Review: Can't Live Without You by Andrew Grey

Justin Hawthorne worked hard to realize his silver-screen dreams, making his way from small-town Pennsylvania to Hollywood and success. But it hasn’t come without sacrifice. When Justin’s father kicked him out for being gay, George Miller’s family offered to take him in, but circumstances prevented it. Now Justin is back in town and has come face to face with George, the man he left without so much as a good-bye… and the man he’s never stopped loving.

Justin’s disappearance hit George hard, but he’s made a life for himself as a home nurse and finds fulfillment in helping others. When he sees Justin again, George realizes the hole in his heart never mended, and he isn’t the only one in need of healing. Justin needs time out of the public eye to find himself again, and George and his mother cannot turn him away. As they stay together in George’s home, old feelings are rekindled. Is a second chance possible when everything George cares about is in Pennsylvania and Justin must return to his career in California? First they’ll have to deal with the reason for Justin’s abrupt departure all those years ago.

This story was a heart-string puller. Childhood friends to lovers is a fave of mine. When the lovers part is interrupted, I am owned! For those who don’t know me (most of you HA!) I have the type of interrupted lovelife with someone who will always own my heart. So you can see how this would be a thing for me. It’s a match made in heaven and makes my heart squishy and soft.

Justin is damaged. By his father, who kicked him out when he revealed his sexuality, and by his mother who allowed it to happen. He only had George left. There is also another element of damage that sits underneath the surface, that he won’t let out and without a word to George, Justin left town and never looked back. George could only look on as Justin’s silverscreen life played out in Hollywood, thousands of miles away from Pennsylvania. Until Justin returns to wrap up his father’s affairs and comes face to face with what he lost, and never let go of.

This relationship was frustrating to read about, but it was set out in a way that the reader understands why this is not going the way it should. The chemistry between Justin and George is hot, and they both shine a lot more in each other’s presence than alone. So why the heck can’t they get it together and figure something out? That is the burning question throughout the entire book, and something that weighed heavily in the storyline, along with the circumstances of what it would cost to change their path.

I liked them both. Even when Justin is in full Hollywood tantrum mode, he is adorable. His best friend/personal assistant is also tagging along, and seems to be plotting behind both George’s and Justin’s back. Although not obvious at first, the thread is there if you pay close attention. Ethan is an equally solid character, and I liked that their relationship was clear from the beginning. If not to George, it was very clear to the reader. I appreciated that extra touch.

The plot was smooth, and the writing flowed well. The language used was easy to read, and didn’t have a heavy or flowery prose. I like my contemporary romance to be contemporary in language, so this made it a smooth read for me.

The author did well in drawing me into the characters and enjoying their presence. There wasn’t heavy drama, or unnecessary angst. The age of these men made it more than important for there to be as little angst as possible. They are both grown, have moved into their respective lives, and made something of themselves in spite of their heartbreaking start to adulthood.

A fairly straight forward romance, with a rags to riches feel and the potential for reunited love. These two men made me want for them, and satisfied my baser need for the complex to be unravelled to reveal the romantic notion of love conquers all.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion

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