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Her Majesty's Men #1

Her Majesty's Men

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Her Majesty's Men is the story of two soldiers in the British Forces and of a friendship taking unexpected turns. In the eyes of the Army they are just two mates who are close. But from the revelation of personal secrets, ensuing hatred and aggression, through terror and danger, to loyalty, triumphant strength and courage, grows their own realisation of what they are: comrades first and foremost, but something else too, something more significant. The two Royal Engineers, Sgt Tom Warren and SSgt Alex Turner, learn to understand the real meaning of loyalty and strength. Their fight for survival cuts through all the discipline and rules, to tie them together in a unique bond of companionship and trust.

144 pages, Paperback

First published November 1, 2008

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About the author


19 books276 followers
Marquesate is a British author living in Scotland. She has been associated with the British Forces for many years, and specialises in contemporary gay military fiction.

Using the insider knowledge of the 'bowels' of the military machinery and the insight into the soldiers' minds and modes of functioning, Marquesate creates realistic settings, situations and characters who are simultaneously down to earth and larger than life. Those men are strong, aggressive, tough and independent, and it is their determination and truthfulness to themselves and their comrades in arms, that becomes their saviour and their downfall.

These soldiers are grounded in their military context and thrown into a maelstrom of duty, comradeship, hostility and courage, to emerge scarred, battle-hardened and touched at the very core of their selves - by an enemy, a friend, a foe or an ally.

No-holds barred, often hard and brutal, Marquesate's fiction always carries a punch.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews
Profile Image for Nancy.
557 reviews759 followers
April 14, 2019
Cross-posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw Reviews

This is the story of two British solders, Alex Turner and Tom Warren, who are comrades, best friends, and eventually, lovers. Though Tom is discreet about his sexuality, he trusts his friend enough to come out to him. Unfortunately, Alex reacts harshly, putting a temporary strain on their friendship. Alex's behavior sucked, Tom’s crush on Alex bordered on obsessive, and the short sentences and terse dialogue didn't appeal. The Britishisms I expected were largely absent, so Alex and Tom could have been American solders as well. I nearly set the book aside for something else, but glad I continued.

The story improved significantly later on as aspects of Alex's past are revealed and the tension ramps up when Alex and Tom are on a mission and put in life-threatening situations. I'm not a huge fan of “gay for you,” but this was well done and very believable. Alex gradually explores his own sexuality and growing feelings for Tom and becomes a much more likable character. There are a number of explicit violent scenes, but these did not feel gratuitous. They added tension, excitement and gave the guys an opportunity to display their courage, bravery and sacrifice.  Their lovemaking was brutal and passionate.

I liked how the story took place over a period of years, keeping it from feeling “insta-lovey” and allowing both characters to heal from their physical and emotional wounds. It was easy to feel the men’s strong connection and deep care and respect they had for each other, which can be hard to accomplish in a short story.

The brief glimpse of the women in the men’s lives (Tom’s sister and two daughters and Alex’s ex-wife) was not an unwelcome interlude and added a touch of sweetness, but felt a little tacked on and unnecessary.

Despite the minor flaws, this was a very solid and enjoyable military romance.

Thanks to Eli from Bookie Nookie's Erotic Lending Group for lending this to me.
Profile Image for Emanuela ~plastic duck~.
805 reviews115 followers
September 4, 2012
The first part is 5* for the tension and 4* for the writing, the second part is the opposite, 5* for writing and 4* for tension, so it's overall a 4.5*.

The blurb explains the story very well, so I won't re-tell it, but basically Tom is gay and in lust/love of his best friend Alex; Alex is straight, but the torture he survived during a mission left him with physical and psychological scars. And if you're wondering: no, there's no magic-cock healing.

In the first part we read from Tom's point-of-view. He's obsessed by Alex, by everything-Alex. His hopeless lust is conveyed very well and it's heartbreaking, especially when it seems that Tom is just content with the scrapes of himself that Alex gives him. The chemistry of the two men causes an explosion when they get together, and it's as unstoppable as a fast chemical reaction that got started. It's difficult to understand who's using whom, but that's the beauty of this story. Tom's passion is raw and mindless and that's expressed by the clipped writing style. I wondered though if it would have been possible to achieve the same rawness with a little more elaborated style, because sometimes it was as if I was reading a graphic novel without the drawings, if you get what I mean.

In the second part we read from Alex's point-of-view and we can appreciate the deep friendship which exists between the two men. It's fascinating that Alex always feels he has to help Tom out of this profound friendship and marginally thinks about their sexual relationship. It's a complicated feeling of denial bordering on acceptance and I always give kudos to authors that manage to describe the complexity of human beings in this way. There are paragraphs of this part I had to read pacing my room, because they were quite uncomfortable, but at the end it was all worth it. I wasn't very enthusiast of a couple of different point-of-views - you know POV's consistency is one of my pet peeves.

I couldn't put it down for the life of me.
Profile Image for Sofia.
1,124 reviews189 followers
November 30, 2014

Very intense writing.

