The Official Description: 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 heartbeat 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.
Just the facts: M/M romance, family issues, redemption, being misunderstood
A sweet, whirlwind of romance, family issues and labels that don’t fit people. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: When Billy sees a guy kick the stray cat he’s befriended, he punches him and loses his job. This leaves him with his bike and a new cat and nowhere to stay. Left with no other options, he reaches out to his estranged brother. Rather than staying with brother Luke and his girlfriend Mia, Bily ends up staying with Mia’s brother.
Mia’s brother – Gus remembers Billy alright. They shared a kiss one night years before and it has lingered in Gus’ mind. But, when Billy arrives, it’s clear that what he needs is a place to get back on his feet. The two men are thrown together as roommates, then coworkers and their relationship begins to change.
Billy is a great character! While he won’t deny having made some bad decisions in the past, a lot of what people think about him simply isn’t true. Maybe his tattoos and wild hair give one impression…but the fact that he can’t watch an animal be hurt gives another impression. I liked the way that Billy processed things because it felt very human to me. Just like most of us, he doesn’t figure things out instantly. He takes time to go through events in his mind and realizes his mistakes even if he doesn’t necessarily know what to do. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Garrett Leigh’s books is how authentic the characters seem.
Gus! Oh, Gus. When Gus first appears in this book, he seems to be the one who has everything together. But Gus is dealing with a lot of things that people just don’t even notice. He’s the one who stayed behind when everyone else ran from things that happened in their past. every time he reaches out to someone he risks putting himself into the same situation again: watching his loved ones leave.
I loved the relationships in this story. Billy and Luke are brothers who love each other but have been apart too long to know how to even “be” with each other. That felt so real to me. Mia and Gus have the kind of sibling relationship that makes me laugh. They push each other constantly and had a love/hate relationship as they were growing up.
The best part about this book is that all the characters, whether supporting or otherwise, care about one another. the issue for all of them is “how” they show they care and what that means for the future.
Another great book from Garrett Leigh…it can be read as a stand-alone.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) a cat is kicked (corrected immediately, the cat is fine), description of a dog left in a hot vehicle (rescued, the dog is fine), violence, self-harm, descriptions of chronic pain from an injury, mentions the death of parents, fighting siblings, assault, a character is harassed and bullied by neighbors, description of carbon-monoxide poisoning, near-death of character, vomiting, the character passes out.
I received an ARC of Unforgotten (Forgiven #2) by Garrett Leigh from Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.