Rank & File (Anchor Point #4) by L.A. Witt

Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.
Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.
When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.
But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.
Except—too late.

Readers met Will in Chief’s Mess. Although he was a supporting character, he suffered a lot in that book, but he also offered a lot of support for Noah. So, going into Rank & File, I already had a soft spot for him.

Since his break up, Will hasn’t been interested at all in even looking at another man…until he met Brent. It wasn’t a normal meeting, but after that, neither man could get the other out of his head.

There was nothing simple about their relationship though, even when they tried to trick themselves into believing that what they have is casual. A relationship, even a casual one, is forbidden by their ranks. As long as they keep the careers that they have worked hard for, any kind of relationship is impossible. My heart broke for both of them because regardless of what they did, they were destined to lose something.

I’m really loving this series and getting glimpses of the previous couples, even small ones, is one of the best parts. Going Overboard is next and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 

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Chief’s Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.
When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.
But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.

I feel like this book should come with an “excessive sex” disclaimer. Honest, I’m not complaining, because the heat between Noah and Anthony was worth it, but at times it seemed like that was the only thing they had in common.  Aside from that one minor issue – which wasn’t really an issue at all – I really liked Noah and Anthony.

Anthony had no intention of starting a relationship. He was just trying to find an escape from the drama revolving around his sister and ex brother-in -law – even though there was a lot less drama than he expected. He had a harder time letting go of what his sister’s ex put her through than she did, but as close as he was to his sister, he was on the outside looking in. Regardless how things were now, he had his reasons for being ultra sensitive when he started picking up signs from Noah that were heavy reminders.

Noah wasn’t exactly blind to his problem. He did things that scared even him, but he talked himself down and made promises to himself that he deep down knew he couldn’t keep. It took almost loosing something that he didn’t even know he wanted to shake some sense into him.

An added bonus to Chief’s Mess was spending some time with Travis and Clint from Afraid to Fly. It was kind of hard to see Clint from Anthony’s perspective, but it was worth it to see thing turn around for all of them.

On Point (Out of Uniform #3) by Annabeth Albert

Never fall for your best friend…
Pushing thirty, with his reenlistment looming, decorated navy sniper Maddox Horvat is taking a long look at what he really wants in life. And what he wants is Ben Tovey. It isn’t smart, falling for his best friend and fellow SEAL, but ten years with Ben has forged a bond so intimate Maddox can’t ignore it. He needs Ben by his side forever—heart and soul.
Ben admits he likes what he’s seen—his friend’s full lower lip and the perfect muscles of his ass have proved distracting more than once. But Ben’s still reeling from a relationship gone to hell, and he’s not about to screw up his friendship with Maddox, too.
Until their next mission throws Ben and Maddox closer together than ever before, with only each other to depend on.
Now, in the lonely, desperate hours awaiting rescue, the real challenge—confronting themselves, their future and their desires—begins. Man to man, friend to friend, lover to lover.

These boys just about broke me. *sigh* Ben and Maddox have been the fun ‘non-couple’ for a while now. Their relationship was inevitable, but it wasn’t easy.

Maddox and Ben both did some soul searching while they were waiting for their rescue. Things started getting complicated once they got home. They were both dealing with the fact that they almost lost each other. Maddox was more than ready to give them a chance, but Ben was so afraid of losing Maddox that he was afraid to risk it.

I loved these guys, but I wasn’t kidding about them just about breaking me. It would have been really easy to get upset with Ben for his reluctance, but he was truly terrified. When Maddox stalled on re-enlisting, that terror was magnified. He tried to over compensate and be the ‘perfect boyfriend’ but that drove Maddox nuts. He just wanted Ben.

I also loved seeing the characters from the previous books in the Out of Uniform series. They loved and supported Ben and Maddox. They also knew that Maddox and Ben cared about each other and were more than room mates long before they did. So yeah, they almost broke me but it was totally worth it in a way. I walked away from this one feeling good about the future Ben and Maddox were finally ready to build with each other.

At Attention (Out of Uniform #2) by Annabeth Albert

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.
It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.
Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.
 

