Only Love

Garrett Leigh
Only Love
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
April 2014
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

The diagnosis of a chronic stomach condition leaves thirty-two-year-old Sergeant Jed Cooper with little choice but to call time on his Army career. Then on the dusty streets of Kirkuk, an ambush gone tragically wrong decimates his team, and he returns to the US with a shattered leg and the memory of his best friend dying in his arms.

Life in his sleepy hometown proves intolerable until he finds solace in a lakeside cabin with vivacious young carpenter, Max O'Dair. In the shadow of the epilepsy that periodically plagues Max, he and Jed form an unspoken bond. After a late night episode, Jed realizes how much Max means to him, and life has taught him not to waste time.

But the lines between contentment and complacency are blurred. Things left hidden resurface to tear through their world, and before they can repair the damage, death comes to call again. Faces, past and present, rally around them to weather the storm, but before long, they are left with only love.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
May 03, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
220 people found the following review helpful
A mentally and physically scarred veteran reluctantly returns home after fourteen years only to find home is where his heart is.

At thirty-two, Jed Cooper knows his military life is at an end because of a chronic stomach disease and the debilitating wounds he received during his last deployment. When his younger brother Nick visits him in the hospital, Jed agrees to return to their small hometown of Ashton outside Portland.

Since Jed wants to get to know Nick's wife Kim and their two daughters, and because Jed has nowhere else to go, he at first accepts an invitation to stay with Nick's family. When Nick's townhouse begins to feel too crowded and Nick's drinking worsens, Jed agrees to move into the spare bedroom at the beachside home where Kim's adult brother Max lives.

Twenty-five year old Max, an epileptic, and his service dog Flo have carved out an idyllic life in their cabin by the lake. Max creates hand-hewn furniture to sell and lives an uncomplicated life, raising his own food. When he has seizures, Flo is trained to get help, so Max is fairly self-sufficient.

Jed and Max seem to rub on very well together, forging a friendship and then falling in love. In fact, for a while Max is even able to concoct meals that Jed's chronic stomach illness can tolerate.

However, instead of healing, Jed seems to be losing ground as PTSD and his physical wounds get worse. When Max has a particularly bad seizure and Jed discovers that Max and Kim aren't who they said they were, all of their lives spiral downhill quickly.

Jed is a particularly interesting man. Having been kicked out of the house by an alcoholic father when he came out, Jed joined the army, turning his back on his brother Nick who proceeded to suffer the brunt of the old man's abuse. When Nick turns up at his bedside, Jed realizes how much he let his brother down, just as Jed blames himself for leading his eight-man army crew into a lethal attack.

In order to find personal peace and build a new life, Jed must work through forgiving himself for past mistakes as well as make amends for leaving his brother. His physical condition, however, makes it difficult for him to see beyond his own aching, scarred body.

Max too is an intriguing, loving and giving man. While he and his sister Kim had a frightful childhood, they have a chance at happiness, a chance that they are diligent about expanding. Most people, including Jed, are blinded by Max's illness and don't see his inner strength and stability. When push comes to shove, Max isn't a wimp but a survivor.

ONLY LOVE is one of those romances in which readers will be pulling for Jed and Max as a couple to grow and bloom. Both fight for their right to happiness and even though their story is rocky, readers will be at their side every step of the way.
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Book Review by Breann (reviewer)
Jul 16, 2015   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
178 people found the following review helpful
ONLY LOVE is a romance filled with strong emotions.

Jed is sent home from the military after being diagnosed with a debilitating stomach condition. The only place he has to go is his brother's home. His brother, who he has a somewhat estranged relationship with, sent Jed to live with his brother-in-law, Max. Max suffers from epilepsy and lives alone, except for his service dog, in his lakeside cabin.

I love a good slow-burn romance and, oh boy, were these guys slow. Both Max and Jed were suffering, physically and mentally. The hurt/comfort theme is strong here; they had a lot to work through before they were able to really trust what they had together.

This was my first novel from Garrett Leigh, and I am impressed. She was able to create a strong, deep romance without explicit sex scenes or flowery dialogue. It was all shown in how Max and Jed interacted, talked, and supported each other. They didn't need to have their days filled with 'I Love Yous'; their love was just as real, if not more real, without it.

While I adored Max and Jed, I did not adore the flashbacks. They seemed random to me and, honestly, confused me a bit. It could have been that I listened to the audio version, so I didn't see the formatting of the print. Maybe in print things would have made more sense, but some of the flashbacks had me guessing about where the story was in the timeline.

All in all, my first Garrett Leigh was a major hit. I'll be adding more of her to my TBR.
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