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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Barracks Affair by John Simspon

The Barracks Affair by John Simspon
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (60 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Basic training at Lackland Air Force Base is over and Airman Zach Kellerman passed with flying colors. A natural leader, now he shoulders the responsibilities that come with being in charge of the barracks, but his professional conduct is challenged by the vivid blue eyes and buff body of Matt Williams, a soldier under his command. While fear of exposure keeps Zach from making overtures, Matt is not so reserved, and soon their physical compatibility is matched by the feelings growing between them. But just one rumor could bring about an investigation that could end their careers before they get started, and the bittersweet barracks affair may be doomed from the beginning.

Two young men pushing their sexual limits in a military setting. Zach and Matt are just out of basic training and have been assigned to the same training group. Although they’re both gay, Zach is more careful and cautious about his appreciation for the male form while the bold and daring moves of Matt set the sexual tone for their liaison. Against the backdrop of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, these two men discover sex together while worrying about keeping their relationship a secret and their potential separation.

Simpson is one of the few authors in the current m/m romance genre that writes with pure authenticity. As ex-military himself, his stories ring with accurate details and have a raw honesty that comes shining through. Although there are elements of romance and of sex to the stories and especially so in Barracks Affair, what comes through the most are the military details. Here and there the everyday routine of the young men is offered so readers can get an idea of what life is like for those in the military. Everything from roll call to class work and consequences is stated in a basic, no frills style. There is very little romanticizing done and the story lets the setting talk for itself. This will especially please fans of military stories that want to know what a day in the life of a military man is like.

Matt and Zach are both young men just getting started on their lives and careers. They have to hide their relationship and know that there is every possibility they will be separated which keeps an immediacy to their connection. They explore sex in ways neither had done before and care about each other, even if they’re not in love just yet. The descriptive quality of their interactions is low but a raw sensuality is definitely present. There is very little conflict even with hiding their relationship and the story moves incredibly fast given the short length.

Overall, fans of military themed erotic romance will like this offering with its authentic setting and likable characters. While there is nothing especially memorable about this offering and fans of the author will likely feel this one resembles most other stories of Simpson’s, it's likely no one will be turned off either. The writing is very classic for the author and the lack of embellishments allows the stark reality to shine.

If you’re looking for a story based in reality with some hot, gay military men, definitely check this out. It’s a worthwhile short read.

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