Sunday, January 15, 2017

ARC Review: Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point, #2) by L.A. Witt

Once a fearless fighter pilot, Commander Travis Wilson is now confined to a desk. It’s been eight years since the near-fatal crash that grounded him, and it still rules his life thanks to relentless back pain.

Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser almost drowned in a bottle after a highly classified catastrophe while piloting a drone. His downward spiral cost him his marriage and kids, but he’s sober now and getting his life back on track. He’s traded drones for a desk, and he’s determined to reconcile with his kids and navigate the choppy waters of PTSD.

Clint has been on Travis’s radar ever since he transferred to Anchor Point. When Clint comes out to his colleagues, it’s a disaster, but there’s a silver lining: now that Travis knows Clint is into men, the chemistry between them explodes.

It’s all fun and games until emotions get involved. Clint’s never been in love with a man before. Travis has, and a decade later, that tragic ending still haunts him. Clint needs to coax him past his fear of crashing and burning again, or their love will be grounded before takeoff.

Jewel's rating:

Afraid to Fly is the second book in LA Witt's Anchor Point series. I loved the first book, Just Drive, and have been looking forward to Travis' story.

Both MC's are bisexual, and I did love how that was handled and I loved that neither man got crap for it on base. I want to think that the military is becoming more accepting in the wake of the DADT repeal, and I liked that it was just no big deal in the story.

Commander Travis Wilson used to be a hot shot fighter pilot, until a very bad landing crash 8 years ago, took him and his RIO out of the game. Travis is still walking and serving in the Navy, but he suffers awful chronic back pain, and walks with a permanent limp. Travis has been married, and divorced, a couple times and has a wonderful 22 year old daughter. They look out for each other. Travis has slept with plenty of guys over the years, but he's only ever fallen for one, and he's still not quite over him. Up until now, Travis has had a much easier time emotionally connecting with women.

Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser is new to Anchor Point, having been transferred to NAS Adams from Nellis, in Nevada. He was a drone pilot, but a highly classified mission went sideways and it derailed him in the worst way possible. Clint took to self-medicating, with alcohol, because that was the only thing that would numb everything, and, well, that cost him his marriage, of 16 years and his 3 kids, and almost his career.

We don't actually see much of Clint's ex-wife or kids, just 3 or 4 Skype calls. I understand she's come a long way since the divorce, but she starts out seeming pretty bitter, still, and I really hated that she treated him like his PTSD wasn't real, or that he should just be able to get over it. Sure, he was never physically in danger, but being directly responsible for the deaths of other humans takes its toll, no matter the situation. And that he's not allowed to talk about it, even to a counselor with clearance, means he has to try to come to terms with what happened all by himself.

That Clint's ex-wife was so flippant about it, pretty much pissed me off. And that she used his PTSD against him in the custody battle with Clint, and uses it as an excuse to not even let him see his kids angered me even more. I really do understand why they got divorced. Living with someone who is self-destructive, especially when there are kids involved, is a tough situation. But, he's been sober for a year and a half, and he's doing what he can to cope with the PTSD. What angers me, though, is that no matter what he does, now, it didn't seem good enough for her, for most of the book. She starts coming around by the end, though, so maybe there is some hope to be had.

And Travis, well, he's super gun shy about the thought of falling in love with another man. That's only happened for him once before and he still blames himself for how that turned out. Is he responsible? No, he isn't, but that doesn't stop him from using it as an excuse to shut down thoughts of relationships.

Unlike Just Drive, Afraid to Fly is lighter on the steam than I've generally seen from this author. Because of Travis's back injury, most sexual activity, including anything anal - giving or receiving - are off the table. Oral and hand jobs are very much ok, though, so that's what he and Clint get up to. It worked for them, though, so I'm fine with it. What steam we got was sexy, in my opinion. I kind of wonder why Travis never thought to use a dildo on Clint, though. I get why he couldn't take one, himself, for the same reason actual intercourse was off the table, but I think he and Clint could have had lots of fun with a dildo. Just sayin'.

Sadly, while I liked Afraid to Fly, it didn't really wow me. The story seemed way too long and drawn out and I was just waiting for something, anything, to happen. In fact, everything is too perfect between them until Travis freaks the fuck out about his feelings and runs away. That just seemed so…manufactured, I guess. So, while I am happy that Travis and Clint found each other, I'm feel pretty tepid to the story, overall.


ARC of Afraid to Fly was generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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