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.
Book One of the Out of Uniform series
This book is approximately 73,000 words
What I thought about Off Base
I think I fell for Zack from the opening scenes of Off Base. He might be a Navy SEAL, but he's also working through some internal situations that may be more challenging that anything he's dealt with in the military. He's still trying to figure out his own sexuality, and he's dealing with teammates finding out about him. Some of those teammates are bullies, ready to make his life miserable. At times, Zack seems so naive that it's hard to believe he's a SEAL. I liked that about Zack -- he had multiple layers that he had to work through to figure out just what and who he wanted in his life.
When Pike becomes his roommate, Zack is mostly apprehensive about his teammates finding out about them being together. He goes to great lengths to hide Pike and their relationship. He's not always nice to Pike either, but Pike is agreeable to waiting for Zack to find himself, knowing full well that he could end up getting hurt himself. It's a testament to Pike's feelings for Zack that he holds on and gives Zack that chance.
I loved Zack's gradual understanding and acceptance of his sexuality, and it was hard to read his discomfort at times, especially when he was so worried about how his SEAL teammates were going to react. A serious situation while out on a mission blows apart all Zack's attempts to keep things secret, and Pike could end up being the one to pay the cost, just as he suspected when he first moved in with Zack.
I really loved this quiet story of Zack finding himself and his sexuality. My heart hurt for him and Pike at times and it was also uplifted when others came to Zack's aid when he needed them the most. For me, this story encompassed many different emotions, and I loved that about it.
I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the series!
This is my honest review. An ARC was provided.
About the Author
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.