Trust by Brigham Vaughn
Series and Number: “Connection” Series Book 2 of a 2-part series
Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)
Publication Date: January 28. 2016
Word Count / Page Number: 82,107 / 232
Evan Harris thinks his relationship with Jeremy Lewis is going well. But when Jeremy bolts, Evan is left nursing a broken heart. Jeremy loves Evan, but his inability to trust holds him back from facing his past head on and building the future he desperately wants. Evan’s patience is at the breaking point, and he struggles to decide if Jeremy deserves another chance.
Scarred by his own parents’ treatment of him, Jeremy doesn’t trust Evan’s mother’s motives when she reappears in Evan’s life after his father lands in jail. The ensuing disagreement about his concerns puts further pressure on their developing relationship.
Unless Jeremy can learn to trust and Evan can let go of past hurts, they’ll miss out on the relationship they’ve both been searching for.
Jeremy wrestled his shoe on and stood. He swayed on his feet for a second as his skin went chalky again. Evan reached for him, but Jeremy shook him off. His anger seemed to dissipate as his shoulders dropped and his voice softened slightly. “Look, it’s time you find out what the rest of the world is like. Go meet guys, go be young and stupid.” He ran his thumb across Evan’s cheek, his smile sad and wistful. “Just not too stupid.”
Evan stared at him. “And what will you being doing?”
Jeremy’s voice came out gruff. “Feeling lucky I was your first for a few things.”
“Don’t do this, Jeremy.” Evan hated the way he sounded, like he was pleading with him. He wanted to drop to his knees and beg Jeremy to stay, but he was afraid that would only make things work. That it would make Evan seem weak in Jeremy’s eyes. “Please.”
“I can’t be the guy you’re looking for,” Jeremy murmured. “You have no idea how much I wish I could, but it’s not possible.”
“Why?” He winced, hating the way his voice cracked. “I don’t understand.”
“I’m too ... damaged and I have too much of my own shit to deal with. I can barely manage to give you a handjob much less anything else. I’m not able to be what you need. I’d be a shitty boyfriend.”
Evan straightened and brushed away the tears. “What if—if you didn’t have to commit to me and we ... we slept together. It wouldn’t have to mean anything. Give me rules about where I can touch you. You can keep your pants on. I don’t care.” Right then, he wanted anything, whatever Jeremy would give him.
Anything but losing him.
“I’m in no shape for sex and you deserve a hell of lot more than a cripple for a lover.” Jeremy’s voice was surprisingly gentle. “And let’s be honest, it’s more than sex, isn’t it? You want the rest too. Wouldn’t it hurt you to wonder why you weren’t good enough for me to commit to?”
Evan flinched. “I wouldn’t,” he protested, but he knew he was lying.
“You would. And I know I’m hurting you now, but it’ll hurt a lot less than some half-assed non-relationship.” Jeremy brushed Evan’s hair off his forehead. “I care about you, Evan, way more than I should. What happened last night was a mistake and we can’t repeat it.”
“Wasn’t it good?”
“It was perfect.” Jeremy sighed, the corner of his mouth twisting up in a sad smile. “But that makes it worse, right? I can’t give you what you need and it’s going to end badly if we continue. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, Evan.”
“You already have,” Evan whispered.
“Oh, kid.” Jeremy wrapped his arms around Evan and he collapsed gratefully, his cheek against Jeremy’s shoulder. “I know. And I’m sorry.”
All too often when I read a romance I’ll finish the story and sit back thinking ‘yeah! Nice! But what happened next?’ Because that’s the thing with romances, isn’t it? You read two hundred pages of two men trying to overcome all their issues so they can be together, get to spend twenty pages with them while they declare their undying love for each other and then the story ends and you’ll just have to believe the happy ever after really happened. And while this isn’t an issue for me, I do often find myself wondering about what the future would hold for the two characters.
In many ways Brigham Vaughn answers those questions in this book, and it was as satisfying an experience as I always thought it might be. When ‘Connection’ ends Jeremy and Evan seem to at last have found their way too each other. We leave them together, in bed, and we dare hope that they’ll be happy together.
Trust starts the morning after Connection ends and from the start it is clear that these two men are only at the start of their rocky road. Sometimes love alone isn’t enough and Jeremy and Evan are learning that the hard way.
Jeremy and Evan charmed me as often as they infuriated. For every time I wanted to squeeze them in a tight hug and comfort them I had a moment when it was all I could do to not shout at my Kindle that they should just talk to each other, stop introspecting and start believing. But of course, that is what this story is all about; Jeremy and Evan’s journey to the moment where they are able to believe in themselves and in each other—the moment when they can both trust that they are good enough and that together they’re perfectly imperfect. And seeing Evan find inner strength and confidence was as beautiful as watching Jeremy as he overcame his insecurities and stopped looking at himself as only half the man he used to be.
Evan and Jeremy’s journey in these two books was heartbreaking and delightful, sad and funny, frustrating and uplifting. Most of all, their journey was beautiful and memorable and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
On a side note I have to say that I also enjoyed catching up with the gang from the Equals series again. They featured enough to give us an insight into their lives but not enough to take the focus of Evan and Jeremy. The balance was just about perfect. And I think I may have spied another spin-off in the making while reading Trust. I’m looking forward to that tale when it comes.
Brigham Vaughn is starting 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.
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