Series: Urban Souls #2
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: G.D. Leigh
Publication date: March 27, 2017
Length: 266 pages
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 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.
Strays is the sequel to Garrett Leigh’s book Misfits. Now, you can read this as a standalone if you’d like but I have to say; the connections with Nero and Cass, Jake, and Tom is felt more in this because I read Misfits… So I’d recommend starting from the beginning.
Garrett Leigh loves to write broken men and she’s good at it. She puts them back together beautifully. If you read Misfits then you know who Nero is. In Strays, we actually get to delve deep into his head where the demons play in the darkness and haunt his dreams. He keeps his personal life to himself. Not even his best friend Cass knows all that lurks.
When Lenny is being stalked and it comes to the point that the cops won’t help and he’s scared to the point he can’t breathe; Cass steps in and asks Nero for some help. A famous fictitious wizard taught us that happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light… Well for Lenny, Nero is his light and happiness and Lenny is Nero’s. They find their happiness together and it was painful, emotional, and beautiful.
It’s very hard to read this book and not become entwined in Nero and Lenny’s lives. You become invested, you become angry for them. Each is robbed of something in this and to see this story evolve and come together in all its grittiness was perfectly done. Garrett’s ability to bring realism to fiction is one of the reasons I adore her work. Strays is brilliant and a must read!