Release Day Review by Rafa: Off Base, by Annabeth Albert

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Off Base, by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out Of Uniform, Book 1
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: January 9, 2017

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars


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.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Opposites Attract
Closeted Character

Warning for Homophobia

Off Base was a satisfying read from start to finish. I love a good “opposites attract” story and this one definitely fit the bill. Moreover, I was pleased to note that this is a spin-off of the author’s #gaymer series, with a few familiar faces from Connection Error making regular appearances.

Deeply repressed and firmly entrenched in the closet, Zack is basically the complete opposite of out-and-proud Pike. Right from their first on-page encounter, poor uptight Zack couldn’t run away fast enough from Pike, who was determined to push all his “straight guy” buttons on a drunken night out. I was not on board at first because awkward, and also alcohol, but you know that moment when some really palpable sexual tension goes from annoying to steamy and you start paying attention?  Yeah, that happened.

Zack and Pike had deeee-lightful UST. And while the two MCs had off-the-charts chemistry, what I loved most was how much longing there was between them. The vulnerability both of them exhibited as they formed a tentative bond was so touching and real. The book was written in both POVs, and I think one of my favorite things was seeing Zack through Pike’s eyes. Pike was pushy and OTT at first, so it was a revelation to see his softer side as he fell hard for the big tough, teddy bear of a Navy SEAL. Oh, and did I mention that Pike is ginger?

Zack was such a wonderful mix of strong and sure, yet lost and clueless, and sorry, did I already mention how explosive the sex was between them? Their attraction was so raw and undeniable and hullo, Zack’s first time and… well, you get the idea, they were hot together. But they were also so, so sweet. I adored how easily they fell into a routine as roommates and inevitably created a safe cocoon and a home with each other without realizing it. But then of course there’s the real world to make things all scary and complicated. I will skip the details, but suffice it to say that Zack and Pike had to make some tough choices to get their HEA.

I adored this book. I’ve found the author’s other works to be well-written and well-paced, and this was no exception. The book also had the potential to turn angsty with some of the homophobic elements and Zack being so deep in the closet, but Off Base turned out to be sweeter, funnier, and more honest than expected. It was basically everything I was looking for in a romance, and I cannot wait for the next book.


Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

You can purchase Off Base from:
Carina Press
B&N Nook

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2 thoughts on “Release Day Review by Rafa: Off Base, by Annabeth Albert

  1. I read it last night. It was really cute – exactly what I needed. I enjoyed their story a lot – especially the slow burn part. I felt like their relationship moved a little fast for me but I was definitely rooting for their hea at the end.

    My biggest niggle was that Pike’s path to a full-time appointment at a community college seemed a little too easy to be believable but it’s certainly not the most egregious portrayal of higher ed that I’ve read and it didn’t take me too far out of the story.


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