Russ Bishop and Stephen Parker are in love. They’ve settled into their relationship and are both happy. But Russ wants more than what they have now, he wants forever.
To him that means marriage, but for Stephen that has never been an option. Marriage equality still isn’t recognized in Georgia so why want what he can’t have?
When Stephen’s ex re-appears, they’ll have to decide once and for all if they’re ready to commit to a lifetime together.
He reached out and squeezed his thigh. “Speaking of commitment, I know we’ve talked about this before, but I’d like to make an appointment with a lawyer to draw up all the power of attorney and living will paperwork soon. If something happened to you … Well, I don’t want to find myself in the position I was in with Jeremy. Alan is wonderful, so I know he wouldn’t keep me away, but we might as well have all of the legal protection in place.”
Russ nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. We should do that soon.”
They had essentially already made the commitment to each other, so why not formalize it? Even if Stephen lost every penny or became sick or injured, Russ wasn’t going anywhere, and he knew Stephen felt the same. There was no question in his mind that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Stephen. And after meeting his mom, he no longer had the smallest doubt that he was capable of serious commitment. He wasn’t her, and he never had been. He was in this relationship for the long haul with Stephen, and the law should recognize that.
It seemed so cold and soulless to go to a lawyer’s office to draw up paperwork though. It felt like too big a moment to treat that way. He knew some couples had parties after, to celebrate, but that didn’t seem right. No, what he wanted was to publicly declare his feelings for his partner and show the rest of the world how much Stephen mattered to him.
He didn’t want to sign a few sheets of paper and pretend as if it weren’t one of the biggest moments in his life. He wanted more than that. He wanted … Russ stilled as it hit him what he truly desired. He wanted marriage. He blinked, trying to absorb the enormity of that realization. For a guy who’d struggled with the idea of long-term commitment, he knew he had come a long way. Maybe it was time he showed Stephen how serious he was about their relationship. Hell, he wouldn’t be surprised if Stephen had wanted it for a while and had been hesitating because he was worried Russ wasn’t ready.
He glanced over at Stephen and pictured standing in front of an officiant, their friends, and family and telling all of them that he wanted to spend the rest of his life making Stephen happy. He could picture it so clearly, and it felt right.
Maybe Georgia was light-years behind other states when it came to marriage equality and all it would legally recognize was signatures on a power of attorney form. But there was no reason they couldn’t go out of state to get married. And someday, when Georgia finally recognized it, they’d be married there too.
Husband. Russ tested the word out in his head, and something about it felt so right. He felt a surge of giddy elation as he imagined sliding a ring onto Stephen’s finger as they promised to spend the rest of their lives together.
He was going to do this. He was going to ask Stephen to marry him.
So Brigham Vaughn is an auto buy for me. And this one was no different. When we were offered a chance to take place in this release blitz, I jumped at the chance. I had previously read Equals and when I found out Brigham was reworking the entire series to turn them into novels I was super happy.
Stephen and Russ are two of my favorite characters. I love an age gape book and these two fit the bill perfectly. I appreciate how Russ does not want to be a kept man but an equal to Stephen. And as much as I understand Russ’s need for it to be equal, I can also see Stephens want to protect, and sometimes spoil Russ. Getting to where they are in this book took a lot of communication and compromise. On both of their parts.
This book shows us how comfortable they are in their relationship. How it is deepening and becoming something neither of them expected. Russ didn’t think he could commit to someone so much older that him, unable to see his worth in the relationship as Stephen does. And Stephen doesn’t let himself believe that he is deserving of all the happiness straight people are handed on a silver platter.
It takes an unlikely person to finally get Stephen to see that, YES you do deserve to be happy and Russ is exactly the person that can give him that. There were times when I was thoroughly upset with Stephen and wanted to wrap Russ in a massive hug, but just like the first book “Off-Balance” these two men find a way to grab their HEA.
I highly recommend this series and I can’t wait to see where Brigham takes these two.