Blog Tour: Partners (Book 2 of Equals) By Brigham Vaughn *Interview, 2 Giveaways*
Title: Partners (Equals Book 2)
Previous Book: Equals
Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn
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
Thank you, Brigham. You have a wonderful character interview for us today and I'm very excited about it. So, let's get started.
First of all, I’d like
to thank my pre-readers and Viv, a huge fan of Russ and Stephen, for helping me
come up with these questions.I wound up
with at least double the amount I had in mind and they were all fantastic
questions.Allison, Shelly, Shell, and
Viv, I couldn’t have done it without you!
Brigham: Once again, I’m sitting
with Russ and Stephen in their midtown Atlanta loft. They seem relaxed
and at ease with each other. Stephen’s arm is thrown over Russ’ shoulder,
Russ’ hand is on Stephen’s thigh. It’s a few weeks after their return
Brigham: Thanks for joining me again, gentlemen.
Russ: We’re happy to be here.
Stephen murmurs his
Brigham: We’ll start out with a few easy questions aimed
at both of you. The first is: what’s your guilty pleasure?
Stephen:Definitely southern comfort food.
Especially made by Miss Esther. That woman can cook. All I
have to say is it’s a good thing she doesn’t live closer.
Russ: Carbs. I’m impressed by Stephen’s dedication to
eating healthy most of the time and I’ve never been in better shape but damn do
I miss pasta.
Brigham: What’s your favorite memory together?
They look at each other
for a moment while they think
Russ: Probably sailing with Stephen. It was
such a perfect day and I love being out on the water. I really want to
get out there again.
Stephen: That’s high up there for me as well but I have
another. It’s not a specific moment--I couldn’t tell you the date--but
probably the first time we went to bed and woke up in the morning together and
it felt like a normal routine. It’s not the most exciting answer there’s
something to be said for those ordinary moments as a couple. Knowing I could
count on having that routine meant a lot. It made me feel like Russ was a
part of my life.
Brigham: What holiday are you looking forward to
Stephen: Honestly, I’m just looking forward to
celebrating the holidays with someone I care about for a change.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s … by and large I’ve spent them alone.
There were a handful of times I had a date to ring in the new year with but
most of the time I didn’t celebrate much. When Jeremy and I were together, he
was with his family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I wasn’t welcome there.
We spent New Year’s together but I think we got in a fight that night.
Russ: That’s awful. I mean, my holidays weren’t
great either, but damn. I haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving or Christmas
with my dad and sister since I came out. Either Addie was still not comfortable
with me, or I was too broke to come home, or she was busy with school. I
spent the last few Christmases with Monty. We splurged and got pizza and
watched “A Christmas Story.”
Stephen: That’s equally depressing. Russ, would you like
to invite your family to celebrate Thanksgiving with us here in Atlanta this
Russ: I … yeah, actually I would. I’d like that
a lot. You’re fine with that?
Stephen: I’d like to meet your family and it sounds like
the perfect opportunity.
They smile at each other
and I give them a moment before I continue.
Brigham: Stephen, how many suits do you own?
He grimaces then laughs
Stephen:Many. To be honest, I’m not sure
of of the exact number. Probably more than I should.
Growing up so poor, I rarely got new clothes and when I did they were
plain, long-lasting, serviceable. Suits were a symbol of a man with
money, a man who had achieved something, risen above the daily grind of
physical labor. I scrimped and saved to buy my first suit and the feeling
of finally owning one … it’s something I’ll never forget. Seeing a row of
them hanging in my closet is a reminder that I made it. I’m never going
to have to live my father’s life.
Brigham: I think that’s a good segue into the more serious
questions I have about your trip to Putnam to bury Stephen’s father. Russ, did
the town of Putnam meet your expectations? And if not, was it better or worse?
Russ: It shocked me how ordinary the whole town was.
I didn’t expect that. Hearing about it from Stephen skewed my
perspective of course, made me picture it as this dark, awful place, but it’s
just a little town. Not that different than the one I grew up in. I
sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there, but it wasn’t so bad. Not as
bad as I anticipated, anyway.
Brigham: Stephen, what do you think changed most about
Stephen:Me. *laughs* I’m not sure anymore how
much of the changes there are real, or just how I viewed the town.
There’s certainly more development, fewer farms in the area, and a more
prosperous downtown, but honestly, I’ve changed so much and so has my view of
the town that I don’t know that I can accurately judge that.
Brigham: Russ, were you surprised at
how difficult the entire experience of going to Putnam and burying his father
was for Stephen? Did you feel up to the challenge of supporting him?
Russ: I wasn’t sure what to
expect, to be honest. I had my doubts that I’d be able to support him
enough and initially I felt like I was doing a pretty shitty job but toward the
end, yeah, I think so. I certainly did the best I could and we made it
through it and are stronger now, so I think that’s what matters most.
Brigham: Stephen, what did Russ's
support mean to you? Were you surprised at all by how supportive he was?
Stephen: It meant everything to me.
I’ve never had that before and it was a huge sense of relief to know that I
didn’t have to shoulder it by myself. As men, we like to think we can
tough it out in any situation, but this was more than I could have coped with
alone. Having Russ there, knowing I could rely on him, was all that kept
me from driving straight back to Atlanta and leaving it all unresolved.
