Guest Post: Trust the Connection by Brigham Vaughn

Trust the Connection | Brigham Vaughn

Trust the Connection Cover (Medium)

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)

Publication Date: November 20, 2018

Word Count /or Page Number: 145,480 words/425 pages

Formats/Price: eBook – $5.99 (Available on KU)

Universal Link:

https://books2read.com/TrustTheConnection

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42630972-trust-the-connection


 

I’m delighted to welcome Brigham to the blog today with an Exclusive Excerpt and also a discussion about the playlist which helped inspire the writing of Trust the Connection.

“I almost always listen to music while I write, but it doesn’t always turn into a playlist for the story. Sometimes it remains in the background, not becoming a part of the storyline. But two years ago, as I wrote “Trust” and “Connection” certain songs jumped out at me and I made them into a playlist.

I don’t mind hearing a song on repeat, so I probably listened to this playlist about 4,279 times as I wrote the story. I added a few more here and there as I tweaked the plot and wrote and re-wrote.

“Dust to Dust” by The Civil Wars was one of the first songs I added and by the end it still resonated with me so much that I can’t hear it without thinking of Evan and Jeremy. The melancholy feel was perfect for the story, but the lyrics spoke to me even more. I always imagined this song being from Evan’s perspective, begging Jeremy to let him in. Evan can see how good they could be together and he’s beginning to learn his own strength and see what he can offer Jeremy, if only Jeremy will give him a chance.

“It’s not your eyes
It’s not what you say
It’s not your laughter that gives you away
You’re just lonely
You’ve been lonely, too long

All your actin’
Your thin disguise
All your perfectly delivered lies
They don’t fool me
You’ve been lonely, too long

Let me in the wall, you’ve built around
And we can light a match and burn it down
Let me hold your hand and dance ’round and ’round the flame
In front of us
Dust to

You’ve held your head up
You’ve fought the fight
You bear the scars
You’ve done your time
Listen to me
You’ve been lonely, too long

Let me in the wall, you’ve built around
And we can light a match and burn them down
And let me hold your hand and dance ’round and ’round the flames
In front of us
Dust to dust

You’re like a mirror, reflecting me
Takes one to know one, so take it from me
You’ve been lonely
You’ve been lonely, too long
We’ve been lonely
We’ve been lonely, too long”

– “Dust to Dust” by The Civil Wars

At the heart of this story is the idea of two men, desperately lonely for different reasons, finding each other and struggling to let the other in.

Jeremy, in particular, is terrified to open up to Evan and let him see all of him. I found Adam Lambert’s “Underneath” particularly suited to him and there’s a plaintive edge to the song that echo’s Jeremy’s fears and hopes so perfectly. He wants to let Evan see all of him but he’s terrified of being rejected because of his scars.

“Strip away the flesh and bone
Look beyond the lies you’ve known
Everybody wants to talk about a freak
No one wants to dig that deep
Let me take you underneath

Baby, better watch your step
Never mind what’s on the left
You’re gonna see things you might not wanna see
It’s still not that easy for me underneath

A red river of screams
Underneath
Tears in my eyes
Underneath
Stars in my black and blue sky
And underneath
Under my skin
Underneath, the depths of my sin
Look at me
Now do you see?

Welcome to my world of truth
I don’t wanna hide any part of me from you
I’m standing here with no apologies
Such a beautiful release
You inside of me

A red river of screams
Underneath
Tears in my eyes
Underneath
Stars in my black and blue sky
And underneath
Under my skin
Underneath, the depths of my sin
Look at me
Now do you see?
Underneath, underneath, underneath…
Underneath, Underneath

Welcome to my world of truth

A red river of screams
Underneath
Tears in my eyes
Underneath
Stars in my black and blue sky
And underneath
Under my skin
Underneath, the depths of my sin
Look at me
Now do you see?
Underneath, underneath, underneath
Look at me
Do you see?
Yeah yeah yeah yeah!

Look at me
Do you see?

Welcome to my world of truth
I don’t wanna hide any part of me from you.”

– “Underneath” by Adam Lambert

This fall, when I decided to re-release the two stories as one single one, I listened to the playlists I had for the story and combined them. I also added a few new songs and “Lonely Still” by Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter felt particularly appropriate for “Trust the Connection.”

“Well this is where my ship has run aground
Stuck in the mud on the Puget Sound
I came from the Great Lakes
And I watched them turn dry
The sky turned black, and I cried

I never thought heartbreak would follow me ’round
Well, I’m lonely
Well, I’m lonely still
Well, I’m lonely
Well, I’m lonely still

Hammered hearts tired of being young
It wasn’t you, it could have been anyone
I came from the Great Lakes
And I saw them turn dry
The sky turned black, and I cried

I never thought heartbreak would follow me ’round
Well, I’m lonely
Well, I’m lonely still
Well, I’m lonely
Well, I’m lonely still”

Click on the Spotify link to enjoy the whole playlist and get a glimpse into the songs that helped shape the story.

https://open.spotify.com/user/12126408625/playlist/2HJOs5itChx38V7I8ewEfb

Summary

Scars run deep but run loves even deeper

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.

