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.
©2013 SJD Peterson (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
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"Right in the feels"
Two months prior to his retirement after twenty-two years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Gunny Duchene is floored to see that Obama is about to sign a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Twenty-two years too late for Gunny to be able to be out and proud with the love of his life, fellow Marine, Macalister Jones.
Mac's retiring in two months as well, in fact they're celebrating their retirement ceremony together, and Mac has big plans that have grown bigger with the realization that they will be able to be honest about being together for the first time as they say good-bye to active duty in their beloved Corps.
The story chronicles the emotions both men face about their impending retirement, facing their families about their relationship, and finally facing the Corps that made them the men they are today as a couple. Jonathan Young gives a solid performance with the narration of both the emotional times and the sexy times.
Told especially well from both Gunny and Mac's POV I enjoyed this thoroughly.
This is definitely a solid story featuring an established couple, a lot of very hot sex, quite a bit of quiet romance, and a surprising amount of feels.
"A decent read, not a stand-out for me."
When I saw this book for review in the audio edition, I HAD to try it. I feel like "Beyond Duty" is somewhat of a must read if you like M/M military books. I mean, two career Marines getting together? All that manliness and testosterone?! YUM! And some mild kink never hurt anyone, nuh uh.
Let's get right to it. I'm historically not a fan of established couples, and this book is basically an established couple story. Gunny and Mac have been exclusive for years, and though their relationship title was never established, they were essentially 100% a couple for a very long time. One of the problems that I had with this story was that I found Gunny and Mac's relationship to be a bit... boring. Without the excitement of a new relationship, I struggled a bit to get into the two guys as a couple. However, at the same time, I found their devotion and understanding of one another to be very touching.
Kink-wise, I was pretty "meh". I always like a good power play, but I was a little take it or leave it here. I think it made some of the sex scenes super hot, but there are a LOT of sex scenes in this book, and they began to feel a little rote for me after a time.
The story was an interesting one, and I liked learning about Gunny and Mac's families and their personal issues, as well as the "coming out in the military" plot. Though I found the story to be a little ambitious in terms of the amount of things that it covered, as well as a little slow, I liked it overall and found it to be mostly entertaining.
Now for my review of the audio. The narrator,Jonathan Young, did a decent job of the audio, even though I didn't love his voices for the MCs. They were a little over-exaggerated and growly for my tastes, and not in a particularly sexy way. However, I found him to be easy listening, and I would listen to another book by this narrator again.
I think that if you like established couple stories, military stories, and some light kink, you should certainly check this one out. Though it wasn't a stand-out for me, I can see why it is a favorite of many readers.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
"Great new narrator to voice our fav MM reads!"
Sexy, Emotional, Vibrant
Don't Judge by AE Via. The characters are very similar, two strong alpha male types coming together and finding their own way to co-exist.
Yes I did! Will definitely be looking for more from him.
The conversation Mac has at the breakfast table with his mother, I was weeping!
Gunther Duchene and Macalister Jones have been best friends and friends with benefits for the last twenty something years. With retirement approaching, both men are both elated and depressed with their pending exit from the military. Having not shared the intensity of their feelings for each other, the mutual interest in taking that relationship to the next level, they are both suffering thinking retirement also means losing the benefits part of their friendship.
Within an hour of the book starting Gunny and Mac have a heart to heart and talk to each other, share their feelings and agree to take that next step. (I have to say I was very pleased that there wasn’t that awkward not opening up, angsty, dragging out the way they really feel aspect to this part of the story.) But retirement is a few months away, and DADT has not quite yet been repealed on paper, so the two men have to continue to keep their relationship under wraps for a little while longer. The strain doesn't come from the DADT aspect so much as the fact they've actually been living their lives in secrecy with their family and friends as well. They both fear how their parents especially will react to learning not only are their respective sons gay, but they are lovers as well instead of merely best friends.
This story was so well written and conveyed that I was engaged and intrigued throughout. I loved the way there was this sprinkle of BDSM in the story, whereas Gunny has a kinky side and occasionally, Mac has to be a bit more stern with him than usual. I mean, I've read alpha male storylines before where both men are the archa type, but I don't think I've ever read any type of BDSM where the willing partners are so equally matched. It was a nice surprise. The love and respect that these two men shared was so compelling, that I was completely enamored with them. And the conversation that Mac had with his mom over breakfast completely restored my faith in parents loving unconditionally.
I’ve read Peterson’s work before and I’m always intrigued with her ability to write such strong characters and believable storylines, this was my first audio with Young though. I have to say I was very impressed with his voice, the way he brought Gunny and Mac to life was amazing. There is a couple times where Gunny is really put through the ringer emotionally and Young captured the pain and confusion he was feeling in the tone he chose to use at that time. He really immersed himself into the story completely as well, right down to every moan, groan and sexy little detail. Strong nuances and inflections, I’ll definitely be listening to his work again.
If you are a fan of strong, confident alpha males, military men and love stories with a harder edge then you’ll enjoy this story for sure.
"Such a sweet story with amazing narration!"
The first part of this story is Gunny facing retirement and the possible loss of his “fuck buddy”, another military man forced into hiding by “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. Gunny is afraid that given the opportunity to be out, Mac will find another, younger, better lover – he’s afraid that’s he’s been nothing but convenient all these years.
Fortunately, this concern is rapidly dispelled by Mac, who is not only psyched about the end of DADT, psyched about retirement, but wants to marry Gunny and walk hand in hand with him at their retirement ceremony to show all other closeted gay military men that true, tough, and honored marines can be gay too.
Gunny is excited to be married to the man he’s been in love with for years and together he and Mac wrestle with their new lot in life. Retirement. Coming out to their friends, family and their community. Neither man can predict which of those will be the toughest, but they are at least doing it together.
I LOVED this book and especially adored it on Audio. There is relatively no angst, though plenty of emotion. Both men have huge adjustments to make – not just as retired military, but as a couple living together after years of occasional hook up week-ends. Neither is out to their family and even their community is unaware of their status. It’s a very thorough look at the process and so touching how these tough guys lean on each other in surprisingly sappy ways.
I loved how “handsy” Mac got when drunk and how sweet Mac’s family was when Gunny’s family doesn’t support him.
There is a bit of BDSM, one scene to be precise, but it is not the central focus of the story. I wasn’t bothered by it and BDSM is not my taste.
The narrator, Jonathan Young, does a fantastic job with Mac’s southern drawl and his “mama” is hysterical and wonderful as well. I really thought the audio is the way to go to appreciate this story, Jonathan adds so much to the reading – giving nice emotional impact to the story.
"Awesome, Touching Book"
The life that was brought to each individual character by the distinct voices and inflections.
The retirement ceremony.
I have no listened to Jonathan Young before, but he was amazing. I really enjoyed the way he narrated the book.
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