Mark Cooper versus America
Title : Mark Cooper versus America
Author : Lisa Henry & JA Rock
Publisher : Loose Id (BUY IT HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary, BDSM/kink
Length : 252 pages
Published : January 28, 2014
Rating : ★★★★
B L U R B :
Mark Cooper is angry, homesick, and about to take his stepdad’s dubious advice and rush Prescott College’s biggest party fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi. Greek life is as foreign to Aussie transplant Mark as Pennsylvania’s snowstorms and bear sightings. So, when the fraternity extends Mark a bid, Mark vows to get himself kicked out by the end of pledge period. But then he’s drawn into Alpha Delt’s feud with a neighboring fraternity.
Studious Deacon Holt is disappointed to learn Mark’s pledging Alpha Delt, his fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa’s sworn enemy. Mark is too beautiful for Deacon to pass up an invitation for sex, but beyond sex, Deacon’s not sure. He wants a relationship, but a difficult family situation prevents him from pursuing anything beyond his studies.
Mark and Deacon’s affair heats up as the war between their fraternities escalates. They explore kinks they didn’t know they had while keeping their liaison a secret from their brothers. But what Romeo and Juliet didn’t teach these star-crossed lovers is how to move beyond sex and into a place where they share more than a bed. That’s something they’ll have to figure out on their own—if the friction between their houses, and between Mark and America, doesn’t tear them apart.
R E V I E W :
Mark Cooper is pretty pissed off. America is the worst place ever. Back home in Australia he’d be able to get a drink for his 18th birthday. But no, Mark finds himself stuck in the one place in the world where the legal drinking age is 21. And he finds himself alone. Mark is pissed off and alone on his 18th birthday and he can’t even drink his problems away. Deacon Holt sees the very angry young Mark at the bar and serves him coke for his birthday. The kid is good looking and maybe interested and so angry and lonely. And he’s rushing the Alpha Delta fraternity. Deacon doesn’t really like or respect the Alpha Delts. They’re the quintessential drunken party fraternity that gives all fraternities a bad name. Mark doesn’t really want to rush Alpha Delta and does his best to be a jerk and ensure he won’t be chosen to pledge. He’s only doing it to please his stepfather, Jim. Deacon has problems of his own. He’s working his way through school as a bartender and going home every weekend to deal with a mother who has severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When a drunk Mark shows up at Deacon’s bar wearing an Alpha Delta pledge pin, Deacon again gives him coke to drink and decides to throw caution to the wind. After a back alley tryst the guys exchange phone numbers. Deacon later finds himself attending an Alpha Delta party. This is a bit of a problem as Deacon is actually a member of Phi Sigma, the sworn enemy of Alpha Delta. Deacon attends as Zorro. The pledges are forced to attend the party dressed as French maids. This is a problem for one of the pledges. The Alpha Delta behavior toward their pledges goes beyond good natured teasing and enters hazing. One of the brothers, Bengal, is particularly horrible toward the pledges. Mark immediately goes about doing his best to be a thorn in Bengal’s side.
Mark and Deacon begin to jokingly refer to each other as Romeo and Juliet. They continue to see each other despite the hatred of each other’s houses, which is blossoming into an all out war, and are finding they are a little bit kinky. More than just discovering his personal kinks, Mark is discovering America is not a frozen hell on earth. Yes, it’s certainly cold and there is no beach in Pennsylvania, but Mark is beginning to realize he does have friends. And he’s beginning to realize he has a boyfriend. A boyfriend he can turn to when he’s upset. Mark isn’t very good at turning to people when he’s upset. Mark also realizes he wants to be the person Deacon turns to. As a couple, they continue to explore their sexual fantasies, even when it doesn’t work out magically the first time. As far as their fraternities go, they have to share space at their winter formal dance after their rivalry catches the eye of the campus police. After pissing off Bengal a few too many times, Bengal stops inviting Mark to the pledge activities. At first Mark thinks this is great! They were stupid anyway, so why would he have wanted to go to them? It’s not until Mark learns Bengal’s master plan and admits his feelings and problems to his friends that a showdown occurs.
So, I’m like Mark. When I notice I share a trait with a fictional character it’s never something good. I find myself yelling at the character to stop because it’s not going to end well. It never does! It always goes bad when I do it. Mark was willing to endure more than anyone to prove his point. This is not a successful tactic to deal with a difficult situation. Mark was determined that everyone around him would be more miserable in his misery than he was. Yeah, that was a great way to punish people he didn’t like, but Mark was still miserable at the end of the day. That’s a life fail. Eventually, Mark realized just telling the truth gets you what you want. Probably because I was yelling at him so much. Once Mark came to the realization his life wasn’t going to magically revert to how it was back in Australia before his mom remarried he was able to take the steps needed to make his life what he wanted it to become. Mark never gave up his angry bravado that he used to hide his fears, but he found there were times to be honest with himself and others so he could get what he wanted and needed in life.
The personal growth both guys experienced in this book was believable and wonderful to read. I almost felt privileged to be reading the start of adult decisions and life skills. Whereas there were a lot of positive changes in both guys, there was one thing in particular I wish Mark had realized was a foolish choice. One of the main reasons Mark continued with the Alpha Deltas was to give his friend Brandon a person to commiserate with. Mark wanted to protect Brandon and that was commendable. Mark would have been better served by going to the dean to complain about the hazing than suffering and enduring Bengal’s antics along side Brandon. Yes, I did enjoy the resolution to the problem, but I was annoyed Mark didn’t realize being a witness to the abuse was not enough. Maybe Brandon would have gotten out sooner had someone else had the courage to say no first. In addition to that I thought the first third of this book was deathly dull. I had no trouble at all putting it down. I understand we need to be told the backstory of both characters to understand and see their personal growth in a coming of age story, but it was boring. So very boring for me. I had no trouble putting the book down and walking away from it until suddenly it was great and I couldn’t put it down. When you pick this up to read it, and I really think you should, trust me it gets much better and becomes so very worth your time.
Rated 4 stars by Faye
I want to read this sooo badly! Just waiting for my next book budget to roll over. 🙂 Thanks for the review!
I enjoyed this one but didn’t love it the way I have most of Lisa Henry’s other work. It was a very enjoyable read though.
I felt there was too much school/college/whatever stuff – it was all greek to me 😛
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