Dreamspinner Press, SJD Peterson

A Salute To SJD Peterson’s “Beyond Duty”

“Whether black or white, male or female, active or reserve, gay, bisexual, or straight, we are all Marines. What we share in common goes deeper than any superficial differences.” — SJD Peterson



Beyond Duty the novel started off as Beyond Duty the short story. It was originally written as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” series. Each short story is based on a photo submitted by a reader. The photo for the original short story was of two beary men with tattoos wearing only cammo pants. I kept that photo front and center in my brain while reading the novel version of Beyond Duty. Not just because they are my “type” (which they totally are!) but also because they both perfectly match the characters physically described and how I would imagine them to behave emotionally in the book. They look tough, as though they believe that showing emotion would equal showing weakness.

Beyond Duty is the story of Gunther “Gunny” Duchene and Macalister “Mac” Jones. They are two career Marines and have been lovers for most of their twenty-two years of service. Their retirement from duty comes right as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is officially repealed. They will both finally be free to be gay and to be Marines. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

After living in a relationship with forced lengthy separations and no acknowledgement of it actually being a “relationship”, Mac and Gunny are both apprehensive about how their lives, both individually and as a couple, will change upon DADT’s repeal and their retirement. They realize that they are in love, but don’t know how to define that love outside the confines of the Marines.

With varying degrees of success while coming out to their families, they decide to make a grand gesture of support for all gay and lesbian men and women in the armed forces. In honor of the repeal of DADT, the grand gesture is to be carried out at their public retirement ceremony.

Saying much more would give away too much. I fear I may already have done so. I am a fan of SJD Peterson’s writing. Beyond Duty has reinforced my fan girl status. The sex is hot, made even hotter by the perfect men on the cover and the way they match the physical descriptions of the characters. I find I enjoy picturing scenes from books I am reading more if the men on the cover actually match the characters in the book. This is rarely the case.

The apprehension Mac, but especially Gunny felt about whether living a forever with Mac, was palpable. I wanted to hug that big tough Marine and tell him to just look into Mac’s eyes. He would be able to see that Mac was feeling the same insecurities.

I have heard that the transition from military life can be very difficult on the serviceman and everyone around him or her. In this case, SJD Peterson throws an extra curve into the adjustment. Gunny and Mac, who have been actively serving their country while secretly being lovers for over twenty years, have a bigger hurdle of adjustment to overcome. She presents the hurdle and shows us how gracefully and heroically it can be overcome. Strongly recommended.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Beyond Duty here:

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