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.
Title: Can’t Live Without You
Author: Andrew Grey
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Sept 12 2016
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
One story type that I haven’t written much of until recently are those that feature a love lost and then found again. This is very much one of those stories. For a very long time I didn’t write stories like that and I really have no idea why. Maybe its because I was blessed with an amazing husband and we both recognized our feelings for one another and didn’t go through that kind of angst. But in the last year I have become more and more enamored of stories like that. I wish I could tell you why, but I can’t. I just know that they fascinate me at the moment. I especially love stories where the original relationship broke up because one of the characters thought it was best for the other. The unselfish act that ended up hurting them both.
Justin took a deep breath. “I had to get away and try for my dream. You know that.”
“So you would have left anyway, eventually?” George asked. “Regardless of what happened, you were going to leave me.” That hurt.
“I don’t know what I would have done if things had been different. But they weren’t. My home was ripped away, and I had a chance to try for a whole new life. The people who should have loved me most turned their backs, so why wouldn’t everyone else? I left, went out West, rolled the dice, and I came up a winner.”
“Did you really?” George asked, letting his gaze bore into Justin until he turned away.
Justin’s fork jangled when he set it on the plate. Their server had placed the check on the edge of the table, and Justin grabbed it and got up, going to the register.
“That isn’t necessary,” George said, but there was only Ethan to hear it.
“He’s going to need some time,” Ethan told him.
“I don’t understand.”
“I think you do. He’s rediscovering something he thought was lost to him, and from what I’ve heard, you’re part of that.” Ethan shifted to get comfortable on the lumpy seat.
“You really care for him?”
Ethan chuckled. “He’s the brother I wish I had. I’m not his lover, and I never will be, but we need each other. We’re a family of two that we made for ourselves.”
“Would you say that if he wasn’t a huge success?” George asked.
Ethan’s gaze grew cold as ice. “I was his friend when he had nothing after his father kicked him out and his confidence was shot to hell. So you don’t get to ask questions like that. Yes, he pays for things for me and I live in his house, but I also go where he goes and make sure he’s okay.” Ethan leaned over the table, the intensity in his expression not softening one iota. “Do you understand? If anyone wants to get to him, they have to go through me or over my dead body.”
“You’re serious,” George observed.
“He’s my family.” Ethan sat back in the booth. “Justin is strong—very strong—and smart, but he carries the scars of what happened. Don’t let the confident exterior fool you. I picked up the pieces of what happened here, and while he’s never said a word, I know there’s more to it than just his father.”
George swallowed hard. “Excuse me?”
Ethan nodded. “Something else happened after his dad kicked him out. He doesn’t talk about it, but something scared the crap out of him and gave his feet wings that sent him West.” He turned toward the register. “I’m only telling you this because I don’t know anyone in town, and I’m hoping for the sake of your old friendship that you’ll help him exorcise whatever demon has been hounding him.”
George tried to think of anything that had happened around the time that Justin left town. Justin came back to the table, and Ethan stood, staying next to him. George saw him looking around the restaurant, and then he leaned in, whispering something, and Justin walked to a table back by the window.
George got out of the booth and turned to watch as Justin knelt by a little boy in a wheelchair. “That’s Bobby Masten. He’s been in a chair all his life.”
George watched as Justin and Bobby laughed together, and when Bobby turned to him, Justin gave the slight boy a hug that earned a smile bright enough to light the entire room. Ethan hurried over and handed Justin a card before standing next to him once again.
“Are those pictures or something?”
“No, just blank cards. But this way he has something to sign that’s better than a napkin.”
George watched Justin with Bobby, unable to take his eyes off him. Others moved closer, but Justin kept his attention on Bobby, making him feel special. Then Justin stood, grinned, and headed grinned and headed right for the door. George and Ethan followed him out.
“Always know when to make an exit,” Justin explained with a grin. “The vultures were beginning to circle.”
“What does that mean?” George asked.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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