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.
The remnants of their broken dreams lay scattered all around . . . but what remained was something beautiful.
July 24, 2014
“Don’t go.” Jodi tugged playfully on Rupert’s coat. “Come on. You had that big warehouse fire yesterday, and the gas leak. Take the rest of the week off.”
Rupert grinned and allowed Jodi to reel him in with the dark, cajoling eyes he’d been unable to resist since that damp December night four years ago. Not that Rupert often tried that hard. Jodi was an addiction he had no interest in quitting. Now, though, he needed to pull away. “I gotta go, boyo. I’m late already.”
Jodi scowled. “Late for what? Sitting around watching football with a bunch of old men?”
“I’d imagine so, until a call comes in. It’s Saturday night. Whatever happens, it ain’t gonna be quiet.”
“Wish it was—” Jodi’s grumble was cut off by his phone. He retrieved it from his back pocket, glanced at the screen, then tossed it onto the couch. “Sophie’s bitching. Would you believe I’m late too?”
Rupert chuckled. Jodi’s tardy timekeeping was legendary. “We’d both better go, then. You’re hitting the town, remember? Come on.”
“It’s only dinner at Sophie’s.” Jodi planted his feet stubbornly on the shiny wooden floor—kept so dust-free by his unnatural obsession with his elderly Henry hoover—still gripping Rupert’s coat. “I’m not even hungry. I just want to stay here with you.”
Rupert’s heart ached. He’d wanted to be a firefighter since he was six years old, but as much as he loved his job, he loved Jodi more. “You’re always hungry, and you know I’d stay if I could.”
“Hmm. Perhaps I can persuade you.”
Jodi dropped to his knees, taking Rupert’s tracksuit bottoms with him. He hooked his thumbs around Rupert’s underwear and dispensed with that too, then lifted Rupert’s feet out of it and tossed it away.
He pushed Rupert against the nearby living room wall and traced Rupert’s balls with his tongue. The gesture should’ve felt devilish and filthy, but Jodi’s touch was gentle and hypnotic, so much so that it was hard for Rupert to remember why he’d ever tell him no. Reluctantly, he stilled Jodi’s hands. “I’ve gotta go.”
Jodi sighed and pressed his forehead into Rupert’s thigh. It was about as close to admitting defeat as he ever got, and Rupert’s tenuous grasp on his self-control broke. He hauled Jodi to his feet. Jodi let out a grunt of surprise, but responded almost instantly, crushing their lips together and growling into Rupert’s mouth.
Rupert groaned. Jodi was smaller than him, slighter, leaner, but when it came to sex, he was all the man Rupert could take, even now—especially now—with his hands, tongue, and teeth everywhere. Blunt nails raking over his skin. They stumbled to the bedroom. Jodi pushed Rupert onto the bed, stripping his own scruffy T-shirt and tossing it over his shoulder. He straddled Rupert’s waist. “I need you.”
The gravelly confession lit Rupert on fire. He grasped Jodi’s slender hips and rolled over, pinning Jodi beneath his broader frame. “You don’t ever have to need me. I’m always here.”
Jodi’s dark gaze flashed. No, you’re not.
Rupert growled and wrestled with Jodi’s belt buckle. The silent accusation was true, but far from fair. Rupert worked long shifts, often leaving Jodi for twenty-four hours or more, but Jodi had an engrossing occupation of his own and rarely had nothing to do when Rupert was gone. Rupert fixed Jodi with a glare. I’m here when it matters.
He yanked Jodi’s skinny jeans down his legs and threw them on the floor, then reached for the lube in the bedside drawer.
Jodi claimed it with a devilish smirk and shoved him onto his back. “Like this.”
As if Rupert would argue. Jodi was a dominant lover. People often said he had an ethereal look about him, but his fragile form was a wonderful deception. Despite his long limbs and slim bones, there was nothing delicate about Jodi. He loved Rupert fiercely and demanded it back in return.
Jodi tore open a condom and rolled it onto Rupert. “I need you, Rupe.”
