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Bully & Exit (The Midwest Series, #1)
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Bully & Exit

(The Midwest #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Theater student Caleb Stockwell is ready to leave college behind. Too bad his past isn’t ready to let him go.

With less than a month to go until graduation, Caleb runs into Nathan Rhodes at a house party. Nathan is a star hockey player for Western Michigan University and finally ready to step out of the closet. He’s also the guy who broke Caleb’s heart in high school.

Kindle Edition, 172 pages
Published July 10th 2015 by Two Peninsulas Press
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Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it

3.5 stars


This is a back-to-the-basics new adult story. Meaning we’ve got the well-worn trope of closeted-jock and bullied-theater-geek, the school where stereotypes run rampant, where the fear of getting caught leads to all misunderstandings, and where you hope our mismatched couple can somehow find a way to make it work in the end.

I adore these books.

What makes Bully & Exit a bit different is that it takes place 4 years later. And second-chances love stories are my crack. Yes, ther
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is a really solid young adult second chance college romance with characters who have flaws but who I was rooting for throughout.

I do love me a good second chance romance and this one delivered it up with a little bit of angst but no overly dramatic plot points or dramady.

Both Caleb and Nathan read as their ages, mature but still young enough to not be perfectly assured with their lives and their feelings.

It's not all hearts and flowers and it felt like an honestly expressed exploration
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was my first book by this author. Overall, I'm impressed. I enjoyed the dialogue, the secondary characters and the premise. The flashbacks are perfectly timed to fill the readers in on what exactly happened between Nathan and Caleb back in high school, especially the fateful prom night that was said to be the end of their relationship.

It's an entertaining, enjoyable read but at times I was annoyed with caleb's melodrama and lack of maturity. On the other hand, Nathan is swoon-worthy at eve
Helena Stone
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, m-m, romance
Bully: A call used to start or restart play in ice hockey.

Exit: Stage direction. The action of leaving the stage.

Is any break-up harder to recover from than the very first one? Not for Caleb Stockwell, that’s for sure. Four years after Nathan Rhodes broke his heart, Caleb still isn’t completely over it. And while that isn’t an issue as long as he doesn’t have to spend time around Nathan, it becomes increasingly painful once Nathan re-enters Caleb’s life and insists he wants the opportunity to ma
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: july-2015
This is a story about forgiving. It’s a story that shows us the strength of love. When we were in high school we did stupid things. Even though we thought we knew it all. Nathan and Caleb are living their lives, in college, unable to let go of one gigantic mess that happened in high school. They pretty much coast through 4 years. Study, build for a future. But they aren’t whole. They can’t be until they sit down, and talk.
The flashbacks explain the turmoil they are currently in. We get glimpses
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Timing can be EVERYthing...and I think I missed my window for this story.
I honestly believe I would have really enjoyed it several years ago.
But now? It fell short from my expectations.
I used to be quite a star out stars galore but I've since raised my book bar.
A lovely coming of age, coming out, and a second chance at first love story.
Jock and the drama geek. It's been done before and I have no doubt it'll be done another bazillion times. I just couldn't connect to the guys. An
Aug 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more than I did. I think I needed more together time. There were times when I really felt for Caleb, the prom scene broke my heart and I just cried and cried. Then again there were times when I wanted to punch him in the throat for being a stubborn bastard. I mean, I can see the first couple times of walking away, but repeatedly? If a guy (or girl) wasn't being sincere do you think they'd come back for more rejection over and over again? No!

I really liked Nathan. I liked h
Morgan  Skye
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Caleb and Nate met in their senior year of high school. Caleb wasn’t sure of his sexual orientation, but he knew he was sometimes attracted to guys and girls. Nate was pretty sure he was gay, but was in no way prepared to act upon his desires.

When Caleb catches Nate’s eye, they begin a hidden affair – mostly innocent – that ends in disaster on Prom night.

Now, it’s four years later and though they’ve been at the same university, they’ve not met up again. Until now. It’s one month before graduatio
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Ehhhhhhhh... I wanted to really love this one. Truly. But four years? Come on.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars
Oh Nathan and Caleb! This was a first-time author for me and I enjoyed the writing and pacing of this story. The author did a great job of lining up the past and present chapters to help build the story perfectly. Nathan and Caleb were both easy to like MCs and reading about their past just gave me emotions! They were super sweet with each other and it was lovely to see the young excitement and love between the two of them. Later on, we obviously see the falling out from when they were

Bully - A Call used to start or restart play in ice hockey
Exit - Stage direction. The action of leaving the stage.

Bully and Exit is the 1st book in the Midwest series written by Brigham Vaughn. It's a second chance young adult novel written 4 years after the main characters Caleb and Nathan first get together in high school. As you can maybe guess after the explained terms this book is about a college Hockey player and theater major.

The story jumps from present day (year 2013) to high school dur
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This story is told in a series of flashbacks. Caleb loves the theatre, even in high school, and he was a large part of the production while he acted in plays. During his senior year in high school, Nathan, the popular hockey player, comes to the prop room to talk to Caleb about his performance. They end up kissing and after a few weeks of stolen moments together, Nathan and Caleb agreed to go to prom together. Due to a series of events, Nathan ends up breaking Caleb's heart that night after he a ...more
Federica Lemme
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm-inglese
Caleb and Nathan are two very different people – Nathan is a hockey player whereas Caleb loves theater.
They had a short relationship when they were at school, but it ended very badly. With a few weeks left at College, they meet again. Nathan wants and needs to apologise to Caleb for what he did 4 years earlier.
However, it’s not that easy for Caleb, he has spent the last four years trying to forget and move on, he wants nothing to do with him and certainly doesn’t want to listen to him! But our N
Joyfully Jay
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: michelle
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.25 stars

The author does a good job here with the play on words in the title for both hockey, theater, and the way Caleb and Nathan’s relationship started and ended. Caleb and Nathan are both characters that are easy to warm to right away. Caleb carries hurt and sadness and the cause is slowly revealed throughout the course of the story. He was bullied in high school and for the most part Nathan stood by in silence.

The story is told in flashbacks bringing us from current
QUEERcentric Books
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Jennifer Marcum for QUEERcentric Books

Brigham Vaughn’s Bully & Exit proves how difficult it can be to make amends and how it’s even more challenging to be the one to forgive.

We’ve all been young and dumb and full of... you fill in the blank. But what happens when you make a significant mistake during this period of your life and you’d give anything to take it back?

Bully: A call used to start or restart play in ice hockey

Exit: Stage direction. The action of leaving the stage

It has
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am just going to jump out of the gate by saying this story is amazing and the characters are perfect. Now, I know what you're thinking "perfect? Where is the fun in that?" Well, I guess it depends on your definition of perfect. To me perfect is not about being a "utopian" character it's about having flaws, surviving and flourishing because of those flaws. And that's exactly what Caleb and Nathan have, flaws.

You will definitely hate or at the very least despise high school Nate and you will mos
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, reviewed
Caleb has spent the last four years trying to forget the boy that ripped his heart to shreds in high school. Both boys were closeted, Nathan doing a much better job of hiding than Caleb did. Caleb believed that Nathan loved him and when he betrayed him in the worst possible way, Caleb was devastated.

Four years later Nathan is trying to make amends. To tell Caleb how sorry he is for the things he did. He’s sure if he can get Caleb to listen to him it will make everything right. But for that to ha
Matthew Lee
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I don't know....

I think I left the book feeling super unsatisfied... I mean I liked the idea of the story even if it is one that has been written beforez (but what hasn't lately)

But I just didn't feel the connection and felt like the characters were lacking something. I hated Caleb too. I think nathan at least seemed to come to his senses about life. Caleb even though he was hurt acted like a little child through it all.

