“Sexy, sweet and heartfelt, Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a fresh take on Navy SEALs that will delight and entertain romance readers.” –Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.
Title: Wheels Up
Series: Out of Uniform #4
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): November 6th, 2017
Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance
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 semi-anonymous 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.
“So?” Wes prompted after she’d left again. “You don’t want me to hook you up with someone, even hypothetically, but what would you like tonight? Burger and watch the game? Or…”
“Or?” Dustin sounded more curious than off-put, which was good.
“Or…and I’m just throwing this out there…I’ve got a hotel room close to here. We could go hang there after we eat. Just talk. And stuff.”
“Define stuff.” Dustin fiddled with his paper napkin, but he hadn’t said no. And he was cautious, which was a good thing, smart. Another trait all the marines Wes knew had—they were wary, always ready for the next threat.
“Talk. Like how we usually do on Saturday nights.” Wes raised his eyebrows and nodded, telegraphing that he knew perfectly well how those nights usually ended, both of them drenched in sweat and spunk, yawning goodnight into the phone.
Dustin hissed in a breath. “And you’d be good with that? Just our usual?”
“Oh trust me—” taking a risk, Wes leaned across the table, putting his lips against Dustin’s ear “—there’s nothing usual about what I want to do to you. And absolutely nothing boring about a live-action version of our regular game.”
He sat back down in time to watch Dustin’s eyes light up at the mention of game. Yeah, Wes knew how to get him going. And the equal measure of trepidation and anticipation in his eyes made Wes’s pulse speed up. He wanted this, far more than he was willing to let on.
“I…” Dustin glanced around again. “I’m not…”
“Shh. You don’t have to give me an answer yet. We can enjoy our food. And the game. Hopefully UVA loses spectacularly so I can gloat about that when I call home tomorrow, and my dad will be in a better mood.”
“Okay.” Dustin sighed, and Wes knew he wasn’t imagining the relief on his features. Darn it. “How’s your sister doing?”
Wes had told Dustin a little about Sam’s heart condition on a night a few months back when he was feeling particularly down. Dustin remembering how close he was to Sam made warmth spread through his chest. “She’s good. Always got to be on the lookout for infection though. Hopefully this year’s cold and flu season isn’t too rough. She made me a new playlist today. I’ll forward you the link.”
“More of that alternative-country?” Dustin made a face. They might share a taste in movies and TV, but in music they differed, almost comically so.
“Yup. Be glad you’re not riding back with me.” His insides gave a little twinge at the reminder that all he had with Dustin was this one night. And that’s why he needs to say yes. If all they had was tonight, then Wes was going to make it one they both remembered for a long, long time.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just love a good military themed romance and I was so intrigued by the description and the great cover that I couldn’t wait to start this one. Lieutenant Dustin Strauss and Petty Officer Wes Lowe start chatting on the military themed hook-up app ‘Joe4Joe’. Not really knowing anything about each other they decide to meet up when their schedules allow. They get close quite quickly, not in a sexual sense, which was good. They both find common ground with each other and connect emotionally before falling into full-on sex which is not to say there’s no playing or no chemistry, there is, and lots of it. Dustin has been hiding the fact that he’s bisexual for such a long time and isn’t out to his family so there was quite a lot of hesitancy there which felt very real and honest but Wes starts to chip away at him and show him that he’s just what he needs, especially when Dustin just loves for Wes to take charge and show him he can just let go and submit and just ‘be’ in the bedroom, which is something he yearns for. Wes has his own problems too, with his sister who’s very ill and when he accepts a new role on the SEAL team, it’s a shocker who is new XO is! I liked the fact that Dustin had this internal struggle and it wasn’t easy for him, even though his brother was out and proud Dustin didn’t want to disappoint his family, and with Wes now on the team, there was no way forward for them, especially as Wes was enlisted and Dustin was an officer, it was game over for them, wasn’t it? They both were exactly what each other needed but how could their love prosper? Dustin’s disillusionment with the Navy and the rules that come with it and the crisis with Wes’s sister’s health force a shift for them both and they start to see what’s really important. This story was written so sympathetically as both MC’s emotions and struggles were laid bare, it wasn’t an easy ride for them and I think that this made the story for me. The love and the care they felt for each felt real and the mild BDSM element and the filthy talk was just spot-on. Overall a very enjoyable read and great addition to the Out of Uniform series.
Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMG Reads.
I’ve always loved reading Annabeth Albert’s work. It just makes me happy. She blends the perfect gritty sexy I like in my MM romance with delicious feels! This is my first read for this series and after reading how delicious she blended the sexual and emotional components in the story, I am kicking myself for not starting sooner. I’ll have to remedy that very soon!
I do have to say the ending was a little bit torturous for me. Why? Because it ends with a HFN. That is not a bad thing, but in this story, I needed that HEA to be concrete. The struggle throughout the book lent itself to want to have it. I craved it. I didn’t get it :(:( But I will survive LOL Other than that, honestly, there’s not a damn thing I would personally change about this journey!
Copy provided for blog tour review
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. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.
To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
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 active children.
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