Hi peeps, we have Brigham Vaughn and K. Evan Coles stopping by today with their new release Wake, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! ❤ ~Pixie~
Brigham Vaughn & K. Evan Coles
Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright room together as Harvard undergraduates. An immediate friendship forms, but as the years pass it deepens into something neither man understands. As attraction simmers under the surface, lines begin to blur. When they move back to Manhattan, they gradually slip into the lives their families have envisioned for them.
Both men marry, but in time, Riley realizes he’s ended up in a passionless relationship like his parents’ while his career takes center stage. Although he loves his wife, Carter misses the emotional and physical connection he shared with Riley.
The weight of Riley’s feelings and his growing discontentment with his life eventually push him to tell Carter the truth about how he feels. Shocked and unable to face his own feelings, Carter rejects Riley.
As each man comes to terms with the lies they’ve told themselves, each other and the people around them, they find their lives changing in ways they never imagined. They soon discover that the truths they’ve been longing to tell shake the foundations of their friendship.
Carter enjoyed rowing for the Crimson and losing himself in the simple physicality of the task and feeling part of a team. He looked forward to the quiet hush of the river, the lap of the waves against the side of the boat and the collective breaths and grunts of the team as they worked together.
There were negatives, of course, starting with practice at dawn and the feeling he just didn’t have enough hours in the day. Carter focused on being grateful when Riley helped him bandage his blisters and smiled at the protein bars Dan stuffed into his coat pockets. Riley and Dan attended races when they could, sharing thermoses of Irish coffee and cheering while the Crimson’s boats slipped by on the river.
As the weeks passed, Riley lost the shell he’d confessed to hating. Carter doubted anyone outside himself and Dan saw the subtle difference in their friend. Riley’s dress grew more casual, as did his speech. He talked more about himself, which gave people a chance to get to know him better. He still didn’t say much about his parents and when he did, he often dropped his right hand to his knee to draw circles on his pant leg with his fingers. Riley didn’t glance away anymore, though, and he met the gaze of whoever he was speaking to unwaveringly.
It was during a Halloween party in one of the dorms that Carter became aware of how others perceived his friendship with Riley. He’d been chatting with Susannah, a pretty girl from his calculus class, and had been about to ask her out for coffee when she put a hand on his forearm and sighed.
“What’s that about?” Carter peered under the brim of Susannah’s midnight-blue witch’s hat and gave her a smile.
Susannah grimaced slightly. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Carter—you know I like you. If you were straight, I’d be really, really interested in you.”
Carter frowned, the word straight still sinking into his brain while Susannah continued.
“I don’t understand why the only guys who ever talk to me at parties are gay. You know?” Susannah twisted strands of her long, dark hair around one finger. “Honestly, I’ve basically despaired of finding a man of my own. I’ll have to hang out with you and your boyfriend and pray people think we have some kind of polyamorous arrangement going on.”
Carter shook his head slowly, Susannah’s words beginning to make a kind of strange sense. She wrinkled her brow as Carter stood silent and she stepped closer, to squeeze his arm gently.
“Dude, I’m sorry. Did I… Was the poly thing too much? I was just joking, I swear.”
“Susannah, are you under the impression I’m gay? That Riley and I are together?”
Susannah cocked her head. “Well, yes. Aren’t you? Gay, I mean. And Riley’s boyfriend?”
“No, I am not. Gay or Riley’s boyfriend.” Carter fought conflicting urges to be angry and amused. “Riley’s not gay, either. Where the hell did you get that idea?”
“Oh, my God, I’m so sorry.” Susannah’s face flushed deep red and she put her fingers over her mouth. She looked so stricken that Carter gave in to the impulse to laugh. “Jesus, I’m so embarrassed!”
“You should be,” Carter scolded, though he laughed harder at the expression of horror on her face. “Why would you think that, woman?”
“You’re always together!” she exclaimed. “I’ve never seen either of you with a girl and you told me Riley is your roommate. I assumed it all added up to the two of you being, you know, together.”
Carter laughed hard enough he had to put down his drink. “What about Dan? He lives with us and we hang out all the time. Is he one of the boyfriends, too?”
“Dan goes on dates, Carter. He dates women. Okay, one woman,” Susanna clarified, turning to search the crowd, and pointing when she found the right faces. Carter craned his neck to follow her gesture. He nodded at Dan with his arms around Melanie Howard, another music major who often came by their suite. They’d coordinated their costumes, with Dan dressed as a devil and Mel an angel, and come to the party with a group of friends.
“Everyone knows Dan and Mel are dating,” Susannah said. “They’ve been together practically since the first day of classes.”
Dan and Mel really were inseparable. She was double majoring in music and psychology and planned to go into music therapy. Mel was a petite beauty, with dark hair, creamy golden skin and greenish-gray eyes. Carter appreciated her bright and sarcastic brand of humor and knew Dan really liked her.
“Okay, I see your point.” Carter glanced back to Susannah with a steely expression. “Making assumptions about Riley and me, though, is not cool.”
Susannah gulped, and dropped her gaze to the drink in her hands. “You’re right. You should know I’m not the only one who thinks you’re together, by the way.”
Carter frowned, trying to understand how to feel about what Susannah had told him. He’d grown up with a diverse group of friends and he didn’t much care whom a person spent their time with. As far as Carter was concerned, whatever and whomever made a person happy was fine by him, provided everyone involved consented. The idea people thought he was someone’s boyfriend, however… That didn’t fit into Carter’s world. It certainly did not fit into his family’s, either.
“People really think Riley and I are together?”
“Well, girls, mostly,” Susannah replied, “and that’s because they’re trying to figure out what’s going on with you and Riley.”
“Nothing is going on, Susannah.”
“I know.” Her voice dropped low as she tried to smooth Carter’s ruffled feathers. “I’m sorry we gossiped. Two good-looking guys, in each other’s company more than anyone else’s…a girl’s gonna try to put the pieces together.”
“Uh-huh. Put the pieces together incorrectly, you mean,” he replied. Carter imagined his parents’ reaction to the rumor and his stomach knotted.
The dejection on Susannah’s face softened his annoyance, however. He’d really wanted to take her out for coffee before she’d let her ‘secret’ slip. And his heart beat a little faster as he understood taking Susannah out would nip the ‘boyfriends’ rumor in the bud, too.
“Are you very angry?” she asked quietly, concern visible in her green eyes.
Carter smiled. “No. You surprised me, that’s all. I might have been a little offended, too, but only because you could have asked me instead of gossiping. That shit’s not okay, Susannah. Especially because I planned on asking you out.”
Susannah’s mouth dropped open. “You did?” she squeaked, then cleared her throat, obviously working to recover her composure. “You could still ask me, you know. Or, maybe you should let me take you out. So I can apologize for being a gossipy shrew.”
Her words warmed Carter and his grin slowly widened. “Sure. I think I can handle that.”
About Brigham & K!
K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.
K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.
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.