I’ve really enjoyed Annabeth Albert’s Gaymers series, but found myself wondering at the end of the last one how long she could keep going with the format of guys from the same game design company meeting and falling for like-minded guys while travelling across the country. The answer, of course, is a spin-off series, beginning with two friends of the guys in the last book, but against the backdrop of a military base rather than the previous scenario. While I’m not always a great fan of military romance, one that also involved gaming and house restoration, along with the allure of an author whose work I love and trust, seemed just my sort of thing. So I grabbed this book as soon as it became available.
Previously, we met Zack Nelson when he was recovering from breaking a leg in a training exercise. Now, though, his leg has healed and he’s a fully fledged SEAL. When the out-of-town friends who offered to take him celebrating his new status are unavoidably detained, Zack finds himself stuck with Pike Reynolds – part of the same crowd, but far more flamboyantly gay – and getting asked some awkward questions about his own preferences. Pike is pretty sure that Zack is gay, albeit very closeted, but really just wants to take care of the guy: he’s been burned before by getting too deep into relationships that his supposed boyfriend didn’t want to be open about. When Zack has a little too much to drink, he ends up sleeping it off at Pike’s place, in one of the spare beds, and that seems to be the end of that.
However, Zack has been having problems with some guys in his unit, and it seems that moving out might give them fewer opportunities to bully him. He’s offered a place rent free in return for fixing it up for the owner, but the work proves more complicated than expected – and at that point he runs into Pike again. Pike has just accepted a job close to where Zack is living, and, while he’s yet to find a new place to live, he’s learned all about house renovations from his mother. Sharing the house and the labour seems like the obvious solution, so long as the guys can work around their obvious attraction to each other.
I loved this book. Although Zack knows a lot of out gay guys, he has good reasons for not being out to himself, to the bullies he has to deal with every day and – especially – to his fundamentalist family. Pike, meanwhile, has plenty of equally good reasons to be cautious around Zack and respects Zack’s need to figure things out for himself in his own time. When a crisis finally forces the pair of them to make a decision about where the relationship is headed, none of the issues are glossed over or made into even bigger piles of angst than they need to be.
All in all, a great way to move into a new series – one that should delight those familiar with the previous series, as well as new readers coming into this series with no knowledge of the earlier books. I’m greatly looking forward to Book 2 now.
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.
Read an excerpt.