Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!
When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.
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For Mike and Will, “No Flag” meant “come home alive”, but will their love survive what happens next? Captain Mike Kelley does not ignore his intuition, so when sexy bartender Will Hayes captures his heart, Mike embarks on a mission to win him over to a Domestic Discipline relationship. Will accepts with one caveat: Mike must promise not to renew his Army contract. Mike agrees, and they spend a year building a life together, getting married, and starting a business.
Only days before their café’s grand opening, Mike receives news that threatens everything he and Will have built. The Army invokes the Stop Loss military policy to involuntarily extend his commission and send him back overseas. Will, left alone to cope with the café, must rely on the support of old friends who may be no longer be trustworthy. Through emails and Skype calls, Mike and Will keep their love and structure alive…until the day a horrific terrorist attack occurs on Mike’s outpost. Mike awakens in a hospital with a devastating injury and no his memory of the attack. As the only survivor, Mike’s memory may be the key to national security.
Mike struggles to cope with his injury and Will struggles to support the man who always held him up. Both fear they have lost their previous relationship. Will has Mike back rather than a folded flag, but in the aftermath of war, can they rebuild the life they had before? Especially when those closest to them may not have their best interests at heart?
*Contains BDSM elements in the context of a loving relationship.*
So what did I think?
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book and the overall story of Mike and Will. It follows a really interesting journey as the two men embark on a relationship that is littered with hurdles. There was an emotional element to the story in which lots happens, and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next.
The blurb (surprisingly?) gives away a lot of the plot - Mike and Will start a relationship in which Will accepts the rules of their partnership so long as Mike promises not to be redeployed. Things don't go according to plan, Mike is sent back to the war zone, friends undermine Will's relationship by questioning the terms of this relationship with Mike and doubting Mike's fidelity and finally Mike suffers a terrible injury which threatens the very nature of their relationship. There is definitely heaps going on!
On the positive side I liked both characters. Mike is so honest and caring and Will shows the depth of his love when he cares for Mike on his return from hospital. I struggled at the beginning to imagine the men together, finding Mike's OCD a bit over the top and Will's acceptance of it just a bit too easy, but by the end of the book they were wonderful together. I loved the concept of 'no flag' and the inscription Will arranged for Mike's wedding ring. Ending their calls with 'no flag' was such a lovely romantic symbol of love and promise.
I liked the fast pace. I liked the tension and the drama. The bombing and the government involvement made for an interesting story (but you've got to be concerned that the military couldn't solve the mystery of who were the bombers without Mike's help!)
So what were the short comings in my opinion? Firstly, I actually missed how Mike and Will got to the place where they were negotiating a domestic discipline relationship. I understood Mike with his OCD and need for order and control but didn't feel as sold on Will's submissive tendencies. It all just seemed a bit rushed. And when they finally had sex, I couldn't understand the reasoning for Mike's bottoming on their first encounter. I just found it a bit too confusing. Secondly, I didn't really get the story line involving the psycho friend and why they behaved that way. From the sounds of both comments I just made, I think I need to read the book again to see if it gets clearer second time around! :) Finally I disliked some of the sex terminology (I hate the repeated use of the word 'member' and lines like 'squeezing the white juice from their bodies' and didn't find the sex all that sexy. But I wasn't really reading for the sex, more the other interactions between the men.
There were minor editing issues in my copy but nothing that really stood out too much. This is a "liked it and enjoyed it" book. 3.5 stars.
By the way, do any other readers have the same problem I do with chapter headings that are dates? By the time I get to the next chapter with the new date I have no idea what the previous date was so have no idea how long has passed. And since the dates are there I feel knowing this is significant so feel like I'm missing something important (but not so much that I feel the need to flick back and forth in the Kindle).
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
To find out more about Liz Borino and her books visit her website.