Reawakening (Puppy Love #3)

Title: Puppy Love 3: Reawakening
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Fanny Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary m/m D/s romance
Length: 316 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

A guest review by Jenre

Summary review
The final book in the Puppy Love series has Matt and Petey finding their roles again after the events of the previous book, leading to a conclusion with was satisfying but ultimately a little too sweet for me.

THE BLURB

Puppy Love is the story of Matt and Petey. Not only do they identify as a Dominant-submissive gay couple, but they also defy many of the stereotypes of this type of relationship. They rarely dress in leather; they don’t hang out at sex clubs, and they have little interest in many of the heavy BDSM sexual practices. There is no denying, however, that Matt is the Master and Petey is his pup. Reawakening, book three of the Puppy Love Trilogy, is the muchawaited conclusion to Matt and Petey’s story. After the tragedies of book two, more agony and ecstasy await Matt and Petey—a shooting, an unexpected pregnancy, a big gay wedding, and tons of passionate, kinky sex scenes. Will they find their happily-ever-after ending together, or will Petey’s reawakened independence lead him down another path entirely?

Puppy Love Series

THE REVIEW

Finally, the long awaited (by me anyway) conclusion to Matt and Petey’s story. I began reading this third and final installment of the Puppy Love books, greatly looking forward to reading Matt and Petey’s happy ending, and whilst I enjoyed this book a great deal, I think the second book will always be my favourite of the series.

As this book begins, there are a number of loose ends flapping about from the last book. Matt has been outed to his parents and as a result thrown out of his home and had his dream job of managing one of his father’s sports clubs taken away from him. Petey has recovered from the rape and abuse by Ryan, but is still easily overwhelmed by day to day life. Petey is determined to reconcile Matt with his parents and so does what every sub should not – keep secrets from his Master. When this leads to potential tragedy, Petey and Matt must start to re-evaluate their relationship to bring the balance back to their lives.

In some ways this was a book of two parts for me. The first part, which focused on Petey’s attempts to make things right for Matt and the consequences of that, was by far my favourite part of the book. In this section we see Petey stepping out from his comfort zone and trying to rely on himself. He’s not entirely successful, and as always makes some pretty dreadful errors in judgement, but this is what I’ve loved about the Puppy Love books: That Petey is so vulnerable, but still constantly strives to make Matt’s life better. Petey has grown a lot in the time since we got to know him in book one. Yes, he still panics, but he’s also become better at not blaming himself for everything that happens. There’s an incident quite near the beginning of the book where Petey has a number of things happen to him which conspire to ruin what would have been a simple shopping trip. In the past he would have blamed himself, but it was refreshing to see this time that he understood that it was circumstance, not his own actions which led to his panic, and that he had the presence of mind to call for help instead of having a total melt-down.

The relationship and dynamic between Matt and Petey has also changed throughout the series, and I liked that Petey, through the gentle encouragement of Matt, has learned to know where his limits lie. For example, there’s a scene in this book where the pair experiment with pain play. Petey knows that he doesn’t really like pain play that much. If this scene had occurred in the first book then Petey would have allowed Matt to hurt him above and beyond what he would have been able to stand, but now he recognises that it’s OK to tell Matt when he can’t cope, that it’s not a weakness or disobeying when he does. Matt too has learned to listen to Petey and as a result he’s become a better Master to his pup. Petey has begun to recognise a definite ‘scene’ and know the difference between serving Matt on a day to day basis, and taking part in sexual play. Matt has also learned that dominance does not just mean bossing Petey around, but that sex between them can be tender and reciprocal, as well as having assigned roles. This growth and development in the relationship between the heroes has been by far the best part of reading this series and ultimately the most satisfying part of the story arc as a whole.

The second part of the book which didn’t work as well for me, was in the resolution to the several plot strands that have been developing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing Matt and Petey overcome their differences and see them off into their HEA.  The part that didn’t sit as comfortably for me was that everything is resolved happily. Nothing bad is allowed to spoil Petey’s life. He’s even practically given a new set of parents to replace his dead ones. This meant that the ending was just far, far too sweet for me. One thing I’ve enjoyed about the series as a whole is that there have been some pretty intense and horrible things that have happened to Petey, and they have shaped him into the man he is by the end of this book. The fact that by the end, no shadow of that remains on Petey and Matt meant that the book had far too much of a fairy-tale end for me to find it realistic. I guess it’s that old cynic in me coming out again, but I think I would have liked the ending far more if Petey and Matt still had a few difficulties left to face in their life. Those readers who love sweet sugary endings are going to love the way that the book ends, but I would have liked a bit most spice with my sugar.

Despite my feelings about the end, this book and as an extension the series as a whole is definitely worth reading. Petey is one of a kind, and I’m actually quite sad to leave him and Matt to their happy ending. If you looking for a set of D/s books which chart the progression, and maturity of a relationship between two young men – a real ‘coming of age’ for both of them, then you can’t go wrong with this series – this book is the end of that, and you do have to read the other books in the series first. As for me, I’m glad that I read this book, and series and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

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