Title : Beyond Duty
Author : SJD Peterson
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary, BDSM/Kink
Length : 214 pages (e-book)
Published : August 2, 2013
Rating : ★★★★
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. 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.
In SJD Peterson’s Beyond Duty, Gunny Duchesne and Mac Jones have been in a long-term stable relationship under everyone’s noses for years. Being career military they’ve had to hide themselves and just be best friends to the world around them. Right about the time they’re set to retire the US government repeals the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy responsible for the discharge of so many gay and lesbian servicemen. Both Gunny and Mac realize they will have no convenient excuse for being with each other. They’ve both fallen completely in love with the other and simply failed to mention it. If they aren’t forced to be with the other for convenience will they still be together? Thankfully that gets resolved quickly. Both men admit they are deeply in love and wish to stay together long past the end of their military careers. They just have to make it the two months til retirement and the end of DADT. Mac has a plan to both retire and come out to the military at the same time. Gunny is terrified. Once he understands Mac’s desire to show it’s possible to both be a Marine and a gay man by showcasing their long and distinguished careers he finds the will to go along with Mac’s plan.
Both Mac and Gunny realize they need to tell their families before the retirement ceremony. Mac’s family is first. Mac and Gunny travel to Mac’s family home. Gunny is worried. He’s convinced everything that can go wrong will go wrong. More than anything Mac is worried his good for nothing, drug addicted brother is going to be there. Most of the trip goes really well. Mac is able to tell his mother the true romantic and loving nature of his and Gunny’s relationship. She was already aware of it. The whole trip goes to crap when Mac’s brother shows up. Amidst malicious accusations of homosexuality violence breaks out. Mac’s father asks Mac and Gunny to leave. Mac is heartbroken. The resolution that finally comes with his father is a great comfort. Gunny’s family is much less demonstrative. Actually, they’re rather cold toward Gunny. He has very little communication with them. He refuses to tell them he’s gay over the phone, so he writes them a letter. They do not show up at his retirement ceremony. The retirement ceremony goes off smoothly. Yes, there will be issues with haters and homophobes for Mac and Gunny as well as the men and women who remain active military and come out of the closet but there will also be acceptance.
The sex in this book was fantastic. For the most part I don’t like that to be one of the criteria for which I judge a book, but damn! The depiction of a long-term loving relationship as sexy was refreshing. Yes, we are told in books about a couple who love each other and still make each other late for work. Those books are frequently about a new couple and the long-term couple is what they aspire to be. I loved reading about a couple of guys who simply couldn’t keep their hands off each other after twenty years.
The resolution that Mac and Gunny would be a stable and long-term couple was very fast in this book. The plot didn’t revolve around Mac and Gunny becoming a couple. This book was Mac and Gunny against the world. That doesn’t strike me as the typical romance plot of a couple coming together and cementing their relationship. The book certainly had tension with Mac and Gunny being in the midst of navigating the murky waters of changing laws, careers, and family dynamics, but I never found myself fearful for the relationship itself. It was more a snapshot of the long and happy life of two men. I’m actually not at all sure how I feel about that. This book could have been a hell of angst, and I’m quite thankful it wasn’t. One thing is certain, it was a coming out of the closet story that didn’t at all upset me with cliché after cliché. Again, I’m thankful. I would definitely recommend this to any fan of SJD Peterson or to anyone interested in a sexy read that won’t have you yelling at the characters because of their own stupidity or obstinance.
Rated 4 stars by Faye