Release Review: Wheels Up: Annabeth Albert

by - Monday, November 06, 2017

Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4)
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Release Date November 6, 2017

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
We have met Dustin Strauss as he is Dylan's older brother and Apollo's best friend (At Attention). Dustin is bisexual but keeps that a secret from everyone. The only person he really talks about it with is his online chat buddy in a military hook up app.

Wes Lowe has been his online friend and cyber sexual partner for months. He has his own reasons for why he has been invested in this online relationship. But now they are going to get to actually meet up over a weekend.  One is bossy in the bedroom and thrives on the control, while the other finds release in submission. And they are a safe place to test their boundaries.  They have a much-too-short, great time full of friendship, sexual tension, and chemistry.

But once it ends, it is back to online only...until Wes gets transferred and everything changes. The Navy has a fraternization rule between officers and enlisted men so their burgeoning romance and even friendship is forbidden. But their hearts and minds do not want to agree.

Their connection and chemistry are separated first by distance and then by circumstances and rules.  We has a lot of struggles due to family issues and the changes in his life. And Dustin worries about his own secrets and the repercussions of any sort of relationship. But they crave each other and need each other in a way that makes it hard to follow the rules. Their levels of power are totally different at work vs. in the bedroom. This is also a journey of self discovery and firsts for each of them as they explore what they like and need with someone who is patient, understands, and cares enough to experience new things together. Trust. Guilt. Fear. Regrets. Need. Want. Rules. It all seems impossible.

It is told in dual points of view and my heart hurt for both of them. They really needed someone to understand and to be able to be their true selves with. They were so good together in every way, but barriers were firmly planted in their way. And they also both have dangerous jobs to do and distractions can only interfere. But how much will they have to sacrifice for their career and country?

This was an angsty, steamy, forbidden military romance with friendship, firsts, frustrations, and fears that they may never get a real chance. It frustrated me often too and sometimes I would find myself distracted.  I am not surrounded by military so the serious fraternization rules seemed over the top to me, but they are apparently that serious in real military life. There was a lot of repetition of coming together for sexy times and emotional needs, pushing away, guilt, rinse and repeat. Also Dustin's secrecy about his sexuality just seemed a bit flimsy considering his friends and brother were gay or bisexual. So the indecision and issues got a bit tired.  But I liked Wes and Dustin together, and was hoping there could be some way to make it work. I would have liked a bit more of an ending, but hopefully we will see more of them in the next book. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
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After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike's flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike's arrival would spark from Zack's teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can't refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won't be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He's an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he's had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can't risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack's restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn't know how to be the man Pike deserves.

At Attention (Out of Uniform #2)
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Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he's lucky a friend's younger brother needs a place to stay. He's surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete's body. Apollo's widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up. 

It's been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it's time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he's all man now—an adult who's fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo's muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can't afford to fall for that guy. He's determined to hold out for someone who's able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he'd expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what's more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life. 

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Our 4.5 star reviews

Never fall for your best friend…

Pushing thirty, with his reenlistment looming, decorated navy sniper Maddox Horvat is taking a long look at what he really wants in life. And what he wants is Ben Tovey. It isn’t smart, falling for his best friend and fellow SEAL, but ten years with Ben has forged a bond so intimate Maddox can’t ignore it. He needs Ben by his side forever—heart and soul.

Ben admits he likes what he’s seen—his friend’s full lower lip and the perfect muscles of his ass have proved distracting more than once. But Ben's still reeling from a relationship gone to hell, and he's not about to screw up his friendship with Maddox, too.

Until their next mission throws Ben and Maddox closer together than ever before, with only each other to depend on.

Now, in the lonely, desperate hours awaiting rescue, the real challenge—confronting themselves, their future and their desires—begins. Man to man, friend to friend, lover to lover.

3 more books coming!
Annabeth Albert 
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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.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

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