The diagnosis of a chronic stomach condition leaves 32-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.
©2014 Garrett Leigh (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
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"Nice slow burn"
I really enjoyed this military hurt/comfort read. Ms Leigh is a really talented writer and this is a really good story. Be warned it has some horrific war scenes and a lot of flashbacks. Sometimes it made it hard to tell whether something was a flashback or present day. But not too bad. It only lost a star because it was REALLY slow for me and a lot of men not expressing their feelings to each other, just in their heads. I'm not a fan of that; I like feelings being expressed verbally to the person you are suppose to love. But if are a fan of the slow burn, you will really like it. The narrator does a great job and has a little more diversity in his voices than other books I've listened to by him. All in all worth a credit.
"Very well written and narrated."
As a vet of Iraq this story was well written. The author knew all the nuances of American military life and did a great job of brining it to the listener.
Enjoyed this story and the writing techniques of Garrett Leigh. The narrator did a great job bringing this story to life. The angst in the story is profound and the reader sympathizes with the characters but perhaps there was too much inner turmoil. Maybe not. I guess it depends on everyone's preferences...for me, just a bit long in certain points in the book...but it didn't deter me from enjoying the story. (Listened 5/14/15)
"Wonderful story and great narration"
A story about two men who both have physical challenges and help each other to deal with them. The narration was superb!
"Dark, emotional, angsty"
Jed and Max are two very broken men who must look to one another to help find the healing they so desperately need.
As you can tell from the blurb they have health problems, family problems and emotional baggage that keeps this angst ridden story flowing. It feels like there is rarely a quiet moment except when the two men find solace in the other.
Their romance is a slow burn with a few moments of steam, but their relationship is the center of the story, not the sex.
The audiobook is narrated by Michael Stellman and he does an AMAZING job with this. He handles the different characters so well, each with a distinct voice and accent. The emotions are superb and his non-dialog, reading voice is so easy to listen to and let yourself become immersed in the story.
This is one of those books where the audiobook absolutely sold me on it. I am not one to sign up for the super angsty books very often, and had put off reading this for that reason alone. When the chance came along to LISTEN to it, I jumped, especially once I knew the narrator was Mr. Stellman.
The writing of Garrett Leigh is superb, her characters are rich and well developed, her storylines are complex but flow well and the overall effect a strong novel of deep emotion. Combine this with an excellent narration like Michael Stellman and you have a winner!
If you’re in the mood for a dark, emotional and angsty read/listen this is for you.
4.5 of 5 stars
"Doesn't Quite Stick the Landing"
The two main characters were probably the best thing about this book. They had great chemistry and unlike a lot of books with similar themes , which have a tendency to be overly melodramatic with characters that are often pathetic, I didn't have a difficult time sympathizing or buying their story. Jed and Max are damaged for sure and struggle with their own individual demons, but they're both sane and self-aware enough that you can actually believe that they would at least be capable of a relationship that wasn't toxic or one-sided.
However, as much as I enjoyed these characters, I felt like the book could have been at least 2 hours shorter. Without divulging too much, there is a rather protracted health scare at the end that seemed to go on forever without ever actually going anywhere. If it had to go on for another couple of hours, I think it could have been achieved in more a interesting way that told you more about the characters and allowed you, and them, to better explore their relationships. For instance, I kind of felt like it was a missed opportunity in which the story could have explored the relationship between Jed and his brother Nick, who's personality seems a bit schizophrenic and nonsensical and is another weakness to this book. Instead we get introduced to a bunch of new characters that feel a little awkwardly placed and who don't really do anything.
I enjoyed "Only Love" MUCH more than "Road", one of Garrett Leigh's other books. In fact I don't even think I ever finished "Road". So much time was spent on reminding me of how damaged and messed-up the characters were that I both never felt like the story went anywhere and couldn't believe that the characters were sane enough to even be capable of a functioning relationship. Luckily, "Only Love" manages to avoid this trap (for the most part) and creates characters that are both believable and sympathetic.
