Out of Uniform #2
By Annabeth Albert
“After 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.”
When my partner in crime, Lisa, said we just had to do a GGSG review of Off Base I wondered what rabbit hole she was leading me down this time. Not that she’s ever done that, mind you. Turns out this was a rather good rabbit hole.
This is a well done, 21st Century, story of gay life in the west coast, particularly the life of current gay service members as you suspect it really is. Not a life of unicorns and rainbows and pink dolphins, with an all accepting supporting cast. A life of facing and dealing with the harsh realities of co-workers and friends, and family, and their reactions to our lives as we begin to accept who we are and what we need to do in order to find happiness.
A well recommended read and a great beginning to a series.
“Zack really shouldn’t like that Pike noticed what the past few months of training had done for his physique. He’d always been lean, but days of log—and boat-carry drills had carved out muscles he hadn’t even been aware he had… “Seriously, you are jacked now.” Pike winked at him, giving him the sort of once-over Zack’s buddies gave girls in bikinis. “Look at those shoulders. It even makes you look taller.”
“Pike looked harmless enough—shorter than Zack with a lean build and bright red hair and freckles that made him look too young to drink—but Zack knew from experience he was anything but benign. Pike was the type of guy who would flirt with wallpaper, but he seemed to have singled Zack out for special attention ever since their first meeting…”
What a good story this is. Zack, the twenty-three year old Navy SEAL, who has just earned his trident, on his own for the first time in his life, leaving behind his conservative, fundamentalist parents and his abusive, drug abusing brother. Zack has been deep in the closet for fear of disappointing his parents and losing his life’s goal of becoming a SEAL. There is one kink, though. Another, homophobic SEAL who has made it his mission to bring Zack down. And then he meets Pike.
Pike, the sexy ginger that can’t help himself around Zack, a friend of Zack’s former SEAL friend Ryan. As the story develops Zack and Pike end up being roommates in San Diego as a matter of convenience, Zack tells himself, however things develop between these two well developed characters.
Is their story doomed to failure due to Zack’s insistence in staying in the closet, or is his burgeoning love for Pike enough to bring to his senses? I guarantee you that the ending of this book made my eyes water.
This is good, solid writing. An excellent plot and development with good timing and delivery that brings us to its crescendo at just the right timing. Not hurried and not laggardly. All of the characters are very well developed, even the minor, yet important ones, such as Lieutenant Apollo Floros of whom I hope to read more further on down the series. I would also hope to read more of Ryan, the ex SEAL, and his husband Josiah.
The only not enjoyable part of the writing, I found, was the editing. The book could have used further editing/beta reading as there were more than an occasional misspelling and/or missing word. Not enough to minimize the enjoyment of this good book, yet it could be much better.
An enjoyable character-driven read. This straight-forward story is what I would call a good entry level MM book. That’s not to say it is simple, it just doesn’t have any triggers or red flags, nothing dark. No cheating, jealousy, just a nice arc from beginning relationship to full-fledged commitment. And you’ll want these guys to make it.
Outspoken party-boy, Pike has had a thing for straight friend-of-a-friend Zach, but he’s been down that road before and he’s not about to take that path again.
This straight-laced Navy SEAL hold himself back from everything and everyone. He’s on a bit of a razor’s edge just trying to not bring attention to himself.
Pike and Zach are virtually thrust together at a bar when their mutual friends don’t show. They both already know that Pike is too much for Zach, and Zach is not enough for Pike. But Pike intends to have a good time anyway and he’s going to show straight-as-an-arrow Pike a thing or two. Drinking, tucking in, and trying to forget.
Their lives align months later and this time they both have to grow up and confront their own issues. House repairs, kitties, Muscles, and shower heads, eh hm.
But they each have to aknowledge and confront their own issues to get what they both so desperatly want. Bullies, boredom, and restrictive conservatism are hurdles they both have to deal with. But as with all good relationships they find a way to move forward together…eventually.
Easy to read and hard to put down, I enjoyed the pacing and linear storyline. I felt all the loose ends were tied up. My only request would be to see hawt, older Lt. Flores get some romance again.
These boys were a little on the young side for me personally, but I still liked their story.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/off-base-annabeth-albert/1124564566?ean=9781335016355
MEET THE AUTHOR
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
Annabeth’s Angels: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/