Title : Tag Team
Series : Guards of Folsom, Book 2
Author : SJD Peterson
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary, BDSM
Length : 220 pages (e-book)
Published : October 4, 2013
Rating : ★★★1/2
Following the death of their sub, the former owners of the Guards of Folsom, Robert “Bobby” Alcott and Rig Beckworth, were left to pick up the pieces as best they could. After seven years, these two Doms are ready to move on and find the boy who will complete them. Their painful past comes crashing back when they meet Mason Howard, a submissive who just weeks ago lost his Doms in a car accident.
Reeling from overwhelming grief that’s complicated by a severe social anxiety disorder, Mason can barely leave his home. When Rig and Bobby find him, he’s hit rock bottom, believing life is no longer worth living. Bobby and Rig set out to prove the younger man wrong. Fate has brought the three men together, but they’ll have to face the pain of fear and loss head-on before they can all truly live again.
Mason has lost the two most important people in his life in one fell swoop. To compound the loss, he was unable to give to these men the funerals he felt they deserved and would have wanted. He’s alone with his anxiety disorder and shut into their home. To exacerbate his tension someone keeps coming to knock on his door. Bobby and Rig are on vacation in Florida. Rig kind of forced the vacation on Bobby after they sold their bar, Guards of Folsom. Bobby doesn’t really have a purpose. He’s a caretaker. They lost their sub a few years previously, and now they don’t even have a business to run. Bobby has nothing to anchor his life, Rig has no idea how to help him. Vacation and sex with various boy toys can only provide a temporary distraction. While walking along the beach Bobby sees a young man picking up oranges. Bobby tries to say hello, but the young man runs away in terror and hides in his home. The man did not look alright at all. He wore a collar, looked far too thin, and had sallow skin and large black circles around his eyes. Bobby worries he’s being abused by his Dom. Bobby convinces Rig they need to regularly try and speak to either the young man or his Dom. They knock but never get an answer despite the feeling they’re being watched. Mason is overwhelmed by the people coming to his home over and over. He decides to commit suicide. After making his decision he feels much more calm and carefully plans his own death. He goes outside to sit on the chair he used to share with his Doms and starts drinking with a bottle of pills beside him.
Bobby wakes from a sound sleep with a feeling of urgent need to check on the young man he saw with the oranges. He can’t explain it, but he forces Rig to go with him. They get to the man’s house and find him unconscious with a bottle of booze and bottle of pills. Bobby and Rig are able to determine the young man’s suicide attempt wasn’t fully carried out. They refuse to leave Mason’s side and call in a friend from New York who is a psychiatrist and involved in the D/s lifestyle to counsel Mason and help him with his trauma. Mason improves with time. Rig and Bobby both begin to realize they like Mason a lot. More than just as a friend. Mason is really confused as he knows he likes Rig and Bobby a lot, but his Doms just died. Rig and Bobby extend their vacation and stay in Florida with Mason. He’s never left alone and he continues to stay in contact with the psychiatrist. Eventually, they all admit they’re attracted to each other and begin to have sexual interactions in addition to the friendships they’ve established. Unfortunately, Rig and Bobby have a house and a life up in New York. Mason just isn’t sure if he can live with both his anxiety disorder and a huge city full of people.
Mason’s story was heartbreaking. I easily spent the first quarter of the book in tears. He was so alone. It was plain to see that to him his world ended. Bobby’s obsession with him saved his life. I really felt Rig and Bobby were fantastically developed characters. There were brief glimpses into their life that were so realistic. They would bring up past experiences with pleasure or hurt in ways that were completely realistic. Whereas I liked Bobby a great deal in the beginning of the story, it was Rig who became the hero in my eyes. He had been through so much and was still standing but was finally at a place and with people that allowed him to relax and thaw into a big teddy bear.
The great complaint I have of this book was the healing felt too fast. Yes, I’m aware that is a touch unfair from a psychological perspective. Healing can only be felt internally, and I am unable to judge how someone else feels as I’m not in their head. That didn’t stop me from feeling Bobby transferred his need to care for his business to a need to care for Mason. It also didn’t stop me from feeling Mason simply transferred his need for protection from his old doms to Bobby and Rig. It felt too easy for me. That’s almost a crazy thing to say after the heartbreak of the first part of the book, that I could want more difficulty for these men, but at the same time it was precisely the heartbreak that made me feel it was too easy. Death was a better alternative to being alone for Mason, then Bobby and Rig showed up and he was alive and no longer alone. Anyway, despite what I felt about the timing of the relationship this story was beautiful. Mason was reborn from a failed suicide attempt and found his place on his knees to two very deserving men.
Rated 3.5 stars by Faye