Saying At Attention was packed with emotion would be a huge understatement. Readers were introduced to Apollo in Off Base, the first book in Albert’s Out of Uniform series. He didn’t have a huge role in the first book, but from just that little page time, I knew I wanted to get to know him better. Be careful what you ask for? Not really, but I did get more frustrated with him in At Attention than I expected.

Dylan, on the other hand, I loved from the moment he was introduced. He was younger than Apollo, but not by too much. He had a firm grasp on what he wanted to do with his life and had definite goals. That aspect of his personality lessened the age gap between them even more. I loved his determination to keep things professional, but it was a losing battle for both of them.

As much as I liked Apollo, the way he treated Dylan was what frustrated me. His grief over what he had lost was understandable, as well as his fear of losing again. That’s the only thing that allowed me to forgive him for almost breaking Dylan’s heart. There were a lot of emotional twists and turns, some great supporting characters and a couple of adorable kids who didn’t take over the story, but added to it. The perfect mix.

There’s more to come in the Out of Uniform series and On Point should prove to be interesting. I can’t wait to see what Annabeth Albert has in store for Maddox and Ben.

Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) by L.A. Witt

afraid-to-fly_600x900Once a fearless fighter pilot, Commander Travis Wilson is now confined to a desk. It’s been eight years since the near-fatal crash that grounded him, and it still rules his life thanks to relentless back pain.
Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser almost drowned in a bottle after a highly classified catastrophe while piloting a drone. His downward spiral cost him his marriage and kids, but he’s sober now and getting his life back on track. He’s traded drones for a desk, and he’s determined to reconcile with his kids and navigate the choppy waters of PTSD.
Clint has been on Travis’s radar ever since he transferred to Anchor Point. When Clint comes out to his colleagues, it’s a disaster, but there’s a silver lining: now that Travis knows Clint is into men, the chemistry between them explodes.
It’s all fun and games until emotions get involved. Clint’s never been in love with a man before. Travis has, and a decade later, that tragic ending still haunts him. Clint needs to coax him past his fear of crashing and burning again, or their love will be grounded before takeoff.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I really liked the first book in this series. Just Drive was the perfect introduction to Anchor Point. I was hoping that the second book would be just as strong and Afraid to Fly did not disappoint.

Readers met Travis in Just Drive. He was and still is Paul’s best friend, which is great because readers also got to check in on Paul and Sean. 😉 Paul returned the favor of being Travis’ sounding board and boy did he have his work cut out for him. The cards were stacked against Travis and Clint. Travis put up his own walls because of a tragic relationship in his past. Clint couldn’t afford to give his ex-wife any more reasons to keep him away from his kids. He was also shouldering a lot of unnecessary guilt because he was ordered not to talk to anyone about the events that led to his PTSD. Once again L.A. Witt made the impossible probable. She really made these two work for it though.

I’m really enjoying seeing how these couples face what they’ve been through head-on. They make mistakes and come close to losing even more than they’ve already lost. They’re men who put their life on the line and are used to having each others’ back, but find it hard to depend on anyone or show any weakness. I can’t wait to see what’s next in Anchor Point.

DragonFlyRating4

Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) by Annabeth Albert – Bout-of-Books 18 Review

offbaseAfter trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.
Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.
Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This is the first book in Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series, but it’s not the first time that Pike and Zack are introduced. Since it’s also the first book of Annabeth Albert’s that I’ve read, I now have to go back and read some of her #gaymers series… sneaky, sneaky author. *sigh*

To be honest, it took me a little while to connect with Pike. I’m not sure why, because once that reader/character connection clicked, there was no breaking it. I admired the way he was comfortable with who he was as much as I understood Zack’s crippling uncomfortableness. Their stalemate was heartbreaking. 😦

The supporting characters were great and I can’t wait to see more of most of them. I wanted to cheer the heroes that came to Zack’s rescue in this book… characters that gave him hope. One thing that I would have liked that readers didn’t get was true interaction between Pike and his mom. She was painted as such a cool character that I really wanted to meet her.

Needless to say, I can’t wait to read more about these men Out of Uniform. In the mean time I’m going to peruse more of this author’s back list.

DragonFlyRating4