Kiss Me Again by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book
Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.
Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.
Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.
But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance.
Once again, Garrett Leigh has brought on the angst, feels, and some very bogged down British men. As usual, I ate it up.
Ludo and Aidan meet in the hospital after Aidan is wheeled in from an accident. Ludo’s a frequent flyer in the hospital due to his mental illness diagnoses and sometimes his mind gets the best of him. Ludo’s a loner that works from home. His only interactions are with his community nurse and psychiatrist. He’s anxious and experiences manic and depression states throughout. Ludo’s anxiety and sometimes forgetfulness causes more problems when he forgets to take a dose of medication and then spirals from there. One thing is for sure though, Ludo is enamored with Aidan as soon as he’s brought in the room, unconscious and all. Really enamored.
Aidan’s also a loner like Ludo but is a major grump too. He hides behind his fortress walls that I’m sure are littered with “beware of dog” type signs. He’s in obvious pain during the hospital (after falling from a tree) stay but after a bit, he craves Ludo’s presence until one day Ludo just isn’t there. After leaving hospital. Aidan can’t stop thinking of Ludo, his comforting presence and calming touches. He begins to wonder if he imagined the man until they happen to bump into each other.
Ludo and Aidan start very slow and build a foundation of friendship and an eventual relationship that works for them. They don’t sugar coat issues, there’s not a magic bipolar eraser, and they aren’t trying to fix and/or change the other person. They are supportive, understanding, loyal, patient, and loving. Aidan and Ludo build intimacy without a lot of sexual interactions. There are lots of feels without lots of feels. The lack of sex definitely works with this story and is tastefully done. Both men learn how to lean on one another as they get their sweet HEA.
After finishing, I couldn’t help feeling like I wanted more of them together. Not in the oh my gosh, I could read their story for the rest of my life and hope the author writes an entire series about them way. It was more that I felt like their story finally came together and they were just getting started when the book ended. *sad face*
There’s a character that is mentioned a few times in this story that was a MC in SKINS. I haven’t read that series but had no problem reading this as a stand alone.
Kiss Me Again is a heavy read that gives some insight into the daily struggles of mental illness. I’m not a psychologist/psychiatrist so I am unable to speak on the technical aspects of mental illness and whether this portrayal is how each diagnosis could present itself. But I’m also not a stranger to anxiety and bipolar disorder with very close family members experiencing it. My biggest takeaway is that I appreciate there wasn’t a cure-all and that even on the best days, when there are smiles and laughter, they’re still a struggle too. Recommended.
Warning: Triggers for mental illness and the very real struggles that go along with it. Self harm is also mentioned, hallucinations, anxiety, etc…
Copy provided for honest review.