The Shepherd by Cara Dee
Series: The Game Series #6 (Standalone)
Genre: Gay Romance/BDSM Romance
Tags: #TheGameSeries #HighProtocol #MMMRomance #Masterslave #McleanHouse #SecondChancesRomance #FoundFamily #PipeDreamsCanComeTrue
Available in Kindle Unlimited: https://readerlinks.com/l/2405696
Catch up with the series here: https://readerlinks.com/l/1581265/55
The Game Series | Book 6 | Standalone | High-Protocol M/s | Family | MMM
Get cozy and strap in for the family side of a kinkster’s life puzzle, where the kids have homework before the grown-ups can sneak in some playtime, where three men share a dream they barely dare believe in, and where you bring out the toy bag when the little ones take a nap.
I was fresh out of boot camp and somewhere in the desert when I started picturing what my life after the Marines would look like. I’d always wanted a big family and a place out in the sticks.
At forty-five, I could only scratch my head and wonder what the hell had happened. I knew I should be grateful. I had my farmhouse. Rescue dogs and chickens too. I had a rowdy bunch nieces and nephews. I had amazing friends. I’d started a kink community with some of them. But it killed me to come home to an empty house at the end of the day. It hurt that nobody seemed to be interested in anything beyond pain sessions and casual playtime. Even my best friend Sloan pulled away from me. He was struggling to make ends meet with four kids, and I had a big house. They should move in with me, dammit.
I guess it made perfect sense that after so many years of wondering, waiting, and grumbling, a single week changed it all. My “the one who got away” showed up at a kink event, and Sloan shared a drunken confession that screwed with my head.
It was time to improvise, adapt, and…start believin’ in pipe dreams.
The Game Series is a BDSM series where romance meets the reality of kink. Sometimes we fall for someone we don’t match with, sometimes vanilla business gets in the way of kinky pleasure, and sometimes we have to compromise and push ourselves to overcome trauma and insecurities. No matter what, one thing is certain. This is not a perfect world—and maybe that’s why the happily ever after feels so good.
“So this is where you’re hiding from me.”
I hung my head and fisted my hair.
“I take it you saw me in there?” His voice hadn’t changed. “I saw you too. You tend to stick out in a crowd.”
Get the fuck away from me.
Since the ground wasn’t gonna swallow me whole, I steeled myself and stood up again, and I came face-to-face with Archie for the first time in five years. But as memories demanded I hurled every curse in the book at him, another part of me froze up, and I just stared.
Even under the cover of darkness, with barely any light from the porch, he was too damn beautiful. And no level of darkness could conceal the vulnerability in his eyes. Maybe that was why I couldn’t say anything harsh.
I’d seen that vulnerability before, when he’d known that our evening together was about to come to a swift conclusion. There was no forgetting the cold that’d filled me when I’d understood what was going on.
“You look good, Greer,” he offered.
Christ. I folded my arms over my chest. “Why are you here?”
He took a step closer. “I’ve been looking for you. For the…past year.”
I narrowed my eyes. Did he think I was stupid? “Try again. Because this isn’t the place that pops up if you’re looking for me.”
“No,” he conceded. “I found the business you share with your brothers first. Then I found their Facebook accounts, your nieces and nephews on Instagram and Snapchat, your two sisters-in-law on Instagram and Pinterest…” He released a breath. “You learn a lot about a man through the social media eyes of his family members.”
“An entire family on social media—except you,” he said. “Until I stumbled upon a comment section under one of your nephews’ accounts. Crew, I think his name was…? Someone named Finlay Ridge had wished him good luck, and there you were.”
I was, but I wasn’t. It was the name of my farm. I used the account for the food collective groups I was in. And, of course, to stay in touch with family and friends, but I hadn’t made a single post in public, nor had I uploaded any photos.
“From there, I went through all your friends…”
“I hear warning bells,” I replied dryly.
He nodded and looked down at the grass. “Can’t blame you. I got obsessed. I wanted to know everything about you.”
Fuck him. He couldn’t say that shit to me.
Kingsley and Tate saw me before I pulled over to the curb, and Sloan bent over to hurl again. Then Tate said something to Sloan that made my buddy flip him off, so that had to be good. I was glad they were on friendly terms on the first night they’d ever met.
