Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Wheels Up by Annabeth Albert

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.

Add to Goodreads –

Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆
3 stars
M/M Romance
Triggers: Bisexuality, health issues

Dustin and Wes' story was, for me, a little more of what each of the previous books was.

Both of the characters were looking for a connection, but neither really knew what they wanted.

For Dustin, this connection was more for him since he was used to flirting and being with women. But despite having a lot of support from other gay soldiers, he was reluctant to tell them that he was bisexual. It had more to do with his own insecurities, than knowing he was going to be given crap for it.

Then you have Wes. He has a family life that most people would envy. Despite having a sister with health issues, he is kept in the loop by his folks and goes to see his sister, Sam, as often as he can. Wes is also amazing at his job and really loves it, but he does not want to sacrifice his family for his job.

What follows is an officer and enlisted romance that is forbidden, hard to ignore, and results in a lot of back and forth between the main characters – is someone going to sacrifice? Do they just ignore each other?

I enjoyed these characters but felt that their story was just too similar to the others. I would have liked a different story. But despite that, the characters had good chemistry and a great relationship.

This is the fourth book in the series, and we get glimpses of previous characters, most especially Dylan and Apollo. It centres round Dustin, a SEAL officer, and Wes, who is initially his cyber 'friend with benefits,' until they meet up for real.

When fate results in them working together – but in an officer-enlisted man role – then the reality of the inappropriateness of their connection shocks them, and causes a push-pull situation, with both of them unable to reconcile their feelings with their duty. It was particularly challenging given how closely they have to work together, which is a different dynamic to other similar themed stories that I have read. Throw in family issues, dealing with accepting, and being open about being bisexual, and this is a really good read.

My only issue is with the layout when the two men are conversing over their phone app. It just keeps going, without any clear indication of what is being sent to each other, what is thought, and who says what. It comes over as a stream of thought, but lots of it is conversation. I chose to just go with it and hope that I separated out the right voice and thought from the other – but it would have been better for me if there had been clearer editing. I have found that I am probably happiest if the written conversations are on separate lines and in italics. Then thoughts can wrap around that more effectively and there is no place for doubt.

If you enjoy SEAL romances with a degree of forbidden, a lot of first experiences, and part of a great series, then you are in for a treat.

I have really enjoyed this series and this book was no exception. I loved the whole texting and app part, I felt we got more "conversation" then just what the guys were thinking. I hate having pages and pages of inner monologue. I liked the thrill of Dustin and Wes maybe being caught. Let me tell you, the sex was H.O.T. I loved the ending and I hope to see more of them in the next book to see what happens next with them. I did like seeing Apollo and some other fellas from previous books too, that was a bonus.

Dustin and Wes agree to meet in person after months of chat online. They have an amazing night together, which is cut short when Wes is called to work. The next time they meet is when Wes is transferred to Dustin's SEAL team, shocking them both.

The sexy side of Wes and Dustin's relationship is hot, kinky, and delicious. I couldn't get enough of it. That combined with their growing emotional connection and the fact that the rules regarding fraternisation mean that these guys are not supposed to be involved at all, pulled me right into their angsty, complicated lives. I loved these guys and while I knew where I wanted their relationship to go, I wasn't sure how, or even if, they'd get there.

When Wheels Up drew to a close, I felt like we could easily have another book from Wes and Dustin, or maybe even a spin-off series (hint hint, Ms. Albert). I'd like more Dustin and Wes please.

The chemistry between Wes and Dustin in this story is electric from the moment they first meet. Dustin’s nerves are a perfect complement for Wes’ confidence.

It is only when Wes and Dustin realise that Dustin is an officer, Wes is an enlisted man, and they are going to be working together on the same team that things become complicated.

The angst that runs through this story is absolutely heartbreaking. The sadness that both men stoically endure as they attempt to keep an honourable distance is awful. They both battle to stick to the military’s fraternisation rules even when the rules are painful.

There are several moments in this story when the realist in me worried that Dustin’s attachment to Wes was putting the team’s lives in danger. But the romantic in me found it sweet. I loved the friendship and support Wes and Dustin offer each other. And ultimately, it is this sense of partnership, not the sexual connection, that made me fully invest in this ill-advised relationship.

Beyond the romance, I really enjoyed the military action in this book. It is an exciting read and I loved the details of Wes’ explosives work and the tasks Dustin’s team undertakes.

After so much angst, the ending possibly feels a little bit too easy, but I loved these men and I thoroughly enjoyed their story.

Also Available in the Out of Uniform Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Off Base post.

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our At Attention post.

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our On Point post.

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 toddlers.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Connect with Annabeth

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Facebook Fan Group


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4) by Annabeth Albert to read and review.

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