Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from Garrett Leigh. UNFORGOTTEN is a romance between long-time neighbors separated by time and circumstance now unexpectedly reunited.
About the book:
Billy Daley hasn’t been home in years, and he likes it that way. He’s just fine on his own—he has a cash-in-hand job at a scrapyard, a half-feral cat to keep him company, and many miles between him, his hometown and all the baggage that comes with it.
Until the job goes sideways. Suddenly he’s back in Rushmere, working for none other than his brother’s best friend—a man whose kiss Billy can’t seem to forget.
Gus Amour’s memories of Billy Daley are all spiky edges, lips crushed against lips and a reckless streak that always ended in trouble. But when Billy needs a place to stay, Gus steps in. He’d do anything for the Daley family, including living, and working, side by side with a man who makes his heart beat too fast and his blood run too hot—two things he’s been running from for years.
It doesn’t take long before their easy banter, lingering touches and heated glances become a temptation too hard to resist. But falling into bed and falling in love are two different things, and love has never come easy to either Billy or Gus. Only when fate threatens to steal away their opportunity for a second chance will they realize they don’t need easy.
They just need each other.
Billy Daley is a bit of a mess. He’s a drinker and he’s had a lot of life struggles, including with the law. He tries to stay away from his home town of Rushmere, because he’s always been considered a “bad seed” by…everyone, including the cops. He did serve a piece of time for battery, but he’s out and on his own these days. Unfortunately, he’s just lost his job and he has no home, cash, or really anyplace to go. His older brother Luke has offered him work in the roofing business that Billy should share in, if he were that kind of bloke–to do regular partnerships and business that is. Anyway, Billy knows the difference between charity and homelessness, so he’s willing to accept the former to prevent the latter. He crates up his misbegotten (literal) junkyard cat and a broke down pedal bike and hoofs his way to Rushmere, where he’s going to bunk up in his childhood neighbor’s home, with Gus, his once-crush and now-grown childhood neighbor.
Gus Amour is the younger brother to Mia, Luke’s fiance. He’s been working as a roofer in the Daley family roofing business for years. And, he loves Luke, especially now that he and Mia have gotten their messy life straightened out. That means he’s willing to put up Billy in his home, even if it brings up bad memories of a kiss gone wrong, and Billy being difficult. Gus is barely able to pretend his not attracted to Billy, once he cleans up, that is. But nothing can, or should, happen between them now, right?
This is the second book in a duology, the first being the reconnection romance of Luke and Mia. These two are kindling and a match, with all the sparks and conflagration they set off. Billy is more subtle than his brother, stubborn but stalwart. Mia, Billy and Luke left Rushmere while Gus held down the homesteads, so to speak, so Gus is afraid to upset anything, thinking he might trigger another exodus that will leave himself isolated yet again. But Billy is more than the brawling behemoth he seems, with a heart for animals that would do St. Francis proud.
There is a slow burn here as Billy reveals his own attraction to Gus, which is stronger now as they cohabitate, from when they were kids and neighbors. But, there’s also conflict. Is it okay for them to get serious, knowing that Luke and Mia’s relationship is tumultuous, though currently solid? How will Billy adjust to living under the legal and social microscopes of the cops and residents of Rushmere? I loved how this all came together, with Billy living such a clean and sober life, facing his many challenges head on, in his usual brusque, bull-in-a-china shop manner. And Gus is a remarkable guy, in general. So loving, dependable and forgiving. He just wants to have a stable family situation, and he’s willing to fight for the respect Billy deserves, even if Billy won’t. Luke is a decent guy, whose personal problems often overshadowed his brotherly love, but he’s determined to make things right with Billy after their long estrangement. He’s not sure how to do that, but he’s willing to listen to Gus about Billy’s needs.
It’s an interesting and immersive read that encompasses family drama and budding romance in a way I hadn’t predicted. I only read this book from the duology, but I felt that it was fully enjoyable as a standalone. Expect a huge situation in the climax, where Billy is a hero, unexpected by the side-eye society of Rushmere but not to his nearest and dearest. He and Gus have a love that builds deeper and stronger than either anticipated. I so enjoyed it. Definitely recommend.
About the Author:
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer, cover artist, and book designer. Her debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards, and was again a finalist in 2017 with Rented Heart.
In 2017, she won the EPIC award in contemporary romance with her military novel, Between Ghosts, and the contemporary romance category in the Bisexual Book Awards with her novel What Remains.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess. Bonus Material available for all books on Garrett’s Patreon account. Includes short stories from Misfits, Slide, Strays, What Remains, Dream, and much more.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!