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Publisher's Summary

Tragedy brought us together, but something stronger made me want to stay.

Julian was the boy next door. My brother's best friend, he fit with my family in ways I never could. While he and Rhett went on to play house, I left the only life I knew, desperate for a fresh start. Until everything changed.

Heartache came along, and the aftermath of my brother's death was here to stay. I was now face to face with Julian more than I ever wanted to be.

Being around him brought up all my insecurities, forced me to deal with hard truths, and conjured up feelings I had no business entertaining. He wasn't the man I thought I knew. He was complex and layered, and inherently beautiful in all the ways I'd never noticed. Not on another person. Not on another man. Not until him.

Contains mature themes.

©2020 Marley Valentine (P)2020 Tantor

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What listeners say about Without You

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Overwrought

I actually pre-ordered this title; I'll buy any m/m romance novel narrated by Teddy Hamilton, even though they're few and far between. And let me get it out of the way immediately: both Teddy Hamilton and Tim Paige were flawless. However, the novel itself, for me at least, left a lot to be desired. I had three main issues, one minor and two major.

The minor issue is that the book is written entirely in present tense. This may not bug some people, but it's a huge pet peeve of mine. Luckily, with a good narrator, I can get over it pretty easily, and as I previously mentioned, both narrators were superb here.

I think the most glaring issue for me is that the characters simply do not speak to each other or behave like actual men would. I'm not limiting this to Deacon and Julian, the two protagonists, either; Deacon's straight, mechanic friend talks like a woman in her forties giving her friends advice. And the dramatics! Both Deacon and Julian are inclined to get super melodramatic about the least little thing. There's a scene relatively early on where Deacon fights with his sister in a restaurant, and I had to rewind the book three or four times because for the life of me I couldn't understand what set off the fight. They were having a normal conversation and suddenly Deacon was in a rage for no apparent reason. This happens A TON throughout the novel. There's a lot of overwrought "I'm attracted to you, but I shouldn't be, but I am, but I can't be!" dialogue for a long time before the characters get together and then they talk to each other like... well, like romance novel heroines, to be honest.

The other issue that I have, and it's a hazard of the m/m genre, is the "gay for you" category the book is classified under. Now, GFY can work, if it's done well, and it can also crash and burn. This wasn't done well. For one thing, you shouldn't make the straight guy actually, literally "straight except for you." This is not how male sexuality works, as any gay man will tell you (or any straight one, for that matter). It's perfectly possible (though admittedly far-fetched) for someone who grew up in particular circumstances to repress their own sexuality, but Deacon is very clear here that he's attracted to women in general and also Julian for some reason. To be honest I find it borderline offensive, it's such an overused, unrealistic romance novel trope.

The book did have its good points. I liked Deacon's family dynamic. I liked the depiction of grief over the loss of Rhett. And I've already mentioned it twice, but I can't stress enough how fantastic these two narrators are. Glancing at the Amazon reviews, I notice that most people really loved the book, so chances are it just rubbed me the wrong way and you'll love it. But I can't personally recommend it, sorry.

39 people found this helpful

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✫✫ 5 Stars ✫✫

All I needed to see was the cover and the narrators and I knew I need this audiobook. What a great surprise that not only is the cover so hot and the narrators amazing, the story is also perfect. I enjoyed this book so much that I can't wait to listen again. Deacon & Julian were so right for each other and I loved the way their relationship started and grew. I was a little nervous in the beginning because I am not a big fan of the "GFY" trope but this was nothing like what I am used to when it comes to a straight & gay man relationship. I expect the straight man to fight his feelings and the gay man to try to turn the straight man gay and that is absolutely not anything like this book at all. Even though I can count on one hand the sex scenes in this book, it was super hot with all the chemistry and longing between them. The story line was heart breaking but it was handled so well in my opinion. This is the first I've heard of this Author but I will be looking for more for sure.

The narration was PERFECT!!!! Teddy was amazing as always but add Tim Paige and together they knocked this book out of the park!! They truly have the right voices to work together, there was no jarring change between chapters, they flowed so well you didn't even notice. I HOPE to see more of these two together!!!

23 people found this helpful

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Oh the narration...

The story is absolutely beautiful, and the narration... What a dream team. I’d listen to Teddy and Tim all day, every day and be in heaven lol. Have a box of tissues handy.

11 people found this helpful

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Fabulous story and fabulous narration!

