Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 16, 2018
Received From: NetGalley
When need meets fear, can two very different men find common ground?
Alhazar Bukhari spent his Navy career in the closet. Now he’s retired, divorced, and hungry for the love he’s never had a chance to experience. He tries to put his faith in Allah to bring the right man into his life, but it’s hard to be patient after all this time.
Chaplain Dylan Pedersen spends his days counseling Sailors, and his nights with men he doesn’t know. Months after finally escaping an abusive relationship, he’s terrified of anything more than a physical connection. Maybe it’s a sin, but he’s too lonely to not let men into his bed, and too scared to let them into his heart.
When Alhazar’s civilian job brings him aboard the USS Fort Stevens, and his daily prayers bring him into Dylan’s chapel, the chemistry is instantaneous. Sex and friendship quickly evolve into more, but Dylan’s too haunted by his recent past to be the man Alhazar wants. Alhazar needs love, Dylan needs time, and if they can’t find some sort of balance, they’ll sink before they ever have a chance to swim.
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic
TROPES: workplace romance
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Muslim character, Pakistani character, POC character, military personnel, coming out, interfaith relationship
WARNINGS: emotional abuse, past abusive relationship, bullying, religion (Christianity, Islam), misogyny, stalking, harassment, homophobia, ableism, gaslighting, slurs, gendered slurs, racial slurs mention, suicide mention, mental illness (depression), sexual harassment, sexual assault (groping), hate crime mention, rape mention, homophobic family mention, ace exclusionary language, racism
A great end to the series, SINK OR SWIM is a delightful addition to Anchor Point! As per usual, Witt delivers an engaging story, characters you can relate to and empathize with, and a dichotomy that sucks you in and won’t let you out until you’ve finished.
The main characters are Dylan, a Protestant chaplain in the Navy, and Alhazar, a contractor hired to fix faulty wiring on one of the ships, and he also happens to be Muslim. They meet in the first chapter when Alhazar approaches the on board chapel in order to find a place to do his daily salat, and is welcomed with open arms by Dylan and the other chapel personnel. And here inlies my favorite aspect of the novel: the way both main characters respect the religious beliefs of the other! Throughout the novel, both Dylan and Alhazar are completely respectful of each other’s religions and make the necessary changes in order to adapt to their partner’s needs. At no point do either of them try to force their own religion on the other, and all conversations they have about them are in an effort to better understand.
Both characters were equally complex, as well, which I’ve come to expect from Witt’s books. She creates such wonderfully intricate, different backgrounds for all of them, and that was no different here with Alhazar and Dylan. While they shared the similar circumstance of marrying a woman and having children, both of those situations were also completely different in how they started and played out for the two of them. Also, Dylan’s past with his abusive ex-boyfriend was really well developed and treated with the care that it deserved. Throughout the novel, we get to see Dylan slowly making the journey towards healing, and that is respected by Alhazar and other people in Dylan’s life.
Also, I really liked that Alhazar’s kids were an important part of the narrative and that we got to see domestic scenes with the three of them, as well as a scene with his ex-wife. It would’ve been nice to see some moments with Dylan’s daughters as well, but it was just generally pleasant to read how much he cared about his kids.
All in all, this book was really very enjoyable to read, and while I’m sad the series has come to an end, I’m so happy with the way it has ended.
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
Connect with L.A.:
- Website: www.gallagherwitt.com
- Author Blog: gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
- Personal Blog: navywifeadventures.blogspot.
- Twitter: @GallagherWitt
- Facebook: facebook.com//L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/GallagherWitt