Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M military romance from Richard Compson Sater. RANK is a May-December romance between a second Lieutenant in the Air Force, and his commanding officer: a one-star general.
About the book:
Service before self.
Excellence in all things.
The U.S. Air Force core values matter to Second Lieutenant Harris Mitchell, out and proud since the military ditched its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But though the Air Force may be gay friendly, Harris isn’t so sure about his demanding new boss, Brigadier General Seamus O’Neill—unit commander, cargo pilot, perfectionist, infidel—hiding behind bluster, a magnificent mustache, and a secret. Harris is certain that General O’Neill hates him. So what’s a lieutenant supposed to do when he discovers that he’s fallen in love?
Air Force Second Lieutenant Harris Mitchell had no idea what would happen when he reported to the office of Brigadier General Seamus O’Neill. Certainly not finding the love of his life.
Harris had enlisted previously, but only served his enlistment. He went into teaching, and only returned to the Air Force when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. Because Harris is gay, and he wants to be out in all aspects of his life. His commanding officers all know, and he’s quick to bring this to the attention of General O’Neill when he’s interviewing for a new aide. The general seems unperturbed, and Harris is soon reassigned.
Harris is in the direct firing line of O’Neill’s ire, and also center of a betting pool. See, none of the General’s aides in the past two years has lasted more than two months of the year-long assignment. This hostile work environment lights a fire under a bored Harris, and presents him a challenge he’s been waiting for. Plus, the general is a fit specimen for being just over fifty.
This novel reads more like a “memoir,” with lots of description regarding the Air Force, DADT, and a protocol-flaunting general. Harris has a developing attraction for the general, but thinks it’s moot: the general isn’t gay. Thing is, he is, and while he returns Harris’ interest, the general is unwilling to come out.
I really liked the quiet humor and touching moments. There is a lot of heart here, and a little bit of heat. Harris and Seamus make a sweet May-December couple, but they aren’t very realistic, as Harris’ parents are quick to point out. Plus, Harris is in a far different position than his paramour. He’s out-and-proud, and Seamus isn’t. Won’t. Wants no part of that business. That’s not acceptable to Harris, really, nor to his parents.
I could really sense the inherent danger of their relationship, that both men will lose rank if they are discovered. That they each face dishonorable discharge is made very clear. Harris is a great character, with a sweetness that belies his station. He’s thirty, so it’s not like he’s being taken advantage of, but he’s not jaded. I did enjoy their love story, and liked all the intricacies of the military protocol that make up the plot. Watching The General squirm under cross-examination by Harris’ mother was beyond delicious. She’s a feisty gal who cares not one whit for rank, if it’s going to harm her son. Huzzah for military mothers! She did you proud.
The ending is really a little more open than I’d hoped for. It felt realistic, though, with each man making plans for a future together, even if the Air Force separates them for stretches of service. It’s a long time coming, however, and Seamus and Harris have a lot of steps to take to get there.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!