Poor Evan. His father is a drunk, and his mother is an enabler. His uncle, owner of the local funeral home (and a right loser), has put Evan through school so he could become an undertaker, but when he finds out Evan is gay, he fires him on the spot. Of course, his drunken father flips and throws Evan out. Suddenly, Evan has no home, no job, and nowhere to go. Fortunately, he has friends (Stephen and Russ, the heroes in Brigham Vaughn’s Equals series) in Atlanta who open their door and welcome him with open arms. Evan actually begins to do well in Atlanta, getting a good job at a respectable funeral home, but he’s lonely.
Jeremy is a broken man. He was in a terrible car accident which left his belly and thigh covered with scars. He’s disgusted with them, and he thinks others will be too, so he becomes a virtual shut in. Once he was cocky and brazen, but now he is working in a sporting goods store as a floor manager and taking the bus home every night because he’s afraid to drive.
Jeremy and Even meet (very) briefly at that sporting goods store because Evan is looking for some running shoes. They meet again at a party for Stephen and Russ (Did I mention Jeremy is Stephen’s former lover? No? Well…) and wind up spending the evening hanging out together. They’re instantly attracted to each other, but Jeremy has convinced himself that he doesn’t want to get close to Evan because he’s afraid Evan will be disgusted by his scars, and he thinks Evan’s too young for him.
What follows is a slow, and sometimes painful, burn as Evan and Jeremy become friends. They both want more, but while Evan wants pursue a relationship, Jeremy is dead set to keep it in the friend zone.
This is an excellent book. Did I enjoy it? That’s a difficult question. It was so well written, and Jeremy and Evan are wonderful characters. However, the story is so…sad. Both men have been so hurt and are so lonely, my heart actually ached for them. There were times when I could barely breathe, and tears streamed down my cheeks. They spend quite a bit of time together getting to know each other, and as readers, we’re sucked into their lives. We get to see them loosen up and begin to act happy for the first time in years. Of course, because this is the firsts of a two book series, it’s not going to be pretty in the end.
The author has built a very detailed world. I can see all the characters in my mind’s eye. I know what the sporting goods store where Jeremy works looks like, and his apartment, and even his scars. The background characters are all important to the story, from Stephen and Russ, to Evan’s parents, and even Mia, the bubbly salesgirl at Jeremy’s job…they all have a part to play in Connection.
As I mentioned, this is a spin off of the Equals series. I did not read those books, and I didn’t feel the slightest bit lost. There is plenty of exposition, and it was easy to catch on. Also, even though this book ends in a cliffhanger, book two, Trust, is available, so there’s no long wait to find out what happens to our men.
I don’t like to give away too many spoilers, so I’m going to close this by saying that it’s definitely worth your time to read this book. I highly recommend it.