Category: Men in Uniform

Cover reveal: The Returning Home series by Serena Bell

Hey! I’ve got a little treat for you today. Serena Bell is back and she’s re-releasing her hit books in the Returning Home series. Enjoy!

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Aren’t they beaut? Good news for those of you who’ve already read these books. Book 4 will be out in May 2019! I can’t wait!

BLURBS

HOLD ON TIGHT (RETURNING HOME, BOOK ONE)

A wounded soldier. A secret baby. A second chance.

Jake Taylor has made a few terrible decisions, but none worse than the one in Afghanistan that cost him his best friend and his leg.

Or so he thinks, until he comes home from war to discover a seven-year-old son he never knew existed.

Jake can’t regret the blissful nights he spent with Mira in his arms, or the boy with his eyes, but he can leave them alone so they don’t become yet another one of his mistakes.

He’ll rehab his body, figure out how to find purpose again—and keep things simple with the woman he once craved desperately.

Except the sizzling attraction that drew him to Mira is still fierce, and staying away from her is a lot harder than he ever expected…

Mira Shipley has promised herself that if she ever sees Jake Taylor again, she’ll tell him he has a son.

She isn’t expecting to run into him at the physical therapist’s office, where he’s learning to live with an above-the-knee amputation.

She can’t blame him for being a grumpy jerk under the circumstances, but it would be a lot easier to ignore him if she didn’t desperately need child care for her son.

And if Jake didn’t make her feel brand new and dazzlingly alive.

She knows she needs to protect her son’s feelings—but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the long, sweet nights she and Jake spent learning each other’s bodies and each other’s secrets…

CAN’T HOLD BACK (RETURNING HOME, BOOK TWO)

A love triangle gone wrong. The power to heal his pain. And a second chance for both of them.

Nate Riordan came home from war hurting—everywhere.

Alia Drake can touch him and make it all better.

Nate craves her touch, and not just the professional, physical therapist version. But he needs to keep his eyes on the prize and his feet firmly on the path he’s chosen: His buddy, J.J., died, and Nate lived, which means he has promises to keep. Plus, Alia hurt him once, and he’s afraid she’ll do it again.

Alia knows she has to ignore her feelings for Nate. Her job is to take care of him professionally, so she has to keep her hands on the parts of him she has a right to touch. Besides, when she lied to him two years ago, she forfeited any claim she could ever have to his heart.

Now she just has to find some way to stick to her guns, leave him alone, and do her job. Even—or especially—when he’s shirtless on the table in her office…

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD (RETURNING HOME, BOOK THREE)

He doesn’t remember her. She cherishes every moment of their time together. Is there any hope for a second chance? 

Hunter Cross has lost a year. There’s a gap in his memory, and the woman who is living in his house has disappeared into it. He slept with her, fell for her, loved her—and he doesn’t remember any of it.

He knows he should send her away—except for one little thing. At night, when she creeps into his bed, his body remembers hers.

Trina Levine is heartbroken, alone with her memories. Hunter won’t claim any of it—not the joyful days, not the steamy nights. Nothing. It’s like Trina Levine dreamed it, and it hurts like nothing else could.

Except when Hunter cries out in his sleep and Trina comforts him. At those moments, Hunter’s body knows hers, and for a few, brief, blissful moments, Trina’s sure everything will be okay again.

Until morning comes.

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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.

On Point by Annabeth Albert

Two muscular men embraceBook: On Point

Series: Out of Uniform #3

Author: Annabeth Albert

Release date: 5 June 2017

Main characters: Maddox Horvat, the best sniper of his unit, with a soft side. Ben Tovey, his roommate, best friend and inconveniently, the object of Maddox’s affection.

Blurb: 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.

Why read it? This is a great series – there’s zero stupid, manufactured drama for drama’s sake, yet it’s a little angsty, the characters are a little unsure of themselves and the story was very exciting. I enjoyed getting to know Maddox and Ben – they balanced each other and brought out the best and at times the worst in each other. Their character development was just right in my opinion and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Their chemistry is one of the sexiest things I’ve read in a long time – and it wasn’t in a hurry to get to the finish either.