Whilst reading this I was curious, curious about how Marquesate was going to make this work and she did. She made it work.

The book is told from two point of views, the first part from Tom’s and the second part from Alex’s. This was a good tactic as it gave me a good grasp of both the characters. During the first part I got worried about Tom and how seemingly hopeless his case was. Alex’s development started from the beginning with his anger, hopelessness, to seeing hope, to awareness and a modicum of peace. So Marquesate weaved two seemingly hopeless threads into one whole.

I like how Marquesate treated Susan and especially Marita of whom we get three pictures, first from angry Alex, then from a more aware Alex, then from her herself. We got a much more, clearer look at a complex relationship like this.

After reading this, I can definitely see her hand in SF.
Profile Image for Lily.
3,838 reviews48 followers
June 28, 2009
This wonderfully gripping intense book is the story of Sgt Tom Warren and SSgt Alex Turner, both Royal Engineers in the British Forces. They've been best mates for three years but lately Tom has been having a tough time hiding his deeper feelings about Alex.

Tom and Alex are both tough military Alpha men with hard demanding jobs. This is not a typical M/M romance book. It's so much more than that. It's an action-packed, oftentimes violent and brutal story with two protags that are seemingly perfect military men, tough and confident yet both are also flawed, especially Alex, full of insecurities and self-doubts.

These men are so very real and captivating and their story, told over a period of several years, is without a doubt one of the most unique, well written stories I've read in a long time. Marquesate's writing style is so rich and descriptive that I was drawn into Tom and Alex's world from the first page to the last.

I really loved this book for several reasons. The characters are so well developed, flaws and all, and their story is so intense you can't help but get caught up in it. When Tom and Alex get together it is at times an almost brutal coupling and can be a bit disturbing to read yet it totally works for who they are. These men have major issues to deal with and the fact that the story is not rushed and that their problems were not glossed over and easily resolved to make a happy ending for the book is a welcome change.

The descriptions of their military life and especially their capture in the jungle is totally engrossing. I finished reading the book and immediately thought what a great action movie this book would make. I was blown away by this book and highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Martin.
738 reviews391 followers
April 5, 2016
Wow, just wow. This really impressed me, although I started reading it wondering *what* I was actually reading here. It didn't feel like a military romance at all...

The first half of the story is told from Sgt. Tom Warren's POV.  

He's a gay soldier with the British Royal Marines - deeply in the closet, of course, but accepting of who he is and how he feels. 

While being a sexually active, no-strings attached man in gay clubs on weekends, he's deeply infatuated with his handsome straight best friend and comrade Staff Sergeant Alex Turner, who - a few years earlier - was captured by the enemy in some hostile country, where he was subjected to weeks of terrible torture. 

Alex was rescued, but he was left with considerable mental and physical scars all over his body.  
Alex and Tom are best buddies - but Alex has no idea that Tom is secretly turned on watching Alex' scars on his muscular torso in the showers - scars that Alex is deeply ashamed of and that are one of the reasons for his insecurities.

During an alcohol-drenched night out, Alex asks Tom why he never hooks up with a hot girl. He is a handsome guy with a 'model face' after all. Tom hesitates to tell him the truth, not wanting to endanger their friendship. 

However, when Alex makes a heartfelt confession of his own, Tom feels pressured to reveal his secret to his best buddy.  

The outcome is so *unexpected* that I better put it in spoiler brackets, LOL. 

What ensues is a pretty unusual gay/straight friendship with benefits that spans over two years.

The second half starts off with Alex' POV and throws us into an action-packed adventure in some jungle setting in an unnamed war region.

Tom, being an expert on explosives, is trying to install a bomb to blow up a bridge that is crucial to the enemy. However, things turn bad and Tom finds himself on the ground with a gaping bullet hole in this thigh, slowly bleeding out. 
Despite the bullets raining down on his platoon, Alex stays by Tom's side and both men get captured by the enemy and are put in a cage, certain to be killed soon. 

However, being familiar with the suffering and pain that come with being confined and tortured, Alex is determined not to let his friend die. Fighting back the fear for his and Tom's life, he comes up with a deadly plan that shall lead both guys to freedom. But time is running out as Tom is losing his consciousness and slowly bleeding to death.

For the first time, Alex acknowledges an unshakable truth: 
Keeping Tom alive and save means more to him than his own life.

'Her Majesty's Men' is the ultimate Gay for You novel. I didn't really understand the beginning when Alex kept insisting that it wasn't Tom's body that turned him on, but the things he did (he must have been going for higher 'straight' philosophy there), but by the end of the story, Alex does realize that he has feelings for Tom that go beyond mere friendship, so I am curious to  explore their relationship in more detail in the second novel.

Despite the stark contrast between the first and second half of the story, I am once again in awe how Marquesate manages to tell a story by letting us see inside the characters' heads. I absolutely enjoyed learning about Tom's and Alex' thoughts and this book, just like the previous books of hers that I've read, entertained me 100%. 