I LOVED Deacon and Julian's story! It was the perfect flow from grieving into grasping (to each other, to life, to just keep breathing,) into holding on, into holding tighter, into falling in love, into loving deeply, into loving beyond your past, into loving for your a lifetime.

Teddy Hamilton and Tim Paige do a wonderful job of bringing this story to life! Well worth the credit!

9 people found this helpful

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Without You - These Narrators!

This is a beautiful love story, it is a story of two people who are broken and don't know if they can love.

Julian is grieving the loss of his boyfriend., Rhett was much more than just his boyfriend though. After years in the foster care system, Rhett was always Julian's family. Illness took him away too soon. Now Julian is lost and doesn't know how to live.

Deacon is grieving his brother's death. He's always felt like the outcast with his family and has issues with Julian, as Julian has always been more favored in his own family.

Through their shared experience, they grow closer, and learn to love. But the guilt, the family, oh and Deacon's not gay, all seem like hurdles for them to conquer. There are a lot of feelings in this story. There's something in there for everyone to identify with.

There's also a hotness level and Teddy Hamilton and Tim Paige can bring to this kind of story. You will not be disappointed by the narration at all.

7 people found this helpful

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Perfect

This is my favorite book ever and I just feel so lucky to have it as an audio book now. It turned out perfectly and the narrators did such a fantastic job. I loved it so much.

6 people found this helpful

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Without You

Epic love story!! I highly recommend this book and Teddy and Tim reading together gives it all the feels <3

6 people found this helpful

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Bittersweet

•Good Narration
•Good story
•Hits close to home with losing a loved one 😞

5 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

This is a beautifully written love story. The author allows us to feel what each of the main characters feel without being overworked or sappy. I highly recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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Just.... Wow.... I'm Emotionally Exhausted!!!

First, I must admit the hot as sin book cover caught my attention. Second, I read who the amazing dual narrators were. Third, I read the synopsis. Fourth, I purchased the audiobook lightening fast. I've never heard or read anything by this author before, but I'm so impressed with her ability to constantly swing my emotions all over the place throughout the book. Even with the HEA, she left me feeling raw and rung out at the end. I need a breather to recover, but I'll definitely be listening to this audiobook again in a few months. I hope to see more audiobooks of this quality from this author in the future. Narrator perfection.... I highly recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Muzla82
  • 10-25-20

Not your typical love story. Full of depth and desire. Amazing book!

Really really great book. I didn’t want it to finish. Such great characters.
Well handled story and you really feel for both main characters.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Vanessa Leighton
  • 08-07-20

Wow

Ok I loved the book, when I heard it was going to be released in audio I was nervous, would it be as good will it loose something in audio. I’m happy to announce it just got better.

It’s still capable of taking you to the extremes of happiness and sadness and wanting more. This is a beautifully written book about love after loss.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Pat Johnson
  • 10-08-20

Such a beautiful audiobook .

I have no words I am breathless- I have love this all the way through - such an important audiobook reaching out to listeners and grabbing hearts .
The last few minutes I have to stop still and not miss one word spoken and dry my eyes!
Absolutely wonderful words by Marley Valentine with perfect narration by Teddy Hamilton and Tim Paige.

2 people found this helpful

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  • sybil_ann79
  • 09-16-20

Marley dues it again! Heart felt, beautiful and oh so sexy!

My heart wasn’t ready but I sure needed this.

Okay, so I’ve put off this book for way to long and as much as I knew I would head over heels fall in love with Julian and Deacon I just wasn’t prepared for heart shattering and one of the most beautifully written love stories I’ve read. It’s not an understatement to say- Marley Valentine writes MM Romance that will make you FEEL ALL THE THINGS!!

Emotions ran high at the start and it was a gut punch straight off the bat. In life sometimes we find love- honest forever love- when we least expect it; when we’ve lost something or someone that we built our lives around.

Gahhh, my heart is bursting and I want to cry, the sad tears, the mad kind of tears, angry frustrated tears, but mostly happy tears... this book was everything and more than I could ever hope it would be. It should’ve screamed all kinds of wrong (dead) brothers boyfriend but these two couldn’t have been more right together. The healing journey they shared and the way they nurtured and supported each other’s growth was is beautiful beyond words.

I’m truly mind blown by the how Marley’s words play out with so much clarity, but what’s more is the raw emotions she elicits, the undeniable connection to each character and the tangible magnetic pull that tethered me as I hung to her every word.

And oh the hotness!!! The chemistry went from a sizzle to explosive!! So so freaking hawtttt!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Marley Valentine did it again with this heart felt, emotional and beautifully written story that is guaranteed to hit you in ALL THE FEELS!!

Both male narrators were perfect for this book, their delivery really brought the emotions to life.

✨5/5 YOU’RE MY ALWAYS STARS ✨

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • nikki
  • 08-14-20

ok story, great narration

hot, sweet, and a little sad. could have done without the endless family drama though because mama was annoying.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Morgan Windle (Morgan & Many Books)
  • 11-03-21

Totally perfect

Great narration, wonderful love story, and beautiful writing. What more could you ask for, right?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C.C.F
  • 10-14-21

Wow

Absolutely loved this book. It was everything! The story had me hooked and I felt all kinds of emotions. I laughed so hard, cried even harder and squealed with excitement for majority of it. And the spice is the cherry on the cake.
100% recommend

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-14-21

A well of emotions

The gut wrenching rollercoaster of emotions in this book left me speechless.Beautifully written and narrated.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-27-21

Beautiful love story was always tinged with grief

The story telling was amazing and the characters were beautifully made. I was so glad they found love. Unfortunately there was always a core of sadness / bittersweet undercurrent to the story, as either man always had a hand hold on their past. Still well worth the read.

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  • Mr Dal M
  • 08-13-21

Loved it

Enjoyed this book a lot. I personally ended up falling in love with Deacon, I wonder if guys like him exist.... that would be the only negative - its setting my standards higher in who I will fall in love with! If he ain't like Deacon - thankyou next! But the story line, the emotions the characters feel and I felt, made this book all the more enjoyable. Definitely would recommend listening to this audio book, the narrators/readers did a great job. 5 stars from me! Happy listener!

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Profile Image for Vanessa Leighton
  • Vanessa Leighton
  • 08-07-20

Wow

Ok I loved the book, when I heard it was going to be released in audio I was nervous, would it be as good will it loose something in audio. I’m happy to announce it just got better.

It’s still capable of taking you to the extremes of happiness and sadness and wanting more. This is a beautifully written book about love after loss.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-13-21

beautiful slow-burn

beautiful characters. beautiful story. i loved that the difficult bits weren't glossed over. I really loved the slow-burn. but the icing on the cake was that there wasn't a magic fix at the end for a certain relationship just because it would be nice to have it end happy (I'm trying not to include spoilers). sometimes things can't be forgiven.

My only complaint is that a certain box was never opened. I understood why the author chose to do it that way, but I personally disagreed with that choice very strongly. I think opening it at the very end would've been a far better ending. like what was done in the final chapter but with the box too. I'm still kinda upset about that. but I still understand.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wooples
  • 03-27-21

Such a shame!

I’d heard such amazing reviews about this story but Tim Paige’s narrative was clinical and forced, totally ruining it for me in audible, and though I’m not a huge fan of Teddy Hamilton even his good performance here couldn’t save it for me. Iggy Toma would have been a better choice for Julian.
Will finish it in ebook as I know this author’s credentials and won’t let it spoil the story for me. Disappointing.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-09-20

a stunningly beautiful read

Julien and Deakin, a heartbreaking journey to love from loss, guilt, anger, angst, but so beautifully written and narrated I couldn't stop listening. please do yourself and your heart a favour and take the journey that is this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pat Johnson
  • 10-08-20

Absolutely wonderful .

This was and is a heartwarming audiobook ...
I cried and I laughed and took this audiobook into my heart .
A perfect story line which felt so very true .
Wonderful words by Marley Valentine added with perfect narration by Teddy Hamilton and Tim Paige..
The last minutes I had to stop and listen to every word spoken , then I swooned with love.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-07-20

Well done!

Book was so good that I had to pace myself and not finish it in a day or two.

Well written, good story, excellent character development.

Please don’t do a sequel, but please keep up the good work x

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  • Avid listener
  • 08-15-20

Whoa....

I have listened to so many stories in this genre. This was so good. the Author was honest and raw with her Characters. I LOVE them. I wanted everything good for them all. They made me cry...so many times. And they made me take a breathe, more than once. such a great story. Gorgeous characters. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
The Narrators breathed life into these characters. The female and male voices where so good. I knew exactly which character i was ;listening to at all times. Love and recommend. Maybe not at work though...