Author ~ Annabeth Albert
Publisher ~ Carina Press
Published ~ 9th January 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
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.
Off Base is the first book in Annabeth Albert’s new series, Out of Uniform. This book is also a spin-off from her #gaymers series, particularly the last book in the series entitled Connection Error. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of this author and with each new book she releases I think she just gets better and better. Seriously, giddiness ensues with a new Annabeth Albert book! Serious joy! Her books tell emotional, fun and heart-warming stories that leave you happily sighing in romance lala land. This book was no exception from her norm. Further, we are dealing with military men here. WHOOT! From the first page I was hooked and wanted to see just how things would play out between the two seemingly opposite protagonists who didn’t exactly start off on the right foot when they first met.
Zack Nelson is a navy SEAL that we were introduced to in book three in Ms. Albert’s #gaymers series. He did not exactly come off as a likeable secondary character, particularly regarding his animosity towards gay individuals. It turns out that Zack is a deeply closeted homosexual himself. He’s recently made an arrangement with his commanding officer. Zack can live off base and away from the barracks in one of his commander’s fixer-upper rental properties if he puts the work into the home. Zack jumps at the chance to do this and get himself away from his team during off hours, despite the fact that he has never repaired anything in his life. How hard can it be?
We also meet Pike Reynolds in book three of Ms. Albert’s #gaymers series. Pike makes no apologies for who he is and to many people, he is better handled in small doses. This is fine with him. Raised by a free-spirited mother in a house full of love, Pike is not one to hide his sexuality. He’s trying to get his life together and has recently accepted a teaching position. Now all he needs is a place to stay.
Zack and Pike have mutual friends in common. The pair have spent some time together with their friends, but they’ve never been alone with each other. That is, until they end up at a night club by themselves. There is no denying that Zack is interested in other men, not when his heated gaze sends shivers down Pike’s spine. However, Zack is in denial and would never admit his attraction (not even to himself). Pike is drawn to the sexy SEAL and certainly is unable to deny that he wants more time with him. This actually happens when the two become roommates, reluctantly on Zack’s part. It is very apparent that they are both attracted to one another; however, Pike needs to focus on all his work responsibilities while Zack can’t even handle the bullying directed towards him by some of his team members.
Zack and Pike are about as different as two men can be. Pike is this flirty, young guy with no filter when it comes to how quick things fly out of his mouth while Zack is this somewhat stoic and innocent man who is so used to cowering to others in his life. When our two protagonists finally do give in to what is transpiring between them, both guys have no idea just how powerful and real their connection would be. Falling for someone is always a scary thing, especially when the person you are falling for is your polar opposite. With so much standing in their way, do Zack and Pike stand a chance before they even get started?
I loved the fact that while Zack and Pike may have been outwardly different and certainly led very dissimilar lives, they grounded each other and seemed to fill a void that was missing in each of their lives. Despite their obvious dissimilarities, they just seemed to work and brought out the best in each other. Zack has no idea just how much he needs someone like Pike in his life, not until the cute college instructor saunters into his atmosphere. Both men are certainly taken aback by just how profound their feelings for one another become. Certainly something they both are unable to walk away from. Damn the repercussions! It doesn’t really work that way though, particularly when Zack can’t imagine living his life as an openly gay man. What would his family think? What about his SEAL team?
This was a tender, sweet and sexy tale as we watch the two men who may have not been expecting to feel so much for the each other become everything to one another. All in all, Off Base was a wonderful start to this series. I love how real and different the characters this author creates seem to be. Zack and Pike were no exception. They had their flaws but in the end all that matters is finding someone who accepts you, the good and the bad. Someone who wants you to fulfill your dreams and perhaps make some new ones with you. Someone that will fight for you and not be ashamed. This is definitely a series to check out for lovers of the M/M genre. Highly recommended.
“You like me, don’t you?” Pike whispered against his lips.
“More than,” Zack whispered back. “You. This. Us. It’s everything.”
Meet Annabeth Albert
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