Wheels Up, by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, Book 4
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
Happy For Now
I’ve been enjoying this series a lot, and Wheels Up is a nice add to it. While it’s not my favorite, for a couple of reasons, it’s a really good addition.
Let me just get to the things I had difficulty with first…
This story is full of high tension and angst. While tension is good, hight tension for almost the entirety of the book, is not. I felt like I was constantly waiting for Dustin and Wes to get caught. It’s very clear that the relationship they have is forbidden, just as the blurb indicates. This is no joke in the military, and I think I understand the reasons. So when I read a book that has been waiting for that moment to hit, that single time when someone slips, it’s pretty stressful. I love me some tension, but this was simply torture.
I also felt like I was missing parts of each character. With Wes I feel like I had a handle on what he was dealing with regarding his family struggles, but when it came to his insecurities at times in the bedroom, I was left puzzled until almost the end. As far as Dustin goes, I feel like his family issues were clear, but his unhappiness at work was something I was not understanding. After everything is out in the open and decisions are being made for changes in their lives, I was more comfortable with how their relationship was going because I understood them both better. But until then, I sort of felt like I was only getting partial information from both of them and that had me confused at times, and not able to fully grasp the difficulty they were each facing with certain issues.
But even with all of that, there were things that I loved, and times I think the story shines brightest. Dustin and Wes chatting, talking, and really getting to know each other were moments I coveted. And sure, they have seriously hot and kinky sex, and those moments of intimacy are fantastic. But it’s those other moments when they are free to care for one another and talk like any other couple that I found the most promising. I loved that it was so very clear to me, and to them, that they loved each other. It’s plain as day how much they care for one another, and how much the struggle of their secret relationship is hard on them both. And as much as that tension and angst were driving me crazy, there were a couple of times when it really drove home just how much they cared, and how deeply.
I also loved checking in with Dylan and Apollo! See, those two are my favorites and since Dustin is Dylan’s brother and Apollo’s best friend, it was really fun to get a little glimpse into how their lives are going, and to see just how they reacted to news that Dustin was going to give them. So much fun.
So while this might not be my favorite, I did enjoy it. I’m looking forward to more in this series and hopefully checking in with Dustin and Wes to see just how well they’re doing.
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.