Book Title: Full Balance (The Peachtree Series, Book 3)
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press
Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope/s: May/December, age gap, hurt comfort, workplace romance, found family,
Themes: Marriage equality, family acceptance/homophobia, exploring light kink,
friends and chosen family, emotional baggage, established couple, adoption.
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 108 000 words
Love doesn’t always look like you expect.
Russ Bishop and Stephen Parker have settled into wedded bliss.
They’ve moved into a spacious new condo, found professional success, and their connection in the bedroom is as sizzling as ever.
Neither of them ever expected to become parents but when their volunteer work at the Open Doors Shelter makes them realize how many LGBTQ youth are in desperate need of a home, they begin to reconsider.
After a snarky teenager named Austin comes into their lives, their future together will never be the same.
Russ let out a contented sigh.
“I swear it just gets better with time,” Stephen said.
Russ kissed him. “Me too. I had no idea married sex would be so good. If I did, I might have been more eager to get married when I was younger.”
“This is going to change, won’t it?”
Stephen slipped an arm around his waist, pulling him even closer as he studied his face. Russ’s expression was soft but there was a little edge of worry in his gaze.
“It will,” Stephen said, knowing he was talking about how becoming parents would change their sex life. He ran his thumb across Russ’s cheek. “We’ll have additional responsibilities and stressors. Much less privacy. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’ll be tougher but that doesn’t mean we can’t find some benefits along the way.”
“Like what?” Russ gave him a curious, inquisitive look.
“Like … it may bring us even closer.” He took Russ’s hand and brought his palm to his lips. “It may deepen our relationship further.”
“I like that.” Russ pulled him closer.
“I think going into this with our eyes wide open is our best chance of success. We need our relationship to stay solid so we can give whoever we bring into our lives the best, most stable home we can. Which means working together to solve problems.”
“Agreed,” Russ said.
“No running away.”
Russ gave him a wry grin. “Got it.”
“Hey that’s not just a reminder for you,” Stephen said gently. “I’ve pushed you away at times too. And I think this will probably bring up a lot of baggage we both have about the ways we were raised.”
“True.” Russ’s expression turned serious.
“So we can’t let that overwhelm us. Or come between us.”
“Absolutely.” Russ hesitated. “Are you excited about this at all though?”
“About the idea of becoming parents? Yeah, I am,” Stephen said. “I remember how satisfying it was to see Evan grow into himself and he was an adult and only with us for a month and a half. The idea of being able to watch that growth over years in someone who needs it even more … well that’s a challenge I never expected to take on. But I am excited about it.”
“Me too.” Russ grinned. “I am really looking forward to calling my sister and telling her she’ll be Aunt Addie.”
Stephen chuckled. “I look forward to that as well. Jeremy is going to be shocked. That should be fun.”
“We have a lot to look forward to, don’t we?”
“We do.” Russ pulled him in for a kiss and Stephen went willingly. “Thank you for making this a very happy Valentine’s Day.”
“You know, if someone had asked me five years ago how I’d feel about making the person I’m married to a father, I would have kindly assured them they were very, very confused,” Stephen said drily.
Russ’s laugh was loud and genuine. “I would imagine.”
“And yet …” Stephen couldn’t quite finish the thought. His heart was too full.
Russ smiled as if he understood. So Stephen leaned in to kiss him again. They had the whole night ahead of them to celebrate this happiness. Why not take the time while they had it?
Their lives were about to change in a very big way.
I have been a big fan of this series when they had the old covers. But I have to say that I ADORE the new covers. They fit so much better with Stephen and Russ, and the journey they take.
Ok so I need to confess something. I am not a big fan of kids in the books I read. I have three kids of my own and I read as an escape from my reality and what is going on in the world around me. BUT, with that said I was not going to pass on this one. I have read the first two and when I found out book three would bring a kid to the mix, I was curious to see how this would work for the two very career driven men. Plus Stephen has always been very adamant that he did not see himself doing the “heteronormative” things like, get married and have kids. But man y’all, Stephen as a dad, well swoon.
I was concerned about what bringing a teen to their home would do to their relationship. While yes bringing Austin to the mix did change their relationship but not in the way I feared. It brought them closer, reminded them they have to communicate with each other and work through things together. I appreciated this very much, it wasn’t all them with a kid in the background, nor did the entire focus shift to just Austin. Brigham created the perfect balance. See what I did there? LOL
But Austin’s story, oh how my heart shattered for that boy, As a parent I just can’t imagine any of my kids having to deal with what Austin and his sister have. Big fat crocodile tears happened a few times while reading this book. I also enjoyed the appearances from Evan and Jeremy from her book ‘Trust the Connection’, which is part of the Peachtree world.
This book is NOT a standalone. They need to be read in order to get the full experience of the Peachtree Series. I promise you they are all amazing and you don’t want to miss out on these books. I highly recommend this book and series. It is one I know I will re-read many, many times.
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