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

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.

Garrett Leigh doesn’t do light and easy. Her romances are gritty, which is often a more realistic look at life and love. That’s definitely the case in ‘House of Cards.’

The setting of the Cornish coast added depth and meshed well with the story - tough, stormy, and dark.


For a large chunk of the book, Calum is hardly holding on. His ex did a number on him, and his confidence is completely shot.

It would be hard not to fall for Calum. All he wanted was a home and someone to call his own.

Brix is a paragon of virtue. He loves his friends and family deeply, and spends his time off rescuing chickens. But Brix also has personal demons that keep him from finding his happily ever after.

When Brix and Calum are reunited, it’s under less-than-perfect circumstances. But if doesn’t take long for the two to fall back into the easy friendship that they once shared.

I think what I liked most about the book was how easily the two just clicked, despite the years and the circumstances.

Brix slowly coaxes Calum back to his former happy self. It takes a long time, but bit by bit Calum re-builds himself. Living with Calum also makes Brix question his life of solitude.

I’d say for the majority of the book, the focus is on Calum’s healing, rather than the romance. It dragged at points, but that healing was necessary for Calum and Brix to come together as whole and happy equals.

Once the two start moving beyond friendship, it’s a slow process. Though Brix and Calum were clearly made for each other, they don’t make falling in love easy.

Both have to let go of misgivings and past hurts. The happy ever after is hard-won, but perfect!

If you’re looking for a slow-burn MM romance with lots of emphasis on healing, give ‘House of Cards’ a try!

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