Saturday, November 24, 2018

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Trust the Connection by Brigham Vaughn

After a lifetime of being told he’s worthless, Evan Harris is forced out of the closet and the only home he’s ever known. Jobless and homeless, he makes a desperate call to a couple he barely knows. They give him a place to stay at their place in Atlanta while he gets back on his feet. But he’s too shy to explore the big city and go after what he wants: a relationship.

Physically and emotionally scarred from a devastating car accident, Jeremy Lewis struggles to reconcile the brash, outgoing man he used to be with the social recluse he’s become. He’s resigned himself to being alone, but an encounter with an ex-boyfriend shakes up his dull existence and brings Evan into his life.

Loneliness draws Evan and Jeremy to each other, but a strong mutual attraction isn’t enough.  At thirty-six, Jeremy is convinced a relationship would be holding twenty-one-year-old Evan back.

Evan must be strong enough to fight for what he wants and Jeremy must let someone close enough to see his scars. Otherwise, they’ll miss out on the love of a lifetime.

Scars run deep but run loves even deeper.

Trust the Connection
When Brigham Vaughn asked me to post about the release of Trust the Connection I said "Of course but I wasn't sure if I'd have time to re-read Evan & Jeremy's journey with the holidays coming up" and she was fine with that.  Well then I finished what I was reading and decided I'd make the time because Evan and Jeremy were just so delicious the first time around how could I not revisit them?

There are a few minor editing alterations but the story itself is left virtually unchanged and just as good as I remembered.  There really is nothing new I can add to my reviews to the original duology other than if I am completely honest, I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around.  Do I still want to bang their heads together once in a while? Most definitely but without the drama it would be a very short story.  Watching the boys grow and realize that scars may run deep but they don't have to define you is definitely an emotional rollercoaster but it is a ride you don't want to miss.

Connection #1
Original Review October 2015:
I can't praise Connection enough.  When I first started, I didn't think that Evan and Jeremy were going to work their way into my heart as deeply as Russ and Stephen did from Miss Vaughn's Equals series, well was I wrong.  They may still be second to my favorite May/December boys but it is a very close second.  Do you need to read Equals before delving into Evan and Jeremy's journey? Probably not but I can't imagine not knowing Russ and Stephen's journey so I am going to recommend reading Equals first but that is my personal opinion.

As to the relationship between Evan and Jeremy, the author develops it beautifully.  We get both points of view and that really helps with their individual inner monologues. This story will really tug at your heart and I am looking forward to their continuing journey, I can tell it won't be easy but it will be heartwarming.  There is only a few authors on my "1-click without blurb reading" list and Brigham Vaughn is one of them.

Trust #2
Original Review February 2016:
I fell in love with Evan when Russ & Stephen met him in Partners and that love only deepened when he became one half of the feature couple of the author's spin-off duology Evan and Jeremy.  I will be honest and admit I had my doubts about Jeremy when he was introduced as Stephen's ex, generally exes cause strife wherever they go, but not this ex.  Jeremy really begins to heal in Trust but it doesn't come easy and Evan finds it harder to let go of Jeremy and move on when the man pushes him away.  I was a little on edge after reading the blurb but knew it was a story I had to read no matter how bumpy the road got and boy was there potholes all over their road.  Having grown up around disability and health issues I understood both Jeremy's fears and Evan's hopeful optimism, which only helped the boys when they began to burrow their way into my heart.  If you've been reading Miss Vaughn's Equals/Evan and Jeremy series then you can't miss this entry and if you haven't begun yet, well what are you waiting for?  I must say that I wouldn't mind seeing minor characters Tod and Chris get their own fairytale journey, *hint, hint*.



Jeremy threw up twice on the trip home: once while he was waiting for a cab, then again outside of his apartment. He wasn’t sure if it was from the pain in his thigh, the splitting headache, or the devastated look on Evan’s face. By the time his shaking hands fit his key in the lock, he was close to collapsing, and he popped a small handful of pills before he dropped onto the couch as carefully as he could, unable to make it to his bed. He lay there, head swimming, as the meds worked their way through his system. A blinding wave of pain and nausea washed over him, and he had time for one last bitter moment of regret before he passed out, the black unconsciousness a welcome relief.

He awoke late the following evening, head still pounding, his stomach empty, and puke on the floor beside the couch. He stared down at it, disgusted with himself. The pain and the pills had wiped out some of the memories of the night before, but not all of them. Not enough. He could still picture Evan’s heartbroken face, and for a moment, he regretted that he’d apparently woken up long enough to roll over and throw up. Maybe it would have been better if he’d choked on his own vomit and died. A disgusting end to a worthless life. Who knew how long it would have taken before someone came to check on him. He supposed someone from work would come by if he didn’t come in or answer calls after a few days though.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket and groaned when he realized he had missed work. Hadn’t called in either, which was a major mark against him that was going in his file. Goddamn it. Angry with himself, he sat up and grabbed the nearest thing that wasn’t his phone—an empty cup—and threw it against the wall. The shatter of glass against the wall was less satisfying than he’d hoped, and it only served to make the throbbing in his skull worse. He groaned and dropped his head into his hands.

His phone buzzed, reminding him the battery needed to be charged, and his heart clenched at the text and voicemail notifications. Some were from work, but most were from Evan. To his surprise, none of them were Evan apologizing or begging him for another chance, just Evan trying to make sure he was okay with an ever-increasing amount of desperation.

Please let me know you made it home okay.

Jeremy, I’m worried; did you make it home?

I’m not asking to be friends. Just tell me you’re okay.

And the final one that simply said, Please don’t make me worry like this.

A wave of guilt hit him as he thought about his earlier death wish. What if it had been Evan who found him dead, or what if Jeremy’s body had ended up at the funeral home where Evan worked? It would have destroyed Evan, and Jeremy had no doubt he would have blamed himself. He had to be sick with worry right now, and Jeremy had promised himself he’d never hurt Evan again. He’d never been good at making promises though, had he? And even worse at following through with them.

God, I’m such an asshole, he thought bitterly.

Author Bio:
Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.


Trust the Connection

Equals Series

Release Blitz: Accidentally on Purpose by JM Snyder

Title: Accidentally on Purpose
Author: JM Snyder
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: November 24, 2018
Publisher: JMS Books
One morning before work, Alan Travers accidentally bumps into Detective Jim Garrison at a cafe where both men stop for coffee. The handsome younger man interests Alan, but he misses his chance to get to know the detective better and wonders if he'll get another.

With the help of his nephew Brooks, Alan concocts a plan to try and get Jim's attention "accidentally on purpose." It works, but as things heat up between them, Alan worries what Jim will think if he finds out their getting together was no accident.

Then Brooks goes missing, and Alan's going to have to come clean. But is he the only one not being truthful?

Standing on his porch is Detective Jim Garrison with the Richmond police. Dressed in a navy suit and tie, Garrison is a good decade younger than Alan and it shows. He’s sternly handsome, with a wide jaw and smooth, clean-shaven cheeks. His thin lips have a natural redness to them Alan wants to taste. He wears his thick brown hair short, combing the length on top to the left. He tilts his head that way, too, as if afraid to ruin the part. His dark bedroom eyes soften when he sees Alan.

In his gruff voice, Garrison says, “Mr. Travers, hello.”

“Detective.” Alan wonders if his own voice sounds as high out loud as it does in his head. Clearing his throat, he adds, “Nice to see you again.”

Understatement of the year.

“Well,” Garrison drawls, “you might change your mind when you find out the reason why I’m here.”

Alan presses his lips together to keep from grinning. “Oh no. Don’t tell me it’s Brooks again?”

“You are aware there’s a curfew for anyone under eighteen?”

Of course he does. Garrison knows he does. The detective has been here for the same reason before. More than once.

“I know, I do,” Alan says. “But I didn’t know he wasn’t here, honest. The last I heard from him, he turned in around nine. Long day, you know. He was out at the high school football game earlier. Here I thought he was upstairs sleeping this whole time.”

Garrison narrows his eyes, and for a moment, Alan wonders if the jig is up. Then the detective lets out a weary sigh. “Yeah, well, he wasn’t.”

“Where’s he now?” Alan leans closer, pretending to look out at Garrison’s unmarked car but really trying to catch a whiff of the detective’s cologne. Calvin Klein’s Eternity, if he isn’t mistaken. Light, sexy, and seductive. He’d love to wake up with that scent on his pillows.

Get a grip, man. He isn’t here to see you.

Well, that isn’t exactly true. He is here to see Alan, but only about Brooks being out after curfew, again. Even if he does smell damn delicious.

“In the car,” Garrison says. “Front seat, don’t worry. He isn’t under arrest.”

“Maybe he should be,” Alan mutters. This time he allows himself a quick smile to show he’s only kidding. Mostly. “Didn’t he want to get out?”

Garrison turns now, too. The driver’s side window is down, and through it Alan can almost see the long black sleeve of the hoodie Brooks likes to wear. A faint light flickers inside the vehicle; Brooks on his cell phone, texting someone or playing one of his games.

Alan leans out a little more, crossing his arms in front of his chest. The night’s chilly this late. Ducking down, he can see farther into the car, and for one brief instant, Brooks glances his way. Alan raises his voice so it carries easily across the yard. “Coming in sometime tonight then, son?”

Brooks’s dramatic sigh can be heard all the way to the porch. The phone’s light goes out; a moment later, the passenger side door opens and Brooks doesn’t step so much as fling himself out of the vehicle. Angrily the door slams shut behind him.

In a low voice only Garrison can hear, Alan murmurs, “Someone has an attitude.”

“It could be worse,” Garrison suggests.

Alan looks at the detective, who’s watching Brooks approach and can’t see the naked want Alan knows has to be written all over his face. God, this man. So close Alan could reach out and touch him, if he dared. Careful, mate, he warns himself. Don’t go scaring him away just because you’re too damn eager.
Fighting against everything in him that wants Jim Garrison, Alan tries to keep his voice steady as he asks, “How, exactly?”

Garrison shrugs, and in the gesture, Alan sees a friendliness that makes his heart sing. It’s almost familiar, as if they might be more to each other than what it looks like tonight. Garrison raises his voice a little, so Brooks can overhear. “He isn’t into drugs or alcohol or fighting. You should see some of the riff raff I have to deal with some nights.”

Brooks has closed the distance between the car and house, and now he stomps up the porch steps with exaggerated force. His pale skin stands out against his black hoodie and jeans; even his hair is black, so dark it looks almost blue under the porch light.

“He just likes to run off at all hours.” Alan reaches out and ruffles that thick, inky hair, getting in a good rub before Brooks ducks out of reach. “You’re lucky you aren’t old enough to spend the night in jail.”

Brooks glares at Alan from under his dark fringe. “If I were older, I wouldn’t be picked up for breaking curfew,” he mutters. “I don’t even know why it matters anyway. It’s Friday. I don’t have to get up early for school tomorrow.”

“Curfew’s the same every night,” Garrison says, “school or not. You know that by now. How many times have I picked you up after eleven?”

Brooks doesn’t answer, just shoves his hands in his pockets and scuffs his shoe as he frowns at the floor.

“Third time this month, innit?” Alan asks.

Brooks mumbles something under his breath.

“What’s that?” Leaning out the door, Alan cups a hand around his ear. “Speak up, son. I’m a little hard of hearing.”

Brooks glowers. “I said can I go in now? God.”

Alan can’t leave it alone. “Are you going to stay in there this time, then?”

With an aggravated sigh, Brooks pushes past Alan into the house. He storms upstairs, stomping with more force than before, if that’s possible.

Alan shares an amused smile with Garrison. “He’ll tear the house down if he isn’t careful. Thanks again for bringing him in.”

“No problem.”

Then, to Alan’s surprise, Garrison doesn’t make any move to leave.

Am I reading this right? Alan barely dares to hope.

Author Bio:
J.M. Snyder is a multi-published author of gay erotic romance who started writing fanfic (specifically, boyband slash). She has worked with several different e-publishers, including Amber Allure Press and Torquere Press, and has short stories published in anthologies by Alyson Books, Cleis Press, eXcessica, and Lethe Press. In 2010, she started JMS Books LLC to promote and publish her own work as well as that of other authors she enjoys.


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