NOTE: This story was previously published as a two-volume serial under the titles of “Connection” and “Trust”. Minor updates have been made but the story is essentially unchanged.

Excerpt

“So, I feel like I should warn you about Monty,” Russ said on Sunday afternoon, as they drove toward the apartment Evan might sublet. “He’ll probably say something completely horrifying at some point. I swear his brain doesn’t work like anyone else’s. He really is a nice guy, but don’t be surprised if he says something offensive.”

“Okay.” Evan was vaguely confused. This was someone Russ was supposed to like?

Russ chuckled as if he knew what Evan was thinking. Evan was going to ask him more about Monty but when they pulled onto Rumson street, he got distracted looking at all of the fancy new buildings. Russ pulled up in front of an older, two story brick building and got out. It was quite plain compared to the others, but nicely kept up with flowers and trees planted in front of the building. The whole street was quiet and safe feeling.

Evan followed Russ inside the building and toward the back. As Russ stopped and knocked on the door in front of them, Evan tried to convince himself he shouldn’t get his hopes up too high because it wasn’t necessarily going to work out. But he wanted it to so badly.

“Hey, Monty,” Russ said as the guy in the doorway grinned.

“Russ, my man.” He stepped back. “Come on in.”

Monty wasn’t exactly hot—but he was interesting looking. He had shaggy blond hair and bright blue eyes and sort of looked like a cross between Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, but a lot younger. And bigger. Jesus. He managed to make Russ look small. Evan felt puny beside him.

Monty grinned and grabbed Russ in a bear hug. “Good to see you, dude. It’s been too long.”

“Yeah, things have been kinda crazy. We’ll have to grab dinner sometime soon though.” Russ patted him on the back.

“Awesome.”

Across the room, a girl with reddish blonde hair cleared her throat, smiling. “Would you like to introduce us, Monty?”

“Sorry, darlin’,” Monty grinned at her as he crossed the room and hooked an arm around her waist. “Russ, meet my girlfriend, Emily. Emily, this is Russ and uhh….”

“Evan,” he supplied.

“It’s so nice to meet y’all,” she said. She had dimples and Evan liked the way she smiled at him.

Once everyone was introduced and they got past the small talk, Monty rubbed his palms together. “So, Evan, you’re homeless, right?”

Evan blinked. “Uh, yeah, kinda. Although Russ and Stephen have been letting me stay at their place.”

“Russ told me your parents kicked you out ’cause you like dick.”

Beside him, Russ groaned. “I didn’t word it that way!”

Emily lightly thwacked Monty on the stomach with her arm. “Montgomery Doyle! You can’t just say things like that!”

Evan was torn between embarrassment and laughter. “Uhh, I’m gay, yeah. And my family wasn’t okay with it.”

“Dude, that sucks.”

“Pretty much,” Evan agreed, jamming his hands in his pockets. It had been over a month and they hadn’t called him once.

“So, what do you think of the place, Evan?”

“Oh, I haven’t really looked around yet,” Evan admitted. He glanced around the apartment. It was small; a tiny single room with a kitchenette at one end with a stove, sink, and refrigerator, a couple of cabinets, and a few square feet of counter space. At the far end, Evan could see a closed door—a closet maybe—and an open door that was clearly to a bathroom. There was another closet by the entrance and most of the space in the room was taken up by a bed. According to Russ, the place was only about three hundred square feet, but that was plenty for Evan. He didn’t own much.

“I like it,” he said, smiling at Monty. It looked clean and bright and he liked that there were two windows to let in a lot of light. It felt cozy and it would be all his own. Perfect.

“You’ve definitely learned a lot about cleaning since we lived together in the old place,” Russ said. “Are those vacuum marks on the carpet?”

Emily beamed. “He’s learning. He was such a train wreck when we met! I don’t know how you lived with him, Russ.”

Russ’ tone was deadpan. “Desperation. It’s amazing what you’ll do when you have student loans to pay off.”

Monty shot him the finger but laughed anyway. “Yeah well, I had to downsize to a studio when he ditched me for his sugar daddy.”

“Stephen is not my sugar daddy.” Russ sounded exasperated.

“Hey, you hooked up with him, moved into a fancy apartment, got a new car…. Smells like sugar daddy to me. How many times a day do you have to suck cock to get that?”

“Monty!” Emily chastised.

Evan’s eyes widened. He was starting to understand what Russ had been talking about. But there was no malice in Monty’s voice. He didn’t seem like he was trying to be cruel.

Russ laughed. “Fuck you, Monty. You know damn well I love that man.”

Smirking, Monty nodded. “Yeah, I know ya’ do. Just givin’ you shit. That’s what friends are for, right?”

“Something like that.” Russ’ tone was dry.

 


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Brigham Vaughn is offering a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

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Brigham Vaughn Pic

Author Bio:

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time author. 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, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

To stay up to date on her latest releases, sign up for the Coles & Vaughn Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dkyS7P

Social Media Links:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Brigham-Vaughn/448104198635015

Facebook Fan Group (Brigham’s Book Nerds): https://www.facebook.com/groups/brighamsbooknerds/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBVaughn

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