Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
After selling their BDSM club, Guards of Folsom, Bobby Alcott and Rig Beckworth are in Florida for a little rest and relaxation. When Bobby encounters a young man outside a house on the beach who is clearly terrified and upset, Bobby can’t get the man out of his mind. He saw the man’s collar and his deep fear and despair, and Bobby’s protective side won’t let him ignore it. So along with Rig, Bobby heads over to the house again and again, but the man won’t even answer the door. Until one night they find him drunk, passed out, and accompanied by a suicide note.
Mason Howard recently lost both his Doms in a car accident and is barely holding it together. After 12 years with the men he loved and who cared for him, he can hardly imagine how to go on without them. Mason also suffers from severe social anxiety disorder and panic attacks, making it hard to interact with strangers. And without his Doms to help settle him down, Mason is falling apart. When Bobby and Rig find Mason, they know the young man can’t be left alone without getting him help. They stay with Mason to make sure he is no longer a threat to himself, even calling in a friend who is a therapist to help Mason work through his issues.
The more time the men spend with Mason, the more they grow to care about the sweet and sensitive younger man. He brings out their protective instincts, not just because he has lost his Doms, but because Bobby and Rig lost their sub in an similar way seven years before. A piece of them has been missing, and they have been just starting to look for a new sub who can complete their partnership. And it looks like Mason might just be exactly what they are looking for. But Mason is still healing from his loss, and although he is getting much better, they know he may never be ready to take on Doms again or to enter into another serious relationship. But as the weeks turn into months, Rig and Bobby are falling hard for Mason and want him to be a part of their lives. Regardless of their feelings, however, Bobby and Rig are determined to give Mason the time he needs and follow his lead. They just must hope that one day Mason will want to share a life with them and that the three men can find happiness together.
This is the second book in Peterson’s Guards of Folsom series and it reunites us with Bobby and Rig, who we meet briefly in the first story, Pup. They are two big bearish men, both just about 50, and experienced Doms. While the guys are snarky and pushy with each other, they are also total softies with huge protective streaks. They lost their sub Stephen years before, and still aren’t totally over the pain. But they have slowly started to move on, beginning to play with other subs, and are now finally ready to look for a permanent third again. You really can’t help but love these guys. They are so sweet and loving and doting. Over the course of the story we see so many times how they put their own needs aside to care for Mason. Whether it is caring for him in the immediate aftermath of his suicide attempt, or extending their vacation to stay and help him, or just putting their sexual needs aside to focus on Mason, they are so doting and loving in everything they do. I loved the way they can be so playful and pushy with each other, but at the same time so gentle with Mason.
Mason just tore at my heart strings. Losing his Doms has been an overwhelming experience for him. He was with them for 12 years since he was a young man and can barely imagine going on alone. Especially because he suffers from extreme social anxiety, giving him panic attacks and making it near impossible to leave the house. His Doms were able to not just take care of his needs outside the home, but also to calm him when he started to panic. So we really feel what a loss Mason has suffered and how hard it is for him to imagine being alone. I appreciated how Peterson doesn’t make things too pat and easy with Mason. He gets regular counseling by Bobby and Rig’s friend Max, but it is a slow process of recovery. Even though he leans on Bobby and Rig for support, it is purely emotional support for a long time. We see him slowly come back to life, finding small spots of happiness that begin to grow, but it is not easy. These guys aren’t jumping right into bed together either. In fact, no real sex takes place between anyone until about 50% of the way through the book. Which makes total sense given Mason’s mental state and Bobby and Rig’s determination to be there for him. And even when things do start to progress into a relationship, we still see there is way to go before Mason is totally ready to move on. Again, I appreciated the realism here and the way Peterson balances the relationship development between these three men with the realistic portrayal of Mason’s recovery.
Ok, yes, it is an absurd coincidence that Mason lost his two Doms to a car accident, then just happens to be saved by two Doms who lost their sub to a car accident. So yeah, that is a little pat and perfect. But the book does acknowledge the craziness of this coincidence and how unlikely the scenario. So I still had to suspend my disbelief, but I appreciated that it was all acknowledged.
Although this is a menage story, and a BDSM as well, it is really fairly tame. The story focuses much more on the emotional side of their relationship than the sexual. As I said, nothing physical happens until well into the book, and even then it is moderate (though hot). And it is fairly tame from a BDSM end as well. Although these guys live their Dom and sub roles, Mason isn’t Bobby and Rig’s sub, at least for most of the book. So while they do play a bit toward the end, it is not hard core or intense, which I think makes this book very accessible even if you are not into major BDSM. Again, I think Peterson handles the pacing well here as we see Mason slowly recovering and finding his way with Bobby and Rig, but not jumping right into being a new sub just months after losing his Doms.
So I really liked this one and found it incredibly sweet and lovely. Bobby and Rig are just wonderful caregivers and you can’t help but love them. And watching Mason get better and find his way is very rewarding, especially as we see how he just thrives under Bobby and Rig’s care. I also enjoyed getting to reunite briefly with Tackett, Micah, and some of the other Folsom gang. This is another great installment to the series and I just can’t wait for more.
Cover Review: Shall we just all pause and stare for a moment here? Go on, I’ll give you a few minutes. Sigh. This is just so beautiful. I have been ogling this one for a while since Peterson came and talked about it on the blog when Pup released. Be sure to check that post out if you want more details.