Although, I did not understand Tom's willingness to 'satisfy' his straight best friend without asking anything in return. He even mentioned how he sometimes felt cheap doing it, but being close to Alex seemed to be worth everything to him. And when Alex was prepared to sacrifice his life to save Tom, I was one happy romance reader, LOL. 

I also loved Tom's sister and her daughters who took a liking to their uncle's friend Alex, which was one of the sweetest moments of the story. But yeah, have two manly soldiers interact with a bunch of giggling girls, and you make my heart melt for sure ;-)

All in all, 4.5 stars, definitely another recommendation, especially the sex scenes set to Rammstein music (a German 'dance metal' band), which was definitely a first in my books!
Profile Image for Silke.
266 reviews
July 3, 2015
The most convincing "GFO" story I've ever read. Hands down.

I LOVED IT ! So much !

The only “downside”: it was hardly enough ! I want(ed) so much more of Tom and Alex, one of the two most amazing characters I’ve ever read about. I wish this book had 1,000 pages instead of just a little bit over 100.

But anyway, this book gets 5+++ stars from me because the writing is perfect and it’s stunning, intense, gut wrenching, beautiful, passionate, sexy, nail biting (!), hear wrenching, and so freaking erotic. (I think that was the hottest description of a hand job I’ve ever read … *fans self*)

A must-read that will definitely go to my “Books I could re-read forever list”!
Profile Image for Trisha Harrington.
Author 2 books123 followers
November 7, 2012
This was a nice read and I loved the way the relationship developed. It was sweet to see the way Alex who was straight reacted to falling in love with another man. I have always believed in love the person not the gender. That phrase is important here, I have never really believed you are truly straight or truly gay. We all can fall in love, its the person people fall in love with, not the gender. I love military men and this was no exception. :)
Profile Image for JR.
866 reviews29 followers
February 14, 2013
I loved this. It totally enveloped me from the first words. It has all the intensity of Special Forces in shorter form. I really cared for Tom and Alex. I love the way their relationship develops, with Tom already head over heels for Alex. Alex totally unaware. Tom is so intense about his desires, so afraid to reveal them. His turmoil is palatable. When they finally come together, it is not before a very hurtful scene in which Alex reveals his bigotry.
Later on Alex rescues Tom and his sole purpose is to save his life. He realizes he can't face life without him.
I give it a bergan full of stars and have moved on to Beyond His Majesty's Men which continues their relationship.
February 22, 2013
4.5 Stars

I usually dont gravitate towards military books, but I am glad I read this one.

This is the story of Tom and Alex, two British soldiers in the army. These men are best friends and Tom has always been attracted to Alex, but never acted on his feelings as Tom was always happy with Alex as a friend.

This story is an interesting way of doing "gay for you" and I liked it. I won't give anything away, but it does fit the "gay for you" genre.

This story really has it all: lust, friendship and a lot of action scenes (some in the bedroom) but what I am referring to is the action of war. Since these two men are in the army, a good portion of the book is about these two men fighting in the jungle and what happens to them there. During this part of the book violent things happen. I do not think these scenes were over the top, and as someone who does not normally like reading about war, I did like this.

I've read other reviews of this book and have found that those reviews mention "rough sex." I am usually turned off by reading about "rough sex" when one person dominates the other person and is extremely savage and rough. That is not the type of "rough sex" in this book. Rather, these men are both alphas and they are aggresive with each other in the sense that they knock into tables and bite at each other. This isn't rough sex in the form of rough penetration, as that does not happen.

Why I am giving this story 4.5 stars instead of 5 stars is because towards the end of the book, I feel like the story kind of got away from Alex and Tom when Alex's ex-wife and Tom's sister were introduced as characters. I understand why they were introduced, but I wish that after these characters were introduced that the story went back to Tom and Alex for a good long while.

So I liked this read. It is definitely not a typical m/m romance. It deals with torture and warfare. But it also deals with true friendship and comradeship as well as having lustful moments as well.

I sincerely hope there is a novel length sequel to this. (It is indicated on the author's website that she wanted to write one in 2012.) Currently there is a short story called Beyond Her Majesty's Men which is good but too darn short. I also feel like the short story undoes some of the progress that Alex and Tom had made in their physical relationship.

I really like Tom and Alex and would LOVE to read more about their ongoing relationship!

Profile Image for ElaineY.
2,078 reviews68 followers
November 18, 2009
I saw 'Special Forces' footprints all over this story. Now, I LOVED SF (even if I didn't care for the orgiastic Mercenaries section) but HMM felt a little too similar down to the abruptness of the writing, the staccato feel of some sentences and the scenes.

I liked Alex and Tom but didn't care for the initial sex scenes as it felt too much like Dan and Vadim cut out of SF and pasted here in HMM. Despite the repetitive feel of the story, I could buy into Tom's and Alex's romance as the characters did resonate with me. However, the action sequences, consisting of capture/torture at the hands of unidentified rebels, again felt like I was reading SF again. The two women - Tom's sister and Alex's ex-wife - I felt were unnecessary inclusions.

