Garrett delivers a powerful and complex relationship filled with emotion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another powerfully gritty and brutally honest look at the complexities of falling in love with someone who isn’t necessarily a good person.
Here Garrett offers up a cracking semi-redemption arc as she gives us Benito’s story (he’s the guy from book one who Luis’ brother Dante was embroiled with) and ooooh boy is it a cracker.
Benito is not only recovering from being shanked (stabbed in London street parlance) by his number two Asa, he’s also having to stay out of the city and watch over his much younger sister and his estranged mother.
An anonymous hook-up in a sex club gives him the adrenaline thrill he’s been missing from being out of the gang scene and he finds himself craving more of Mickey’s touch – and his company.
Mickey is a complex guy too. He’s a former addict, he’s also lived the street gang life in Manchester and he now works for Dom and Isha (see Garrett’s fabulous Lucky series https://www.goodreads.com/series/2521… ) and the housing charity they set up.
When he hooks up with Benito he too finds something real, something that kills the cravings for coke that he lives with, but also he finds a kindred – if somewhat troubling – spirit.
And as Benito tries to go straight, while Mickey fights for the rights of his clients (who happen to include Benito’s sister Gianna and his mother Rosetta in their social housing block of flats), things begin to spiral.
Benito’s still hitting Asa’s drug runs and selling off the product to raise the 100k he’s been told will clear him of any threats, Mickey knows something’s going on but he’s turning a blind eye.
Like book one, the sexual compatibility between these two men is off the charts hot. Like book one, there is a heavy threat hanging over the narrative constantly because of what Benito is still doing and because of Mickey’s addict past.
When reading, your heart is in your mouth half the time because it’s not clear where things will go.
But, as with all Garrett books, the hope that eventually a corner will be turned, a decision will be made, and a future with a brighter outlook will open up, also carries strong.
I will say, she surprised me yet again with where the story goes. I definitely was not expecting the outcome.
There is one particular scene which some people may find disturbing as it references a particularly bad tragedy which occurred in London – the Grenfell tower block fire and subsequent deaths – and follows a similar theme, albeit with no fatalities.
But the sense of dread was palpable and I really felt every single emotion going through everyone involved.
Ultimately, though, this is a romance, and it does conclude in a manner which felt wholly in keeping with the characters and with their behavioural expectations. I also loved the wee look we get at Luis and Pablo
There’s a lovely Epilogue which reinforces the changes that both men have been willing to make to fight for their ongoing relationship and a sneak peek at where book three will be going.
And that is one I absolutely cannot wait for!
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review