Murphy and Sarge are recovering from their last mission, but the alien war still rages on. Murphy is in good health and good spirits with the addition of some new bionic hardware. There is now a new mission, always a new mission, which drops the men into extreme conditions and extreme danger. The difference this time is the developing relationship between Sarge and Murphy. While their D/s dynamic is still fully intact and still fulfilling both of their needs, Sarge may just have a soft spot for Murphy and a heart underneath that gruff exterior.
Of course Sarge doesn’t want anyone to see that he may have an emotion or two and he tries to remain focused on the top-secret mission the squad is assigned to. Focus becomes harder when he fears Murphy is holding something back and what remains to be uncovered on the mission could be part danger and part disillusionment.
Another fantastic work by Bey Deckard and equal time must be devoted to discussing the story line, characters, and the words themselves. The story picks up shortly after the devastation of their last mission in Sarge. The book is written in first person, present tense that is spectacularly executed. The author crafts the story so we are looking out at the world alternately through the eyes of both Sarge and Murphy and we know what they know and see what they see.
Murphy is sure and steady when it comes to his feelings for Sarge. It’s Sarge that is becoming blindsided by his feelings for Murphy. There is a constant internal push and pull as Sarge struggles on how much he wants to let Murphy in. On the outside, Sarge is emotionally impaired and a product of his military environment, but we don’t only see him from the outside. It is entertaining to watch his emotional range as Murphy keeps encroaching on his heart and there is unexpected humor rounding out their interactions.
The language, especially for Sarge, is appropriately gruff and it cuts right through to the core of the characters. The narrative is bare and stripped down while fully conveying every movement needed to fully bring the characters, as well as the setting, into full living color as Deckard creates three dimensional characters one brilliant word at a time. I found my eyes retracing phrases as I was reading as the language is perfectly chosen and offers the characters every single thing they need.
There is well placed action as the men continue to address a war where they may not even be sure what they are still fighting for. There are moments of mystery and suspense all delicately woven together with emotion as they live their own brand of a love story. The intimate scenes are erotically kinky, yet incredibly sensual as the men have a complicated relationship with specific needs. Deckard is able to show how Sarge and Murphy have a powerful relationship that is amazingly realized through a concise and flawless narrative that illuminates the essence of both characters.
There are many areas that could be focused on separately, the kink, the raw need, the action, or a hardened heart being cracked open and slowly thawed. But, all of these areas complement each other with the focal point being the depth of character development as the layers of the characters are built up and exposed. There are also playful acronyms to be found and threads that are opened up for a continuing storyline.
Deckard’s writing gets into your brain and lingers well after the last word and Murphy is another remarkable addition to the literary arsenal of this gifted and talented writer.