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.
REVIEW BY MAINELY STORIES
Garrett Leigh is an author recommended to me within the past year and I owe a debt of gratitude for the endorsement. Her writing is compelling and passionate, delivering well-developed stories dealing with sensitive topics including addiction, mental illness, prostitution, physical and emotional injury. The Rented Heart series has become a new favorite of mine; two exceptional moving stories of recovery and metaphorical resurrection. Soul to Keep is the gripping and haunting story of the complex, damaged characters on an emotional journey to find and perhaps create a shared new normal. The reader participates, feeling many competing emotions, love and hate, hope and horror, sympathy and above all strong affection between and for the characters both primary and secondary.
Opposites may attract but just because two men are opposites in appearance, they may be much less different inside as we discover with Marc and Jamie. Jamie was difficult to like in book 1 of this series as his behavior led to an almost fatal attack on his best friend. Jamie’s addiction had him by the throat and recovery from his addiction and the associated mental health issues seemed an impossibility.
In Book 2, Jamie has achieved a year of sobriety but still feels a fraud and undeserving of anything good. Self-hate is his overriding emotion although he continues to try to work his way out of the pit of despair. He returns to England hoping to find some sort of familiarity and a new beginning. Heading home to Great Britain, Jamie had more than a bit of a panic attack when the plane hit turbulence and his seatmate’s calm, untroubled narration of what was happening was the only thing keeping him from full-blown hysteria. Trauma surgeon Marc is returning from yet another surgery of his own in the U.S. His days as an Army medic were cut short by an IED that also took his lower leg. When they each went on with their separate journeys, there was a sense of loss and missed opportunity.
Another chance meeting outside the hospital where Marc works was the beginning of the incredible journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance and a mutual bond based on need, attraction and caring. There are certainly passionate times but sex is not the focal point of this story. Loosening the strings of past mistakes, loss, traumatic events and even missed opportunities is a painstaking process for both men but one that must be well on its way before there can be anything more.
I highly recommend this thought-provoking and emotionally-fulfilling story.
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.
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