Probably not, while it would be nice to learn more about Jed and Nick's relationship, I just don't know if the author has the skill to pull it off.
This was a surprisingly sweet story and the narrator although sounded a bit young for this story did a wonderful job bringing the main characters to life. I wasn't sure how to people with life threatening illness' would work, but it did and I was left feeling in love with Jed and Max's love. Great audio.
This book give the reader insight into the army and the man that fight the war and what the go through their and coming home
"Who am I, if not a soldier?"
Yes, I would. Leigh is an amazing writer that has this uncanny ability to write damaged and broken characters, sometimes the dregs of society, and give them their own kind of happy ever after. In addition to that Stellman is a truly talented narrator that did an amazing job bringing these two broken men to life.
I'd have to say Jed. I thought the way he was written and portrayed was very convincing.
Several actually. I think my favorite moments were the times when Jed and Max helped each other through something painful. The way, at different times, each of them were a shoulder for the other when nothing or no one else could help.
As I stated above, Leigh has this knack for writing characters that are flawed, broken, imperfect and sometimes even seemingly a lost cause. She then tears them down so they can build themselves back up. With Jed and Max, the only way either of them can become any semblance of a person that is able to function on a daily basis is with each other.
Stellman is one of my favorite narrators. He has this youthful, vibrant tone and in this book he actually took on a tone I'd not heard from him yet with Max. The accent is broken and hard to place, but it fits the character perfectly, which you'll come to realize as the story progresses. I especially liked the attention to detail Stellman gave each characters emotions, and it came through clearly with the tones and nuances he used for them. For instance, I could hear the frustration in Max's voice when it came to his short term memory and seizures. I could hear the anger in Jed's voice when it came to his father or his brother and issues from the past.
So, this was a hard story to listen to at times, I admit I had to take a break a couple of times and come back to it. But overall it was a really great listen. There is pain and anguish, over personal and familial issues for both men. They have to come to terms with their pasts before they can move forward though, and it's not an easy road to walk.
If you are a fan of the Author or the Narrator then this is a no brainer. Anyone that loves a very hard fought romance, a different kind of happy ever after... because these aren't your normal characters, a fluffy happy ending that was all sunshine and rainbows wouldn't have fit... I'd recommend the listen regardless.
"Hooked From The Start"
Garrett Leigh is one of those authors that is hit or miss for me. She is extremely talented, there’s no doubt about that, but sometimes I just don’t connect with her characters. However, when I do connect, I absolutely love them. Only Love is one of the latter—a story that hooked me from the beginning.
Jed Cooper is a damaged man when he returns to his hometown, despite not really wanting too. He moves in with his brother, who he doesn’t have the best relationship with. They have issues stemming from when Nick outed Jed to their father when they were younger.
Soon Jed moves in with his sister-in-law’s brother, Max O’Dair and their relationship was incredibly well written. I loved both men and Leigh nailed their personalities perfectly. Each man has medical issues but Jed keeps his secret, while Max’s epilepsy couldn’t be hidden.
I loved how the relationship progressed slowly. Moving quicker wouldn’t have been realistic at all. Neither men are the jump into bed type so that wouldn’t have been true to the characters. When they did get together the result was scorching sex. The chemistry between the men was off the charts.
There was a lot of conflict and angst here, but it never seemed too much. All the issues were dealt with realistically and I never felt the need to suspend my disbelief.
I absolutely loved Jed’s relationship with his young nieces and the fact that Max loved them as well bonded the two men.
The ending was perfect, not glossing over the issues, but allowing the men to grow. The fact that Jed and Nick’s relationship wasn’t instantly fixed was a nice touch and accurate.
If you enjoy the author’s work this is another awesome story. If you haven’t read her before I would highly recommend it.
Michael Stellman did a fine job with the narration. He nailed the inner voices of each men. Max has an accent and Stellman did a good job with it, without making it stereotypical or grating.
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