Title: Kiss Me Again
Author: Garrett Leigh
Cover Art: blackjazzdesign.com
Publisher: Fox Love Press
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Genre(s): Gay Romance, BiPolar Disorder
Page Count: TBA
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.
Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.
Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.
But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance.
Writing about a character with a mental disorder may be one of the most difficult tasks
undertaken by an author. Whatever the writer’s personal experience, it’s still a bold
attempt to draw the reader into a world with which most cannot truly identify. How can
we, through fiction, be made to intellectually and emotionally identify with the discomforts
and displacement of one so affected? Can it be accomplished so as to truly grab our soul,
and not merely as an abstract approach such as, say, science fiction?
Cheers! Garrett Leigh’s Kiss Me Again has succeeded beautifully in engaging us in the
life experiences of a main character who has long suffered with bipolar disorder. Two
very discordant characters are presented, yet they are sufficiently attracted to one another
as to fuel this great, intriguing story.
After Aiden suffers major injuries at work, he meets Ludo in the hospital. Ludo is there,
having had a recent bipolar episode. Aiden is world-wise: he’s at the point of withdrawn
cynicism, with a personal philosophy that being “a prick is easier than giving a shit.” He
never gave a damn about anyone before, comfortably hating everyone and, in return,
having them not like him much.
Stuck in a hospital bed and suffering great discomfort, he first gets to know Ludo. Ludo is
bipolar, and has been so most of his life. It has been a major distraction, with mood
swings that effectively isolate him and evince his lack of control of the world in which he
exists. Aiden approaches this new acquaintance with an ambivalence that causes Aiden,
simultaneously, to want to suffer his pain in peace and yet also want Ludo to come and talk
to him. Aiden knows his own discomfort is temporary. Ludo’s isn’t! And, as Ludo
further acknowledges, his bipolar disorder is mated with other things, such as anxiety,
paranoia, depression. What a pair they make.
The plot points (which, with possible spoilers, are unnecessary for this review), are
important to the development of the main characters’ relationship and more so, to their
personal growth and mutual attachment. Nicely paced and logically constructed, we learn
the lesson that: with “love comes fear of living without it.”
Not to worry: Ludo and Aiden are genuinely drawn characters, so sex is arrived at with
lovely passion and much detail. Be assured that these broken men heal each other so as to
arrive at a wonderful HEA.