• Redemption

  • Second Chance Gay Romance
  • By: Garrett Leigh
  • Narrated by: Dan Calley
  • Length: 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

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Redemption

By: Garrett Leigh
Narrated by: Dan Calley
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Publisher's Summary

Reformed gangster Luis falls hard for his boss. When friendship turns to love, it’s up to Paolo to convince him second chances are worth the pain.

Luis Pope is back on the street after a six-year stretch in prison, but life on the outside seems just out of reach, especially when the whole neighborhood knows his face for all the wrong reasons. 

Paolo’s temper makes it hard to keep staff, and he knows Luis’ rep all too well. But his nonno believes in redemption, and Luis isn’t the tough guy Paolo remembers. Prison has left its mark, inside and out, and all the kindness in the world can’t fix the three inch scar on Luis’s skull. 

And it can’t keep ghosts locked up. Luis is the best worker Paolo’s ever had, and Luis is happier than he’s ever been. But his old life doesn’t want to stay in the past. Trouble comes to call, and when it makes him an offer he can’t refuse, keeping Paolo safe hurts the most. 

Redemption is an angsty, stand-alone M/M romance novel, with second chances, found family, friends-to-lovers, and buckets of hurt/comfort themed loveliness.

©2020 Garrett Leigh (P)2020 Garrett Leigh

What listeners say about Redemption

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this

This was a sweet and angsty second chance, friends to lovers romance!!

The storyline was engaging and compelling and the characters were likeable and well fleshed out.

The plot was well executed and the writing style was engaging.


I especially loved the narration. It was on point.

3 people found this helpful

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Superb writing

Lord, I loved this book. Paolo and Luis had sizzling chemistry right from the get go. The sex was hot, I loved the progression from oral onward, but they also sizzled just working. Leigh wrote a compelling plot with realistic characters. The conflict was a tough one and I wasn’t sure how it could possibly be resolved. But it was and done so realistically. I love Dan Calleys voice.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

I loved this story - the guys are both flawed in their own ways, rough around the edges, and perfect for each other. The narrator did a fantastic job.

This book wasn't what I was expecting at all. I read the blurb ages ago and thought it was a gang- or mafia-type book. However, all of that is in Luis' past and this book is focused on his life after serving six years in prison. And who should roll into his life but the stubborn, moody, scowling, and ridiculously attractive Paolo. Luis and Paolo have a soul deep connection and I loved how pushy Paolo was, yet he was also patient with Luis, knowing he had to patiently earn Luis' trust to learn more about the quiet man. Nobody writes messy, broken, blue collar men like Garrett, and I can't get enough of how Garrett is able to bring these men into each other's orbit and make them fall hopelessly in love. They all get their HEAs, but they aren't magically fixed over the course of the story; rather, they are better versions of themselves by the end, but still working to heal their wounds and still learning how to maintain a healthy relationship with each other. And, they're still their moody grumpy selves, just with someone they can be their full selves with. I've been craving Garrett's writing recently and loved every moment of this love story. I'm jumping right into the next book!

1 person found this helpful

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Edge of your seat

This was an excellent story and audiobook. I love a redemption story, especially when it involves someone who’s been to prison finding someone to love them and give them a second chance.

Garrett knows how to make you feel every emotion that runs through Luis and Paolo, especially the loneliness and pain Luis feels. That man breaks my heart. He never really wanted to be a part of the life that sent him to prison, and now that he’s on the outside he has to figure out how to adjust, find a job, and avoid getting dragged back into his brother's world. And when he finds someone who he cares about…his old life comes calling. Gah, that poor, kind man.

He deserves happiness, and to be wrapped up in Paolo’s arms, living a happy life working alongside his man. They are perfect for each other. Luis’ calm to Paolo’s fiery temper. They soothe each other.

This is a tension-filled, edge-of-your-seat story that is gritty, and real, but ultimately hopeful and tender.

Dan Calley did an amazing job as the Narrator of this. It took a beat to adjust to the thick accent, but it was perfect for the story and characters. I can’t imagine it any other way now.

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gritty & heartbreaking

I greatly enjoyed this book the first time and fell even harder the second time around while listening to the audio. Dan Calley's performance is absolutely captivating. He brilliantly breathes life into these complicated characters.

I always love how Leigh just plunges her characters into the thick of it. It's compelling to read about characters in gritty real life situations with no excuses given and watch them pull their way through the mire. Despite how angsty [read: sad] the content of this one is I really connected with the characters. I loved seeing how their individual experiences altered their personal journeys but ultimately set them on a path towards each other. Watching these arcs unfold [especially those of the Pope brothers] was a heartbreaking thing of beauty.

Story: 4.5 stars
Audio: 5+ stars

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The narration improved my enjoyment.

**I was given an audio book with the understanding I would post an unbiased review.**

This is still not one of my favorite Leigh books, but the audio improved my enjoyment.

As I said in a review of a different book from this series, it feels like she's trying to include too much in these books. Add in that there is a lot, a lot, (for example, two sex scenes in the epilogue, I mean ...) of sex in this and it just falls short of the goal. I really like Luis, he's very sweet and so insecure. Paolo is okay, I'm not sure why he's basically on a 24/7 rant, nor how he manages to run a retail business with his personality, nor why Luis finds that attractive, but he is very good to Luis and his grandfather. There were also some random attitudes about Italians and other ethnicities that were uncomfortable. Finally I found the resolution of various problems unlikely and too easy. But seeing Luis happy in the end is pretty wonderful.

Audio: Calley has a great voice and his English accents sound great to me. He gives each character a distinct voice and he does fantastic with the emotions. I definitely enjoyed hus narration of this book and felt he improved my overall experience.

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Love, love, love!

I read the ebook as an arc and fell in love with the characters and the world Garrett Leigh created. Listening to Dan Calley read it transported me back there. His raspy voice reminds me a bit of Heath Ledger. I rarely listen to a whole audio book in one day, but I did with this one! So, so good!

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Who Doesn’t Love A Good Redemption Story?

There isn’t a dang thing that Garrett Leigh can’t write with the conviction and knowledge that makes it seem like she’s right there living that life with her boys. This story is definitely one of the best ones she’s written so far and that’s saying something coming from someone who has her at the top of all of my recommendations and her books are some of my absolute favorites... did I spend most of this book in tears like I have with some of her books? No, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t phenomenal. Luis was a broken man, just got out of jail after 6 years and a mistake that he knows was bad but he isn’t that person anymore and when he meets Paolo it’s fate. Their chemistry is off the charts from the very beginning and there’s something about Paolo that lets Luis feel safe and seen in a way no one has ever seen him. He knows his former life, led by his drug dealing manipulative brother is going to come back to haunt him but he never dreams it would affect him the way it does. Paolo didn’t want to fall for Luis but he really sees the good man Luis is and knows one of them has to believe he’s worthy of being taken care of and loved. I felt all the emotions throughout this book, sadness and sorrow, happiness, the explosive chemistry, the love these boys have for each other, the hatred for Dante and the despair Luis feels as he does what he thinks he has to. There’s so many layers to this one and I am so glad Paolo never gave up on Luis even when Luis let him down. They both deserved their happy ending!

When you add in the audio narration by Dan Calley, who is absolutely one of my favorite voices ever, this book soars to new heights. Dan nailed this narration down to the tiny nuances in the voices when the characters are feeling some type of way. You can tell Dan loves what he does and he is an absolute auto-buy for me!

5 huge stars from me but I’d give this one more if I could!

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Loved this book!

Dan Calley is a fantastic narrator and this is my favorite Garrett Leigh story!

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Loved Luis and Paolo

Thanks GL! EXCELLENT Characters, EXCELLENT Narrator!!!! You Rock!. Well done. I cannot wait for your next great book. Sticking with these great narrators only adds to your amazing books. Thank you. (a reader/listener who appreciates the multiple POV, IRL views, feelings and dialogue). It means alot to me, There are alot of silly (I mean silly, not funny - i enjoy some humor definitely) romance books - with alot of air heads. Yours are not.

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  • Ronald Betts
  • 05-04-21

Love and hate.

This makes one hate people who force others to do what their bidding and even worse when they are family members and this story does it all but there is a good dise of m/m love 💘

1 person found this helpful

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  • sarah mitcham
  • 10-22-22

A Fresh Start.

MM, Second Chance, Contemporary, Romance. Compelling, binge listen, Angsty, Steamy, Love story. I absolutely love this story and Dan Calley has done a brilliant job of bringing their story to life, I have listened to the entire book in one sitting as I got into it that I just couldn't press pause, (who needs sleep!?) I loved the series when I read it and my love for it has only increased now I've heard the audio version. Some twists and turns, action drama and a guaranteed HEA.

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  • Properkook
  • 09-10-21

The Struggle is real

I loved this book. True life & fantasy combined. Excellence. The Struggle to leave the past behind is very real and definitely comes with complications. That's what makes this story so real.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • choccygrl
  • 09-15-20

Hang on to your hearts

This is the sort of book you expect when you read a Garrett Leigh book. It's a book with heart and real characters who will worm their way into your soul and rip it out through your tears while your heart beats a mile a minute to escape that overwhelming sense of menace from Luis's past that overshadows the book.

Luis and Paolo have amazing chemistry from the very start.

An angsty but glorious hurt/comfort read that is made even better by the narrator's performance.

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  • Mari Cardenas
  • 09-10-20

Hurt/Comfort at its best!

5 Stars!

Second chances is not really my favorite, but the kind of second chances Garrett Leigh explored here? Please sign me up for all of it! 

Luis has just been released from jail after 6 years and he needs to find a job to start pulling his life back together. Paolo goes through employees faster than he can hire them, and knows of Luis's rep, so he's not all that keen on giving him a job when Luis asks about the sign on Paolo's cafeteria. He decides to give Luis a chance and slowly, they grow closer. However, the past has a way of coming back and hit you when you least expect it. 

I wanted to cuddle Luis and make it all better. Yes, he made mistakes in the past, but he really wanted to turn his life around and make something of himself. And while Paolo was all gruff at first, it wasn't long until he fell under Luis's spell. They had amazing chemistry, but above that, they supported each other and they both were better men when they were together. 

Dan Calley did an outstanding job with both Luis and Paolo and conveying the level of emotion that Garrett's writing evokes. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators because of this precisely. 

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, Garrett Leigh writes the best flawed, ordinary men that I've read. They're just so real and their problems so poignant, that you can't not feel for them and want them to get the Happily Ever After they deserve, and Redemption was another example of this. I just adored this book and I'm sure I'll be listening to it again in the future. 

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  • ButtonsMom2003
  • 09-05-20

Another great audio frm Garrett Leigh & Dan Calley

It hasn't been that long since I read Redemption and a lot of it was still fresh in my mind. Even so, the audiobook captured me all over again and affected me almost as deeply as the book did when I first read it.

It took me a few books to get used to Dan Calley's British accent (US gal here) but I've now listened to about 14 audiobooks that he's performed and I can emphatically say that he has a wonderfully gritty style that works for the books that I've listened to – especially this one.

There really isn't much more that I can say about this story that I didn't already say in my original review from July 9, 2020 (shown below).

I knew this book was gonna tear me up.

I've now read enough books by Garrett Leigh to know when one is probably going to affect me deeply and Redemption surely did that and it was worth every bit the emotion it wrought from me.

Luis Pope was recently released from prison and is looking for work. When he sees the Help Wanted sign in the window of the café he used frequent, he figures it's fate. But café owner, Paolo, remembers Luis from his gangster days and isn't interested in having one of the Pope brothers working for him. Fortunately for Luis, Paolo's grandfather convinces Paolo that he should give Luis a chance.

So, after that rather rocky beginning, Luis provides exactly the type of help that Paolo needed in the café. He's quiet and efficient and has skills that he surprised Paolo with when Paolo needed help in an emergency. This was a wonderful slow-burn story that turns hot as fire as the relationship between Luis and Paolo grows.

Luis and Paolo have chemistry that is off the charts and one of the most devoted relationships I've read recently. The story is gritty and uses a lot of British slang. I didn't always know exactly what the terms meant but it didn't matter because the meaning was clear enough through context. (The author did give a great explanation of many of the terms before the story began).

This book made me believe in the power of redemption and that second chances are something that most people deserve. I'm not doing a good job of explaining how good this book was. If you love a wonderful, angsty story with a HEA don't just take my word for it, grab a copy and read it for yourself; I don't think you'll regret it a bit.

A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author and/or narrator.