Overall, I didn't enjoy HMM as much as I expected to and I must say I'm surprised. I plan to buy the author's Basic Training when it comes out and then I just might discover what's wrong. Or right, of course.
Profile Image for Ana_P .
101 reviews41 followers
April 3, 2014
So, this was basically my reaction throughout the entire book:

This book was just intense, intense, intense from the beginning, and it never let up. Now I am not saying this is a bad thing; this book had me gripping the edge of my seat the whole way through.

I just could not put it down since the first page.

I think part of what made it such an emotional and engaging read was the phenomenal writing:
Thoughts too horrific to think; images flashing, unbidden, unwanted. Tom waited, terrified of experiencing another spike of sick, guilty lust. But none came. He stared, dry mouthed, and shuddered. Felt cold tendrils of horror wrap around his mind. This was far too much. Too terrible and too impossible.

I just love Marquesate's concise but utterly devastating writing. It is just so easy to connect to the characters and completely understand what they are feeling.

The premise of the story is that Tom Warren is completely obsessed with his straight best friend Alex Turner. At the start of the book, he has been madly lusting after his best mate for three years. Finally, it all comes to a head one night when Tom gives in and tells Alex that the reason he doesn't have any girlfriends is because he is gay. Alex completely loses it and starts calling Tom every derogatory name under the sun. Alex apologizes to Tom later and tells him that there was another reason that he hurt Tom like that and not because he is homophobic. They reconcile and begin a ferocious friend with benefits relationship that lasts for a couple years. It takes until Alex almost loses Tom during a kidnapping to admit that he might feel more for Tom than just friendship.

I could not help but feel bad for Tom. He is completely obsessed and in love with this best friend and would do anything for him; he just can't refuse him. Alex is always the one to initiate their meetings, and Tom will just take whatever scrap he can get. This was one of several reasons Alex wasn't exactly endearing to me; he tended to be pretty selfish in his encounters with Tom and always got drunk so that he would not admit that he was seeing a guy. He did redeem himself somewhat towards the end, so I ended up liking him okay. But some of the other shit Alex pulled is the reason I cannot give this book five stars even though I liked it a lot; it just completely rubbed me the wrong way. *venting my frustrations at end of review

Overall, this was a thoroughly fast-paced, gritty, well-written, action-packed book that I could not get enough of. I honestly did not want it to end even some things about *cough*Alex*cough* irked me.


Profile Image for Alina.
708 reviews28 followers
September 9, 2011
I'm a sucker for military stories and this one was really good! The characters felt real and very sympathetic, and their getting together story was really unusual and engrossing. Sex, violence and love and death situations - it was all done very good. Really liked this book!
Profile Image for AngelFire.
652 reviews19 followers
June 23, 2022
Rating: 4.5 stars (rounded up)

This was amazing! Anybody who is a fan of this author's 'Special Forces: Soldiers' (which she co-wrote with Aleksandr Voinov) will probably love this just as much. Like Dan and Vadim, Alex and Tom are career soldiers, they are tough, strong alpha males who solve most of their problems with violence, hate talking about emotions and use whatever crude language they feel like using, with no regard for political correctness or other people's feelings. While Vadim and Dan's relationship was enemies-to-lovers, Alex and Tom's is friends-to-lovers and also includes the GFY trope. I love that the author repeated many elements that I loved in Special Forces (ex. having the characters express their love for each other through heart warming actions rather than words) but made the effort to create a different but equally complex romantic relationship between the MCs.

There are some elements in this that I shouldn't have liked or plainly didn't like. For example, a lot of the dialog is badly written (which is a constant issue with this author's work), the formatting was a bit wonky and I usually hate the GFY trope. However, I loved the characters, their relationship and the way the author handled the GFY trope so much that I don't even care how bad some of the dialog was.

Both Alex and Tom start the story with some baggage.

This is the foundation that the author uses for the GFY trope and I loved this choice! In most GFY stories, the 'straight' character will randomly start having intense sexual thoughts about the other MC and they usually fall into bed very soon after. This isn't just unrealistic but it annoys me because it often creates the impression that being friends with a gay man will automatically turn the other man gay, which is obviously nonsense. This is why I usually avoid the GFY trope and why I was thrilled that the author had a completely different take on it here.

Unlike in most GFY books where the path to falling into bed together makes no sense, I felt this was a really unique, interesting and believable situation.

In a way, classifying this as GFY isn't really accurate because the 'gay' part never happens. Alex never 'turns gay', the author never represents him as being gay and it's clear even at the end of the book that he has no attraction towards other men or even Tom. BUT...Alex does fall in love with him. Not only that, but . I thought this was a really unique and mature exploration of how different people can make things work as a couple, even if certain elements are missing. I also appreciated that the author didn't have Alex lament over what sexual orientation label to apply to himself. It made perfect sense that Alex doesn't care what label he fits under and doesn't spend any time thinking about it. Alex's attitude perfectly matches mine and that's probably due to the author and myself being from one of the older generations where such things don't matter.

