Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

One hard-nosed military police officer.
One overly enthusiastic elf.
One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Annabeth Albert has an amazing talent with writing stories about military men, and this one is another winner for me. Most of the action happens off base, but Nick is most definitely the ultimate in military men, yet he is about to retire, and is not looking forward to it at all.

His last few weeks of service see him stepping up to help his CO and stand in as Father Christmas in the local town. Here he meets Teddy, who appoints himself his guide, as well as being his faithful elf. I really enjoyed Teddy's family at Thanksgiving, and the contrast with Nick's was crucial in explaining the man. It is fun watching the grumpy, older, Nick falling for Teddy's youthful exuberance and charm. However, he has promised that he will join his old pal in Florida, and he is all about following a plan.

There is plenty of snow, Christmas magic, and some lovely humour. If you want a little kick start to the festive season, this will bring a smile to your face!

I'll be honest, this book started rough for me and I almost stopped reading. After the first few chapters, the book finally picked up and I could feel the characters and their connection. I wanted to beat the tar out of Nick several times, he was so obsessed about the age difference and keeping his promise to his buddy in Florida. I loved Teddy, he was so sweet and giving. Once Nick and Teddy did the deed, these two were on fire and you couldn't help but hope they would end up together. The way Nick drew out the sex made it even better... poor Teddy. This was a feel-good Christmas story, low on angst and high on steam.

I love a bit of Christmas schmaltz, so I was very excited to receive this book. When Nick, a growly, solitary, military man meets a charity worker and his big happy family, he starts to let himself imagine a very different future for himself.

I expected to love this book. I’m a huge Annabeth Albert fan and I love the author’s military men. However, I really couldn’t get into this story. I know this is fluffy Christmas romance, but I feel like there are too many predictable tropes and not enough character development. Nick is a guarded, closed character that I found it difficult to get to know him. Teddy is a more relatable character, but the story is told from Nick’s slightly dour perspective. I felt like the relationship went round in circles and I really didn’t feel any chemistry between Nick and Teddy. Nick is irritated by Teddy right up to the point that he falls for him. Unfortunately, the whole thing didn’t work for me.

I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the right headspace for this story, but I had to double check the author because the writing just didn’t feel like it belonged to an Annabeth Albert book. This is a personal response and I feel almost guilty for not getting on with the story. Hopefully other readers will engage with this book better than I have.

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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Annabeth's Angels Facebook Fan Group


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert to read and review.

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