Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review:House of Cards (Porthkennack #4) by Garrett Leigh

House of Cards

Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.

Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.

Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.

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More about the Porthkennack series

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur's Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
What I thought about House of Cards

I've been wanting to read Garrett Leigh for some time now (I think I have at least 4 books by this author on my TBR) and so when I had the opportunity to review House of Cards I grabbed it.  As a reader who loves books that make me feel like I've traveled to a new, wonderful place, House of Cards seemed like a very good place to start reading this author. 

Calum runs from his business partner and lover after a devastating betrayal that opens his eyes to just how terrible his ex has treated him over the years.  He's a bit depressed over it all and jumps on a train to it's final destination in Porthkennack. Penniless and homeless, he has no where to go.  That is until a blast from past finds him destitute on a bench outside the train station.

Brix Lussmore spots his old friend Calum at the train station and comes to his aid, offering a place to stay and a job at his tattoo shop. Calum isn't the first person that Brix has rescued as Calum soon finds out. 

"Whatever bought you to Porthkennack, you'll be safe from it here. Brix looks after all of us." 
And it's that fateful meeting at the train station that starts a reconnecting of these two men. There's a good bit of sexual tension as both realize that they have feelings for each other that started years ago back in London. Now that they have a second chance, they'll have to get to a place of trust and love to share their darkest secrets, and that isn't an easy ride. An emergency involving Brix's father helps push them to facing their fears and that's when life gets beautiful.

Both Calum and Brix are learning to live after the circumstances that have brought them to Porthkennack. This is very much of a book about experiencing those hard life-lessons and what happens in the aftermath.  I loved both of these characters. Calum's tendency to get depressed and down on himself was a natural outcome of what he'd been through in his London relationship.  Brix's penchant for helping the less fortunate fit well with his character and background as well.  It all made for a very emotionally realistic romance between Calum and Brix that I loved because it's about learning to live and love again after life kicks you around. 

As a first time reader of Garrett Leigh, I was impressed with some of the lines in House of Cards that hit me just right.  I haven't highlighted so many wonderful passages in a very long time, and I loved that about House of Cards and Garrett Leigh's writing.  I think this was my favorite, a quote from Brix:

"Everything means something if it hurts, Cal. It has to, or we ain't f*cking human."

Definitely enjoyed this friends-to-lovers story. I found I could relate to what these characters were feeling and I absolutely adored the setting for the story. I definitely want to go back to Porthkennack.

An ARC was provided for review.

About the Author

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, and co-owns the specialist stock site with photographer Dan Burgess

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