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.
Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited
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.
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.”
“Dear God, almighty! What in the hell did he come to see you about?”
“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.”
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
My home is in West Chester, Ohio. It’s in the southwest corner of the state, and is a suburb of Cincinnati. I have been with my husband Paul for 16 years, and legally married since January of 2013. As much as I wish I could simply write fiction all the time, with the need of income and health insurance, I have been working full time as a travel agent. Unfortunately, due to the current Covid-19 crisis, I was recently placed on furlough and praying I will be able to return to work some time in 2021. I have a 25-year-old autistic son who lives in a nearby group home. Plus, we have a 12-year-old Pomeranian dog who goes by the name, Linus.
I write Contemporary Gay Male Romance. This is the book genre I most enjoy reading, and, consequently, gives me the best emotional, feel-good high. They always say write what you love! So, to me, there is no other genre I would ever wish to write in.
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
At its heart, Surrounded by Silence tells a love story of a billionaire, who historically has been selfish and spoiled, falling in love with a gentleman from the deaf community.
Inspiration for my stories has always been from real life. I have distant cousins who are deaf. My mother had a female first cousin, who married a man who was deaf. And from that marriage there have been a fair number of descendants who are deaf, as the cause for this deafness is genetic. Most of these extended deaf family members have married individuals who were hearing. So, the concept of this story had its roots from real life.
Let’s just say, I had a little bit of knowledge about the deaf community, and how some of their attitudes shape what motivates them. My husband and I were out to breakfast with another couple, and our friend Linda said, “Why don’t you write a story that involves a main character from the deaf community?” That was all it took for my inspiration for Surrounded by Silence.
With respect to what is my favorite aspect of the story, I would have to say it is the relationship between Sam Barron and Oliver Benbrook. Oliver is a 17-year old who comes into Sam’s life after he had been severely rejected by his parents. Sam, after learning of Oliver’s homelife situation, is willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect Oliver and to make certain that he receives the kind of love and nurturing Sam wishes he’d had with his own father.
As to my favorite character, that’s a tough question because I have a certain fondness for all of them. But I would have to say my favorite is Sam Barron. I love him because he wants so badly to make amends to people he has wronged. He is consumed by the desire to become a better person than the spoiled brat he has been historically. And although he is being tasked to do things he does not want to take part in, he forces himself to keep at it in his effort to feel like a whole person. I love to see how he grows as a human being.
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
I am most definitely a pantser! Lord knows I have tried to become a plotter, figuring it would help me to write the book more quickly. I’ve read books on how to convert from being a pantser to a plotter. However, regardless of my efforts trying to plot out the entire novel upfront, those attempts have been met with complete failure. I just don’t feel that my brain functions in that way.
I start with a character that is flawed in some aspect. When I begin writing, I know where I want that character to start, and I know how I want that character to end up. As to how I will accomplish my character’s goals is something that has to organically unfold in my head. I often have a small basket of scenes in my imagination I would like to see during the course of the novel. And I will pull from the basket as I pants my way along.
Is there a downside to being a pantser? You better believe there is! At times during my writing, I will slam against a brick wall as to what I am going to do with my characters. Perhaps I have written 30,000 words and think, “I need a whole lot more story than this before I can conclude my book.” I have found myself stuck brainstorming 2 – 3 weeks before a good idea comes to me. That would frustrate me to no end, but now I just relax and wait for an epiphany to hit me.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
Without a doubt, the hardest part of writing this book was the ground level research for the development of credible story lines. Yes, I had some knowledge of the deaf community, and even have a friend who is both deaf and gay. Still, my knowledge was not sufficient. I have no skill in the use of sign language. Now, my friend Harold, who belongs to both the deaf and gay communities, lives in California, but is originally from Ohio where I reside. When we are together, it is challenging, since I have no American Sign Language to access, but nevertheless, my husband and I manage. I wanted to have a clear knowledge base of what it’s like for someone in the hearing community to fall in love with someone from the deaf community. How does one cope and deal with initial communication barriers?
Additionally, I desperately needed an understanding of the inner workings of child welfare and protection laws. I had zero knowledge in this area. Thank heavens for the power of Facebook. From a single post, I met my dear friend Amy, who has a wealth of knowledge.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
That’s a tough question. I would say Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip from Graeter’s Ice Cream. It’s a Cincinnati based Ice Cream maker whose business began in 1870. Quality is amazing!
If you could time-travel, where would you go and when? Now that is an easy question! I would time travel to Eastern Europe, namely Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and Romania. Would like to go to the year 1880. Of course, you are asking yourself, why those countries and why that period in time. Because I would love to meet my ancestors who all came from that part of the world.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
If I had my picks, it would be Bradley Cooper.
About the Author
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.
Social Media Links
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win
a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card