In addition, I love that the author included a fantastic military-themed plotline in the middle, which is filled with the boys being badass soldiers and Alex in particular getting to show off how brave, intelligent and incredibly tough somebody needs to be to do that job. I've often wondered why a soldier's training involves having to do things like running in the desert heat for 4 hours while wearing 80 pounds of gear because I thought modern warfare guaranteed that they'd never be faced with such a situation in real life. Well, let me tell you - that level of training and toughness was exactly what Alex needed during that plotline and I finally understood what it means when military people say their bodies are the most important tool they use to do their jobs properly. The plotline also includes some . I was in awe of him and the entire plotline was very well done.

Lastly, another thing I appreciated is that the author briefly took time to deal with Alex's ex-wife. When we're in Alex's POV, he's constantly berating his ex-wife, calling her names and accusing her of having dumped him out of the blue just because she didn't like his scars or his ED. She's portrayed as the typical Evil Harpy Ex, which is why I loved that the author had a few scenes of Alex interacting with her. That's when we learn that there are two sides to every story and Alex was NOT a blameless victim in his marriage falling apart . But best of all, . Every single character in the story was a complex, flawed and very real individual and the way they handled their relationships with each other was wonderful.

Overall, if you like military-themed romances and if you enjoyed the dynamic between Vadim and Dan, I highly recommend this. But just like with Special Forces, be warned that the author doesn't shy away from depicting the extreme violence, graphic injuries and crude language that is a normal part of these characters' lives. But that's exactly what I loved about it and I desperately wish Marquesate would come back and continue writing such amazing books.
Profile Image for ~ Lei ~ Reading Is An Adventure ~.
1,167 reviews238 followers
April 30, 2017
★★★☆☆½ ~ 3.5 Stars
Good story in the style of Special Forces, Tom, closeted gay man, and best friend, straight Alex, serve together and are best of friends. However, Tom has another secret, he's obsessed with Alex. When he finally confesses that he is gay to Alex, it changes the direction of their relationship in many ways.

When they are captured during a mission, everything changes and becomes even more real. Not big on 'gay-for-you' stories but this was written well and spanned a period of time that made it more realistic.
Profile Image for Kassa.
1,118 reviews109 followers
August 15, 2009
This is a unique and different book about two men who are soldiers to their very core, friends and comrades second, and eventually lovers third. While these would seem to cause problems not only inherently within the military but the order of priorities between the men, surprisingly for the span of the book, it works. Whether it would always work between these two is questionable given their very different personalities and needs, but for the entirely of this story, their romance within the brutal atmosphere seems solid and realistic. While this book was not without its flaws, I felt as though the author knew the problems with the characters and decided to leave them as they were, letting the readers decide if they accepted the flaws or not. I could be wrong, but that was the impression I got.

As the blurb suggests this story is about two best friends and their friendship defined by sex, love, torture, selfishness, obsession, and the military over the course of several years. This device of slowly changing their friendship and relationship over the course of years is very clever and works well in this particular instance. Although the passage of time is hardly noticeable other than comments by the narrator that whatever amount of time had passed, this created a long-standing pattern to their behavior while advancing Alex’s slow and difficult recovery. It’s along these lines that the reader can understand that Tom will never leave Alex, ever, and actually accepts the pseudo-relationship they’ve developed without anger or regret.

Tom is an interesting character and the narrator for the first part of the book. It’s his third person perspective that describes their friendship and sets up the foundation for their relationship, which is Tom’s devotion and adoration along with his acceptance of whatever meager affection Alex offers. Tom is almost unsympathetic in his undying need and desire for Alex, his one track mind almost simple and animal like with the initial repetition of wanting, needing Alex. Once they’ve gotten together, Tom still accepts Alex whenever and however he can get the other man, relying on their almost violent coupling and cherishing the time they are together. Surprisingly Tom is never upset, never angry, never wanting more than Alex is willing to give and accepts that while Tom wants Alex, the reverse isn’t true. Alex wants the release he gets with Tom, but he doesn’t want Tom sexually. This leads to a very unbalanced relationship and characterization for the majority of the book, only giving hints of turning at the very end.

Alex is undoubtedly selfish and in love with himself and the military first and foremost. He’s unquestionably straight but after his torture while being held captive and subsequent PTSD, he’s unable to function sexually. Surprisingly Tom seems to find the key to both Alex’s mental and physical needs and is able to tap into those needs to arouse Alex in ways no one has been able to in the past. Alex cruelly uses Tom’s desire for him to slowly heal the mental and physical wounds he’s had inflicted, and it’s only when faced with the possibility of Tom’s death that his own emotions are examined. At this point the book flawlessly transfers to Alex’s point of view for the narration and exposes a relentless will and struggle for survival, putting Tom’s life and worth above all else. It’s only during this experience and subsequent recovery that Alex realizes the extent to his feelings and while his confusion over his own sexuality remains, the important point is his need for Tom in all ways. The friendship and companionship within the military continue being just as essential as the sexual aspect.

