Desert Isle Keeper
Danny Marshal grew up the flamboyantly gay son of parents who wallow in theater, both his mom and dad having performed in plays and musicals during high school and afterward. Danny likes makeup, outrageous hairdos, and striking outfits with sexy shoes.
But for all his over-the-top presentation, Danny’s serious about his acting and is going to the University of Michigan for its theater program. He’s rooming with his childhood best friend Bo, who’s straight and just the kind of business geek that Danny needs to keep him on an even keel.
At a frat party one night, while Bo is trying to move on a girl who’s caught his fancy, Danny realizes football player Lance Lenard can’t keep his eyes off him. This makes Danny really nervous since getting beat up by a beefy football player isn’t one of the college experiences he wants to have.
As they keep meeting and the air between them thaws, Danny learns that Lance, who professes to be straight and has aspirations to become an NFL player after college, is intrigued. Consequently, they share kisses and the bond between them grows.
Just as in the Whispering Pines Ranch series, Peterson doesn’t sugar coat the perils as Danny and Lance get together. Danny’s perceptive enough to know that he’s heading for heartache even as he hopes he’s wrong. But since Lance has no plan B for a career, Danny knows in his heart-of-hearts that what they have going isn’t happily ever after.
Fortunately for readers, Danny is wrong, but getting from point A to point B is a harrowing journey, luckily not as harrowing as the journey of the characters on the Whispering Pines Ranch.
Danny is a wonderfully written character, sometimes a drama queen, but more often certain of who he is and where he’s going. He might not be the image of the reader’s best friend, but he’s someone worth getting to know and becoming a part of a reader’s life.
Lance, who at first glance seems the more “normal” of the two, is harder to like. Essentially, he is gay, but in deep denial. Consequently, he treats the open-faced Danny worse and worse as they get closer and closer, a fact that Danny points out at the end of their college relationship. Why Danny puts up with Lance is the question, not why Lance puts up with the flamboyant Danny.
In the realm of opposites attracting and opposites making a believable bond that points to a happily ever after, Peterson’s Plan B is a masterpiece. Lance’s final speech to Danny at Bo’s wedding will leave readers in tears. When these two disparate people finally do get together, there’s no question it’s for the rest of their lives, not just for as long as the sex stays good.