Title: Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #4)
Author: Anne Tenino
Cover Artist: L C Chase
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Amazon: Buy Link Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma)
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: Novella 20,000 words
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Frat Boy & Toppy relationship revisited didn’t quite work for me but still has some good qualities.
Blurb: Brad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.
Other than that, everything’s awesome.
All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.
Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.
Theta Alpha Gamma Series
I am always in two minds about revisiting characters from a favourite book. I generally approach ordinary series with some trepidation, so I am even more of a scaredy cat when it comes to add on or catching up novellas. My Gemini traits hit the roof with this one. I loved Frat Boy & Toppy, Brad in particular was an unusual, well thought out and distinctively original character who lit the book up. I also enjoyed Sebastian’s development from selfish hedonist to caring and more thoughtful boyfriend. In Good Boy Anne Tenino looks again at the relationship which is starting to have problems.
Sebastian is behaving like an arrogant, selfish dick, neglecting his relationship with Brad because he is stressed by his thesis and future. This manifests itself in his out of character jealousy over the blow job Collin gave Brad before he and Sebastian were in a relationship. Brad feels insecure and neglected. While he is, in my opinion, short sightedly pleased Seb is jealous he does come to realise he needs a more overt official statement and demonstration of their dominant / submissive relationship. This would enable him to feel secure.
I can see that it is an interesting development to study the next stage of this relationship. However the way into this examination is through a magnification of the personality traits both characters show. This manifests itself with Sebastian, under academic stress, becoming far more selfish, isolated, and taking an anxious introspective Brad for granted. The resolution seems to be understandably, an exaggeration, an amping up of the domination / submission elements of their relationship to a new level. I am not sure this worked for me, it seems a slippery slope and reactive not holistic. Rather than being swept along by the hot sex and the force of Sebastian’s personality, I felt like I was anxiously peering in the window, worrying about vulnerable Brad. I never got over what I felt was Sebastion’s out of character sudden volte face about the pre relationship blow job Collin hijacked Brad with. Obviously the representation of Sebastian’s newly possessive instincts, I just didn’t believe in it from the Sebastian of the original book.
So being in two minds again- I can see that this could be a believable and interesting development in Sebastian’s personality, but personally I never really did feel right about it. So I was still muttering to myself while the book carried on and I never caught up. I have no problem with characters having flaws and being fallible but this development just didn’t carry me with it.
Moreover this same incident is dealt with a light touch and some humour on the periphery of the most recent in this series, Sweet Young Thang, so given that I didn’t much like this development to have to revisit it twice was never a good situation.
Maybe my overly proprietary attitude to Frat Boy & Toppy has just done me wrong here. This novella shows interesting character and relationship development, very hot sex and some of the warmth I enjoyed in their initial relationship. It just left me on the outside looking in.