On Point, by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, Book 3
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: June 5, 2017
Never fall for your best friend…
Pushing thirty, with his reenlistment looming, decorated navy sniper Maddox Horvat is taking a long look at what he really wants in life. And what he wants is Ben Tovey. It isn’t smart, falling for his best friend and fellow SEAL, but ten years with Ben has forged a bond so intimate Maddox can’t ignore it. He needs Ben by his side forever—heart and soul.
Ben admits he likes what he’s seen—his friend’s full lower lip and the perfect muscles of his ass have proved distracting more than once. But Ben’s still reeling from a relationship gone to hell, and he’s not about to screw up his friendship with Maddox, too.
Until their next mission throws Ben and Maddox closer together than ever before, with only each other to depend on.
Now, in the lonely, desperate hours awaiting rescue, the real challenge—confronting themselves, their future and their desires—begins. Man to man, friend to friend, lover to lover.
Friends to Lovers
You know a book is good when you’re crying from the get go… right? Or is that just me? Whatever. This book sunk its claws into me early on – like really early on – and didn’t let go until the end. I felt so freaking vulnerable and I was tearing up at everything. It was the best feeling ever.
I adore the Friends to Lovers trope when it’s done well, and On Point certainly lived up to its name in that regard. When paired against the risk of forever screwing up their friendship (and potentially messing up their SEAL team), Maddox and Ben’s messy, intense feelings for each other had me in knots. Especially in the case of Best Friends to Lovers (not just any ol’ friend or acquaintance), I have to be absolutely convinced that the couple in question are meant to be together romantically – and not just because it’s convenient. With Maddox and Ben, it didn’t take long to convince me that they absolutely belonged together forever and ever amen.
From the moment they forged an unbreakable bond during SEAL training to their oddly charming domestic situation and mysteriously strained relationship, it was painfully obvious that they couldn’t live without each other. Just from bits of their backstory that came in flashes during their FUBAR mission, I knew I was pretty much done for. I won’t spoil their story for you, but there are a few things I want to highlight.
The ops that opened the book was everything, and not just because it became the catalyst for major changes in their lives. The superbly written, action-packed scenes started the book off with a bang and the author did an incredible job of ratcheting up the surrounding danger as well as the internal tension between the two heroes. And as someone from the region in which the mission took place, I have to give the author a shoutout for the way she brought the rainforest and the raging elements to life by rightfully portraying them in such a vibrant and hostile manner.
There were a lot of things that I absolutely loved about this book. I even liked the corny references peppered throughout Maddox’s narrative that gives us glimpses into his idyllic childhood. If this were any other book, I’d be rolling my eyes at the cheesy attempts to endear me to his down-home, nice-guy personality, but for some reason it just worked. Every little slip underlined how badly Maddox missed the affection and approval of his family. For me, it was just another little clue that this book was going to kill me with all the feelz.
I loved all the ways their relationship evolved, even during the slow and frustrating parts. The desperate yearning and the explosive chemistry. Their awkward attempts at dating and their casual domesticity. I loved their absolute confidence in each other as teammates and best friends, even as they struggled with taking the plunge into unknown territory together. As she did in the previous books in this series, the author portrayed her heroes so vibrantly and captured every emotion so clearly that I couldn’t help but be in the moment with them every step of the way.
The final third of the book does get bogged down with ill communication, trust issues, fear of commitment and all the usual things that spell trouble in romance. Ben in particular had some major abandonment issues he needed to overcome, which later turned more into a matter of him pulling his head out of his ass. It’s fair to say I could’ve happily strangled Ben during that last stretch. And I loved, loved(!) that Maddox didn’t take any shit when Ben finally, finally(!) came around. Seriously, I nearly screamed Halle-fucking-lujah but I was sneak-reading at work at the time which is neither here nor there don’t judge me. I’m not usually a huge proponent of groveling in romance (I can take it or leave it, just kiss and make up however you want but make it good) but I totally think there should have been a lot more groveling in this book. The ending felt rushed and I would’ve preferred more time for the two to just talk it out. Along those same lines, I thought the epilogue, although so lovely, would’ve been perfect if it had taken place perhaps a little further down the road.
Despite my nitpicking, On Point is a heart-stopping, gut-wrenching addition to an already strong series by an author who is fast becoming a favorite of mine. I cannot recommend this book and this series enough.
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.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.