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The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell didn’t come soon enough for Gunther “Gunny” Duchene and Macalister “Mac” Jones, career US Marines who met at boot camp in the 1990s. They’ve been somewhere between best friends and lovers in peacetime and wartime both, but as the clock ticks toward Mac’s and Gunny’s retirements, the guys have much more to worry about than coming out.
Whether their relationship will survive outside of the closet they’ve had to shove it into for over two decades is a big question mark. After all, Gunny questions why a hot military man like Mac–who could get any guy he wanted, including a younger, sexier one–would want him. But as Gunny and Mac navigate emotional waters as choppy as any they saw on duty, they just might learn Semper Fi applies to more than their careers.
This edition is the expanded novel of the short story Beyond Duty which has been included in this novel. However it has been edited and changed to 3rd person POV.
I happened to pick up a small freebie, which was spurred by a prompt a few years ago, and swiftly fell in love with the little golden nugget of a novella. Then to my gleeful surprise, I found out there was a full story that continued from where the initial story finished. Beyond Duty .5 became Beyond Duty 1.0. Apparently, their story was not done. *happy dance* I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to see what came next. I inhaled it. When I sat down to gush over my review, I stopped in my tracks.
Another team member reviewed this story about 18 months ago. I remember commenting on it, feeling sad for her disappointment. Yet, it got lost in the overwhelming sea of stories…and I completely forgot about it. When a friend doesn’t click with a story, I tend to push it down in the pile. Our time is precious and who wants to waste it on a less than stellar read? Not me. I realized, I need to be more careful and read for me. Because the truth of the matter is…we all process stories differently. What rocks my world isn’t necessarily going to rock yours. What ticks me off may not even faze you. And isn’t that the beauty of books?
Books are beautiful, unique and extraordinary…and personal. Yep, that’s right, I said personal. So please don’t forget this; what works for you might not work for me and vice versa. What we do here, or at least what I do, is ramble about how a book made me feel, what I enjoyed and what I didn’t. You may very well feel differently. That is okay. Honestly, it’s pretty cool. Case in point, Beyond Duty. While Sue missed the love train, I had a front row seat.
Here’s a second look, another perspective on Gunny and Mac’s story.
I tend to seek out love stories that start from the beginning, mainly because I crave the ‘fall’. I can’t think of too many established couples that I adore, but after my time with Gunny and Mac I’m going to look harder for more.
Both marines are nearing their retirement. Twenty-two hard earned years, and they are ready to hang up their BDU’s. Both Gunny and Mac appear to be single to the outside world, but behind closed doors it’s an entirely different matter. They connected immediately when they enlisted as greenhorns and the bond was lock tight.
As they prepare to change paths, the future almost becomes paralyzing. How will they navigate these unknown waters? What will become of their relationship? It may have started hot and heavy and continued out of convenience (or maybe not) but it quickly burned into something more essential. From best friends, with steamy benefits, to partners their relationship is the core of their lives.
The mild and tender BDSM inclusion was fitting for the boys. BDSM is typically not my thang, but I loved its place here. The challenges they face with friends, family, and fellow jarheads are aplenty. The confrontations were handled with class and the ceremony battles for one of my top five all time favorite scenes in any book. I adored how intimate their passion was and holy hell, the sex was HOT.
What was even better was the way they knew one another. They perfected silent communication and expected the others reaction and emotion before it happened. Ohhh, and they were funny too! The comic relief that slowly releases the pressure-cooker of stress from their career choices balanced the tough times. I am acutely aware of how service personnel bear an absurd amount of stress that civilian nine-to-fivers cannot fathom. Stress relief is crucial to hold all the pieces together. *sigh* I absolutely adored a line in reference to that. I strongly believe a solid partner and a firm foundation at home is necessary as well. Gunny and Mac have built their home securely with years of love, trust and fierce passion. Their future is going to be awesome!
Both men were marvelous, the writing was stellar, and their story blew me away. I don’t know if it will hit your buttons, but it sure nailed mine.
Sue – 3 stars
Title: Beyond Duty (Expanded Edition)
Author: S.J.D Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 214 pages
Release Date: August 2, 2013
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner