Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren’t listening to rules and regulations.
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 semianonymous 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
SEXUALITY: bisexual, homosexual
TROPES: cyber love / online dating, workplace romance, age gap
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, military personnel, coming out
WARNINGS: ableism, hospitalization
I didn’t realize this book was part of a series when I requested it, but I will definitely be going back to start the series from the beginning!
One of my favorite tropes, that I feel is completely underutilized, is cyber love/online romance, so I was immediately drawn to this book by that aspect and I loved how it played out. There’s not as much long distance as I was expecting as they end up stationed together, but I loved that their relationship started online and they still communicated a lot through chat and texts and video/voice chat once they were in the same place. It was a really good way to show that, even though you live in the same place, it’s not always easy to find time alone (especially considering Dustin and Wes’ circumstances) so you have to utilize the other avenues you have at hand.
Also, I really enjoyed Dustin and Wes’ relationship, both romantically and sexually, as well as their working relationship. It was impossible not to feel their pain as they struggled to be professional while at work, while they were in danger. And I honest to god started crying during the scene where they were called into the LT’s office based on a complaint and they had to lie about being together (and then the next scene when Wes broke it off and told Dustin it was just sex, but that’s a whole different animal.)
Dustin’s exploration of his bisexuality and reservations about coming out were also incredibly relatable and I sympathized with him a lot. But I loved how supportive his friends and family were once he finally did come out and am glad there was no bimisic angst to deal with.
All in all, this was a really enjoyable book, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series and more to come!
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 multipublished Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website, http://www.annabethalbert.com , or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
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 active children.
Fan group: Facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels