Reviewed by Carissa
TITLE: Good Boy
SERIES: Theta Alpha Gamma #4
AUTHOR: Anne Tenino
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 77 pages
BLURB: Brad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.
Other than that, everything’s awesome.
All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.
Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.
Once again we dip back into the world of Theta Alpha Gamma with this fourth installment in the series. Bradley and Sebastian, of Frat Boy and Toppy fame, have been living in loving bliss since Bradley came out and Sebastian declared his love. Well, maybe not bliss. But they do love each other, and while living together has certainly created friction–and not all of it good–no one is looking for an escape hatch just yet. Except Bradley has had a nagging feeling that something is missing: a missed connection between what was unsaid and what needs to be said between the two. And after months of trying to ignore the problem, of hoping that the house of cards they have built is held together with duct-tape and not just sex-hoarse prayers, the arrival of Collin at their door pushes Sebastian up to his breaking point and Brad past his. Now it is up to them both to lay their souls bare, ‘cause life will be looking far from happy if neither of them can find the words to bind them ever-after.
Picking up Good Boy was like a quick, but heart pounding, visit back into the world of my favorite frat-boys. And sadly, while this story lacked the majority of the Theta Alpha Gamma House, there was plenty of Sebastian and Brad to get my fill of. And what wonderful flavors they came in, too. From hot and spicy bedroom play, to sweet and sultry blindfolded promises, there was a little something for everyone. Even if that something was the sour taste, much like an over-lemoned lemonade, of long held (not-so) secret grudges. The abundance of flavors should have clashed something horrible, but instead they all fit together to make a truly interesting and exciting story.
After the end of Frat Boy and Toppy I couldn’t shake the feeling that we hadn’t seen the last of Brad and Sebastian, and while we got glimpses of them in Love, Hypothetically and Sweet Young Thing–which, incidentally, happens chronologically alongside Good Boy–it just didn’t feel like enough. Something was missing from their story–and as we come to find out in Good Boy, something was missing from their lives as well. Well, not missing…it’s more like it was floating out there in the ether where both of them could feel, but neither wished to acknowledge. But Brad comes to realize that even if Sebastian doesn’t want to acknowledge it, Brad needs to hear it. And that, my friends, is when things get interesting.
Frat Boy and Toppy had chemistry…but Sebastian and his boy have a nuclear-meltdown level of heat. I am a fan of BDSM in my stories, loving the play and dynamics that come into effect when Doms and subs unite. And while we got hints of this in FB&T, it wasn’t something that was overly talked about, or hashed out–which leads, in part, to the conflict in Good Boy. In this story, it has to be talked about, or else the relationship could very well crumble beneath their feet. But when the talking is done, and the clothes come off, these two burn up the pages.
Part of what makes this relationship so incendiary is that you get the sense that you are reading about two people who are a Dom and sub. Not two people playing at the roles. It is who they are, and when they finally openly acknowledge that part of their relationship, it is freeing and consuming at the same time. Bradley’s inner conflict and resolve within himself about his sub tendencies was so well written that I had no problem believing that when he was at Sebastian’s feet, it was the only place he ever wanted to be. And Sebastian grows so much in this story (he starts off as a complete ass, so up really was the only way to go), and learns just what he needs from Bradley–and what he needs to give to his boy, in order for him to be happy with himself.
I do think that in order to fully enjoy this story that you need to have read FB&T (the others in the series are optional to understanding the plot, though well worth the read on their own merits). Will the story be understandable without having read FB&T? Probably. But I very much doubt it will be as fun or filling. There is just so much of the meat of the relationship–and the issues that pepper it–in FB&T, that to skip it would be like gorging on a steak without even pausing to taste the smoky, barbecued flavor on your tongue. Sure you will get the occasional sweet lick of perfectly cooked meat over your taste buds, but flashes of flavor is nothing compared to the feel of sweet juicy meat running along your lips, over your tongue and bursting fully into all of your mouth.
While I would have quite happily read another hundred pages about these two, and how they are now going to live in this relationship that they have worked out, I don’t feel like we got short changed by the length of the story. I think the story needed to give some closure to their relationship, and allow us to see the beginnings of their happily-ever-after. And after it did that, I liked that it ended (even if I did want to set up camp in their bedroom and then sit and drool over the pair for a bit longer). This story served as a bookend to Sebastian and Bradley’s story. At least for us. For now.
As for what is next, I can only hope that Tenino has her sights set on Toby. My only request is that we get more of those lovely, if somewhat beer-logged, frat-boys from Theta Alpha Gamma. I just love them–and if you don’t know why, I suggest you take a gander at Sweet Young Thing.
I recommend you read this book if you want to know just what happened to our Toppy and his Good Boy, or if you just feel the need to nuke your e-reader with highly restrained passion. And if you feel the need to go back and reread the whole series again after you have hit that final page…well you won’t be the only one.
Carissa rates it –
BUY LINKS: Riptide Publishing
Carissa is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
To read all her reviews, click the link: CARISSA’S REVIEWS