It wouldn’t have been a healthy way to cope, but without Russ beside me,
I think that’s what I would have done. As far as being surprised by his
strength and support? No, not really. Would I have blamed him if it
was too much? Not at all. But I had no doubt he had it in him, even if he
didn’t realize it.
Russ reaches out and
squeezes Stephen’s hand.
Brigham: Russ, was there anything in the box of photos
that surprised you?
Russ: The box of photos from Stephen’s childhood?
No, not really. I enjoyed getting a chance to look at them though,
see what Stephen was like younger. I’d had a really difficult time
picturing him and this helped. He was cute.
Stephen: Cute? *incredulous laugh* I was an awkward
child and it just got worse when I was a teenager. I’d happily burn the
college photos. I grew into myself some but they’re still terrible.
Russ: I thought you were cute.
Stephen just shakes his
Brigham: Russ, have you heard from Evan?
Russ: Yeah, Ihave. Although I had to
send the first text asking how he was doing. He’s so shy, I think he was trying
to work up the nerve to contact me. We’ve been texting on and off
occasionally though and it seems like he’s relaxing more now.
Brigham: Stephen, how do you feel about Russ texting
another guy. Are you jealous?
Stephen: I won’t lie, I can be a little jealous but
ultimately I trust Russ and I know how much he values our relationship. I
didn’t have a chance to officially meet Evan but I got the impression he’s a
sweet kid, but not at all Russ’ type.
Russ: He’s not. Cute, and I’m sure he’ll make
some guy happy, but definitely not my type.
Stephen: I think guys like Evan need all the support
they can get. Growing up as a closeted gay kid in Putnam … I know exactly
where he’s coming from. At that age, I would have given anything to have a
friend who understood what I was going through. If Russ can offer him that, I
think it’s great.
Brigham: Would either of you consider going back to
Stephen lets out a heavy
sigh and Russ squeezes his thigh
Stephen: I honestly don’t know. It would depend on
the situation. If Miss Esther needed me, I’d go immediately. I can’t
think of another reason that I would want to go there though.
Russ: Not even for a swim in the pond?
We did have a nice time there, but if my aim is to get you wet and naked, I
don’t think that would be my first pick.
Brigham: If you could pick one role playing outfit for
your partner to wear, what would it be?
Stephen lets out a
short, surprised bark of laughter but Russ’ answer is immediate.
Russ: Work clothes. God, when we were walking on
the farm and Stephen was talking about the pecan grove I could picture him
sweaty and dirty from working and it was so hot. I want to see him in
jeans and a flannel or something.
Stephen’s grin is wry,
his tone teasing.
Stephen: I worked all those years to get an upper level
management job and you’d rather I was a farmer?
Russ: Just for a day. Normally, I like you in
suits but dirty, sweaty Stephen sounds pretty good for a change of pace.
Throw in a cowboy hat and I’ll probably come before you get your pants
Stephen shakes his head,
but he looks amused
Brigham: Stephen, what about you? What role playing
fantasies do you have about Russ?
Stephen: Hmm, I’ll have to think about that. I
can’t say I’ve spent much time considering it. Maybe a scenario where I’m
his college swim coach and he’s a swimmer who isn’t performing up to
expectations. That could be … interesting to explore. Or one of us
could be a personal trainer and the other could be a client in need of help.
Russ clears his throat.
Russ: I think we’re going to need to explore this
Brigham: Well, Russ and Stephen don’t even seem to be aware that
I’m here anymore so it looks like that’s the end of the interview. I’ll
just let myself out.
for having me here on Diverse Reader!
Thank you so very much, Brigham for this wonderful interview!
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.
After the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean, the three
of them sat on the front porch,Russ
beside him on the creaking swing as Miss Esther knitted and told Russ stories
about Stephen growing up. “Before you leave I’ll show you the photos I have,”
she promised Russ and he enthusiastically agreed. Stephen’s gaze flew to the
“You have them?”
“Sure do,” she said easily, the clack of the needles never
pausing. “Your daddy tried to throw them out when your momma passed but I
wouldn’t let him. I’ve been hangin’ onto ‘em for you.”
“Oh,” Stephen replied, feeling strangely shaky. He’d thought
every memory of his childhood had been tossed out.
“They’re in a box in the blue bedroom,” she said. “You can get
them down from the shelf in the closet for me tomorrow.”
“I’d love to see them,” Russ said, his tone eager as he leaned
forward. Stephen was less sure ofhow he
felt. On one hand, he was relieved to know it hadn’t all been destroyed. On the
other, hewasn’t sure how much of his
past he could face this weekend. Then Russ’ knee nudged his, their thighs
pressing together. As the katydids droned in the background, Stephen felt
himself relax, remembering he didn’t have to face it alone.
1 commenter at each stop will win their choice of backlist title
from Brigham Vaughn (excludes Dr. Feelgood).
In addition one commenter in all of the tour will win a $10
Giftcard from Amazon.Grand Prize
giveaway ends 4 October 2014 @ 11:59pm CDT.Winner will be drawn by random drawing among all entrants on 5 October.
Must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited.