What You Can’t Live Without by Eden Winters

Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: Short Story / 8000 words
Rating: 3 out of 5

A guest review by Kassa


A flashy car, a trendy apartment, membership at a swanky country club — Dr. Mitchell Rollins has it all, except someone to share it with. Dr. Arnulfo Oliva doesn’t share his materialistic views and has no use for expensive toys. Turning away from all the U.S. has to offer, Nulfo returns to El Salvador, where he feels truly needed.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocks El Salvador and both men. Desperate to find his former lover, Mitch joins a mercy mission to the devastated country, coming face to face with the man who left him behind. Can two men from different worlds find common ground after the crisis?

This is a Torquere Press Charity Short. All proceeds benefit Doctors Without Borders.


As you no doubt know the Healing Hearts collection is Torquere Press’s charity sip grouping. You can buy the entire set or buy your favorite authors but part of the profits goes to Doctors Without Borders. Thus doctors and medical professions feature in most of the stories. Eden Winters’ offering is a more literal take on charity and features volunteer doctors in El Salvador after a natural disaster.

There’s a twist to the story to the straight forward tale and a moral lesson on materialism. Mitch had a wealthy, privileged childhood and grew into a wealthy, privileged doctor. He likes expensive cars, pristine glass condos, flashy clothes, and material things. He’s frustrated that his boyfriend and fellow doctor Nulfo won’t fall into line as a pretty but loved acquisition. Instead Nulfo insists on going back to his home country where he’s needed.

The story is sweet and mostly consists of Mitch learning that money can’t buy happiness and he’s a better person when he lets this go. It’s a good lesson but somewhat obvious and extreme. Part of this no doubt is due to the limited space afforded. The set up of Mitch’s materialism, his hopes and dreams for a breezy, wealthy, cultured lifestyle is then thrown when Nulfo leaves him. Mitch comes to his senses and turns completely around. I mean he goes from an expensive sports car to a minivan at the end – so the change is extreme and not really that believable.

Although the final change is rather too far opposite what Mitch started as, the writing is good in showing the impetus for change. Going to El Salvador after a massive natural disaster forces Mitch to re-evaluate and also gives a good backdrop to show what is really important in life. I could see how Mitch understood in that moment that he had to change and his ideals were empty. I’m not sure I believe he changed –so- completely so easily but it’s nice and romantic.

Overall this is a sweet story that fits the theme and tone of the collection well. It gives some interesting texture to a unique character in Nulfo (who should have been the star) but also ends up giving Mitch more depth and meaning than he started with. This is a good example of the author if you haven’t read anything of hers yet and fans will likely enjoy the familiar prose.

5 years 5 months ago
Thanks, ya’ll. I’m really glad I got to take part in such a worthy endeavor as raising money for Doctors Without Borders (while writing hot m/m lovin, no less!) Kassa, would it have helped if I made it a Lexus minivan? *ducks thrown objects* Val, I do hope you enjoy it. El Salvador is such a beautiful country, and I tried to share that in this story. Writing it awakened old memories and I’m now determined to learn how to make cheese pupusas. I haven’t had them in years, and they are very good. And yes, I’ve eaten beans and… Read more »
5 years 5 months ago

Nice review, Kassa. I’m looking forward to reading this one. :)

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