Title: What Remains
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 4th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 283 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?
Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.
Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
Full disclosure here, the first few chapters annoyed me because it goes from the present to the past in each chapter, and I am not a fan of flashbacks, but I am so happy I stuck it out, because when Jodi wakes up that stops and this story is overall so compelling and engrossing, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
Jodi and Rupert have been together nearly five years when Jodi is hit by a car and spends months in a coma and then coma-like state. Rupert rarely leaves his side, and only then when absolutely necessary. However, when Jodi wakes he doesn’t remember Rupert, their life together, or even embracing his bisexuality.
Jodi’s doctors caution Rupert about telling Jodi anything, recommending they allow Jodi time to either remember on his own. As a result, it’s a heartbreaking time on top of an already devastating time for Rupert. It’s hard for Jodi as well, who can’t remember Rupert, but also can’t let him go because of something that he can’t define.
“Listen to me,” Rupert said. “Something terrible happened to you, to us, and it took everything we had. This,” he gestured around the dimly lit kitchen, “all of this, is just the remnants, but it’s enough for us to build something new. I want to, Jodi, because I want you, because I love you. I know you can’t say the same right now, but maybe, if we go back to the start, you might learn to love me again.”
Jodi finally looked up. His eyes were red-rimmed and watery. “Do you really love me?”
“Yes. Have done since the moment I met you.”
“Do you want me?”
“More than ever. It just scares me a bit.”
“I know how that feels,” Jodi said. “But I wish I’d known the rest of it from the beginning.”
Rupert swiped at his face. “I’m so sorry. I told you every day until you started talking, then I got scared, because you were scared too, and I didn’t want me loving you to be the reason you couldn’t get better.”
Jodi moved, his body blurring in Rupert’s gaze until they were nose to nose. “I think I got better because you still loved me, even though I was gone. I must have known on some level, because it feels so right now.”
I absolutely loved Jodi and Rupert’s love story! This struck the perfect hurt/comfort and angst level for me to really enjoy and devour.