Book Reviews

Step Up With Me (With Me 5) by Kris Jacen at MLR Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Doctors/Nurses/EMTs/Vets / Military/Former Military / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 15-April-2019

Book Blurb

Richard "Tank" Martin was a big boy from the start. Born weighing over 11 pounds, he didn't stop growing. When he was in middle school, a football coach took him under his wing and finally explained to him the mystery of calories in, calories out and from then on it was all good for him. At least he thought. Being called to meet with his platoon sergeant and told that he was now part of the Army's overweight program, sent him into a spin that only his crews can help him out of.


Dr. Jack Dillon thought his life was good and finally settled. Part of an active veterinarian practice, volunteering with a service dog organization, spoiling his sister's triplets and training in sports jui-jitsu...the only thing missing was a partner. He never thought that his world could be shattered with just a phone call even after being around his military friends.


Tank and Jack have been dancing around each other for months until Tank takes a chance and kisses Jack at their friends' wedding moving their slow dance into a heated bump and grind. Can these two survive the changes coming their ways together or will all the changes break them apart?


Book Review

I’ve been waiting for Tank’s story ever since I first encountered him. Why? Who can resist a man nicknamed Tank? Not to mention the descriptions of his size and sweet demeanor? And don’t let me forget how much he loves and respects his Mama. All those things made him irresistible to me and I wanted him to find the love of his life. Throw Jack in as one of the civ crew, a veterinarian no less, and I was excited to read about them falling in love. I do recommend that these books be read in order as there is a lot of backstory and history between all of the men.

I felt so bad for Tank when his lieutenant put him on the overweight list with the Army and threatened him with possible discharge. After taking a number of nutrition courses at the local community college and working really hard at his intake and exercise, Tank still doesn’t understand why he was even put on that list. Luckily for him, the new staff sergeant assigned to the group discovers all the errors the other man made and helps to get this removed from Tank’s file. Granted, if none of that had happened, Tank wouldn’t have found his potential new calling working with overweight kids.

Tank and Jack’s love story is a very gradual one, especially physically, and it was lovely to see two men taking it so slow and not making sex the most important thing. It was a little unusual but I don’t think it’s something that can’t be done. The integration with the civ and mil crews is still fantastic and I love how everyone always comes together to help each other out, from Siah’s promise to hold a haunted house to Jack’s promise to his sister to make Christmas the best for his nieces and nephew. Both crews always jump right in and help each other and support one another in a way that is truly unique to a created family. It turns out to be a lifesaver in more ways than one when Jack needs the crews more than ever but I’m not telling as that’s a spoiler.

A lot of this story was very predictable and I was sad to see that since the author began this series very strongly. I would have liked to see more interpersonal moments between Tank and Jack, i.e. learning more about each other etc., but overall their story is very sweet. The kids that are featured are adorable and brought some definite smiles to my face. I’m not sure if this is the end of the series or not but, regardless, I have enjoyed each of these stories.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by MLR Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 41000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-February-2019
Price $5.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
Buy Link