“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” –Bryant H. McGill
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Pages/Word Count: 138 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: 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?
Review: I love a good May/December love story, one which contains both age and economic disparity that need to be overcome in order for the main characters to find true happiness. With Russell Bishop and Stephen Parker, Brigham Vaughn gives us just that. In spades. Ms. Vaughn created two men who, on paper, have no possibility of ever being equals and then shows us exactly how they are Equals.
Russell and Stephen have admired and desired each other from afar for the six months that Russell has worked at Vantage Marketing. Two problems: Stephen is at least 20 years older than Russell (well, that’s only a problem for Stephen. It’s a turn on for Russell), and Stephen is in management while Russell is an entry level drone. They are in different departments, though…
Two workaholics and one spilled cup of coffee later, we find our guys in Stephen’s apartment, while he nurses Russell back to health after a nasty slip and fall. The attraction is (as usual) fast and strong. But Stephen thinks he is too old for Russell, and Russell thinks he is too poor for Stephen. If ever there were a time I truly wanted to bang heads together, it was with these guys.
I just freaking loved them both from the beginning, though. They each had valid reasons for holding back from entering into a capital R relationship. Stephen had a really good reason for wanting to take care of Russell and keep him safe, and Russell had a rational excuse for wanting to maintain his independence and not let his life be taken over and controlled by a lover.
The way the two didn’t communicate with one another really made me tear up with sadness for them, as well as frustration. Once they started to let each other in and really talk about their pasts and what they felt the issues were that kept them apart, things began to go much more smoothly for them. They both had to learn that in order to be Equals, they’d have to completely trust each other and have full disclosure.
Just because one of you makes more money than the other doesn’t mean he (or she) has a more significant role in the relationship. This is a struggle heterosexual couples have been having for decades. Can two people really be complete equals in any relationship? Yes. If they both treat each other, and themselves, like they deserve to be equal to the other, they can do it.
One of my favorite things about reading M/M romance is that the men in the romantic relationships more often have true equality than in hetero romances. In Equals, Ms. Vaughn proves that sometimes it’s hard work to get to that point, but it’s worth it.
You can buy Equals here: