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.
This book was a huge change of pace and genre for me, but a welcome one. It’s a story told from two perspectives, each one offering a different insight into the unfolding narrative.
The story is set against a military backdrop – one of the two main characters, Zack, is a Navy SEAL who’s chosen to live off-base to avoid the homophobic taunts of a team member. He’s deep in the closet and afraid to admit to himself that he’s gay, but a night out with a friend of a friend, Pike, leads to him offering him a room in the rental apartment he’s fixing up for his commanding officer.
Zack was a really interesting character to read. His denial and hot and cold attitude towards Pike was, at times, jarring to read, but in the context of the story – being afraid to come out to his team and his family for fear of the way he would be judged – it’s definitely in perspective. It’s clear that he wants to accept himself for who he is; he wants to be with Pike, but just doesn’t know how to admit that and feel safe.
Pike, as a character, was great, although I spent a good portion of the book feeling like he deserved better than the treatment he was getting from Zack. Context aside, Pike had the patience of a Saint in waiting for Zack to be comfortable, ready and willing to acknowledge their developing relationship. I also loved the glimpses we got into Pike’s academic life as a teacher. His journey to self-discovery might not be as dramatic as Zack’s but it’s definitely there as he learns how to be an independent adult.
The development of their relationship was interesting to read. There are some very steamy scenes, as expected in a romance novel.
There was a lot of homophobia from external parties in this book, with the characters learning how to deal with that, and not every situation has a desirable outcome on that front.
This is the first Annabeth Albert book I’ve read, and overall I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
title // Out of Uniform 1: Off Base (Preorder)
author // Annabeth Albert
publisher // Carina Press
genre // Romance, LGBTQIA
publication date // January 9, 2017
format // eBook
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review from the publisher via Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.