Title: Partners (Equals Book 2)
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Previous Book: Equals
Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn
Blurb: After a rocky first few months, Stephen Parker and Russ Bishop’s relationship is at a crossroads when the death of Stephen’s father forces them to visit Stephen’s hometown in southern Georgia.
Estranged from his family, Stephen must find a way to come to terms with his past and say goodbye to the father whose expectations he could never live up to. The small, conservative town provides its own challenges as Russ realizes providing emotional support is one part of being a true partner for Stephen.
The idea of a couple with a major power imbalance was in my head long before anything else. A photograph sparked an idea for me and it slowly morphed into the idea of exploring a May/December. I liked the idea of a relationship where there was a large age gap between the characters. It creates an interesting dynamic and I let the idea rattle around in my brain for months before the plot fully gelled.
It certainly wasn’t difficult to put myself in Russ’ shoes and see the appeal of an older man. I’ve ogled a hot older guy a time or twelve and have always had friends who are older than me. As someone who grew up as an only child of somewhat older parents, I rarely found myself interested in the company of kids my own age. I felt like I had little in common with them. I had more in common with people years older and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been called an “old soul”.
Like Russ, I find someone with experience and confidence appealing. Of course, when there’s an age gap of 19 years like there is for Russ and Stephen, it’s not without its challenges. There’s a big income disparity between them and they’re both at completely different points in their careers. Russ is beginning to establish himself as a market analyst for the marketing company they both work at. As CFO of that company, Stephen has reached a point where he is already established and looking forward to enjoying his position and the hard work he’s put in over the years.
When I first began writing the story there was a slightly different focus but as it progressed I began to explore more of how Russ’ feelings about money affected their relationship dynamic. The money/power issue is such a huge one in any relationship, but when Russ already feels like he has a lot to prove to be equal to Stephen, it’s a struggle.
Their life experiences impact the way they react to each other and to other issues in their relationship. They influence the way they interact with each other. But for all their differences, they do have a great deal in common and in some ways are very much alike. The similarities and difference were fascinating to me and watching how the characters grow and learn from them was rewarding.
Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from Partners:
“That’s generous given the way your parents treated you.”
Stephen ripped at a tall weedy piece of grass, twirling it in his fingers as they walked. “Family, loyalty, they mean a lot to me. Maybe too much.”
“How do you not hold a grudge? Sometimes, I am still so angry at the way my mother left.”
“I hate to say it, but some of it’s come with age.” Stephen’s mouth twisted at the corner. “I used to be more inclined to hold grudges, but it never seems worth it in the end.”
“I’ve tried to let go of it. In college, I even thought for a while about trying to track her down and contact her, but I changed my mind.”
Stephen stopped and put a hand on Russ’ arm. “If at some point you do want to find her, let me know. I’ll help. We could hire a private investigator. Unless she’s trying to hide, it shouldn’t be that difficult.” His expression was earnest.
“I’m not interested, but thank you.” He held up his hand when he saw Stephen open his mouth, knowing what he was about to say. “It isn’t about the money, honestly, and I appreciate your offer. I just decided it wasn’t going to help. It would only dredge up old feelings.” Stephen relented with a nod, and they began walking again. “In my head, she did what she had to. She had postpartum depression, and she left before she hurt us, or herself. But what if that isn’t the truth? What if she never wanted Addison and me? What if she had kids because that was what everyone expected, and she resented us the whole time?”
He could hear the pain in Stephen’s voice, hurting because he hurt. “Trust me; it’s better this way. I can live my life believing the best about her. I don’t want to find out otherwise. It would break Addison’s heart.”
Russ nodded, but couldn’t speak over the lump in his throat. He felt Stephen’s shoulder brush his, but he didn’t think for a moment it was because of the uneven ground.
The Giveaway: The Novel Approach is pleased to be a part of Brigham Vaughn’s Partners blog tour. In honor of her visit here today, Brigham is offering TWO chances to win, and here’s all you need to do to qualify.
*** THE COMMENT-TO-WIN CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
*** The Grand Prize is a tour-wide giveaway of a $10 Amazon Gift Card. One winner will be selected from all Rafflecopter entries, so be sure to follow the stops (listed below) and enter by 11:59pm Central Time on October 4, 2014 to qualify. Brigham will select the winner on October 5.
About the Author: 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.
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