Title & Author: Pup by S.J.D. Peterson
Series: Guards of Folsom (#1)
Release Date: April 19, 2013
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 214 pages
Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
Micah “Pup” Slayde knows he wants Tackett Austin the moment he lays eyes on him in the Guards of Folsom. Micah wants to have purpose, to be taken care of, and to take care of his Dom—wants to trust him completely, live for him, belong to him. To become his everything. Micah is sure Tackett is the one. The problem is, in order to be the perfect sub, he needs to stay focused, and that’s not easy for Micah, who suffers from what he refers to as a “broken brain.” Focus and adult attention deficit disorder rarely coexist.
Ever since Ty Callahan and Blake Henderson’s collaring ceremony, Tackett’s been thinking too much about his own loneliness. Even though Ty introduces Micah and urges Tackett to give him a try, Tackett isn’t so easily convinced. He’s spent his life pursuing a successful business career, and the subs he dominates almost never enjoy the kiss of his leather twice. Twenty years Micah’s senior, Tackett has no interest in taking on and taming such a young and naughty sub—but it’s difficult to resist such an adorable pup when he begs.
I went back and forth a couple of times on how to rate this book.
I mean, did it deserve a full-on 2 smooch rating? *wince* Maybe.
The book started out strong enough; I found myself enjoying Tackett’s gruff, growly, toppy Dom persona a lot in the opening scenes of the book and loved the dynamic that those scenes set up between him and Micah’s much more playful pup persona. This relationship had such potential! Potential to be fun. Potential to be frustrating. Potential to be off-the-charts, thermometre-meltingly HOT. Potential to give me a real warm and fuzzy HEA when they found their balance and their love together.
But as the book progressed, I really, really began to dislike Tackett’s character and the way that he chose to deal with Micah. Micah was a sensualist. Touch was one of the main ways that he communicates and interacts with the world. To deny him that seems cruel – so cruel that I couldn’t really wrap my head around how I’m sure the author intended those elements to come across (which was freeing or… something?! I’m reaching. As I said, I didn’t “get” how those rules and punishment achieved whatever the heck Tackett was trying to achieve).
I also wasn’t too excited by the pacing of the novel. I mean, it was okay, but it all felt a little one note to me. I guess the easiest way for me to describe it is to say that no part of this novel really pulled a strong emotional reaction from me (be it anger or happiness or extreme, extreme horniness), and that’s what I’m looking for in a 3-, 4-, and 5-smooch rated book. And, let me be a little crass for a moment and say that having that first sex scene be a fade to black made me feel cheated. SJD, if you expect me to remain invested in your characters and their relationships, you gotta cut that shit out. ASAP.
But as much as some of the elements of the novel were screaming 2-smooches at me, there were parts that tugged at my 3-smooch heartstrings.
Well… basically one giant element: Micah. Micah was a friggin’ delight. The boy was sweet and funny, giving and loyal, and so, so eager to please. He wound his way around my heart and I was so firmly in his corner that I’m sure it had something to do with why I was not happy with his big, bad, mean Dom. Also, watching the way that his brain worked was fascinating. I’m pretty sure that he’s the first character I’ve ever come across with ADD/ADHD, and though I’m not personally familiar with it (and therefore can’t speak to the accuracy of the portrayal), I thought Peterson did a bang up job of showing Micah’s thought processes and tangents, and the struggles that an adult with this type of cognitive disorder might face.
So long story short, I heart Micah and was SO happy when he didn’t take Tackett’s actions at the end of the novel lying down. It wasn’t very sub-like behaviour, but it was very human behaviour and I was proud of the little pup for standing up for himself.
I also totally dug the whole May-December angle to their relationship. Gotta admit, folks, that one pushes some major lust buttons for me. And the cover is BEYOND AWESOME! Kudos to whoever designed it because the cover alone practically had me panting to read this book (recommendations from friends did the rest).
Anyway… after some initial hemming and hawing that saw me clicking back and forth between 2 and 3 saucy smooches, I eventually decided to save myself the mental anguish and just split the difference. Is that a cop out? Perhaps. But it’s how I roll — sue me.