Billy Daley left his hometown five years ago, never looking back. Even though he’s only got a job where he just barely scrapes by, he loves his independence from older brother, Luke who still sees him as the screwup kid he was and always sits in judgment. However, when he loses that dead end job and finds himself homeless with his stray cat Grey, Billy reluctantly returns to Rushmere only to be facing an even bigger challenge. Gus Amour, the brother of Luke’s live in girlfriend Mia, has agreed to let him stay at his house. Five years ago, he shared a passionate kiss with the man and both just walked away from the encounter. The thing is, neither realizes that they both have the same feelings about each other, thinking each has forgotten that moment.
While Billy was introduced in the first book, his presence was limited. I really enjoyed getting his point of view here in comparison to those impressions created by his brother, Mia and Gus. I loved Gus from Forgiven and just came to adore him even more. Where Billy is all sharp edges and honesty, Gus is that guy who just knows the right things to say and do to diffuse tense situations and bring people together in an authentic way. He is genuinely caring and thoughtful, which brought out the best in Billy. There were a lot of relationships needing repair, especially that between Billy and Luke and it was wonderful being a part of their journey to find that space. But even better was the deepening relationship between Billy and Gus, which was hampered by their reluctance to be vulnerable with each other for fear of driving the other away. There’s a very good reason for that but it’s best to discover that from the story.
I really liked the first book in this series but loved Gus & Billy’s story. The narrator seemed to get the bones of both characters, bringing them to life so vividly. They are both so genuine and the story stayed true to their natures from start to finish, even when things got difficult. I’m glad I chose the audio version because it gave me the best reading experience. There are also many steamy moments so be prepared. It’s a great story about two people I really cared about.
- Release Date: February 16, 2021
- Series: Forgiven #2
- Narrator: Dan Calley
- Audio Length: 7 hours, 48 minutes
- Publisher: Harlequin Audio
It had been years since I’d last seen Billy Daley, but since Luke had given up pretending his brother didn’t exist, and had rekindled with his long-lost true love—again, my sister—Billy had come up in conversation a lot. I wondered if he still had the same hair: scruffy, soft, and just long enough to hang over his collar. I—
“Where is he now?” Mia snapped.
“He didn’t say, and he sounded off his nut.”
“Don’t make assumptions. He’s been sober every time you’ve seen him since the accident.”
“I’ve seen him twice.”
“Whose fault is that?”
I winced and averted my gaze as Luke let out a heavy sigh. God, why were families so complicated? The Daleys made mine look like the Waltons, and we’d been reunited for less than a year.
A year that had changed my life for the better. Mia was a royal pain even when she was trying to be nice, but despite the years we’d spent hurting and apart, I couldn’t imagine her not being more than a phone call away, or turning her back if I was the one down on my luck.
Saying all that, Luke was right: him and Billy would murder each other in the first ten minutes of cohabitation. With their ma decamped to Spain, if Billy wanted to come home to Rushmere, there was only one option. “He can stay here.”
Mia and Luke swivelled their collective attention to me, eyes wide, as if they’d forgotten I was there, in my own kitchen. Nice. I pushed my cereal bowl away and wiped my mouth. “I have a spare room, remember? Not doing anything with it now you two are shacked up at Luke’s place, so…”
They were still staring. I switched between them. Comprehension was starting to dawn in Mia’s gaze, but Luke was looking at me like I was an alien.
“But…” He scrubbed a hand through his hair and darted a glance at Mia.
Oh lord, this was going to be funny. The bloke was the coolest I’d ever known, and surprisingly open-minded given his military background and the fact that he spoke about three whole sentences a day, but I didn’t need him to speak to know what was making him squirm, and I couldn’t contain my amusement.
A laugh bubbled out of me. “Jesus, man. Please tell me you’re not still hung up on what I told you over the summer? It really wasn’t a big deal.”
Luke slow blinked. “You hooked up with my brother. How is that not a big deal?”
“Please,” I scoffed. “It wasn’t a hook-up, it didn’t get that far. And we were both bladdered. He’s probably forgotten about it.”
“Yeah, but I’m not your brother, am I? Besides, it was years ago. I don’t even know why I told you. And in case you’ve forgotten, you’ve been hooking up with my sister my entire life and I’ve never complained.”
Luke said nothing, his standard MO.
I let him be and looked at Mia.
She shrugged. “I think it’s a good idea, if Billy’s up for it. Gus is boring as hell, and better than that, he’s never home, so you won’t have to worry about a repeat performance.”
“As if I’m worried about that.” Luke’s frown deepened. “I’m more concerned that Billy will fuck up Gus’s life like he has his own. My brother is a shitshow of chaos.”
“So am I,” Mia countered. “And you both deal with that just fine.”
“Yeah, but—” Luke caught himself before the conversation strayed into a zone I was definitely not comfortable playing in. These days, dude was my BFF whether he’d admit it or not, but I wasn’t down with bearing witness to whatever dirty words had been about to come out of his mouth to my sister.
To distract myself from the smouldering smirk he sent her way instead, I let my mind drift to his brother. With his dirty blond hair and chiselled jaw, Luke had long been the hottest dude in town, if the graffiti on lampposts and toilet doors was to be believed. But for me, it had always been Billy. He was darker than Luke, in more ways than one. Wild. More hooligan than lovable rogue.
Even if I never saw him again, I’d remember his kiss forever.
About the Author
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer.
Garrett’s 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.
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.
(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)