4 out of 5 hearts
The imposter in the kitchen laughed, and in any other circumstances, in any other man, the sound would’ve been glorious – deep and rich. “Dear God. Pops promised he’d take someone on, but he never said it would be some prissy rich kid. Jesus Christ. Are you serious?” ~ What Matters, by Gracie Leigh
I’m a sucker for a great opposites-attract story, and Gracie Leigh nails the trope perfectly with What Matters.
Gracie Leigh, I should add, is the new pen-name of the ultra-talented M/M romance novelist, Garrett Leigh. I’ve been reading Ms Leigh’s gay romances for a few years, and gobbling them up as soon as they are published. When she announced that she was also writing contemp M/F fiction, I didn’t hesitate to grab a copy.
Back to the story. Eddie (Edwina) is twenty-two years old, a student at the prestigious Goldsmiths University, and has the world at her feet. Her music studies are going brilliantly, and her wealthy parents pick up all her bills. Cabs are her preferred mode of transport, and her Stradivarius violin would probably be worth more than my house. All this changes with one phone call. Her father is declared bankrupt. If she wants to stay at University, she needs to find a student loan, and if she wants to stay in her flat, she needs to find a job.
Her boyfriend is beyond useless, and she knows she’ll get no help from him. As her world crashes around her ears, she winds up drinking tea in a greasy-spoon café, and taking a job there. Waiting tables and helping in the kitchen – how hard can it be? Yep. It’s tough. And it’s not made any easier by the resident cook / manager, Sam. He runs the café alongside his grandfather, and he’s the one that Eddie has to spend the most time with.
He infuriates her with his sarcasm and couldn’t-give-a-shit attitude, and she can’t decide if she likes him or hates him – and so it begins.
The story is told entirely from Eddie’s POV, and I liked seeing Sam, and his world, through her eyes. It’s sexy too, with an unexpectedly HOT scene in the middle * fans myself *
When I read a Garrett Leigh book, there are certain things I look for, and I was delighted to see them in this first Gracie Leigh book too:
- character depth – even though we only see through Eddie’s eyes, she paints a clear picture of Sam
- angst – yup; plenty of that
- no quick fixes – Ms Leigh makes them work hard
- believable flaws – to say Sam is suspicious of Eddie’s motives is the understatement of the century!
- delicious hero – Sam is definitely swoon-worthy
It was a delightful, intense read, and I hope Ms Leigh has more lined up. Maybe one with Sam’s fun-loving best friend Dylan? That would be good * nods head *
Four brilliant hearts 🙂
“It’s a good fear, Sam. I’d miss it if it wasn’t there…”
Musical prodigy Eddie Dean gets everything she wants. The best violin, the best boyfriend, and a place at the best music school in London are hers until her father goes bankrupt. Once the financial facade comes tumbling down, Eddie’s broke and her boyfriend couldn’t care less.
The doorstep of Jimmy’s Café is the last place she expects to wash up.
Scrubbing dishes and serving fried breakfasts to pay her rent is as hellish as she imagined, and her new life is made worse by the distain of her boss’s sneering grandson. Sam Novak is arrogant, rude, and gorgeous, and if Eddie never sees him again, it will be too soon. Shame she can’t stop thinking about him. Dreaming about him. Craving him.
And then there’s his best friend Dylan.
Dylan is as light as Sam is dark, and Eddie wants him too. She can have him too—according to Sam—but when Sam reveals a vulnerability that could cost him his life, it’s time for Eddie to face the music. Does she still need to get everything she wants, or should she choose what matters?