Oh well we can't like them all right?
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Ms. Vaughn's books. I have read all her work both here and those serialized online fan fictions also. Her writing is always superb; she is a fabulous storyteller. This first book about Caleb and Nathan is a sweet tale of teenage in the closet first love. Told with both sensitivity and sexiness, it satisfies this reader's thirst on every level.
Adrienne -kocham czytać-
Really well done. Flashbacks to show their youthful first relationship and discovery, leading up to its ending, interspersed with their current journey to forgiveness and another chance.

No sudden declarations/instant forgiveness/etc. These boys had to work a bit for their happy ever after, and that's just the way I like it!
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh I loved this book. It is one of those books you could reread countless and never get tired of.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars! I really enjoyed this! Can't wait for book 2! Fingers crossed for Lowell and Brent!
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great book of young love, betrayal and forgiveness. I enjoyed the main and supporting characters and the story flowed really well from the beginning.
Caleb is a theatre student at Uni and nearing graduation. He's mostly enjoyed his time there until he runs into Nathan at a party and all of the old hurt from high school reemerges. Nathan has been waiting for his chance to apologise to Caleb, building up his courage for that and to finally live life as himself. With support from his bes
Lillian Francis
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book about the pain of first love and the mistakes we all make when immaturity, hormones, and meeting expectations all combine into making bad decisions. It’s also a story of second chances and forgiveness. This story unfolds in the present (aka 2013, as I assume that is when it was written) with intermittent chapters in flashback (to 2009) as the events in the present trigger a character memory. This helps the reader get both characters version of the important events in their previou ...more
Sarita Chapdelaine
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
This is an interesting book with a great storyline but it's just an okay read for me. Nate is wonderful in the present day and all he wants is to prove to Caleb how sorry he is for the way he ended their relationship four years ago and to get him back. I found it odd that they attended the same college for four years and never ran into each other and that it took that long for Nate to get the courage to try to apologize to Caleb. After four years I would expect both of them to be more mature and ...more
Kathryn Manzella
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Four years ago Caleb and Nathan had a moment. But Mathan couldn't come "out" and Caleb'heart was broken. And luckily he never ran into him again.. until now.

College graduation is on the horizon and college hockey star Nathan is done with secrets. He is ready to come "out" and try to reclaim the heart of bisexual theater major Caleb. If only Caleb would hear him out.

Filled with flashbacks to their first romance, we get to see what happened between them as young men exploring first love, hidden i
Heather Rawlins
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Brigham Vaughn’s writing style and always enjoy her books. I loved Bully & Exit and I can’t believe I have had this book for over a year. It was great and I loved Caleb and Nathan. There’s something about keeping secrets and finding a way to come out, they make such good stories and this is no exception. I liked the ‘romancing’ Nathan tried to do with Caleb. I also liked the story going back and forth from high school to now. I look forward to reading more in the Midwest Series and to ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
Bulky & Exit is book number one in the Midwest series by Brigham Vaughn. This is Caleb Stockwell and Nathan Rhodes’ story.

This story was just an okay read for me. Caleb and Nathan have a history and things didn’t end well for them. The story revolves around Nathan trying to apologize to Caleb and Caleb not wanting to hear him out. It also flashing back and forth between the past and the present. I wish the ending was a definitive HEA instead of a hope of a HEA.

FYI, contains mature content. T
Dara Nelson
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-blog
I love a good second chance romance and this one definitely delivered. Nothing feels more than your first love. And nothing hurts more than your first broken heart. That pain can last a lifetime if you let it. But every once in a while, a broken heart can be healed by the one who broke it - if you dare.
Caleb's pain broke my heart, his stubbornness made me mad and his ability to love saved me.
And Nathan - scared, beautiful and stubborn Nathan. I'm so glad he was so determined and strong - he need
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

To be honest I was expecting one of the main characters to be the bully. But both characters are nice guys and the author writes their emotions very well. I could feel the hurt and anger from Caleb in every page. Nathan redeems himself very well and I'm so happy they found their HEA.

It's s really good story of second chances and forgiveness.

I would definitely read more from this author.
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Brigham Vaughn is on 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 fur ...more

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