The additional character of Alex’s ex-wife was a surprising element towards the end and very much a clue to any readers who might have missed the subtle underpinnings as well as giving Alex an objective viewpoint of his own sexuality and needs. While the ending was a rather nice tie up, the ex-wife did come off as slightly annoying when comforting herself even as her inner commentary gave more insight into Alex. But no doubt that slight annoyance is reader specific. She was however an intelligent and well-written addition to the story that rarely shifted focus from Alex and Tom for long.

Overall this was an interesting story to read and the writing was very different from most available stories. The prose and phrase choice was almost as if the author is not familiar with Americanized English, which worked extremely well considering the English setting. I’d guess the author is not American, but that’s just a guess. The writing style and flow will appeal to some and not others but also the high level of violence in the book may turn some readers off. Alex and Tom’s sexual coupling is often violent for the majority of the book and the second half deals with military problems such as capture and torture. This however, is not prolonged thankfully but is there for those that may have a problem with that. The unbalanced relationship and polarizing personalities of selfish Alex and weak Tom are interesting choices that seem to have worked for the author and created a story that stands out for sure. I’ll be very interested to see what the author does next as the themes and style used here, may not be successful in the long run. You decide.
Profile Image for Elisa Rolle.
Author 72 books219 followers
May 18, 2009
Look at that cover: no naked chests, no passionate embraces, no kissing with glorious flags on the background... an old boot and a piece of camouflage cloth. What can you understand from that cover? that this is an hard book without romance? That you will find sex but not love? That the two main characters are all manly and without feelings? yes and no, yes and no, yes and no...

Sergeant Alex Turner is a scarred man, not only in body but also deep in his soul. He trusted a person, a woman, his wife and he was frustrated. Coming home from a mission that almost cost him his life, he didn't find a warm embrace and a comforting body, he found the cold refusal of a woman that couldn't see past his marked body. And Alex turned for the embrace toward the Army, a family that never disappointed him, even if he didn't expected to find also the comforting body. Even if he doens't show it, Alex has mental scars that run deeply than the visual ones: he probably thinks to have failed, that he didn't deserve to be still alive, that he now doesn't deserve to have a normal life and to feel pleasure again. These are the barriers he has in his mind, but also his body has some idea for his own: wounded in what are the most intimate and fragile parts of a man, he can't react to a gentle touch, since it's too light for the shield he built around himself, the reaction can only be forced, through a strong and authoritative touch.

Sergeant Tom Warren is Alex's buddy friend, the man with whom he spends all his free time, the one that probably helped him to fill a void. But Tom can't hide no more: he doesn't want Alex as a friend, he wants the man in every way he can. Tom enlisted when he was 16 years old, when he wasn't meat or fish, when he wasn't a man. Growing up, Tom realized that he preferred men, and in way or another he always fulfilled his desires. But now his mind, and body, wants Alex, and Alex's is not available... or so he thinks. When a fist fight with his friend over the discovery that Tom is gay, ends in a burst of unexpected sex, Tom and Alex have to find a way to go on.

Alex accepts Tom's attentions like an unavoidable thing, like something he searches only when he can no more deny his body, a body that has decided to respond only to Tom's. Tom accepts Alex's unwilling surrender like the only way to be with the man he desperately wants. Is it love? maybe. Tom interprets his feelings as lust over Alex's body, better over Alex's scarred body: the scars for Tom are like symbols of Alex's strenght, the testimony that he survived; he almost feels guilty to be so aroused by something that witnesses Alex's pain. In a way Alex, who unlike Tom's never admits to be gay, is more sincere, since he instead admit that it's not Tom's body that turns him on, it's Tom, apart from the fact that he is a man, or gay, or whatsoever.

There is only one thing that I don't like of the book: that it's too short (142 pages in print version)! While reading faster than I can to see what it happened next, I was also thinking, or damn, I'm at mid book, it's almost finished! and I would liked for it to have still more to read. And I forgot to mention that obviously, the military part of the story is convincing and heroic, all male and proud and adventures filled... but well, I'm a romantic at heart and so I was led astray from the romance!

Profile Image for Mountie.
165 reviews
July 18, 2009
Tom and Alex's story is riveting from the opening shower scene to the final page. It is a voyage of disovery, both for Alex and for Tom. A story of conflict and resolution, of understanding and acceptance, of freindship, heroics and love.

On the outside they look like regular squaddies, from the inside they are complex men. Between Tom examining his conflict caused by his attraction and love for his best friend and Alex's internal scars we get to know these two souls, what drives them and how their friendship grows to be "more". The journey is engrossing for the reader and delivered expertly by the writer. There is no hiccups that pull you away. I was able to sink into the story and stay there completely till the end. It was a wonderful experience.

For those of you that have never read Marquesates writing, the style is different from most authors I read. It truly grabs you by the throat and never lets you go. Fast paced and full of phrases that explode visual images into my mind, the use of short sentences fits the storyline and the characters.

