Author: Annabeth Albert
Book: Wheels Up
Series: Out Of Uniform #4
Page/Word Count: 320
Categories: Gay Romance, Military Romance
Release Date: November 6, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press
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.
5✨s – I will admit to being leery of starting this particular book, not having read any prior books. Plus, L.A. Witt has been the queen of inappropriate Navy romances for me, but seeing that Ms. Albert had consulted her, I was very encouraged, and wow! I’m now going to go back and read the rest of this series! The beginning did feel a little awkward, as Dustin and Wes are about to meet in real life and we’re only told about their online bond, so I didn’t connect well. A month later, they’re both blindsided to find they’re on the same SEAL team, as well as separated by rank, and the story really took off.
Watching them try, and fail, to stay apart for their own career safety, amped up the tension in the narrative and made the sex scenes very intense. Dustin’s desire for submission with a touch of pain was delicious, and Wes was just the guy to handle him. A trip to an Office Depot store might be in order after you read this! Aided by alternating POV’s, their need for each other, the worry and care was visceral and heart-wrenching. Dustin puts a lot of pressure on himself as XO, his protective nature and sense of responsibility extending both to his men and his family. Wes loved his job but was beset with guilt and worry over his sister’s illness and his parents. Actual scenes of field training and missions were a bonus. A solution for their problems was made obvious early on but it was no simple path.
I simply enjoyed the ever-lovin’ heck out of this book. There was angst galore, strong emotional conflict, oodles of yummy kink and the specter of danger out on missions. Yet no one element overpowered the others or the romantic anticipation. The HEA was deeply satisfying. I’m putting this on my best of 2017 list and recommend it highly.
About Annabeth Albert:
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.
Where to find Annabeth Albert: