Off Base by Annabeth Albert

Book: Off Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Main characters: Zach Nelson, Navy SEAL struggling to accept his sexuality. Pike Reynolds, a mutual friend who, beneath the cheery facade, just wants to love and be loved.

Blurb:

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.

Why you should read it: I’ve read this series completely out of sync, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Each book, (see On Point and At Attentionis a self-contained story featuring a different navy SEAL and the object of their affection. This book was probably the more angsty of the series as it dealt with a character not yet ready to deal with who he is. It was very poignant and also quite realistic in its depiction. Not everyone has the joyful coming out, it can get messy and loved ones can be alienated due to their own reasons. It was enjoyable and moving and I think is a good opener to the series. The chemistry between Pike and Zack grew slowly and I liked how they evolved from a timid friendship into more.

What you may not like: It is quite heavy in places – not going to lie, and the start was quite slow, but it soon picked up and became a story I grew to like more and more.

Rating: 3.5/5 for a thoughtful and absorbing read.

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