is far from easy but embracing the idea of solitary days from here on out cuts even deeper. No one would willingly shackle themselves to Sid now. Because that’s what it would be. A helpless chain to his unpredictable body. Despite his firm pushes, Dante pulls him in anyways. Sid is shocked to discover that his disease doesn’t have to swamp him after all and maybe working with the current rather than against will allow him to catch his breath when the rapids get rough. Sid never dreamed he could have a relationship with someone since his biggest commitment is his disease. Without his permission, Dante slips behind his walls and sees all of his embarrassing weaknesses. Curiously, this only makes their bond stronger. But then everything goes sideways and Sid loses his tentative grip on Dante. Was he wrong after all? Did he fancy him so much that passion misled him and his tender trust was cast aside? Or is fate cruel enough to give him everything he never knew he needed only to whisk it away with the twilight sky as the sole witness? I suppose you’ll just have to find out for yourself. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go eat something green. There is magic in that.
Forgiveness is most challenging and most important when it’s hard to lock eyes with the offender and face them…in the mirror. Inner strength doesn’t mean you can’t share a path…or a helping hand. Redemption and salvation go side by side…delivering those who ask and believe.
If you’re searching for an emotionally driven story with two imperfect men looking to dig deep and start anew, I’d love for you to meet Sid and Dante. Can I suggest you start with Redemption though? I always find that footsteps are easier to track from the beginning.