Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4) by Annabeth Albert

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semi-anonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.
Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.
But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.
With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

The odds were against these two from the start. They had a strong enough connection that after months virtual hook-ups, they decided to meet face to face. By the time that they realized that they had no future without losing everything they had worked for, that connection had grown too strong to ignore.

That blow was even harder for Wes in some ways because the transfer had totally blindsided him. He needed to be close to his family for a lot of reasons. Reasons that Dustin knew and understood, but he had to keep his distance. Wes’ emotions were all over the place and the one person he would normally go to was right there, but out of reach.

The closeness that their positions kept them in didn’t make things easier. Dustin couldn’t talk to anyone about what he was going through either. Not just because the relationship forbidden, but he had kept the fact that he was bisexual away from everyone – even those he was closest to. He had his reasons for the secrecy, maybe not logical reasons, but he had done it for so long he didn’t know how to get past that first hurdle. I think even most readers probably breathed a sigh of relief when he finally talked it out. That didn’t solve the problems between he, Wes and the Navy, but it was definitely a step closer to being true to himself.

There was no easy solution for Wes and Dustin, but they did finally get their well deserved HEA. As with the rest of the books in the Out of Uniform series, the supporting characters were great. I loved Wes’ family and readers already knew most of the characters nearest and dearest to Dustin. It was great checking in with them. Hopefully, we’ll get to know them even better as the series continues. 😉

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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.