What He Left Behind, by L.A. Witt
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (August 18, 2015)
Page Count: 238 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M/M) Romance (Menage/Threesome)
Rating: 4 out of 5
* I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. *
Summary: After getting out of an abusive long-term relationship, Josh’s best friend Michael is a shell of the man he used to be. He no longer likes to be touched, and Josh is devastated to see Michael unable to trust or let go of his fear to be with another man. Then Josh’s husband Ian proposes something insane: what if Josh helped Michael move past his fear of being intimate? After all, they were lovers as teenagers, and have remained best friends since then. It’s so insane that it might just work, as long as everyone can keep their emotions firmly in check.
My Thoughts: What He Left Behind was a page-turner from start to finish! I couldn’t put it down, because I was so eager to see what happened next. This is a novel that is all about the relationships, both about building them and keeping them intact. A lot of the plot is very predictable, but don’t let that stop you. The plot isn’t the important part here… the relationships are. As the saying goes, it’s all about the journey, not the destination, and Witt takes you on an amazing ride.
One of the highlights of this novel was seeing Josh’s patience with Michael. There’s still physical attraction between them, even more than a decade after they were last a couple, so Michael accepts Josh’s offer to help easily enough. But Michael’s mind isn’t as quick to accept Josh as his body is, and Josh is one hundred percent focused on Michael’s health through every step of the healing.
“Part of me wants to take you to bed right now because I know that for me, you’re the safest man on the planet. If I can’t handle sex with you, then I might as well stay celibate.”
My heart speeds up. “And the other part?”
He swallows hard, and he’s staring at the floor again. “That part is scared to death of breaking that illusion.” (Kindle Loc. 364)
And that’s what the sex is at first. It’s healing in a way that Michael’s therapy can no longer manage. I’m sure a therapist reading this would be throwing up red flags, but I adore hurt/comfort stories and have no problem suspending belief a bit… especially when the relationship is so intimate and gorgeous! Josh helps Michael relearn touch and pleasure and the sensation of being loved. And when Josh starts to suffer after learning more details about Michael’s previous relationship, it’s Ian who helps him to heal.
Ian is a true hero in this novel. He’s not unselfish; he loves Josh, and has no intention of selflessly giving his husband up. But he also knows that Michael will never heal if Josh doesn’t help. I did struggle a bit with the ease in which Ian accepted his role in helping Michael, though; it seemed a bit forced, taking their friendship and some mild physical attraction and turning it sexual.
And as Michael does begin to heal, the sex shifts from healing to smoldering! Like I said before, the plot here is totally predictable… so yes, eventually the relationship moves into a threesome! But the characters mesh together so well, and the two relationships (Josh and Ian, and Josh and Michael) are able to shift to become Josh and Ian and Michael. There are still tensions and fear, and a healthy dose of confused emotions, but also trust and love and a hell of a lot of sexual attraction!
Definitely a really enjoyable read. I do wish the plot was a bit less obvious, but the relationship and characters (and Witt’s incredible talent at writing smokin’ hot sex scenes!) more than made up for it.
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