I’m thoroughly in love with the shared-universe town of Portkennack, and eagerly anticipate each return visit and every new inhabitant to whom we are introduced. Those who come to Porthkennack generally find healing and solace, no matter what their problems or which issues they are running from, while those who take in the newcomers commonly find their own burdens lightened and realise new ways of looking at their lives. Not that life in the town is perfect; it has its own share of problem families and other sources of tension.
Brix Lusmoore previously left Porthkennack for a life in London, in order to escape his notoriously criminal family. When some of his other choices had serious health consequences, he returned home and established a new tattoo parlour where he employs a diverse group of talented misfits. After four years, Brix has a successful business and an established group of friends, but avoids relationships because of his health issues and because of the circumstances connecting those and his last break-up. Having turned his back on the London scene, he’s not keen to leave Cornwall again or encounter any reminders of his old life.
Calum Hardy, a former apprentice to Brix in London, now has a successful tattoo studio of his own, but is trapped in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend who uses Calum’s bisexuality as one of many forms of psychological hold over him. When Calum catches his bloke with another man in their bed, he finally finds the strength to leave and buys a train ticket at random, which takes him to Cornwall and back into Brix’s life.
To his credit, Brix takes Calum in without asking too many questions and offers him a job once he sees the quality of Calum’s tattoo work. Calum is only too happy to accept Brix’s kindness, especially after it transpires that his ex has done everything possible to destroy Calum’s London business and equipment.
I loved this book, both its gentle plot (with minor disturbances caused by Brix’s family and Calum’s ex in the main) and its richly described characters. I’m greatly intrigued by the Lusmoore family, who appear to be lovable rogues on the surface, but are probably a more complex part of Porthkennack culture than that: Brix obviously had good reasons for getting away from them earlier in his life, yet the town’s residents seem to turn a blind eye to much of their dealings. Garrett Leigh is a new name to me, but I shall definitely be investigating other works by this author: not just those coming up in this series.
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.
Read an excerpt.