Title: What You Can’t Live Without
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Length: 63 Pages
At a Glance: Despite its shorter length, What You Can’t Live Without is a complete story that gave me all the feels. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Dr. Arnulfo Oliva is torn: he could stay in the United States, but he vowed to return to his home country and practice medicine in the remote villages that offer little to no healthcare. Mitch doesn’t need him, not really; he’s surrounded by wealth and possessions.
Rising star Dr. Mitchell Rollins enjoys his lavish lifestyle, and if Nulfo wants to turn his back on all they could have together, let him. Mitch doesn’t even miss him. Much. Or think of him—more than five times an hour.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocks El Salvador and both men. Mitch joins a mercy mission, determined to find his former lover, talk sense into the man, and bring him back to the US and safety. What he finds opens his eyes to all Nulfo tried to tell him.
Mitch must decide what he truly can’t live without.
Review: I have to say I am quite impressed with this lovely story. So often in shorter stories there is the element of insta, or, if the relationship is already established, I find I don’t feel I’m given enough to really see the two MCs as a couple. Neither was an issue here. Mitch and Arnulfo are lovers and have been together for quite a while when the story opens, but within a short number of pages, Ms. Winters created depth of emotion and history between the two.
The blurb pretty much covers the story, and there aren’t twists and turns. What you’ll get is a wonderful story of two men who have different priorities, and a journey for one to find what truly matters. Mitch likes pretty things, he likes to show off his wealth and status, everything revolves around how he is seen, and he sets his value on his personal possessions. Arnulfo is the complete opposite, which both drives Mitch nuts and also makes him so much more alluring to Mitch, because Nulfo could care less about pretty cars or designer fashion. It’s those differences that drive them apart, not because Nulfo doesn’t love Mitch but because he has a purpose for his people: he can help, he can provide, and he needs to be there. Mitch doesn’t understand, and lets Arnulfo walk out of his life and go home to his country.
One of my favorite things is character growth, to watch someone change and mature, to see that “aha” moment, and What You Can’t Live Without delivered it in spades. I loved reading as Mitch realized how miserable and empty he was without Arnulfo, and that no amount of possessions could fill that void. It was amazing to see Mitch’s eyes open to how things are for so many unfortunate people, and the struggles they face, to finally really understand Arnulfo and the decisions he made. It all hit me right in the feels.
Arnulfo may not take quite the journey Mitch does, but he still has his own lessons to learn and decisions to make. When he first leaves, his mind is set on one path, but Mitch’s change of heart and behavior give him the ability to see other options, a bigger picture and a way to possibly achieve his dreams to help his countrymen and woman while still having the man he loves at his side.
I just enjoyed this story to pieces. The characters both mature, they both learn to compromise, they find their purpose and how to achieve their HEA, and, ultimately, find out what truly matters.
You can buy What You Can’t Live Without here: