Lonely billionaire, Samuel Barron, has finally met someone he finds himself falling for, but can he handle a romance for a gentleman whose entire world is surrounded by silence?
After public humiliation, Sam Barron has come to the realization his billions can’t buy him love or happiness. Despondent and feeling like his life is in a downward spiral, he comes to realize he needs some professional help. Despite trepidations, Sam turns to Jason Parker, a social worker who at his heart, is a rescuer. Even though Sam had been so hateful towards him in the past, Jason can’t help but think Sam deserves to suffer. Jason tells Sam straight out, “You’re a spoiled brat without a shred of humility!”
Jason has deep concerns about helping Sam, but might be willing, if Sam volunteers at a soup kitchen. Grudgingly, Sam accepts Jason’s condition, and while performing his volunteer work, meets the flirtatious Noah Wagner. Noah is close in age, attractive, and Sam likes the way he feels whenever he’s around him. Noah is the first person Sam has known who is profoundly deaf. So, how is Sam to navigate a romantic interest with a man who can’t hear a word he says?
Surrounded by Silence, a Contemporary Gay Male Romance, is a sequel to Mr. Huffbind’s debut novel, The Rescuer. However, this book can be read as a stand-alone. If you enjoy a story where the villain becomes the hero, you will love Surrounded by Silence.
Book Title: Surrounded by Silence
Author: Eric Huffbind
Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind
Release Date: October 14, 2020
Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance
Trope/s: Billionaires, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Divorce, Middle Age
Themes: Learning what it means to be selfless rather than selfish.
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 71 000 words/259 pages
This is a sequel to The Rescuer, but can be read as a stand-alone.
Do you use images to develop your character’s looks? As a matter of fact, I do, but not entirely. I have a vague vision in my head as to what I want based on the character’s age. Considering age, I search for photos of male models who fit the image I have in my head. Then I can use those pictures to help refine the details of the physical description based on what the cover model actually looks like.
Are your characters based on people you know? Most definitely! In both my first book, The Rescuer, and this book, Surrounded by Silence, Jason Parker, is based on me. I’m a retired RN, and I have always thought of myself as a rescuer. As Jason discovered in The Rescuer, trying to mix being a rescuer with romance often ends badly. With the man I fell in love with and married, there was definitely no rescuing required.
Do you use your experiences in your books? Absolutely! I constantly pull from real life experiences to fuel the plot of my story. It’s like the old adage they tell authors. “Write what you know.”
Do you ever get writer’s block? God yes! I feel this is the huge downside I find myself in, because I am a pantser rather than a plotter. You look at your manuscript and you see you have only written 35,000 words, yet you’re looking for 70,000 words. I need to come up with a lot more plot. This can result in a huge writer’s block, because I have no idea where I want the story to go. I have had writer’s blocks for as much as 3 weeks before I’m struck with an epiphany.
What do you think makes a good story? That’s a good question, but somewhat challenging. It’s like asking me what makes my favorite ice cream flavor peanut butter chocolate chip. I suppose two minimal requirements must be present. Firstly, the plot has to be easy to follow. I don’t want to need to constantly go back and reread passages to process what I just read. Secondly, for the big reason many readers enjoy the Romance genre, I want a ‘Happily ever after.’
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author? Occasionally, I will receive an email from a new fan who has been profoundly touched in some way by my book. That is quite gratifying.
What do you do when you’re not writing? I typically work a full time job as a Travel Agent, but with the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, I am currently on a 3-month furlough. The virus has had a devastating impact on the travel industry with sales that have fallen off a cliff.
Do you like music or silence when your write? Most definitely silence
Coming through the front door of their apartment, Jason called out, “Honey, I’m home. Where are you?”
Poking his head out, Christopher announced, “I’m in the kitchen making dinner.”
Strolling into the kitchen, Jason gave Christopher a kiss, and asked, “How was work today?”
“Oh, it was okay, same old same old. Not particularly exciting. How about you?”
Jason took a small step backwards and began rubbing his eyebrows. “Well, an old friend of yours came to see me today, without any forewarning, of course!”
“An old friend of mine? I can’t imagine what old friend of mine would come to see you.”
“I’m being facetious,” Jason said. “Calling this man a friend is a bit of a stretch, and he’s someone I wasn’t happy to see.”
Christopher’s eyes narrowed as he squinted. “Please, tell me it wasn’t Sam Barron?”
“I’d be happy to tell you it wasn’t Sam Barron… but I would be lying. Yes, it was Sam. Admittedly, I was floored! And as you can imagine, especially since he showed up unannounced, I was less than ecstatic to see him.”
“As you might suspect, I was a bit miffed. Not trying to change the subject, but something smells awfully good. What’s for dinner?”
“Just a frozen entrée of lasagna. Don’t get too excited, but it’s your favorite brand. So, go on, why did Sam show up at your office?”
Jason took a seat at the small dinette table. “As hard as you might find this to believe, he came seeking my professional help. As far as I can gather, ever since all the bad press in the media hit the airways, he’s fallen into a deep depression. Perhaps, a deep depression isn’t the best choice of words. Significant emotional distress is more accurate. Complains of loneliness and being guilt-ridden.”
Christopher said sharply, “And why should you care if he’s guilt-ridden? He deserves to feel guilt-ridden!”
“You’re not going to get an argument from me. Still… I felt bad for him. It was as if he was pleading for forgiveness, and begging for my help. He says he wants to become a better person. The guy was crying. Sounded desperate.”
“Christopher responded, “It sounds like he needs a psychologist, not a social worker.”
“Exactly! That’s what I told him, but he insisted he wants me.”
“No offense, but why does he want your help?”
“You know Sam,” Jason answered. “He always wants the best. In his mind, I’m the best. In addition, I’m gay, which is especially important to him, and I get that.”
Christopher started shaking his head in utter disbelief. “Wait now! Wait just a minute here! After the way that man treated you! And treated me for that matter! He has the gall to come and ask you for help!”
“He said he was a nervous wreck coming to see me! He knew damn well I wasn’t going to be happy having him show up on my doorstep. The thing is, honey, I felt bad for him, and believe me, I hear myself saying this, and yet, I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth.”
Christopher crossed his arms against his chest. “Let me guess! Your inner rescuer kicked in.”
Jason nodded his agreement of his husband’s quick and accurate assessment.
Jason waved his hand in a gesture to encourage Christopher to sit down with him. He pushed the chair away from the table giving Christopher easier access to sit.
“He saw how much I helped you. So, he trusts me. That’s why he wants my help. You’re right, of course, my inner rescuer did kick in. I told him I had to speak with you, and I would only help him if you granted me permission to. I wasn’t going to do it without your consent. The guy looks pitiful. He said I could name my price! He even offered to pay me five hundred dollars an hour. Mind you, not during my regular working hours. He knows this is something that must take place outside the realm of my job. He was willing to come here, or I could go to his home. Tell me, what do you think? How do you feel about it? Would you be okay if I worked with him? Trust me, I have my own reservations, and… I can’t lie, the money does sound appealing. I’m not a licensed therapist, but what I do isn’t such a stretch from what a psychologist would do. So, I’m asking, would you be comfortable with this?”
Christopher asked, “The question you should be asking yourself is, how do you feel about it?” Although, I must admit, I know that man. If he wants you bad enough, he’ll pay you whatever price you want. Ever since you sold your condominium and decided to live in my apartment, you’ve wanted to buy a house for us. Remember the model home we saw? The one built by Kirkland Home Builders. That money could help a lot towards a down payment. It’s just so ironic! This is the same man who sent you into a panic attack, and now he comes crawling to you for help. Although, I know what you’re talking about. There’s a side of Sam Barron he doesn’t let people see. I’ll be okay with it—if you’re okay with it.”
Eric Huffbind is a man of many talents. Over the course of his lifetime, he has worked as a Registered Nurse, a Travel Agent, and an Uber driver. He characterizes himself as a hopeless romantic and is the eternal social butterfly. Among his passionate interests are history, genealogy, romance books, and travel.
Although his novels focus on the romantic relationship of two gay men, regardless of your sexual orientation, his stories are meant to rekindle the spirit and euphoria of falling in love.
Eric is a lifelong resident of Southwest Ohio. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he currently resides in West Chester, Ohio with his husband Paul and their Pomeranian, Linus.
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