I got out of my truck as soon as I’d killed the engine, and I couldn’t stick to one of the many fucked-up emotions that simmered below the surface. Relief, wariness, a shit-ton of annoyance… Exhaustion won out. I was fucking tired.
“Hey, gorgeous.” Tate grinned at me.
That sparked some humor at least, and I smirked a little on my way to Sloan. “Hey, kid. Sorry for sending y’all on a midnight adventure.”
“Don’t be,” he replied quickly. “I’m highly invested now.”
I snorted, not surprised. He and Ivy were the gossip slingers in our community—and I meant that in a fairly affectionate way. Aside from being too nosy for their own good, they meant well and wanted what was best for their friends. They didn’t spread bullshit, just theories about people’s love lives.
Approaching Sloan, I saw he was clutching a Coke can in one hand, and he had a half-empty bottle of water next to his feet.
The beanie on the sidewalk looked like his too.
He groaned and retched once more.
I sighed and placed a hand on his back. “You realize I’m done listenin’ to you, right?”
He coughed and croaked. “What’re you talking about?”
Wasn’t it fucking obvious?
“I’m talking about you pushing people away when they wanna help you.” I could hear the impatience seeping through. I had to cool it. “I ain’t doin’ it anymore, Sloan. You’re coming home with me, and tomorrow we’re picking up the kids.”
He straightened up again, and he flicked me a drunk, guarded look before he chugged from his Coke.
I noticed he’d put some piercings back in. A handful in his ears, the barbell between his eyebrows.
He made a cute, rugged, hot drunk. Bloodshot eyes included.
He wiped his mouth and peered down at the ground. He was wearing his supposed lucky All Stars. They were green and had passed their expiration date by a few years. But it had to be pure luck he hadn’t thrown up on them.
“I can’t stay with you, Shep,” he muttered hoarsely.
Nope, we weren’t doing this.
“I beg to differ.” I extended an arm and pointed to the truck. “Let’s get you outta hea’.”
“No,” he snapped. He nearly stumbled over the water bottle as he took a few steps away from me. “I’m goin’ home. I can walk.”
That was funny. “You’re gonna walk to Ashton Heights?”
It would take a sober person at least twenty, thirty minutes. Sloan wouldn’t make it past this street before he passed out in the gutter.
He made a face and sought out the nearest street sign. “Where are we?”
“Crystal City,” Tate answered.
“Oh. Right.” Sloan looked like he was gonna be sick again.
“I’m guessing you’ve been at Carol’s,” I said. Once in a blue moon, they had dinner together with the children, and it usually ended in a fight.
“Whatever,” he mumbled, clearly not wanting to talk about it. “Just take me home.” He pressed a hand to his stomach, his face contorted in discomfort, and he picked up his beanie and walked unsteadily toward the truck. “Not goin’ to your fuckin’ whore ranch…”
Oh-ho. My eyebrows went way up there. I invited my new partner to stay with me, and now I was running a whore ranch. Damn.
With a heavy sigh, I turned to Kingsley and Tate. “You’ve done more than enough—you can head on home. I’m sorry I woke you up.” Really, I was.
“No problem at all, buddy,” Kingsley assured.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Tate stated bluntly. “We’re staying until—”
“And you know what?” Sloan interrupted forcefully and turned back around to stagger toward me. “I’m sick of you not seein’ me.” What the fuck? “You bitch about bein’ lonely, but what am I? Shit under your shoe? A seat filler until you bring home the next bottom? Hell, I could be a bottom for you.”
No, really, what in the fresh fuck.
He didn’t just say that.
I frowned. My brain slowed down when I needed it to do the goddamn opposite—but he did not fucking say that.
“What did you just say?” I managed to get out.
The Shepherd by Cara Dee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another great addition to The Game series.
I enjoyed the dynamic of these characters, Greer, Sloan and Archie.
The way their relationship progressed may seem quick, in particular with Greer and Archie, but it just flowed nicely and they knew what they wanted and went for it.
I’m glad we didn’t have to wait for another book to find out about the ‘you know what’ cliff hanger from the previous book, it definitely got me thinking and left me with my suspicions.
Overall, I would highly recommend. It’s full of emotion, heat, humour and a smidge of drama, pretty much everything you need in a book.
Looking forward to the next one!
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex.
There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly.
Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.
I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
Find Cara on social media here: https://www.caradeewrites.com/cdwlandingpage