Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series has delighted me from the start with the different types of relationships it covers, involving military men and the (sometimes civilian) guys who love them. I don’t know much about fraternisation rules in the US Army, other than that they seem more rigid – and more rigidly enforced – than seems to be the case over here, but this latest book is all over the issues that code of conduct can throw up, even when the guys don’t mean it to.
Lieutenant Dustin Strauss, brother of At Attention ’s Dylan, keeps his bisexuality quiet, figuring that with a gay younger brother, he’s going to be the one expected to carry on the family name by settling down with a wife and (hopefully) kids one day. His relationships with men have mostly taken place online, via a dating site linking military guys up with each other; however, a trip to Washington DC seems to offer the perfect opportunity for Dustin to try meeting his latest buddy in person.
Wes Lowe is as keen as Dustin to get together, and not at all bothered by the other man’s lack of experience. They spend a fun night together that is unexpectedly curtailed by the demands of Wes’ base, and are still figuring out how to progress their in-person friendship of whether to return to online dates only, when Wes is posted to the team on which Dustin is second in command. Military rules forbid the pair to even be good friends, never mind lovers, but the pair find it increasingly tricky to stay away from each other.
When people around them begin to suspect that something’s going on, Dustin and Wes can’t find out how much the others know without giving themselves away. It seems that one of them will have to get out – of the military or their relationship – before both their careers are ended in court martial. Everything comes right in the end, of course, though not without a few more ups and downs: not all of them connected directly with the guys’ relationships: their external issues are just as pressing at times, but that ending was suitably satisfactory as far as I was concerned.
An excellent addition to the series, in which we also get to follow developments in the lives and loves of some of the guys from previous books without their overwhelming this book’s main pairing.
Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren’t listening to rules and regulations…
Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO—and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction—they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.
Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.
But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.
With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.
Read an excerpt.