Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert

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Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #1
Pages: 304

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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.

I’ve been a long time without reading a romance book. I had the feeling this book was going to be perfect to put me back on track. I wasn’t wrong. This is the kind of story I love to read when love is the theme!

The main characters of the book are Zack and Pike. The former is a soon-to-be SEAL who is currently in training. The later is a mathematician expert in videogames. Zack is tight closeted and doesn’t speak about his true sexuality with anyone, always with a excuse ready when someone asks him about his love life. Pike is the opposite, very open about his true interests and no shame at all. The military is not very fond of Pike because of that. Zack is just too worried to slip when the other one is around…

Due to an homophobic team mate (the only person that knows Zack’s secret), Zack decides to live off base. At the same time, Pike is in desperate need of a place to live in the same area due to a new job as a teacher. As you can imagine, they start living together and, little by little, the relationship develops.

The author does a neat work describing Zack’s agony. He doesn’t want to come up to the world, because he is afraid that could endanger the realtionship with the rest of his team. Besides, his family is very conservative and he doesn’t want to disappoint them. But he really likes Pike and the way he makes him feel. Fortunately for him, Pike is a very patient person and tries to understand Zack’s situation. Even though he hates to hide his feelings in public, the teacher makes an effort in order no to lose Zack.

That is the recipe for some tough truths that brought some tears to my eyes a couple of times or more. I couldn’t help linking emotionally with the couple during the good and the bad moments. If anything else, this book shows a lot of heart. I’m going to miss these two so much… I hope they make a cameo in the next ones.

Someone could say that the ending is rushed, but in my opinion is the perfect climax for the emotional build-up. It is what it has to be. No surprise, no weird twist… It is what both of them deserved. If I sound very fond of them, it’s because I am!!

What has surprised me is the way Annabeth describes the characters… like almost nothing. In romance is pretty common to find lengthy descriptions of the male characters. The less clothes, the longer… The writer of this book prefers to leave most of the visual image to the reader’s imagination. The sex scenes are also scarce and short, so don’t be intimidated!!

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Next: The Infernal City by Greg Keyes

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