Marc reviews ‘Equals’ (Equals 1) by Brigham Vaughn (released on July 10th by Brigham Vaughn, 138 pgs).
Finale of Brigham Vaughn’s ‘Equals’ Blogtour with an EXCLUSIVE AUDIO EXCERPT, read by the author 😉
A review copy of ‘Equals’ was provided to RGR without charge in exchange for an honest review
Too busy to date while he worked to put himself through school, Russell Bishop’s dedication finally pays off; he has a great job with Vantage Marketing. Stephen Parker, CFO of the marketing firm, has resigned himself to a life without a partner. For six months, they wanted each other but it isn’t until Russ slips on spilled coffee, and Stephen rushes to his rescue that they discover their attraction is mutual. However, the twenty year age gap between them proves difficult when they begin dating. Fiercely independent, Russ isn’t sure he’s ready for long-term commitment. Scarred from a previous relationship, Stephen is afraid history is repeating itself. Is there any way for them to meet in the middle and become equals?
In June, I was talking to my parents about my writing. Although slightly perplexed by my choice to write m/m romance, they’re incredibly supportive of it. They often ask how my writing is going and what my latest project is. When I told my dad I was writing a novella and planning its release, he asked if I ever thought about recording me reading my work.
I have a decent amount of experience at it; I often read aloud to my husband. I also did theater for years so performing in and of itself isn’t what makes me uncomfortable. I’ve just always hated the sound of my voice.
I laughed and told my dad, “No way, I hate hearing my speaking voice in recordings.” My parents and husband assured me everyone does.
Just a few days later when I was talking to Marc about the blog tour for “Equals”, he suggested I do an audio recording. I laughed hysterically and said, “I guess I’ll think about it.” He (gently) twisted my arm and I decided to go for it.
I’m still not terribly fond of the way I sound, but I hope you’ll enjoy the excerpt. It was fun trying something new.
This is the first part of Chapter 2 of the story. (Excerpt Introduction by Brigham Vaughn)
Cover: I really love the cover. In a way, it highlights the initial inequality between the two main protagonists. At the top we see Stephen, all powerful in his expensive suit and with his posture and that power looks attractive and seductive. The Skyscrapers in the background underline this effect. He is the one at the top of the cover, strong and mighty. Russ is at the bottom and in shadows. He is the one with the most doubts, the one who is not only more fragile, because of his injury but obessed with their outwards appearance of inequality. I think this cover by the author herself, does a beautiful job at getting to the core of the story.
Title: Equals. The equality or perceived equality between the two maincharacters is at the heart of the book and thus I think it is a very fitting title. Though I could life without the tag line on the cover …
Story: When I read Brigham Vaughn’s ‘The French Toast Emergencies’, one of the characters was older than he was portayed on the pages of the short story in my mind. I couldn’t help but imagine him not as a young man trying to discover himself, but as a mature and experienced man in his prime. When I said so in my review, the author told me that she was working on a May/ December story and I was excited that I would get to read it when it was finished. I don’t lust after older guys, actually aage doesn’t play much of a role to me, though I rather look at guys my own age as potential mates, but the guy I fell in love with and have been with for more than 3 years is 9.5 years older than me. I find the dynamic between someone who is already well settled into his life, without need for games and a much younger guy who still needs to find and accept his place quite fascinating!
Brigham Vaughn is very good at creating moments outside the normal rhytmus of life, where characters are in a kind of bubble that allows their relationship to progress faster than normal. Whether a snowstorm, campingtrip or in this case an injury that thrusts the two characters together, it is fascinating to see the characters interact in the safety of this alternate reality away from their everyday life. In this case, I thought it was an added bonus that the injury made sex be off-the-table and the guys got to know each other intimately in their little bubble, before sex could muddy the waters. There is a lot os sexual tension and sizzling chemistry and even as readers will wish for that ankle injury to finally heal up to get to the hot stuff, the delayed gratification is well worth it.
Stephen and Russ fit well together, in a very real way that any disney princess with her cardboard prince can only dream about. They are characters that are easy to relate to and I loved the honesty between them and the way they both tried to balance their lives, trying to become ‘equals’. Of course they are human, they make mistakes, keep back things that need to be talked about, overreact, let their pride get the best of them, … but it doesn’t feel forced just to create tension between them. There are reasons why they act the way they do and not just one, but the author allows for many reasons that could add to the reactions of real, complex characters and I had a much easier time understanding the actions.
There is some nice angst set against sweet and sexy moments. The real moments like using a condom after both say they are negative or showering before sex actually made the story feel more authentic, instead of taking away from the sexyness. Sure, it’s a fantasy, but I like my fantasies to feel real; that way they can touch me even more on an emotional level, without loosing any of their physical effect.
While the story ends at a very nice place in the relationship, an equilibrium point, I am very glad that the author is planing two sequels to the story. I think we need more real guys, struggling with real issues in a believable way.
You won’t regret reading this story! Strongly recommended ❤
Brigham Vaughn has always been a voracious reader with her own stories to tell. After many years of abandoned plots, something finally clicked. Now she’s eating, sleeping, and breathing writing and is excited to have finally figured out what she wants to be when she grows up. In the little time that isn’t spent writing or reading, she loves cooking, yoga, photography, and remodeling her ninety-year-old home. Brigham lives in Michigan with her four cats and an amazing husband who has always been her biggest champion.
1 commenter at each stop will win their choice of backlist title from Brigham Vaughn.
In addition one commenter in all of the tour will win a $10 Giftcard from Amazon.
Both giveaway end 30 July 2014 @ 11:59pm.
Winners will be drawn by random drawing among all entrants on 31 July.
Must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited. Etc.
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