“You have me.” Rupert gritted his teeth, hardly able to contain himself as Jodi rubbed lube into himself, stretching and teasing. “I’m right here.”
Rupert drove up into Jodi in one slow slide. Smooth, tight heat enveloped him, and his vision blurred, obscuring Jodi’s beautiful, form. He thrust his hips, softly at first, but as Jodi pushed down, meeting Rupert’s every move, Rupert’s caution faded away. Fucking Jodi was like breathing, he didn’t need to think about it, just closed his eyes and felt, letting Jodi fall apart around him, rushing him to a heady climax that made his head spin.
He came fast and hard with a low roar, mindful of their nosy downstairs neighbours. Jodi wasn’t so considerate. He yelled out and came all over Rupert’s chest, then collapsed to one side in a sweaty heap.
Rupert chuckled and tossed the condom into the bin by the bed. “Wanna shift over? I’ve got time for a quick spoon.”
“I wanna reverse spoon.”
“Come on then.”
Jodi grunted drowsily, and they crawled under the covers, Jodi curled against Rupert’s chest. Rupert wrapped his arms around Jodi and held him tight, absorbing every twitch and breath as Jodi drifted off. Jodi wasn’t much of a sleeper—too busy with work and keeping the flat to his eccentric standards—and Rupert rarely got to hold him like this, wide-awake while Jodi’s dreams made his eyelids flutter and his tongue dance over his bottom lip.
It was entrancing, until he glanced at the clock. Damn it. Time had slipped away from him, leaving him twenty minutes to dash south to the fire station in Brixton.
Fuck. Rupert disentangled himself from Jodi, mourning the loss of his warmth. Who wanted to tramp around bloody Brixton when they could hold Jodi close and doze all night, waking up from time to time to love each other a little bit more? God, Rupert’s heart wanted so desperately to stay.
Stop it. Rupert retrieved his scattered clothes, dressed, and got ready to leave again. In his coat and shoes, he crept back into the bedroom and gazed at Jodi, still sleeping soundly. He kissed Jodi’s forehead, his cheek, his lips.
“I love you, boyo. See you in the morning. Be safe.”
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
Someone I love very dearly.
3. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? ?
All the time, and the best tonic is to just keep writing, even if it’s just a few words a day. Avoidance is futile.
4. Your all time favorite book? ?
Junk, Melvin Burgess
5. What made you pick that one above all others? ?
I’ve lived a great deal of it
6. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind? ?
Oh, constantly. You just have to write through it.
7. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing? ?
I run a cover art design business (blackjazzdesign.com) a photography company (moonstockphotography.com) work as chef in a busy restaurant, and mother (kinda) two kids, two dogs, a cantankerous cat, and three chickens.
8. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series? ?
No, this is standalone.
9. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ?
Loads. Rented Heart is out September 12th, then I have three novels out with Riptide next year.
Fun facts: :
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for? ?
More hours in the day and more energy to fill them!
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you? ?
Junk, by Melvin Burgess
3. Name your favorite fruit. ?
4. Coffee or tea? ?
5. Favorite season? ?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours? ?
10 pm <3
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? ?
8. Favorite food for breakfast? ?
Eggs and ripe avocado with extra virgin rapeseed oil
9. Drama or comedy? ?
10. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ?
Dinner—food, always food
11. What song have you listened to most recently? ?
Birch Tree — Foals
1. Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is… ?
Musketeers—a BBC drama that’s on a Saturday night. You can probably get it on BBC America. So. Many. Plot. Bunnies.
2. If you could choose to be someone else for just one day, it would be… ?
My labradoodle, because she is the happiest dog in the world.
3. If everyone would receive a prize for being best at something, you’d be no. 1 at… ?
4. The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is… ?
5. Your favorite part of a date is… ?
6. The one thing that always brightens your day is… ?
My man Fox and Fox Cubs <3
7. The most awkward moment in your life happened when… ?
My life is full of awkward moments.
8. The awesomest thing in your life is… ?
All of it <3
To celebrate the release of What Remains, Garrett is giving away $25 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 9, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author & Links:
Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
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. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com.