I came away from Her Majesty's Men drained, happy and satisfied. My cheeks are still sore from the huge grin I wore the whole way through.
Profile Image for authorkcwilliams.
78 reviews19 followers
June 2, 2011
Tom and Alex kept me entertained from the opening shower scene until the end. Was I always happy with them…no! I wanted to slap Alex for his initial reaction to Tom when he first comes out to him. They are supposed to be best buds…right? A little perspective before verbally flogging your BFF would have been nice. I know…I get it, they’re complex men with their lives on the line every day. I’d probably be a little high-strung and trigger-happy myself. But after a little introspection what happens between these two? An all out throw-em-in-the-mud, hip-grinding, man-on-man fist fight! (Great scene by the way) Poor Alex is mortified to discovers that fighting with Tom has an unexpected physical affect on him! From that point on, the story took off for me. Will they…won’t they. Ahhh…the sexual tension was pitch-perfect in this book. What starts off as a bit of “friends with benefits” soon turns into something both men can’t live without. Was it a little reminiscent of Dan and Vadim in Special Forces? Sure…but since when is that a bad thing? Those two character's rocked my world...I'll take a vague reminder of them any day of the week!
Profile Image for Brittany.
90 reviews30 followers
April 8, 2012
*sigh* Until the very end, Alex held all the power.

To be frank, I don't think Alex and Tom could make it long term. If Alex could find someone he was attracted to do what Tom does to him, he would probably leave. Alex said himself he wasn't physically attracted to Tom. What would stop him for leaving? Guilt? Loyalty? That's not love and it's not fair to either of them. I know Tom's body craves Alex, but I can't help but wonder what would happen once the lust wore off? How could anybody be satisfied with that type of relationship long term? Alex and Tom's relationship was too unbalanced for me to root for them. I thought Alex was selfish up until the very end (Alex held all the sexual control in the relationship, lbr) and Tom deserved more out of a relationship.

2/5 stars. I felt the character's lust, but I didn't feel their love.
Profile Image for Jerry.
668 reviews
March 26, 2012
Loved Tom and Alex. Not too much of a plot. Lots of fumbling aggressive sex between them to start, with Alex not wanting to believe he can have sex with a man. To a life and death crisis that causes Alex to think, but it takes his ex wife to make him realize that he has a chance that he could actually have a real love in his life. Story ended too abruptly and needs to be continued.
Profile Image for Yue.
2,102 reviews30 followers
October 19, 2017
I am disappointed because I don't feel like this was a romance. There was love, but the friendly type. Tom is obsessed for Alex, and Alex cares for him but as a relief friend. There were several things I didn't like:

1) Alex and Tom are best buds. When Alex insists to know why Tom has never had a gf during the 3 years they have been friends, assuring him that he will be understandable, and Tom admits he is gay, Alex loses his mind and calls him hideous names. What an ass.

2) One night they fight and get off on that. It wasn't love-making, and it wasn't sexy. It was rough and according to the author, who has an annoying way of describing things, was all teeth and blood and claws and pain. Umm, not for me.

3) Alex then asks, another day, for forgiveness and tells Tom the truth, that he is impotent because of war torture. Which of course was sad and everything, but then he tells him that THAT night was the first night he was hard. Couldn't they do it again? And for 2 years they do that: Alex gets drunk, asks Tom to make him hard and Tom relieves him. Two years of drunken handjobs, whenever Alex wanted it, and Tom was always willing to be the sex-friend, giving always, never getting anything.

4) After 2 years, Tom realizes Alex needs someone to dominate him. So he gives Alex a bj in a dark corner. Again, more rough than romantic. Like a porn movie.

5) Only once Tom asks Alex something in return, which is to be btw his thighs, which is closer to what he wants. Of course Tom gets what he wants from other men without faces, one-night stands, but not from Alex. That time was the closest to love-making they had.

6) Then it comes pages and pages of war and torture which were too dark, too violent for my poor eyes.

7) I didn't like the ending, because it felt rushed and I don't think that Alex saw Tom as a love partner. As his best friend, yes. Someone to take care of, yes. Someone who would get him off, yes. But Alex even admits that Tom's body doesn't turn him on. So I don't think this is a "gay for you", more like "I am impotent but the only one who can satisfy my sexual needs is a guy for the moment" thing. Once Alex gets better and find a girl, I don't think he will continue with Tom.

So for me, this was a HFN. When I don't see a future (together) for the main couple, it means the book was a disappointment for me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Laks.
672 reviews
August 25, 2018
A romance between two military men - one gay and the other straight. They were best friends turned lovers. The story telling is very intense staccato style writing ; sometimes like a machine gun firing. Really makes an impact on you. Will be reading more from this author soon.
169 reviews
April 11, 2021
Adored the characters. Didnt love the writing style but loved the plot and trope. Ended a little quickly, was a little short which was upsetting.
1,229 reviews1 follower
December 29, 2020
This was a tough one, lot of violence. Read on kindle
Profile Image for Charly.
740 reviews31 followers
October 27, 2012
Emotionally wringing story with incredibly real characters

Warning: This review might contain what some people consider SPOILERS.

