Welcome to our first week of celebrating the ever so fabulous
In today's post, we'll take a look at The Shattered Door and Then The Stars Fall, plus a list of Brandon's favorite things. All the way at the bottom will be a chance to win one of Brandon's books.
First up, The Shattered Door:
After a tortured childhood and years of soul-searching, Brooke Morrison has finally settled into a comfortable life. While his sexuality prohibits him from practicing his degree in youth ministry in a church setting, he’s found a fulfilling job as a youth counselor at a residential treatment facility in Colorado. He falls in love, marries the man of his dreams, and makes peace with God. He’s happy.
Then his buried past drags him back to the Ozarks.
The life Brooke has worked so hard to build is crumbling in his hands in the face of painful memories and past abuse, and his confidence is withering. In El Dorado Springs, where his nightmares come to life, Brooke desperately seeks closure life doesn’t offer. Brooke must find value in himself, in his marriage, and in the world around him—and create the hope and perseverance to keep his past from swallowing him whole.
Most people would say I should start this story from the beginning. You know, the very beginning. Bright white tile flooring that has been bleached spotless. The doctor in his thin green cotton scrubs, anxiously awaiting the moment he could smack my ass. The exit from my mother’s vagina, the last vagina I would ever see up close and personal. The moment my tiny fist clutched onto my mother’s little finger and she burst into tears, the bonding process beginning.
I guess I could begin there. There’s a lot to tell. However, I’m sure I will take you back to glimpses into my childhood at some point. Even if I don’t, I imagine you’ll be able to paint a fairly accurate portrayal of what my growing-up process was like once you get to know my mother. Besides, it wouldn’t be that interesting a place to start. After all, my mother didn’t pick me up or hold me for weeks; it was my aunt who carried me out of the hospital. There was no finger bonding. I pretty much just lay there.
Thankfully, I don’t remember that particular period of my life. I am sure there were some great and satisfying shits in my diaper that broke up the boredom, but really, who needs the details on those? It’s the one thing that bonds us all. Well, except dying, but we can’t really share that with anyone else, can we? It’s a one-person ride. Wow, went from being born to dying. I don’t think I will start with death either. There will be plenty on that subject later.
I suppose I could start with an amusing episode when my cousin Donnie saved me and my bantam chicken, Murdel, from getting beaten up by a group of fourth graders who thought it was fun to pick on a sissy who was smaller than them. Well, maybe not smaller, as I was quite the little porker, but shorter at any rate. It really was quite an exciting event.
Donnie, being Donnie, saved the day and neither red hair nor brown feather was disturbed. Although, looking back, it might have been fun if he had waited a few minutes to see what would have happened. A pissed-off chicken can hold its own in a fight.
I don’t really think I want to start my story there either, though. It is enough to know that the fat little kid was able to waddle off into the sunset with his best friend skittering along at his side, occasionally searching for worms or roly-polies.
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Second, set in the same town of El Dorado Springs, Then The Stars Fall:
The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness.
Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents’ old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away—the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package.
Life, it seems, has other plans.
Wesley didn’t flinch; nor was he startled. He just looked into Travis’s eyes.
Travis held him still. He didn’t inspect Wesley’s face, didn’t let his gaze wander over the man’s body, didn’t ask for permission—neither Wesley’s nor his own.
He pulled Wesley to him, one hand traveling up Wesley’s shoulder and around the back of his neck, pulling the man’s face nearer.
Travis felt Wesley flinch when their lips met, but only for a moment before he gave in.
There wasn’t electricity or fire. Only pressure and warmth. He held Wesley there, their lips pressed together.
Wesley’s fingers grazed over Travis’s shoulders, touching, darting away, then returning. They slid up his neck, and then a hand held his cheek. Fingers long and smooth and strong rested on either side of his ear. A warm palm pressed against his stubble.
A groan broke the silence. It sounded of surprise and sadness. It sounded of relief. It was gone before Travis realized it had come from him.
The hand still held his face while an arm passed over his shoulder and down his back, pulling Travis closer.
At the pressure of Wesley’s body against his, Travis released his hold on Wesley’s neck and shoulders, wrapping his arms around the other man’s back, crushing Wesley to him.
Then the kiss was more than pressure. More than warmth.
They pressed up against the planks of the trough.
Another groan. Maybe more than one.
Travis felt his own strength as he held Wesley’s hard body to him, and was surprised at the power of the arms that encircled him.
For just a moment, Travis’s eyes flitted open, as if he had to be convinced this was real and not another delusional dream. It was real. And though he could hear her whisper, it was not Shannon kissing him back. He’d known it wasn’t, hadn’t expected it to be.
He let his eyes close again. He didn’t pull away as he felt himself harden against the other man. Against Wesley.
Wesley’s lips parted, and Travis let his tongue caress the opening before deepening into the kiss.
His fingers sank into soft hair, short at the base but longer as his hand rose on the back of Wesley’s head, desperately pulling him closer.
The barn continued to stand. They kissed.
The barn continued to stand. They kissed.
Maybe a few stars fell.
Read Sandra's 5 star review here.
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Brandon's favorite things:
Corgis, Cheese, Mermaids, My Little Pony, Harry Potter, JR Ward, Carbs, Tattoos, Nephew, Unicorns, Craftsman Bungalow Style, Cowboy Boots, Sex, The Melting Pot, Joy Williams, Seattle, Glowing Lighting, Britney Spears, Bubble Baths, Competition Television (Top Chef, Project Runway, Face Off, The Great British Bake Off), Drag Queens, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Solitude, Long Walks, Audiobooks, Smells of autumn and spices.
Readers - do you have any of those favorites things in common with Brandon? Tell us in the comments!
More about the author:
Brandon Witt's outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he's got plenty to write about....
Thanks for celebrating with us. Join us again next week for more of Brandon's book, five little-known facts, and another chance to win!
Until then, happy reading!!