Title: What He Left Behind
Author Name & Publisher: L.A. Witt (Samhain Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: August 18, 2015 – 238 pgs
Can you ever have a second first time?
Josh Carver thinks it’s just another lunch with his best friend, Michael—until Michael confesses he just turned down a date with his hot veterinarian crush. It seems Michael’s abusive ex left him more scarred than Josh realized.
Josh and his husband, Ian, have done their best to help Michael leave his horrific past behind, but even Josh is stunned when Ian suggests that Josh help Michael with his fear of physical intimacy. After all, it isn’t like it would be the first time—Josh and Michael were once each other’s firsts.
A hesitant first kiss, and Josh and Michael’s natural attraction eases the way. But with Michael still balking at the prospect of sex with someone new, Ian steps into the breach.
Everything is fine and dandy until emotions become so entangled, their friendship—and a marriage—could be at risk.
Warning: Contains three guys who will do anything for each other, a hot tub that’s always the right temperature, and a cat with an attitude problem.
Only LA Witt can take a book that is all sex and turn it into a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking love story. This is Witt at her best and Ian, Josh and Michael are three wonderful men.
Years out of an abusive relationship, Michael still can’t stand being touched. At all. He doesn’t date and struggles with human interactions. When his life-long best friend Josh finds out just how bad things are for Michael, he and his husband Ian step in to help.
I think it was Josh’s flashbacks at the start that hooked me. His memories of Michael as a playful, horny teenager discovering sex for the very first time are such an horrific contrast to the cowed and timid man Michael had become.
In contrast to Josh and Michael’s joyous early relationship, their first adult interactions are tender but awkward and uncomfortable. Witt also does a beautiful job of contrasting Josh and Ian’s physically powerful and uninhibited sex with Josh and Michael’s more tender, tentative interactions.
So many authors try to develop characters through sex scenes, but so often it just turns into smut. Witt has an amazing skill to write sex that is raw and dirty but at the same time human and tender. Sex does make her characters more and does help them develop as people and partners.
Outside the bedroom, these are three average, but likeable men. A teacher, a “corporate drone” and a vet technician. They enjoy wine in their hot tub. They watch rubbish TV. I loved them all for their simple comforts.
As much as there is some difficult subject matter in this book, this isn’t too heavy. Ten years into their marriage, Ian and Josh’s relationship is pretty magical. There isn’t much angst either. These men are best friends. They communicate. They care for each other. I really loved this story!