Rating: 7/10

- Great descriptions of rough sex that results from anger/frustration/confusion. I didn’t find many of the sex scenes particularly arousing, but I thought they were good--realistic and raw. There is one toward the middle of the book that’s…wow…hot.
- The most convincing “straight guy turned gay” story I’ve ever read. I believed at the end of the story that he wasn’t “gay” necessarily and just happened to be in love with a man.
- Very gradual progression and transformation of the relationship.
- Understated ending that I was disappointed with immediately after having read it, but that now, several days later, I find consistent with the rest of the book and for which I admire the author’s restraint.

- Took me a while to get used to the author’s frenetic writing style. (Example: “Never intended to … never … hadn’t known who he … sh*. Too late. Load and Fire!” And those ellipses are not mine; they’re in the book.) There are almost as many fragments in the book as complete sentences. They’re cleverly (and purposefully, I’m sure) done and create a unique rhythm that jives well with the story and setting, but my mind had a terrible time lining up with the cadence of the language and keeping in time with it.
- Long section in the middle of the book that is grueling and horrible. The rest of the story is graphic and intense as well, but there are at least 20 pages (of a book that’s not very long) that are so hideously painful that for the first time ever while reading this genre, I had to skim through parts of the story. The last author whose writing impacted me in such a strong, negative way was Steven King. Don’t get me wrong: the writing is good throughout. It’s just horrifying.

Overall comments: Not an easy read, but different from almost anything else I’ve encountered in m/m romance. There’s some graphic sex and some graphic violence, so if either of those bothers you, this is definitely not a good choice for you.
Profile Image for Passerby.
123 reviews10 followers
June 3, 2015
The book was...quite a dissapointment for me to be honest. And now for everyone who want to slap me for saying this, please wait for me to explain.
Since I have a chance to compare this book with another ones from the author (SF, Deliverance), it really wouldn´t stand a chance against Vadim and Dan. But yea, it would be quite unfair to compare these two creations for many many MANY reasons. So I won´t. I really am not. But I guess Vadim and Dan already got stuck under my skin and SF seemed to be excellently worked-out to the smallest detail. Maybe that was the cause of me not being so hot into reading the continuation of HMM, I´m not really sure.
Bad signs for me were when:
I didn´t have that urge to read until I was dead to the world, out of a blue, from sleep deficit.
The main characters weren´t as catchy for me as I expected them to be (considering I got intrigued by most probably any other pairings coming from the author´s desk-drawer).
I didn´t really feel the adrenaline and danger as much as I did in some other books.
The first warning sign sucks the most, I guess, since it´s a tell-tale sign to leave the book be - or at least force me to try to find something else to concetrate on x.x
The second is not as much of characters´ fault as of mine, lol. The poor guys had no idea I´ll be such an ass and ride the book as I do right now.
Now seriously. The guys are awesome, alright everyone? They just didn´t catch my interest as much as others I got to "meet" already. Shit happens, alright? It´s like wanting to find a chemistry between you and a wrong person. It´s just not gonna work no matter how hard u try.
And as of the third problem...Since the book as a whole didn´t connect with me well it would take really some serious action going on there to get me "up and out of my chair".
On the other hand I really love the author´s writing style and I got my share of awesome humour and bickering.
The book has strenght in itself because of its straightforwardness. Just a shame I was missing something in there maybe exactly because of that.
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books325 followers
October 13, 2012
I have come to really anticipate anything I read by this author. The backdrop, the plot, the characters and most of all the 'voice' of the story is something that reels me in easily and completely.

In this story are two tough soldiers who are also best mates. One is a gay man who is infatuated with his friend while his friend doesn't swing that way. Alex was captured and went through horrendous torture that left both his body and his mind scarred to the point that his marriage fell apart and all he has left is his place in the military. Unbeknownst to him, he- scars and all- is the fantasy of his mate, Tom. That is until Alex forces Tom to tell the truth about himself. This revelation has predictable results, but then there is an unpredictable result that opened the door for a whole new relationship between the two men. It is not just the simple 'end of hostilities' over Tom's revelation about being gay because there is still all of the issues that come with Alex's past of being brutally tortured that leave him unable to have a normal relationship with man or woman.

The plot does switch from the turbulence of their newly established and re-formed relationship after their mutual disclosures to the heart-thumping part where a mission went terribly wrong. The result of which changes things yet again.

I guess I am a glutton for punishment I guess because I really find each of Marquesate's stories good reading because the romances are never easy ones nor are they easy to categorize. I also appreciate the conflict that makes things dangerous and exciting. I look forward to reading more from Marquesate who writes from a position of knowledge about the military and the personalities of those who make up the military.

Recommended for those who enjoy a gritty, challenging romance.
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