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.
Andrew Grey is one of the most prolific writers in the m/m romance genre, and you would think that after so many books, and how often a new one is published, his writing would be “same thing, different character names”. Yet, that has never happened with his books, and certainly did not happen with Can’t Live Without You.
This story is a second chance romance, which is not something I’ve seen much of in Andrew’s writing. These men were in love when they were teenagers, and through circumstances that teenagers sometimes are unable to deal with or fully comprehend, Justin left Pennsylvania and George to move to California. He meets a friend who helps him stabilize himself, and assists him as Justin becomes one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
His father is terminally ill, and George, as a home health nurse has been caring for him, as Justin returns to put the past to rest, despite his seething anger with his father. George and his mother take Justin into their home, and help him to deal with all the feelings that go along with not having closure with a dead family member.
What I enjoyed just as much as the second chance love that shone through for Justin and George, was the second chance that Justin took to relieve the anger and emotions that came from not being there when his own mother passed away, and having no more than two words from his father as he died. It wasn’t easy, it didn’t wrap up Justin’s feelings as he went through the funeral, or as he walked through his childhood home. He was angry, hurt and didn’t know what to do with all those feelings. Then on top of all that, he fell in love again with a man who lives across the country, when his own world is in Hollywood.
Of course, because it is an Andrew Grey book, it gets its HEA, and it wasn’t a simple ribbon wrapped box. These men still had to deal with heartache, and missing each other long distance. But finding the compromise that would allow them to love each other, their family, chosen and blood related took them time and a little intervention.
4.5 pieces of eye candy