Shane and Ben are happily together, partners at work running their gay bar, The Square Peg, as well as partners at home. They have good friends and things are going great, until Shane gets word that his mom has unexpectedly died back in England. Shane left home years ago with a boyfriend who was moving to the States. He left partly for that relationship, and partly due to how horrible things were with his dad. Although Shane has kept in touch with his mom, he didn’t see her regularly, and he is devastated to suddenly have her gone without a chance to say goodbye.
With Ben determined to support him, the two take off for England to make arrangements for the funeral. Shane’s dad is a drunk and a gambler, never holding down a steady job and a drain to the family. Shane knows he will be no help with the funeral, and in fact his dad is going to need a minder if they have any hope of getting through this.
Although the inevitable clash with his dad does happen, Shane has to admit that the man has gotten better. He seems to accept Ben, even as he is still pretty much a homophobe. And as Shane spends more time back at home, he begins to realize how much he misses life in England. He is especially pained at the idea of leaving his father to manage on his own after losing his mom so suddenly. But the guys have a life together back at home, with their bar and their friends and the home they have built. They thought nothing could shake their relationship, but now Shane’s guilt and sorrow may drive a wedge between him and Ben that destroys what they have built together.
The Final Round is the fourth book in Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow’s The Square Peg series. The first book also features Ben and Shane, with different MCs in the second and third books. Now we have come back to these guys for what (based on the title) I’m assuming is the final book in the series. I love Ben and Shane and The Square Peg was my favorite of the series so I was thrilled to get a chance to connect with these guys again in this story.
What I love most about this book is Ben and Shane themselves. The start out the series as enemies, with Ben being left half the bar by his father and Shane, who worked there, being left the other half. So the guys are at odds at the start, and fall in love over the course of the first book. What really shines here is how strong a couple they are, how much in love, and how dedicated to each other they are. Yes, there are times that both the men made me a little nuts with their behavior, but when it comes down to it, these guys place a priority on their relationship and really care about one another. The love just shines through and the focus on their relationship, as well as the connection to their friends, really makes this story work well as the finale to the series.
In addition to the romance end, these guys are super steamy together. I would call their relationship sort of BDSM-light. They don’t identify as a Dom/sub, but there are clear dominant and submissive roles these guys play, as well as lots of kink. It is something the guys never explored until they met, and it develops in the first book and continues here. I loved the interplay between them and they are super sexy. And again, you can see the love and the connection between them through everything.
The authors do a nice job showing us not only Shane’s grief, but also his guilt at having been away for so long. With such a whirlwind trip, it is hard for Shane to really process things and he doesn’t know how to handle the loss of his mother, his relationship with his father, or what should come next. Again, I didn’t always agree with some of his decisions, but I think we can really see how at a loss Shane is and how he is grasping for answers. And I love how Ben is there to help support him and guide him, and we never doubt their love for one another.
So for fans of this series, this book is a must read. If you haven’t started, I would suggest at least reading The Square Peg as it introduces these guys. I found this one to be a great ending to a really enjoyable series and a wonderful opportunity to revisit these characters who I really love.