Left Behind by Vi Keeland and Dylan Scott
Author collaborations can go one of two ways, and in this case I am pleased to say that Left Behind is a triumph!
The story encompasses the full spectrum of human emotions showing what life is like when you are touched by not only unfathomable tragedy but also the sheer elation that can be found in the arms of someone who fills your heart with not only love but hope.
The story flits between Nikki and Zack and we get their separate stories before we eventually get to read about them together.
We find Nikki having just buried her mother, fresh in the realisation that she is finally alone in the world with no one but her best friend Ash.
Being that she is not yet 18 years old, it looks inevitable that Child Services will step in and find her a foster home, but fate deals her a new hand when she unexpectedly discovers that she not only has an Aunt she never knew about but that she has a sister – a twin no less.
Well, let the hunt begin, because this young lady has a game plan now and nothing will deter her. A move to California to live with her Aunt is just the beginning of the changes that she can see in her future.
Zack has been through the mill, losing the girl that he had loved from the age of nine, he has been struggling to deal with not only the guilt that she has gone but the fact that he needs to get back into the land of the living and face not only his family but both his and Emily’s friends.
Running was always his thing, his way to zone out and be alone with his thoughts but when after 6 months he happens to see a face he recognises from the track he is stunned by how much that one person makes him truly begin to feel again.
They strike up a friendship and Zack gets the feeling that this girl understands his pain, the grief he feels and the true loneliness of his situation brings. The empathy between the two of them is beautifully written and while it is obvious as to the direction the plot is taking, the route that it follows means that we are graced with a wealth of emotion and a story that imbibes us all to show compassion.
Zack finds letting go of Emily beyond painful but Nikki brings out feelings that he never thought he would ever experience again, and that frightens him.
The relationship that develops between them between them is sweet, the little notes that he leaves for her or gives to her to say the things that are just too hard to verbalise is so touching, it brings a tears to my eye just remembering them. Zack was a fabulous character one that it is impossible not to fall in love with.
The truth about Nikki and her sister, aunt and mother is a long time coming to fruition but when it is I have to say it was as expected, I wasn’t sure where the angst was coming in this book because there had to be some but the trauma of the details that she discovered and the manner in which they were broken to her was beyond cruel and with the miscommunication and maliciousness that the information was delivered, it put Zack directly in her line of fire, but with nothing to stay for ,Nikki did what she had to do and she ran.
For Zack, letting her go was never an option but giving her time and space was, little did he know that she needed neither, she needed him but when he got his butt in gear ( with a little nudge from Ash) and headed off to get her..
Finally they resolve their situation and decide to return to California together but not before taking the one step that they know will be the one to bind then together – forever.
This is the story of fate and how life takes mysterious twists and turns but that in many cases it is juts nature pointing us in the right direction.
A story that gives credence to the fact that sometimes love is enough.