50% of the author’s royalties from this book will be donated to charities supporting US military veterans who have been deported or are at risk of deportation.
About Once Burned
Captain Mark Thomas’s world has been tossed on its head: A long overdue but still unexpected divorce. A promotion out of left field. Last-second orders to a ship where careers go to die. As the dust settles in his new home, he barely recognizes his life, but he sure recognizes the loneliness creeping in.
Diego Ramírez wants nothing to do with the military or its men. Not after the Navy burned him both literally and figuratively, costing him his career, his health, and ultimately his green card. Now working illegally in an Anchor Point bar, he keeps the military and its personnel at arm’s length.
But after a single moment of eye contact across the bar, Mark and Diego can’t resist each other. As a one-night stand quickly turns into more, Diego knows he’s playing with fire. Now he can stick around and let things with Mark inevitably fall apart, or he can run like hell and wonder what might have been. One way or another, Diego knows he’s about to get burned. Again.
Once Burned by L.A. Witt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mark is a new Captain in the Navy, something he never expected to be. Recently divorced, he is trying to fit into his new life. He had expected to retire and the promotion had changed his plans.
Diego, working for tips as a bartender, want nothing to do with the Navy. He was wounded in the line of duty and was tossed out of the Navy because he couldn’t meet the qualifications to stay in. He lost his green card and is in the US illegally.
When he met Mark, Diego knew getting close him was a mistake, but their chemistry was just to hot to ignore. The more time they spent together, the hotter the relationship became.
There were a lot of issues that created conflict between the men, which I suppose was needed to move the story along, but also seemed to bog it down a bit. I’ve read all the Anchor Point stories and this is another nice addition to the series.
Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads.
View all my reviews
I’ve loved all the books in this series, and this one’s no exception. It’s well written, well researched and so engaging. I was really intrigued about Diego after being introduced to him in Dalton’s story in Going Overboard, little did we know he was going through such a turbulent time (and that’s an understatement!).
This book tackled some hard and sensitive subjects when talking of what Diego went through in the military and the after-effects he was still suffering with, terribly so, and my heart really went out to him; the agony he went through when he was injured and the resulting PTSD and the threat of being deported was just horrendous and how he was treated was unconscionable. The one shining light in all this mess was Mark, who seemingly had it all going for him career-wise but he’s just come out of a bad marriage―luckily on better terms with his ex-wife now that they were divorced―but there was definitely something missing in his life, until he met Diego. It just seemed so unfair that Diego’s relationship with Mark; the only positive thing in his life, was under threat from circumstances left over from his time in the military, I really felt for him and I too, couldn’t see a way out for him and chance to move forward, get help and have a chance at a future. It seemed like the threat of losing everything pushes both men to desperate measures, surely they’re better fighting together than throwing the towel in and being apart? You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens but I can say it’s quite an emotional read; how one man can serve his country and end up in this position just busted my heart.
This is a great read and a beautiful, honest love story. I know this series will be coming to an end at some point soon but I wish it could go on as I love my Anchor Point boys. If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, you won’t be disappointed in this latest instalment.
About Anchor Point
Welcome to Anchor Point!
Nestled on the northern coast of Oregon, this small town is home to Naval Air Station Adams. On base, you’ll find freshly minted Sailors who’ve just graduated boot camp, salty officers counting down till retirement, grounded pilots who’ve landed behind desks, and everyone in between—and they’re all looking for love. Well, not all of them, but that won’t stop love from finding them.
So pull up a barstool, grab a beer, and get ready for some sea stories as these men in uniform—or not—navigate the waters of love and life in the military.
Anchor Point stories can be enjoyed in any order. Hop in wherever you’d like!
SNEEK PEEK @ Sink or Swim (Anchor Point, #8),
the final Anchor Point book … (This is an unedited excerpt).
I made it about twenty feet down the narrow corridor before I stopped and glanced back at the chapel.
That hadn’t been how I’d expected my little encounter with the chaplain to go. It wasn’t that I’d anticipated being thrown out or getting a hostile reception; I hadn’t been quite sure they’d let me use the chapel since I was a civilian, but I knew from experience that Muslims were allowed—if sometimes grudgingly—to use it. I’d just been nervous because meeting a new chaplain was always a gamble. Most didn’t care, especially in recent years, but I’d met enough who did have an issue with Muslims to be seriously wary.
What I hadn’t met before was a chaplain who made my heart skip like that. Was it wrong to think a chaplain was hot? Because that had been my first thought when I’d laid eyes on him. Maybe it was the camos and the black boots; even after twenty years in the Navy, uniforms absolutely still did it for me. Maybe it was the sandy blond hair and crystal blue eyes.
Or maybe I just haven’t been laid in too long.
Except it’s only been a couple of weeks. What the hell?
Shaking my head, I continued down the passageway.
Okay, he was hot. I wasn’t going to deny that. And he’d been nice, too. Not just in that plastered-on-smile kind of way I’d experienced a few too many times, but really, genuinely nice. Even when I’d shown him the picture. I didn’t usually flash that picture at people I’d just met, but I’d suddenly needed to know how Dylan would respond to it. How he’d react to the photo of my son and his boyfriend.
There’d been a flicker of surprise in his expression, but no horror. No revulsion. No twitch of his lips or faint wrinkle of his nose. If anything, he’d smiled—really smiled—as if he didn’t see any reason at all to be put off. All that minutes after he’d assured me I could store my mat and Qur’an in his office.
Was this real? Had I really found a unicorn of a chaplain who wasn’t an Islamophobe or a homophobe?
Of course I knew they existed. I’d had some good chaplains during my career. Most were willing to let me and the other Muslim Sailors pray in the chapel, though I’d never needed to actually store my prayer mat and Qur’an there since I’d just keep them in my rack. Very few people—never mind chaplains—had known I was gay, so I’d never experienced the homophobia firsthand while I was on active duty, but I’d heard the stories from my shipmates. And I’d gotten my fair share from the civilian contractors I worked with now, though they carefully toed the line between actual harassment and just getting on my nerves.
So I’d been edgy when I’d walked into the chapel, but now I was off-balance for an entirely different reason.
Those blue eyes were burned into my memory, and his voice—I shivered just thinking about it. Even as I turned to continue down the passageway to work, my mind stayed right there in the chapel. I tried to focus, though, especially since this was my crew’s first day on this ship, and I needed to remember where I was supposed to be. I was pretty sure . . . I was . . . supposed to be . . .
Right. Up one deck and three spaces aft.
At least I could get around without getting completely disoriented. I’d never been stationed aboard the Fort Stevens while I was on active duty, but I’d spent four years on the Bataan. They were both amphib ships, and their layouts were almost identical. So, even though I’d just started, I found my way around without too much trouble.
When I’d been stationed aboard a ship, I’d usually improvised when it came to my Salat. If I could find enough room on a relatively clean part of the deck in the shop where I worked, I’d do it there. Sometimes I’d use the floor beside my rack in the berthing. It mostly depended on how much space I could fine, how clean that space was, and how safe it was from people who didn’t like being reminded that there were Muslims among them. There was a scar on my left shoulder that would keep me from ever forgetting that.
With the ship undergoing a moderate overhaul, the chapel was the best place for the time being. Clean, dry, safe, respectful, and with some elbow room. No ladders in the way, power tools screeching, or plastic sheeting and even scaffolding to deal with. At least until the chapel became the target of repairs and renovations, which hopefully wouldn’t be for a while.
As I walked down the passageway, power tools whined and clattered. Sheets of plastic swayed over open hatches. Signs warned that protective headgear was required. I’d left mine with my tools, but I wasn’t too worried—the passageway itself wasn’t undergoing any renovations yet.
It would be soon enough, though. Everything on the ship was getting worked over, and the army of civilian contractors had our work cut out for us. Normally a ship needing this much work would be sent into one of the shipyards in Newport News, Bremerton, or San Diego, but they were too backlogged to wedge an amphib in until sometime next year without bumping one of the others down the list, and they had deployments coming up. The problems aboard this can of bolts couldn’t wait that long, though, so here we were.
And we’d be busy for a while. There were electrical problems all over the ship. Structural ones too. Plumbing problems. Black mold. At this rate, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out there were rabid rats in the mess decks and while we were at it, mutant mosquitos breeding in the bilge water. It was a floating (barely) shipwreck if I’d ever seen one.
Allegedly, the boat had been overhauled in Bremerton prior to moving its homeport to NAS Adams. Allegedly. Either I’d read the paperwork wrong and the overhaul had happened in 2005, not 2015, or someone had fallen asleep on the job. Or the boat had just taken a hell of a beating on its last cruise. Which was entirely possible. I’d been on a ship years ago that had been nicknamed the USS Murphy’s Law for everything that had gone wrong on our deployment. Halfway through, my shipmates and I had started taking bets on how much longer she’d keep sailing before we all had to get out and push. That had been funny until around the time rumors had started flying about problems with one of the reactors.
Somehow, that ship had made it home, and somehow, the Fort Stevens had too. In fact it had been sitting here for the last few months waiting for the Navy and the unions to finish with a bunch of red tape and budgeting bullshit. By the time all the paperwork was squared away and the contractors started descending on the boat, it had been a mess. The Fort Stevens was in better shape than that other pile of bolts had been, so maybe this really was just the result of a hard cruise.
Not that it mattered. I was getting paid either way, and it was my job to fix the electrical issues, not wonder who in the world had jury rigged everything to look like something out of a bad MacGuyver episode.
About LA Witt
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…
L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).
To celebrate the release of Once Burned, L.A. is giving away reader’s choice of two eBooks off of her backlist! (Excludes Once Burned.) Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 14, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!