Misfits by Garrett Leigh Retro Review Tour, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hi peeps, we have Garrett Leigh stopping by with the retro review tour for Misfits, we have a great excerpt, a brilliant giveaway and Tams’ review, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! ❤ ~Pixie~

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Misfits

(Urban Love 01)
by

Garrett Leigh

Restaurant owner Tom Fearnes has loved his partner Cass for as long as he can remember, but their work often keeps them apart. When he meets a striking young man named Jake on the vibrant streets of Camden Town, their heady first encounter takes an unexpected turn.

Jake Thompson can hardly believe his luck when he wakes up in Tom’s bed. Tom is gorgeous, kind, and . . . taken. Tom’s explanation of his open relationship leaves Jake cold, but Tom is too tempting, and when hard times force Jake to accept Tom’s helping hand, he finds himself between two men who’ve lost their way.

Cass Pearson is a troubled soul. He loves Tom with all he has, but some days it feels like he hasn’t much to give. Jake seems like the perfect solution. Cass risks everything to push Jake and Tom together, but Jake resists, wary, until the darkness of Cass’s past comes to call. Then Jake finds himself the last man standing, and it’s time to dig deep and shine a light for the men he’s grown to love.

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Excerpt

Tom settled in his seat, shed his coat, and ran his gaze over the menu. To the untrained eye, it appeared impressive—vast and diverse—but Tom knew better. Any restaurant offering steak, pizza, curry, and a Moroccan tagine was seriously confused. And lazy. He knew the development manager for this particular brand and had heard most of their food was produced in a factory in Sheffield.

Boil in the bag bollocks . . .

“Can I get you a drink?”

Tom glanced up and blinked, for a moment imagining the words had been spoken in an entirely different context. Wow. There was no other word for the streak of masculine beauty waiting by his table with a notepad. Long fingers tapping on the paper, elegant hands and fragile wrists. Slender arms, slim shoulders, and a beautiful, pale neck. And his face, damn, his face. High cheekbones and flawless skin were set off by a tiny silver ring curving out of his perfect nose.

“Can . . . I get you a drink?”

“Uh . . .” Tom fumbled with the drinks menu. “Pint of Beck’s, thanks.”

The waiter disappeared. Given the attitude of the hostess, Tom didn’t expect him back anytime soon, so he was surprised when a frothy pint of lager materialised a few minutes later.

“Are you ready to order?”

Not even close. Tom absorbed the young waiter’s melodic northern accent and scanned the menu again. “What do you recommend? Anything good?”

“Depends what you like.”

“Yeah?” Tom heard the waiter’s indifference loud and clear, but the youngster’s dark beauty cancelled out any offence he might have felt. “What about the pies?”

“We’re out of the beef and ale.”

“Is the chicken any good?”

Silence. The waiter wrinkled his nose. Tom glanced at his name tag. Jake. Labelling staff like meat was a concept that irritated Tom, but he liked the kid’s name; it suited him. “What’s the steak burger like?”

Jake shrugged. “It’s . . . okay.”

The pause said it all. “Just okay, eh? Where’s the meat from? Is it British?”

“It’s from Uruguay.”

“Nice. You’ve convinced me there’s nothing in this place worth eating. How do you know I’m not a mystery guest?”

The kid scowled with barely suppressed derision and shook his head. “We don’t have those anymore; they’re not cost-effective. We have anonymous online surveys instead. You scan the Q-code on the menu with your smartphone.”

Tom swallowed a chuckle. He was familiar with the concept of online guest satisfaction surveys; he owned a stake in a company that hosted them. The Q-code thing was new to the industry, though. Not many businesses had it yet. “I’ll have the fish and chips.”

Jake made a strange noise and waved his hand. “You don’t want to know where the fish is from?”

Is he taking the piss? “No, thanks. I’d rather live in ignorance.”

Jake snatched the menu back and disappeared. Tom forced himself to not watch and retrieved his phone from his coat pocket. He was engrossed in a commercial property website when Jake returned with his food a little while later.

“Do—do you want any sauces?”

Tom poked at the anaemic piece of battered fish on his plate, but noticing Jake’s mild stutter, he decided to cut him some slack. “I’m good, thanks.”

Jake sloped off without further comment. With a healthy amount of trepidation, Tom picked at his supper while he checked his diary and caught up on emails. As the director of his own thriving restaurant business, he had plenty to do.

Jake meandered past a few times. He didn’t check on Tom, but the third time, Tom sensed his waif-like presence, he flagged him down, held out the plate of greasy slop, and asked for the bill.

Jake seemed unsurprised by Tom’s lack of appetite. He brought the bill with a substantial discount and promptly disappeared again. The restaurant had filled up while Tom had been engrossed in his emails and soggy fish, and Jake seemed to be the only waiter on the floor.

Tom waited awhile for him to come back, but when it became apparent it wasn’t going to happen, he gathered his things and made his way to the bar. The unsmiling face of the hostess greeted him. She took the bill folder and put his credit card into the payment machine.

“Was everything all right with your meal today?”

“Nope,” Tom said, though he kept his tone light. “It was cold, greasy, and presented on a dirty plate.”

The hostess stared, but whatever retort she may have made was cut off by a deafening crash. Tom cringed. He knew the sound of smashing plates all too well. He looked over his shoulder and saw Jake surrounded by a sea of obliterated crockery.

Jake dropped down and punched the floor. He started to gather the shattered plates, but couldn’t seem to get a grip on them. A broken bowl slipped out of his hand. “Bollocks, shit, fuck!”

Tom took an instinctive step forwards, saw the strain in Jake’s shoulders, the angry twitch in his muscles, and felt a sudden, intense urge to help him that seemed beyond humble sympathy. But he stopped himself. There was nothing more humiliating than a stranger acknowledging whatever disaster had befallen you, and Lord knew, the flush creeping over the back of Jake’s neck told Tom he was embarrassed enough.

An irate-looking manager—who’d been conspicuously absent until now—appeared from nowhere and shoved Jake aside. “Leave it. Go out the back and pull yourself together.”

Jake’s arm shot out at an odd angle. “Wankers.”

The manager glared. “For God’s sake, go.”

Jake scrambled to his feet, darted to the kitchen door, and slammed it behind him. Tom relaxed a little. The scene was one he’d witnessed, and performed in, many times over. Who hadn’t dropped an armload of plates in the middle of a busy shift? But even as the diners around the mess went back to their food like nothing had happened, Tom got the distinct sensation that he was missing something. And he didn’t like the manager’s manner. There was nothing more unprofessional than letting a crowded restaurant see your frustration. It could be forgiven in a young waiter, but not a manager.

“Enter your PIN please.”

The hostess’s bored voice startled Tom. He’d been so engrossed in Jake’s calamity he’d forgotten she was there. He followed the prompts on the screen.

“Do you pool your tips here?”

“No. Your server keeps them.”

Tom handed her a folded banknote. “Good. Tell Jake I appreciated his candour.”

The girl’s face remained impassive. Tom sighed and passed the payment machine back. Where did places like this find these people? Even Jake’s scornful derision was better than nothing at all.

Tom made his way to the restaurant’s exit feeling slightly sick with the weight of the few oil-sodden chips he’d managed to eat. Tired too. A long, lonely weekend of property searching had left him craving a warm bed and missing Cass. Always, always, missing Cass. But his low mood lifted when he stepped outside into the mild September air. He loved London at any time of year, and autumn was his favourite season. Mellow and warm, even when the air turned cooler.

The unmistakable scent of city nightlife got to him too. Camden felt different when the sun went down, heady and exciting. Suddenly, the twenty unanswered emails clogging his inbox felt less important. He checked his watch: 7 p.m. The weekend crowds had eased, and he probably should’ve gone home, but his abortive dinner—and the pint of beer on an empty stomach—had left him restless. He didn’t feel like going home to an empty flat.

He wandered along Camden High Street. A pub caught his eye, one of those oh-so-cool bars with bare brickwork, graffiti, and a bazillion tea lights. The kind of place Tom knew he’d be too old for in a few years’ time. He drifted inside. London being London, no one glanced up. He bought a pint of overpriced lager and found a table in a dark corner. The mellow chillstep music was soothing, and for a while, he resisted the call of his laptop and people watched instead . . . analysing the clientele he’d be targeting if he ever found the right premises. Camden was an eclectic locale. Hipsters, punks, goths, yuppies, he could see them all in the bar. And he’d seen them out on the street too, dark and edgy . . . too cool for their own good. Camden felt like a place for the young . . . the up-and-coming who wanted to stamp their mark on the world a different way. To make it here, whatever restaurant Tom opened would need to be more than a mainstream brand.

But how? Young people desired luxury, but lacked the money to procure it. And Tom had noticed in recent years that his younger clientele were becoming less adventurous. They wanted safe, uncomplicated food . . . wanted it to look the same wherever they went, and that didn’t leave much scope for creativity. Simple, posh, and cheap. There had to be a way to have it all.

Tom tapped his fingers on the table, brainstorming concepts, lost in thought. He nearly didn’t notice the appearance of the slender, dark-haired man in the seat beside him sometime later. A twitching bundle of limbs he belatedly recognised as the waiter from the faceless restaurant down the road.

“Wankers.”

Tom blinked. “Excuse me?”

Jake winced, and it was a moment before he spoke again. “Hello.”

Tom smiled, unsure if he was about to get punched in the face. “Hello again.”

“Hi.” Jake jerked, like a bolt of electricity had just run through him. “You . . .” he stopped, started again, and slid a leather-covered book across the table. “You left your diary.”

Tom reflexively reached for the diary that held his whole life. The diary that rarely left his sight. “How did you know where to find me?”

“I saw you come in here when I was on my break. Figured I’d take a look when I finished work and see if you were still here.”

Tom shoved the diary into his laptop bag. Jake muttered something. Tom straightened up. “Sorry, what?”

Jake shook his head. “Nothing. I’m just ticking.”

Ticking. Tom had heard the phrase before. A lightbulb clicked on in his brain. “Tourette’s?”

“Shit, fuck, bollocks. Yes. Shit.” Jake winked. “Fly him to the moon.”

Tourette’s. Bloody hell. That explained a lot—the stuttering, the sudden tremors in Jake’s limbs, and the badly timed swearing. “Is that why you called your boss a wanker?”

Jake shrugged. “Sometimes my tics are in context.”

Tom grinned, though inside, his mind was reeling. Tourette’s wasn’t a condition he knew much about, but he’d already seen firsthand how disruptive it could be. Even now, he saw Jake struggling to keep still. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“No, thanks. You left me a fifty-quid tip. I can buy my own.”

Jake got up as abruptly as he had sat down, and walked to the bar. Tom watched him go, admiring the liquid way his body moved when he wasn’t ticking, and speculating if he’d come back.

It seemed like an age before Jake reappeared with two pints of lager. He set one in front of Tom, then hovered, his left arm rippling. Tom gestured to the chair beside him. “Sit down, please. I could use the company.”

Jake sat down. He cradled his drink in one hand and glared at his twitching arm until it stilled. “Wankers. Sorry. It’s worse when I meet new people.”

“Don’t apologise,” Tom said. “It doesn’t bother me.” And it didn’t. The young man next to him was a far cry from the vibrating ball of frustration he’d been in the restaurant, and his tics seemed natural. As Jake relaxed, Tom could almost see them slowing down and fading in their intensity. “I’m Tom, by the way. In case you were wondering—”

“Why would you think that?” Jake held out his hand. “I’m Jake.”

“I know.” Tom met his grasp. Felt a spark, like Jake’s excess energy had travelled into him. “It said so on your name tag.”

Jake twitched and a series of clicking noises escaped him so fast Tom wondered if he’d imagined them. “Yeah, sorry your dinner was pants. The food is always crap in there.”

“It’s not your fault. You tried to warn me.”

“Not on purpose. TS makes me brutally honest.”

“TS?” Tom floundered a moment and released Jake’s electric hand. The loss of contact defogged his brain. “Oh, you mean your Tourette’s.”

It wasn’t a question, but Jake shot Tom a glance that had “idiot” written all over it. Tom let him have that one. “I don’t think it’s your Toure . . . sorry, TS, that makes you a terrible waiter.”

Jake leaned forwards. “Oh yeah? What did I do that was so bad?”

Up close, he was even more beautiful than Tom had first imagined. Dark, soulful eyes. Wavy hair that hung a little too long. And he smelled good, like cigarettes and youth.

Tom covered his fascination with a pull on his beer. “It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. As a guest, I shouldn’t know that standing in front of me is the last place on earth you want to be.”

“Fly him to the moon.”

“Exactly.”

Jake rolled his eyes. “Don’t indulge me. That’s one of my favourite tics. If you play along, I’ll forget I’m doing it and they’ll all come out.”

“Okay . . .” Jake was clearly comfortable talking about his TS. “Is that so bad? The tics, I mean.” Tom gestured around. “No one seems to notice them.”

“That’s because I’ve found my volume switch. I don’t shout anymore, at least not often. A few years ago, I hardly left my bedsit.”

“Volume switch?”

“Yep. I didn’t want to be a weirdo shouting in the corner all the time, so I learned to mute myself. I had to. It was either that, or walk around with my mouth taped shut, though I did do that for a few months.”

The image made Tom smile, but the sadness in Jake’s dark gaze tempered it. “So what do you hate so much about where you work? What put that frown on your face before you even got to me?”

“What do you care?”

Tom shrugged. It was a fair question. “Call it research. I’m in the industry.”

“The . . . wankers . . . restaurant industry?” Tom nodded and Jake considered his question. “I hate being told to be the same as everyone else,” he said eventually.

“A chain restaurant probably isn’t the best place for you, then. They make every high street look the same.”

Jake huffed his agreement. “The company I work for has five pubs in the city, and they’re all identical. The food, the decor. They even have a script to make us all sound like robots. Winds me up.”

