Liz Borino – No Flag

no flag

Author: Liz Borino
Reviewed by: JustJen
Publisher: Lazy Day Publishing
Genre: M/M Military
ISBN 13: 9781612581064

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

Summary:  

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.*

Review:  For starters, I love the title and meaning of this story.  It is the promise Mike makes to Will when he is deployed that he will not come back to Will in the form of a folded flag, as is customary military procedure for deceased soldiers.  

Next, I need to say that the core of their relationship is the Domestic Discipline, which I honestly have trouble understanding the desire for.  When Mike and Will meet, Mike forces them to take things really slow, as in no sex etc. until they know they each other better.  Once it becomes clear that Will is interested in more of a long-term relationship, Mike lays his cards on the table describing to Will what type of relationship he requires.  They both negotiate and come to an agreement on the terms. 

Mike has some serious OCD issues which lead him to the DD lifestyle.  Most of the terms were pretty simple, but some of the chores would have had me running for the hills.  Needless to say, Will was a willing participant, and the relationship seemed to just work for each of them.  Some of Mike’s issues made me question the level of his feelings for Will at times, but his love eventually shines through.  He is able to laugh a little about his own issues, which I think helped me feel a little more toward him. 

The DD relationship aside, I really enjoyed the rest of this story.  When Mike is deployed, they Skype chat frequently, always (almost) end the calls with the No Flag salutation.  Will is left to handle everything at home, including their new business, and though he is very lonely for Mike.  He gets a little frazzled at times, but he doesn’t get much help from his friends/coworkers/ex-roommates.  Casey is a total bitch who has been trying to undermine his relationship with Mike from the get go.  Seth isn’t much better, though he does pull through in the end.  Will is a little naïve about the whole Casey thing for the most part, until he is forced to see otherwise.  

Then, Mike returns home, disabled and worried about his ability to uphold his responsibilities regarding the DD aspect of their relationship while, at the same time, having to learn how to live with his disability.  Will is wonderful, as he is throughout this entire story, staying by Mike’s side, giving whatever support is needed.  By the end of this story, I had no doubts about the love Mike and Will had for each other.   

If you enjoy or can set aside the way their relationship works, and just accept that it does work for them, this is quite an enjoyable story.  Things did seem to drag a little bit towards the end, but I was so focused on seeing things through that it didn’t bother me too much.  Mike (and Will) has to deal with quite a bit of crap from the military due mostly to his being gay, but they make the best of it, both realizing that how lucky they were that they were able to keep the promise of No Flag.

 

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