Today I am so pleased to welcome Garrett Leigh to Joyfully Jay. Garrett has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, What Remains. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
A little while later, he was quite happily, and quietly, drunk. Rupert seemed to be in a similar state, slouched on the couch, one hand behind his head, the other resting idly on Jodi’s legs that were sprawled in his lap. Jodi wasn’t sure how they’d ended up entangled on the couch, but he had no desire to question it. Relaxing with Rupert felt right. He didn’t need to know any more than that.
“So,” Rupert said. “You’ve heard all about my sordid past. What have you been up to the last year or so?”
Jodi shrugged. “Not much. I left my job in the city eighteen months ago and set up my own company. I’ve only had time for a few friends with benefits. Nothing serious.”
“Benefits, eh? Sounds interesting.”
“If you say so,” Jodi said. “I went through a phase of whoring it up when I split with Sophie, trying to out-gay my imagination, you know? But I settled down when I moved in here. Found my own company more fun than I thought.”
Rupert smirked and waggled his fingers. “Even I’m familiar with my own company, mate.”
“Ha-ha.” The idea of Rupert having a wank was enough to derail Jodi’s train of thought. He lost himself in the tickle of Rupert tracing absent patterns on his jean-clad thigh until the bellyful of rum got the better of him, and he yawned so hard his jaw cracked.
Rupert stirred and looked at his phone. “Jesus. It’s nearly three. I should go.”
“Go where? Home?”
“Yup. I’m off for a couple of days now.” Rupert lifted Jodi’s legs and stood. “Shit, fucking Tube’s shut, isn’t it? I need to catch the bus.”
“The night bus? Fuck that. Do you have anywhere to be tomorrow?”
Rupert shrugged. “Not really. Just the gym and getting my barnet chopped.”
“Screw it, then. Stay here.”
“On the couch?”
“If you like.” Jodi stood too and held out his hand. “Or you can kip in with me.”
Rupert didn’t strike Jodi as a man who made rash decisions. Perhaps it was the rum, but it wasn’t long before he abandoned his plans to leave and followed Jodi to his bedroom. He stared at the minimalist decor and neatly ordered shelves that contained nothing but alphabetised DVDs.
“Jesus. It’s like an IKEA showroom in here. Where’s all your stuff?”
“Where it should be. I can’t sleep in clutter,” Jodi said. “It’s gotta be neat, or I lose my fucking marbles. Do you want something to sleep in?”
Rupert shot Jodi a smirk that made it clear he thought it was too late for Jodi to be worrying about his sanity. “I’ve got about a foot on you. I reckon your skids are gonna look pretty bloody daft on me. How about I sleep in my T-shirt and boxers?”
Getting Rupert out of his jeans was all kinds of okay with Jodi, but he silenced the horny devil dancing in the back of his mind. He’s new to this, remember? “Fine by me, mate. Wanna pick a DVD?”
He gestured to the categorised collections at the end of the bed, then turned his back to change his clothes, leaving Rupert to ditch his jeans and socks in peace. When he looked again, Rupert was crouched by the shelf, in his boxers, as promised, running a finger along the titles. “You like epics, eh? The Last of the Mohicans, Braveheart, The Last Samurai.”
“I don’t like The Last Samurai.” Jodi crawled onto the bed in a pair of worn tracksuit bottoms and stretched out on his stomach to peer at Rupert’s selection. “Tom Cruise is a dick.”
“I know. It’s a shame. The film would be awesome without him. What about Gladiator? I’ve never seen it all the way through.”
Jodi nodded. “Russell Crowe and Djimon Hounsou? Sold.”
Rupert slipped the disk into the DVD player, then joined Jodi on the bed. In spite of his hesitance earlier, he seemed at ease now, and Jodi was glad of it. Seeing Rupert mirror the contentment in his own soul was beautiful. Like Rupert.
Jodi scooted back and held up the duvet. “Get in, mate. I don’t bite.”
“Never mind, eh?” Rupert smirked, warm and wonderful.
They wriggled under the covers. Jodi turned off the lamp, and the TV came to life, bathing the room in blue light. He lay back. Rupert did the same, and it felt so familiar Jodi almost cried. Huh. Perhaps it was him who’d been craving the company of a man—real company . . . companionship, not just a bedmate to roll around with, then kick to the kerb before the sun rose.
The film opened with the Germanic battle scene. Rupert rolled onto his side, facing Jodi. “I’ve seen this bit, and the end. It’s the middle I keep missing. I’ve never quite worked out how Maximus gets to Rome.”
Jodi mirrored Rupert. “The buildup to that is the best part. It’s all a bit melodramatic after he takes his mask off.”
Rupert looked mystified. Jodi made a mental note to divert his attention back to the film by the time Maximus was bought by Proximo. He opened his mouth to ask Rupert what he wanted for breakfast in the morning, but Rupert’s hand on his face silenced him. The touch was light, just his palm on Jodi’s cheek, but Jodi was mesmerised.
“Thanks for this.” Rupert smiled shyly, like he had no idea of the effect he was having on Jodi. “It sounds strange, but being with you makes me feel so much better about myself, about everything. I feel normal.”
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.
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.
- Website: garrettleigh.com
- Twitter: @Garrett_Leigh
- Facebook: facebook.com/garrettleighbooks
- Cover art enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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