This time, Tom didn’t bite back his smile. Jake’s gripe reinforced the puzzle Tom had been pondering all day. “So if you could redevelop the restaurant you worked in, how would you do it?”

“I wouldn’t. I don’t care enough. I’m only working there because it was the only job I could get.”

“Maybe you would care if it was a concept you liked,” Tom countered. “Food you liked, or an ethos you believed in.”

Jake snorted, but it was hard to tell if it was a tic or a reaction to Tom’s words. He waited a moment, but Jake said no more, so Tom drained his drink and went to the bar for another round.

Jake eyed him when he got back. “You know, you look way too young to care about all this business bollocks.”

“I’m thirty.” Tom pondered Jake’s age. His slender frame and smooth skin made him look eighteen, but his eyes gave him away. He’d seen more of the world than he should’ve done. “What about you?”

“Twenty-four,” Jake said. “Too young for you?”

“Depends what I was going to do with you.”

The words slipped out before Tom could stop them, aided by three pints of strong lager. In his head, he heard Cass laugh. Smooth.

Tom waited for Jake to rebuke him. Call him a pervy twat. Perhaps even get up and leave.

But Jake just grinned and put his elbows on the table. “I reckon you should start at the top and work your way down.”

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About Garrett!

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 renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

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Review

Garrett Leigh - Misfits _400x600Title: Misfits

Author: Garrett Leigh

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Length: Novel (265 pages)

ISBN: 978-1-62649-246-2

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (March 16th 2015)

Heat: Moderate

Heart: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Tams

Blurb: Restaurant owner Tom Fearnes has loved his partner Cass for as long as he can remember, but their work often keeps them apart. When he meets a striking young man named Jake on the vibrant streets of Camden Town, their heady first encounter takes an unexpected turn.

Jake Thompson can hardly believe his luck when he wakes up in Tom’s bed. Tom is gorgeous, kind, and . . . taken. Tom’s explanation of his open relationship leaves Jake cold, but Tom is too tempting, and when hard times force Jake to accept Tom’s helping hand, he finds himself between two men who’ve lost their way.

Cass Pearson is a troubled soul. He loves Tom with all he has, but some days it feels like he hasn’t much to give. Jake seems like the perfect solution. Cass risks everything to push Jake and Tom together, but Jake resists, wary, until the darkness of Cass’s past comes to call. Then Jake finds himself the last man standing, and it’s time to dig deep and shine a light for the men he’s grown to love.

Purchase Link: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/misfits

Review: Tom Fearnes seems to have it all, a successful business and a loving partner. But lately he and Cass have begun drifting apart slightly. They are still very much in love and committed to each other, but there is a rift, something missing. When Tom stops for lunch while checking out a property in Camden Town, his rather colorful waiter just might turn out to be that something that is missing from his and Cass’s life. 

Jake Thompson lives his life in the shadow of a condition he has absolutely no control over. His Tourettes make daily life difficult, not to mention work or love, but Tom sees past his disability. Much like Cass, Tom is drawn to the wounded beauty that envelopes Jake. The two click instantly, but when Jake wakes up in the bed he fell asleep in while wrapped up in Tom’s arms, yet it’s not Tom staring down at him, he freaks out and runs. Cass recognizes a kindred, troubled soul in Jake and he can’t deny what Tom can bring to Jake’s life, so he pushes for them to be together. 

Jake is not having it in the beginning, open relationship or not, but neither man will leave him be. Tom and Cass insinuate themselves into Jakes life, giving him a job and a place to stay when he gets evicted. More importantly, they give him purpose, trust, a foundation and love. Their tenuous relationship is threatened when Cass gets some troubling news though. This time when Cass pushes, he is pushing the two men in his life away, but Jake just got comfortable and refuses to let go of these two men he has come to love without a fight. 

I am a sucker for a good ménage story, and this was a fantastic ménage story! There was a constant push and pull, give and take among the three main characters. Each man brought something different to the table. Tom is the strength, the backbone of the group, but the big, brooding business man is far from perfect. Cass is colorful, eccentric and hard headed. I loved how he recognized in Jake something familiar, a kindred spirit, and also recognized how important Jake was to Tom, could be to him without being jealous. Jake is vibrant, talented and young. He is the glue that will mend the miniscule tear in Tom and Cass’s relationship. 

I was so engrossed in this story that I literally lost sleep. What an amazing concept to introduce a lover into an open relationship, effectively closing it and making it a successful threesome. It’s an emotional story full of passion, anguish, mental illness, joy and love. The issues that each guy deals with are real life issues, I felt while reading that the Author put a lot of attention and thought into Cass’s stability and Jake’s Tourettes, it was that dedication to this story that gave it depth and just made it that much better. Definitely a must read, especially if you are a fan of different kinds of that happy ever after.  

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