Author: Janey Chapel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Cooper Fitch, Eli Jones
POV: 3rd Person, Cooper’s POV
Scene Setting: Coronado NAB, San Diego, CA
Sub Genre: Contemporary
Book Cover Rating: 4
After completing Navy SEAL training, Cooper Fitch and Eli Jones face assignment to different platoons. Since the strength of their mutual physical attraction is exceeded only by their emotional reliance on each other, the idea of being separated for a year or more is a bitter pill to swallow. But missing Eli may be just the beginning of Cooper’s troubles: he’s got an undisciplined man in his platoon, an uptight commanding officer, and his own insecurity about his leadership skills to deal with. Without Eli at his back, Cooper starts to wonder if he really has what it takes to be a SEAL.
Anchors Aweigh is an impressive sequel to the first book in the series, Maritime Men. This time Eli, Cooper and the five other men from their (BUD/S) Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training crew have already graduated and are now honest-to-God Navy SEALS.
One of the cons about being an honest-to-God Navy SEAL or any other member of the military though, is that sometimes you have to leave the people you love the most. That happens in this story, Eli is sent for seven months somewhere to do something and not even Cooper knows what that thing is. While Eli is away, Cooper is put in a platoon scheduled to deploy in a little over a year, serving as the Assistant Officer in Charge. Two men, Mickey Chavez and Ace O’Reilly, who are from his original BUD/S crew are assigned to the platoon with him. This separation has a silver lining on it though and that is, if Eli does what he’s supposed to do and does it well, he has a chance at being promoted and put into Cooper’s platoon as the Officer in Charge when he returns.
Before Eli leaves for his mission he and Cooper decide to rent a house out on Imperial Beach, close to base. Neither of them are there much, in fact, Eli isn’t there at all while he’s deployed, but it’s theirs and it serves nicely as a place to come home to for both men. It gives them something tangible that belongs to the two of them and a place where they can steal a few private moments on the rare occasions when they are there together.
The seven months Eli is away is difficult, probably for both men, but since this story like the first one in this series, is told from Cooper’s point-of-view, we don’t get a glimpse into Eli’s life while he’s away. For Cooper it’s a harsh combination of extreme training, growth, heartache and success. Cooper wonders before Eli leaves, if he is only a good SEAL, because he has had Eli by his side. In the months the two men are separated, Cooper learns to be a leader in his own right, he makes decisions, even a life-or-death one, he assembles teams and pairs people up based on his experience and his knowledge of his men. He becomes a SEAL he can be proud of, one that would make Eli proud and one that his men respect and whose orders they would follow without question.
This book had a more solid ending and even beginning than the first one did. Eli and Cooper are exclusive, they have a home, a future and a duty they may be able to fulfill with the other by their side. The two of them have come a long way from the casual, spontaneous relationship that was started in Maritime Men. This was a story of hope, love and self discovery. Cooper summed up what his relationship with Eli is best when he thought, “the team provided work for him, but Eli gave him purpose. The house provided him respite, but Eli made it home. Pure magic. No lie.” Eli and Cooper together and in love are just that, pure magic. No lie.