Annabeth Albert’s military romance series has enchanted and delighted me even more than did the Gaymers series from which it was spun off. Having been introduced to the various members of the community living around the base in the first two books, this time we get to visit a pair who featured prominently in the second book, though always as slightly angsty friends rather than as a couple.
Ben and Maddox have been best friends throughout their military careers, and have been housemates ever since they both ended up single at the same time. Although it’s obvious to everyone else that they’re perfect for each other, the guys can’t see it; Ben’s a relentless party animal, who seems keen to avoid another serious relationship, while Maddox just wants to settle down and dreams of opening his own bakery once his military service is up. And that’s another sticking point: Ben is convinced that they’re going to reenlist together when the time comes – and that’s going to be soon – and can’t imagine serving without Maddox, especially after they got each other through some really tough times and injuries on a recent mission.
That mission was really the turning point for Maddox too. He’s faced death and would prefer not to do so again, no matter how much he loves his work, not to mention Ben. As far as he can see, he can just as easily support Ben by staying behind as he can by fighting alongside him. Ben is not going to be happy when he finds out, and so Maddox keeps putting off the big discussion they need to have.
The other big discussion is, of course, that one around all the pesky feelings they have for each other, and that keeps getting pushed aside in favour of other distractions too. Eventually, they try to make a go of things and encounter a few rocky patches – especially with regard to the life Maddox is forging outside the military – which ultimately leads to more angst before they figure out a way through.
This wasn’t my favourite book of the series. I enjoyed the action-adventure episode at the beginning, and it was great to see all Maddox’s friends putting their domestic and DIY skills to use once more as they helped him realise his dream. The rockiness of the relationship fell a little flat, and I never really got a proper understanding of Ben’s motivations – or lack of them: he seems to want a status quo that’s entirely favourable to him and is overly worried by change without an obvious underlying cause for his issues.
Those gripes notwithstanding, I hope we see more from this series and get to revisit all the guys along the way, as well as some of the Gaymers guys.
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.
Read an excerpt.