Title: Leaving Flowers
Author Name: Debbie McGowan and Raine O’Tierney
Publication Date & Length: May 2, 2015 – 213 pgs
Shy and awkward since childhood, Aidan Degas is now a man lost. His twin—Aidan’s other half, Nadia—died tragically young, leaving him with nothing to get him through his days but his job at the prestigious Grand Heights Luxury Apartments and the flowers he lays upon her grave. When Aidan is assaulted on the job by a tenant, it’s the graveyard he turns to for strength and solace.
Patrick loves being assistant groundskeeper at the sprawling cemetery where he tends graves and offers a bit of comfort to mourners. When he sees a sad young man lingering over an old grave, his curiosity is strangely piqued for reasons he doesn’t understand. He’s never done this—struck up a friendship with a mourner. But soon that friendship blossoms into a romance.
It’s not going to be easy for the pair. Aidan is so damaged, like petals crushed in an angry fist, and even with Patrick’s warm heart and Irish charm, it might not be enough to bring him back from the edge.
When we meet Aidan, he’s so lost in grief over his sister’s death that he seems to be barely managing his life. Over the course of the story, it becomes obvious that this isn’t strictly true. I appreciated the way Aidan isn’t really painted as someone needing rescue so much as someone in need of trusting the people around him to draw out his real self.
Patrick, too, has a lot of growth through the story. He comes across at first as steady and sure of himself, but his friendship and then romance with Aidan reveals a lot hidden under the surface. He says it best when he realizes it’s Aidan’s own strength, and not Patrick’s influence, that saves them both.
My favorite part of this is how the characters all have things to cope with and discover about themselves and each other, but it never feels heavy or overdone. The whole thing has a beautiful, sweet gentleness with careful attention to the sensitive emotions of the characters.
Leaving flowers took me from tears to laughing a number of times. I love how well described the feelings and emotions are. Its easy to feel them through the book.
I feel that Adians connection to his twin was so strong he had all but given up on life so consumed in his grief. Patrick has a heart of gold and jumps in to help even thou he knows nothing about the situation and when they fall in love its absolutely beautiful. I love that its not perfect they are a real couple with real problems.
I like however it focuses on just how serious depression is without coming out and saying it.
“Quit then. It sounds a horrible place.”
“I can’t quit.” Aidan closed his eyes and left them closed, letting out a long, low breath. “The Grand Heights is all I have.”
He felt Patrick move, felt as he shifted across the center console, close into Aidan’s space, but he did not open his eyes. He was expecting the hug—longed for it even—and as Patrick’s arms wrapped around him, Aidan melted into the feel and warmth and smell of Patrick. Then he felt Patrick’s lips on his neck, so gentle he almost wasn’t certain he felt it at all. He was tenderly kissing the spot where Mrs. Wright had left such an ugly mark.
“I wish I could make it disappear.” Patrick’s voice was hypnotizing, the sound of rain on a tin roof. Aidan turned his face, just a little, so that Patrick’s lips caressed his cheek.
“All of it.”
Their lips met and Aidan died a little, right there, in the parking garage. It was nothing at all like when he’d awkwardly kissed his prom date goodnight, his teeth knocking against hers. Nor was it like Ms. Ashmore and her almost suffocating kisses. And it sure as hell wasn’t Mrs. Wright clawing into him, sucking on his neck like a vampire with a blood-soaked appetizer.
“I’m sorry,” Patrick murmured against his lips. “I don’t know what I’m thinkin’, kissing you like this. I just can’t stand to see you sufferin’, Aidan Degas.”
“Oh.” Idiot, Aidan berated himself as he pulled back. He inhaled deeply and let it out on a chuckle he hoped sounded natural and not hurt. He’s feeling sorry for you. God, you always read so much into everything. “Well, I am feeling much better now.”
Patrick didn’t look convinced.
“I promise,” Aidan said, way too brightly, and turned back to the window. “I wonder if we’re ever getting out of this garage.”
RAINE O’TIERNEY lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on gay romance) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
DEBBIE MCGOWAN is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at 17, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At 25, she went back to college to study social science— tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can!