Title: Only Love
Series: Only Love: Book One
Author: Garrett Leigh
Length: 374 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Military Romance
At a Glance: Only Love is a story of healing and embracing a new life that holds love so richly deserved by both men. I can’t wait to read more in this series.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: 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.
Review: Author Garrett Leigh has begun a new series with the release of Only Love. Focusing on two physically compromised men, it tells the story of Jed Cooper, who has just left the army due to life threatening injuries. The last thing Jed remembers is seeing most of his men mowed down in an attack that left him with a butchered leg and a long road to recovery. Complicating his life is a condition he contracted while overseas that leaves him unable to eat, most days. Returning home to a brother who outed him to their abusive father, which resulted in Jed being thrown out and joining the army to begin with, Jed and Nick are like a powder keg ready to go off. Luckily Nick’s wife has a brother who lives nearby, in a quiet lakeside cabin, and it’s there Jed moves in order to get his life back on track.
Max suffers from epilepsy and lives a simple life with his service dog, Flo. He is stubborn to a fault, but also kind and nurturing—something Jed has never really allowed himself to experience. It’s always been Jed who took care of others, so letting Max in and exposing the nightmares that live inside him is something Jed is reluctant to do, but the attraction to Max is there and growing stronger. Secrets are something both men have a close relationship with and when the cracks begin to show and light is thrown onto the past, it’s anybody’s guess if these two can actually make something long-term between them survive.
Golly, where to start! There was so much to love about this story—the angst, the pain, the secrets that were potentially life threatening—it was all just so well done and so wonderfully written. To say that Jed and Max were easy to fall in love with is an understatement. Jed was so complex, so much that he kept hidden from Max he also avoided looking at too closely himself. From the brief encounter with his best friend’s widow and small son, to the letter he was given by the same, my heart just bled for this poor guy. In many ways Max was the perfect balm to Jed’s tortured existence. It was so understandable that both men were reluctant to commit to the other because of their own physical impairments. The last third of this novel nearly ripped my heart out and had me perched on the edge of my proverbial seat to see the outcome.
From the detailed way in which the author defined her characters to the flashbacks which added so much and were done so seamlessly, never throwing one out of the present day action but augmenting and clarifying it instead, Only Love was truly stellar. I think my only quibble with this book was the final chapters—the epilogue which took us out of the taut action we were used to reading and made us more of a passive observer to the current goings on. There was too much story neatly wrapped up in those final pages. So much so, it really just made me want more of the backstory on those missing months prior to the summation so I could experience firsthand how everything had played out in the end. However, prior to that I was mesmerized and swept up in this novel, and loving every piece of it.
Only Love is a story of healing and embracing a new life that holds love so richly deserved by both men. I can’t wait to read more in this series.
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