Title: Dog Tagged
Author: James Brock
Genre: Contemporary, Military
LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay
Reviewer: Sharonica, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Incidents in Dog Tagged are based on true events.
Drill Instructor Clay Norris has his hands full. Between new recruits and a Senior Drill Sergeant with an attitude, the last thing the young soldier needs is to develop a crush on one of his trainees.
But Private Chevy Banks is an Adonis and sweet as southern bee honey. Young Banks is a natural leader and draws Clay in with his easy manner and warm as the sun smile. A combination that melts the trying-to-be-tough as nails Drill Sergeant.
Clay thinks he has kept his feelings toward the young troop reigned in but finds he has not when the Senior Drill tears the men apart before the desire in their longing glances can be fulfilled. Clay tries to move on, hoping to forget Chevrolet Banks by throwing himself into his career.
Fate (and the U.S. Army) bring the two together for a brief, joyous reunion and the same forces cruelly rip them apart again, each now facing a trauma alone.
Dog Tagged is set post DADT and pre the policy end.
This story offers a glimpse of the life of gay men serving their country who were not afforded the same rights as their heterosexual brothers in arms, with whom they fought side by side.
Dog Tagged by James Brock might be deemed an “insta-love,” but for us old-fashioned folks it is more of a “love at first sight,” kind of thing. Believe it or not there is a difference, especially in romance novels.
In most insta-love it is two sided with lots of fluff, sexy-stuff, and fairy dust…right? Well, in love at first sight, just like in real life, it can be unrequited. Or, can simply remain a love from afar from both parties, due to outside influence or circumstance. Very Shakespearean, but he was the master of writing romance (IMHO).
In James Brock’s story, Drill Sergeant Clay Norris finds himself attracted beyond distraction to one of his recruits, stunning young private, Chevrolet Banks (talk about all-American). DI Norris knows to have these thoughts over the recruit are not only detrimental to his career if anyone were to find out, they seem to wreak havoc on his mind and emotions. Even though “Don’t ask/ Don’t tell,” is in effect this is still the military, and just because you can’t be arrested for such conduct, doesn’t mean it is accepted.
The Story is told from Clay Norris’ POV, and the reader gets a personal tour of Clay’s years in the military. Some years better than others, as he works his way through the ranks, and even does tours in Iraq, where after a couple years, he runs into Chevy Banks once more.
It is in the never ending sea of sand that Clay and Chevy finally have their moment, and both confess to feelings from so long ago. These beautiful people do as many before them have when surrounded by the ugliness of war and death… they take solace in each other’s embrace and dream of a different life.
The story includes tragedy, but it is a story of hope, love, and the power of the human spirit. Even when life knocks a person down, no matter how tragic, as long as that person has breath, that person has hope.
The characters were multi-faceted and I was right there with Clay on his journey. Good pacing and world building. There were some spelling issues, but not enough to detract from the story.I enjoyed the story in all its broken beauty.
I am like totally psyched to be a part of the PRG Family! (said in my best “Valley Girl” teen voice from 1984) I may be fairly new to the world of e-books, and audiobooks, but I am an old school girl so my print library reflects that. My sons call my reading room “The Dragon Lair,” with all the floor to ceiling bookshelves packed with everything from shifter romance novels to books on the Witches’ Goddess Hecate.
I love reading and read my first novel, “The Ring,” by Danielle Steel when I was in the 5th grade. While there were some things I didn’t “get” I completely understood the story as a whole and remember crying at certain times. While my friends read “Little House in the Big Woods,” I fell in love with ROMANCE! Decades later I am older, hopefully wiser, and still in love with romance. These days however my heart is captured by MM Romance, so that’s what I currently love to read and review….
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