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 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.
I love everything Annabeth Albert writes, and this book was another good one in the Out of Uniform series. However, though I really enjoyed it, the drama got a little exhausting for me near the end of the story.
I love, love, love certain dynamics in M/M, and a big muscle guy who likes to bottom has to be one of them. (Yes, I know I'm opening this review with sex... I can't help it!) Annabeth Albert got it just right with the shy, huge Navy Seal who likes to be dominated. Me likey!! The sex was just super hot, but I wished that they got to push the kink even further! (Psst- write some daddy kink, Annabeth!!)
The two MCs have lots of difficulties getting their relationship up and running. They have the very real fears about being discovered and breaking fraternizing rules, and there is one of the MCs closeted status to take into account. I didn't love the push and pull, and though it is, I'm sure, reality for some military men, I had a difficult time reading some of it. The back and forth also reminded me a bit of a recent L.A. Witt book that I've read and struggled with, so that wasn't a great thing either.
However, aside from those issues, I found the story to be really compelling, even if there was piles of drama with the MCs' friends and family alongside their own personal drama. I wish they had more time together to let their relationship grow, but I still enjoyed the book overall.
It is interesting that right before reviewing this book I read Tender with a Twist, also by Annabeth Albert, that I liked a whole lot more. It actually made me downgrade my rating for this one, on reflection, because I saw the kinky, kinky potential of this author.
I'll still read anything in the Out of Uniform series and ANYTHING by Annabeth Albert. She truly never steers me wrong.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Enjoy, my friends!