Series: Out of Uniform

Tight Quarters by Annabeth Albert

Tight Quarters by Annabeth AlbertTight Quarters by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, #6
Published by Carina Press on 31st July 2018
Pages: 352
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four-stars

Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

It isn’t very often that I venture into M/M romance and Annabeth Albert is an author who’s new to me.

That the ‘Out of Uniform’ series has crossed my feed numerous times which I haven’t yet taken up is just added incentive to get into a military romance of this particular sub-genre. Coming straight into ‘Tight Quarters’ without having previously read the rest of the books in the series was no biggie; I had no problems catching up even with the small references to what happened before without the focus on Bacon and Spencer faltering at all.

A hot-shot journalist embedding with this particular SEAL team (which is, according to Bacon—I just had to have a laugh at his name because his real one isn’t much better) isn’t a scenario I’d ever envisioned, but this was something I was happy to take with a pinch of salt, or better put yet, a willingness to suspend disbelief for what I thought was going to be by and large, some kind of romantic suspense written into the story.

But it wasn’t quite one and because I dove in without expectations, everything felt fresh and new, from the not-quite action in the first half and the rather unusual conflict in the second that simply made it impossible to take sides.

The forced babysitting of Spencer Bryant, a plan that went inevitably wrong during a mission and the action that happened thereafter and the added element of the kind of craving attraction that Albert writes so well just made me a happy camper. The details of the mission itself felt as though they were deliberately left fuzzy, so it was akin to being part of the action but not being in the heart of it, which left the focus on the development of the relationship—both when Spencer and Bacon were together as well as apart.

Past the mission however, ‘Tight Quarters’ felt like a different book in the move from military to the party crowd that Spencer/Bacon got involved in on his leave. The different aspects of their characters coming out to play threw me for a bit when I’d been ready to pigeon-hole both of them as ‘journalist’ and ‘soldier’, in fact. But the thoroughness of Albert’s exploration of the tension between Bacon and Spencer—one that resulted in a slight lull in the first third of the book—was rewarding as a result, especially in the light of the slow, slow burn that was set up as hostile from the start.

By the time Bacon and Spencer talked their way through to their sappy end, I was impressed by Albert’s style—the emotional rawness that emerged later between this pairing—and her handling of gender fluidity. And then I wondered why I didn’t jump on her other books earlier on.

four-stars

His Lover to Protect by Katee Robert

His Lover to Protect by Katee RobertHis Lover to Protect by Katee Robert
Series: Out of Uniform #3
Published by Entangled: Brazen on September 7th 2015
Pages: 152
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three-stars

Alexis Yeung did everything right....only to watch everything go horribly, horribly wrong. Broken and angry, Alexis high-tails it to Europe, determined to face the world on her own terms and without consequence. Which includes a mind-blowing night with a sexy, scarred stranger.
Except, embittered former pararescuer Luke Jackson isn't exactly a stranger. He's supposed to keep an eye on Alexis without her knowing. Ending up in bed together was definitely not the plan. Now he's chasing her (admittedly hot) ass across Europe, a game of cat and mouse that always ends with the two of them tangled up in the sheets.
Something in their scarred, damaged souls calls to each other. And God help them, the sex in unbelievably hot. But if Alexis discovers who Luke really is, he'll lose the one thing that makes him feel whole...

Alexis Yeung unwittingly picks up a bodyguard on an impulsive jaunt to Europe that’s meant to work out her heavy issues – particularly after learning about her younger sister’s pregnancy. Luke Jackson’s tasked to keep her safe from a distance, but those lines (both figuratively and physically) and crossed after one night when the initial antagonism quickly bows to sexual tension. Both have their own brokenness to deal with, except that Luke’s carrying the extra burden of keeping Alexis in the dark about his reasons for always managing to find her in the oddest of places. Putting aside the unbelievable lack of Alexis’s suspicion when Luke always manages to show up exactly where she is, I did enjoy the rough and bumpy road that they had to walk to their eventual happiness, which felt less contrived than Avery’s and Drew’s story.

three-stars