Title: In Another Life by Cardeno C.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, M/M
Length: 84 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author
At age 18, Shiloh Raben is tired. He no longer has the energy to deal with mean classmates, inner doubt, and fear of familial rejection, so he takes a razor to his wrist. When he wakes up in the hospital, Shiloh meets Travis Kahn, the EMT who saved him and didn’t leave his side.
Travis is handsome, smart, and funny—the type of guy Shiloh would never be brave enough to approach. But his near-death experience has an unusual side effect: the life that flashed before his eyes wasn’t the one he had already lived, but rather the one he could live. With visions of a future by Travis’s side, will Shiloh find the strength to confront his fears and build a life worth fighting for?
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.
From the incredible prologue to the very last page, I was completely and totally captivated by In Another Life. Great characterization and stellar writing are hallmarks of a Cardeno C. story, but it is the very unique concept that makes this novella such an amazing experience.
In Another Life opens with 18 year old Shiloh Raben’s suicide attempt and quickly flashes forward to the life he might have had. In this life, Shiloh meets Travis Kahn and they quickly fall in love and just as they are beginning their happily ever after, an unexpected event threatens their happiness. Then the story goes back in time to the aftermath of Shiloh’s suicide attempt where he “re-meets” Travis in the present and their romance begins again.
Shiloh and Travis are exceptionally well-developed characters and I absolutely adored both of them. In the future relationship, Shiloh is endearing, a bit shy and when he is nervous, he tends to run off at the mouth. Travis is charming, confident and since he has been waiting a long time for the right man, their romance goes from zero to sixty in no time flat. There is a bit of an insta-love quality to their relationship in both the present and future, but in both instances, their feelings for each other are believable.
Once the story returns to the present, Shiloh and Travis have an instant connection and their relationship develops quickly. Shiloh retains some of his memories of Travis, but they are a bit hazy with a dreamlike quality. Shiloh’s suicide attempt is not glossed over and the reactions of his parents and the treatment he receives are realistic.
In Another Life is a beautifully written novella that delivers a powerful message of hope and love. It is never gloomy or depressing and Cardeno C. deftly blends reality with a hint of fantasy and the resulting story is compelling, thought-provoking and heartwarming.