Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Soldier Next Door by Brigham Vaughn

Short story / 47 pages
Release Date: November 28, 2017


Sometimes, love is right next door.

All twenty-seven-year-old Travis Schultz is supposed to do is keep an eye on the kid next door for a few weeks while his parents are out of town. Eighteen-year-old Owen Wheeler has other plans. Newly graduated, with plans to enlist in the Army, Owen wants to get laid before he ships out and he’s had a crush on Travis for years.

The age difference and the responsibility he’s been entrusted with make Travis hesitant, but the attraction is too much to deny. When the casual one-night stand turns into something more, Travis has no idea how to tell Owen how he feels. He misses his opportunity before Owen leaves and is left at home with a broken heart when Owen cuts off all contact.

When they meet again years later, Owen is in the midst of recovery from being injured in the line of duty and Travis will have to decide if he can forgive Owen and try again.

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief mentions of PTSD and war-related injuries.

Publisher's Note: This book was previously released as part of the Right Here, Right Now anthology with Pride Publishing.


I’m inclined to file this charming story under the header ‘best laid plans’, it works so very well as an example of how despite our best efforts to plan our lives in a reasonable fashion, things rarely work out the way we imagine or even want them to. And when it comes to affairs of the heart, we soon learn that any rational plans we make may well get swept away on a tide of unexpected and not entirely welcome feelings. Poor Travis sure gets to learn that lesson in story.

I really don’t want to say too much about the story itself. All you need to know can be found in the blurb. What I do want to say is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The moment Travis decided that there probably wouldn’t any harm in helping Owen lose his virginity as long as he can be sure Owen won’t lose his heart in the process, I just knew our Travis would be in for a surprise. I wasn’t wrong.

Because we only get to experience events through Travis’s eyes (and heart) we’re never quite sure what’s going on with Owen, and the fact that we don’t find out until the very end of the story, when he opens up to Travis, is just about perfect.

All too often when I read a short story I find myself thinking and/or typing that I could have done with the tale being longer. This time you won’t hear me say that. Sure, there are several ways in which this story could have been drawn out, and I’m not saying that would have been objected to spending more time with Travis and Owen. What I am saying is that it wasn’t necessary. These 47 pages told me everything I needed to know, got me a clear idea of who these two men were, made me feel all the feels, and left me very satisfied by the time I reached the ending.

Since this is a Brigham Vaughn book you won’t be surprised if I mention that the story is exquisitely well written and a pure joy to read.

This story was originally published as part of the Right Here, Right Now anthology and, if The Soldier Next Door sets the standard, I can’t wait to read the other contributions.

Right Here, Right Now buy links: Pride Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon UK

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