Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Garrett Leigh
Series: Urban Soul #2
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 249 Pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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.
Review: Strays is a follow up to Misfits, which I recommend you read first, although this could be read on its own. The three men from Misfits are the foundation of Urban Soul, the food company, and it’s branches of restaurants, including Misfits. So, you get quite a bit of background by reading Misfits first, and it’s a fabulous story too, so you really can’t go wrong.
Nero, is the sexy Spaniard chef from Misfits and good friend of Cass who plays a part in the setup of the restaurants. When Lenny, a server at Misfits, runs into trouble with a stalker, Cass asks Nero to take him on giving him a place to sort of lay low. Nero is reluctant, but it doesn’t take long before Lenny works his way under Nero’s thick skin. Two men, both damaged in different ways, end up being just what the other needs to help heal.
Garrett is an expert at writing damaged characters, yet no two ever share the same issues. Here, Nero had a horrible childhood, and it still plagues him to this day. Lenny is dealing with anxiety and panic attacks brought on by a crazy stalker from whom he can’t seem to escape. Slowly their trust in each other builds and little by little, they share more details until they find they are relying on each other.
To keep their mind on other things, the guys play a big part in helping to open a new restaurant, from the menu to the designs and a few other things in between. Just as with Misfits, Strays is the perfect ending and perfect fit for everyone involved. I loved seeing Cass, Jake and the especially colorful Tom again as they take on this new endeavor. This is a wonderful family of misfits that Garrett has brought to life, and I highly recommend you get to know them as well. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for these guys next!
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*