Title: Forget and Forgive
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: 1st April 2016
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
He's hot. He's dangerous. And he can't remember anything.
As the owner of Apple’n Pies, Joe Applin leads a quiet, uneventful life, content to spend his days serving customers who come from all over to eat his delicious homemade pies. Along with his motley crew—Bea, Elsie, and Donnie—Joe couldn’t be happier in his little kingdom of baked goods and java.
Experience has taught Joe that love is overrated—and at times dangerous. He has no intention of repeating past mistakes. But then he meets a mysterious, handsome man with amnesia, and Joe can’t deny something sweet is in the works. He isn’t one to take risks, not with his heart and certainly not with his life, but the more time he spends with the man he knows as Tom, the closer he is to losing both.
Who doesn’t love the man of mystery type? I know I certainly do, so that’s why I couldn’t resist picking up this book from Charlie Cochet.
Well, Joe gets this and whole lot more than he bargained for in the process after discovering a stranger in the garden at the back of his café. The problem? He’s been bonked on the head and has amnesia, the stranger that is. From the word go I felt at home at Joe’s New York Café, it was if I could smell all the pies and buns, the coffee being brewed, the cinnamon and feel the cosy atmosphere. Yes, I loved Joe’s modest little café. Nothing flash, up market or pretentious. Just down to earth, cosy, maybe a little tattered and worn around the edges but fill this with great characters who work for Joe like Bea the pensioner who has more energy and gumption than anyone I know who is so protective over Joe. Also Elsie and Donnie two adorable teenagers and you have a happy little world full of sweetness, love and warmth. Loved the whole backdrop where this story played out.
However, the merry little gang discover a stranger who has amnesia and Joe takes him in not knowing what else to do. From here on in it’s a guessing game all the way until the man of mystery is revealed. I loved this whole idea. Joe is so sweet and loving but also has trust issues due to what his ex did to him. I could so understand this, after having a shitty ex does leave it’s emotional scars and Joe has them in heaps. If anyone has ever come out of a bad relationship they’ll know exactly how this feels and will be able to relate to Joe and his hang-ups totally. Then if he didn’t need anymore to contend with he finds himself falling for a man, who he has called Tom, who has amnesia and can’t remember a thing!
Despite the fact we have no idea who or what Tom is, the one thing that we do know is he is sex on legs and if nothing else he knows his bread is buttered on the same side as Joe’s. I’m definitely no expert on amnesia, but even though Tom can’t remember a thing he still knows his sexuality and emotions are real. This was fascinating for me as well as for Joe. What the hell do you do when the person you’re falling for remembers nothing of his former life before the bump on the head? It has the potential of opening up a whole can of worms. Is he married with a family somewhere? Does he have a boyfriend or girlfriend waiting for him? Does he even live in your city or part of town? What happens when he does actually recover his memory? Have you started a relationship with someone that has no future when the memories come back? Have you been cheating on someone unintentionally? The only truth that is standing in the room is that these two are so attracted to each other the air is positively fizzing with sexual tension. Joe needs Bea to give him a kick in the right direction and after the defences come down and the dam breaks a sweet, loving relationship ensues. You could just feel how right Joe and Tom were for each other. The romance is as sweet as one of Joe’s cherry pies, a real treat for those that like soppy romances where you can feel the just love oozing and dripping from the page. It made me feel all warm and cosy reading about these two and their friends, just like Joe’s café. This is still balanced out with the mystery that is Tom which adds a little angst and suspense to stop things getting too sickly sweet.
However, Joe’s little world is about to be rocked big style. The unspoken elephant in the room is, who the f*** is Tom really? I loved how Charlie Cochet plotted this out. First there a few clues of what he may have done in the past due to his behaviour. Bea picks up on a couple of things first. They’re only ever so subtle, but there, and Bea being an excellent observer has her radar already making possible job choices. After Joe and Tom spend a fruitless evening Google searching missing persons or anything they could think to jog Tom’s memory only have the option now to wait until his memory comes back. This however gives the relationship time to develop. So we have a wonderfully sweet romance, combined with the the man of mystery, sex on legs, kind of guy – YUM! As far as I was concerned and possibly Joe too, Tom’s memory could remain lost forever and he could start with just making new ones with Joe!
But evil doings are afoot! First I was lulled into a beautiful, sweet and saccharine romance that gave me the warm cosies and then just when you’re getting comfortable - WHAM! HOLY CRAP! I was broadsided, knocked for six, battered about with an action packed finale that I never saw coming. And all that in the last 20% of the book. I mean it’s terrific writing where the reader feels safe, maybe with a little suspicion on Tom’s part, but you’re lulled into forgetting who he might be anyway. Then from centre left you’re thrown completely off the tracks with an action packed, hard hitting, movie style ending that I seriously didn’t see coming. I may have suspected something all the time but once everything is out in the light the impact is that much more. I loved how Charlie also adds a nice bit of fate and “meant to be” on top that gave the whole story a wonderfully rounded feeling to it.
This was my first book by Charlie Cochet I have to admit to my utter shame, but if this is what Charlie can produce in what is essentially a relatively quick read then I’m definitely going to have to start picking up more of her extensive works for sure.
ABOUT Charlie Cochet
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.