What might you not enjoy? If you like insta-love and a race to HEA then this book may frustrate you a little. I don’t like my HEAs sewn up too quickly, but some folks do. Other than that, it was an engaging, entertaining and really romantic read.

Rating: 4/5 for a thoroughly enjoyable tale and trusting someone and having the courage to take that leap of faith.

At Attention by Annabeth Albert

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Book: At Attention

Series: Out of Uniform #2

Author: Annabeth Albert

Release date: April 10, 2017

Main characters: LT Apollo Floros, Navy SEAL and grieving single father; Dylan, (Apollo’s friend’s younger brother) confident and in love with Apollo since forever.

Plot: Apollo Flores likes to be in control. A military man through and through, he likes everything to be as black-and-white as possible. With twin girls to raise and a demanding career, he needs some domestic help over the summer.

Apollo’s best friend’s brother Dylan needs a place to stay over the summer and he is qualified in early-years education and excellent with children. Appllo hasn’t seen Dylan in years and one thing is for certain: he’s all grown up!

Dylan has always harboured a crush on Apollo – he spent his adolescence mooning over him. Not much has changed – except that this time, Apollo has actually taken notice. Apollo’s heart might be unavailable at the moment, but maybe, just maybe, if he glimpses what they could have together, he’d change his mind…

Why you should read it: I loved this story – it was low on drama, but high on character development. The characters had depth and their own journeys and experiences to learn from. Apollo is in such pain – grieving for his former life with his husband. Now he is barely keeping things together for his girls. His despair was palpable in many ways and I understood his reluctance to put himself out there again. Dylan was a sweetie – he’s young, focused and incredibly mature. I like how he didn’t put up with Apollo’s nonsense!

What you may not like: No clue. It was well written, interesting and very smart. The dialogue was spot on and made me tear up as well as laugh out loud.

Rating: 5/5 for an engaging and absorbing read.

Long Simmering Spring by Elisabeth Barrett

LSSBook: Long Simmering Spring

Author: Elisabeth Barrett

Series: Star Harbor #3

Review by: Onnica 

Basic Story: Julie Kensington is finally realising her dream as a small-town doctor. She’s returned to her hometown of Star Harbor and is killing herself by working all hours in order to meet the demands of her new practice. She has no time for a social life or being part of the community, but she loves her work. The day her work puts her in the path of Cole Grayson, (the town’s Sheriff and former-hellraiser) she knows instinctively that her work ethic and her plans for the future do not include him. Having known him in High School, she isn’t convinced that he’s changed all that much and is determined not to be derailed by his smouldering good looks and intimidating presence.

Since hearing that Julie Kensington had returned to sleepy Star Harbor, Cole has been keen to get closer to her. Knowing that she still thinks of him as the surly, arrogant boy from High school, it becomes important to him to show her the real him – even the damaged, dark parts of him, which are a lasting reminder of his harrowing time in Afghanistan.

After agreeing to a date with the intense Cole, Julie is surprised by what she finds. Gone is the trouble-making rebel and instead, there’s a responsible and devastatingly handsome man in front of her. Perhaps she can stand to have a little fun – without losing her heart. Cole is happy to oblige, but before long, he isn’t content for their relationship to remain just a fling. He wants the real deal and the only way to convince Julie of that is to let her in on all of his secrets. Will she be able to accept what she finds there?

Why you should read this: Ok, so it’s no secret that I’m loving this series. Sleepy Star Harbor makes me want to emigrate! The Grayson brother series keeps getting better and I felt that this story had more depth to it – Cole is damaged and needs help and Julie is the perfect partner for him. She’s strong; she’s compassionate and makes a great heroine. Some of the other heroines in the series have had me tearing my hair out, but Julie was perfect. Cole is sexy as all get out – he’s my new favourite brother! It’s also a nice change to have a vulnerable hero, rather than a broken heroine for once.

What you might hate: If you’ve been following the series and enjoying it, I really don’t think there’s anything to hate. The pace is fast and there’s an adventure subplot running through the story, which makes it a real page-turner.

Rating: For me, the story keeps on getting better. I give this 4/5 for this imperfect love story between Cole and Julie. Long Simmering Spring is out on 13 May 2013. I am really looking forward to the last in the series (sniff, sniff) Slow Summer Burn, which is Val’s story – out in August 2013.