Rating: 4.8 stars
For Shane Tucker, the Army and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell give him two reasons to leave his small home town in Texas. One, Shane saw the Army as a “great alternative to mucking cow shit and mending fences.”* Two, as a gay 19 year old, DADT was the perfect excuse to stay closeted. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t out, it was the Army’s!
Basic training upends Shane’s world in so many unexpected ways. It’s both brutal and exhilarating. He entered thinking he was in the best shape of his life and BT is telling him he was an idiot. But he is also finding out as the training gets harder that he is good at it, loving the challenges and excelling no matter the obstacles. Until he is assigned a Battle Buddy. Owen Bradford is a six foot 4 inch mountain of muscle, cocky and gorgeous. With Owen as his Battle Buddy, Shane has a whole new set of problems, including temptation 24/7. What’s a guy to do?
I loved this short story on so many levels. One, Shane Tucker is perfect. By that I mean, his voice is perfect for a small town 19 year with his first introduction to a larger world, in this case, the Army. As you hear his thoughts, from his perceived notions of what the Army life would entail then through his introduction to the realities of basic training, you just want to shake your head at his naivete and bone headedness, but it is always with affection. He is just so damn likable. And when the conflicts start when he is assigned Owen as his Battle Buddy, then his insights are priceless.
I will admit to looking up Battle Buddy. I mean here you have two words that to me couldn’t be farther apart. Battle is obvious with its association with war. But Buddy? Images of kindergarten and lunch buddies came immediately to mind. But after some thought, I could see the rationale behind it. Someone to have your back, be constantly at your side at all times. So really not that far removed from kindergarten after all. The author has clearly done her research and it shows throughout the story.
And the story is hot. Sexually, intensely hot. Just as you would expect from two young men in their prime, full of testosterone, brimming with physicality.
The story ends where it should for its length. But there was hope at the end that we might learn more of what the future holds for Shane and Owen in another story. I would love to see them return, especially now that DADT has fallen. But either way, pick up this story. It’s terrific.
Cover: I thought it was a little dark in color. I am a fan of using just a partial face of the models. A great tease and it lets the reader fill in the rest with their imagination. But where is my farm boy, Shane in all of this?
*SJD Peterson (2012-03-12 04:00:00+00:00). Battle Buddy (Kindle Location 52). Silver Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Available: Silver Publishing, Amazon, ARE