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Title:  Off Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military, SEALs, Contemporary, Roommates-to-lovers

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Synopsis

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.

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

Excerpt

“What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now. He’d passed all sorts of interrogation training—there was no reason he couldn’t hide that he didn’t particularly like this guy. Or this fancy bar where he and his nontrendy clothes and military haircut were out of place. He’d agreed to go out for drinks with a group. His friend Ryan had promised him a drink for finishing his SEAL qualification training and getting his trident, and Zack had figured dealing with the rest of Ryan’s crowd wouldn’t be horrible. But tolerable was a far cry from being stranded alone with Pike freaking Reynolds without Ryan as a buffer.

“They blew two tires getting out of Santa Monica and are waiting on a repair truck now. Ryan said to have fun without them.” Pike looked harmless enough—shorter than Zack with a lean build and bright red hair and freckles that made him look too young to drink—but Zack knew from experience he was anything but benign. Pike was the type of guy who would flirt with wallpaper, but he seemed to have singled Zack out for special attention ever since their first meeting at a LAN party.

Which was all well and good, but unlike a lot of Ryan’s crowd, Zack wasn’t openly gay. And what Zack hated was that Pike seemed to see through all his “no, really I’m straight” protests and see things Zack refused to even think about. And a whole night with Pike? Torture. And that was coming from someone who’d been tossed into frigid water with his arms and legs bound. Repeatedly.

But he’d happily endure another round of drownproof training if it meant an easy out of this situation.

“Is Landon coming?” Please say it’s not just us. Surely, Pike’s omnipresent sidekick would be there to bail Zack out.

“Nope. He’s doing research at the Hadron Collider for the next few months. Just us, I think.” Pike grinned at him. “Alone at last, right?”

Zack guessed that the Hadron was one of those supersmart things Pike’s crowd just assumed everyone else knew about. He certainly wasn’t about to appear dumb and ask. “You don’t have to stick around on my account,” he said instead.

“Dude.” Pike smacked him on the shoulder. “I’ve had a shit week. Another three interviews for jobs for the fall, another three fuckups on my part. Don’t make me drink alone.”

“I guess I could do a beer.”

“On me, right? We’re all super stoked that you passed SQT.” Pike gave him another of those disarming smiles.

Ba-deep-deep. Zack’s phone chimed. Sure enough, there was a message from Ryan apologizing for bailing. Have fun with Pike, Ryan ended. But whatever you do, don’t let him talk you into shots. He looks scrawny, but he can drink you under the table. Trust me.

Zack shoved his phone away. Nope, no way was he doing shots with Pike. Last thing he needed was to get drunk and forget himself around the guy.

“So what’ll it be? They have a whole selection of craft beers here.” Pike offered him one of the little bar menus artfully strewn around on the huge antique wood bar.

“A Bud’s fine,” Zack said. He’d never developed a taste for the fancy stuff. This whole place was fancier than he was used to, what with the exposed hardwoods everywhere, the prettified bar food emerging from the kitchen, and the painted inspirational quotes behind the bar. Even the name, Mellow, was a far cry from the hole-in-the-wall places he’d drunk at in college or even Big Ted’s, the little sports bar right off base that his fellow SEALs favored.

Pike signaled the burly bartender, who frowned at them after Pike gave their order for a Bud and some fancy-ass beer Zack had never heard of. “Hand stamps, please. Both of you.”

Zack stuck his hand out, showing that the bouncer had indeed checked his ID. Pike put his arm right next to Zack’s—way too close for comfort. “See, look at us, finding things in common.”

“Getting carded is hardly something to be proud of,” Zack mumbled as he pulled his arm away. Back in San Diego, when he went to the bars with his friends, they never got carded anymore. And he liked that—he was twenty-three now, for crying out loud.

“Of course it’s not for you, Muscles.” Pike did that whole standing-too-close thing again, moving over so others could get to the bar.

Zack really shouldn’t like that Pike noticed what the past few months of training had done for his physique. He’d always been lean, but days of log- and boat-carry drills had carved out muscles he hadn’t even been aware he had. Zack accepted his beer from the bartender, then followed Pike to one of the little high-top tables ringing the bar area.

“Seriously, you are jacked now.” Pike winked at him, giving him the sort of once-over Zack’s buddies gave girls in bikinis. “Look at those shoulders. It even makes you look taller.”

Flattery was not going to work on Zack. Not even a bit. Besides, Pike was the short one, probably five seven or so. But Zack was a perfectly respectable five ten. In your boots.

“Truth, man. I just call it like I see it.” Pike shrugged. And that right there was the whole problem with Pike—he had absolutely no filter and a way too keen sense of observation.

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

annabeth-avatar

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Annabeth’s Angels | Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

 

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Voodoo ‘n’ Vice by KC Burn


Title: The Galactic Alliance, Book 3: Voodoo ‘n’ Vice
Author: K.C. Burn
Publisher: Carina Press
Characters: Gideon Arcturus and Tai
POV: 3rd Limited
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction Crime
Kisses: 3.5




Blurb:

After nearly causing a galactic incident, fleet captain Gideon Arcturus is disgraced, demoted and exiled with nothing to do but pass the time at a seedy club on seedier planet Elora Ki. It’s no place for a straight-laced soldier, but following the rules is what got him there in the first place. When he meets a mesmerizing fire dancer, he’d do anything to get close to the flame.

Tai doesn’t date customers–it’s far too dangerous for a man who was once for sale. But the shy, awkward Gideon entices him, and the two spend Gideon’s leave tangled together, neither knowing the passion that stirs within them won’t soon subside.

When a violent drug lord forces Tai back into slavery, Tai has no choice but to give up his new love. But when Gideon learns that Tai’s fate lies with those who brought about his own ruin, he’ll need to revisit his own difficult past in order to save them both.

Review:

“Voodoo ‘n’ Vice” is a crime/police romance set in a science fiction background. If you’ve already read the previous books “Spice ‘n’ Solace” and “Alien ‘n’ Outlaw”, then you know what you’re in for and will see a few reappearances. But if you haven’t, don’t worry—this book can be read as a standalone. At this point in human history, Earth has been dead and abandoned for so long that very few can actually claim an unbroken family line back to it. Humanity has spread across the stars, the various solar systems and planets forming the Galactic Alliance, and Elora Ki is right at the edge of the vast conglomeration.

Although you see what causes Gideon’s disgrace and nearly re-sparks the Wolframite War in “Alien ‘n’ Outlaw”, it isn’t necessary to read it because the relevant information is provided—and not via an info dump—as the story goes along. And Gideon’s impressions of the past events help you relate better to Gideon who, at the start, comes across as a “stiff, unyielding military man” (and yes, I am quoting), but as the story develops, you find out why he is that way and the person he is behind the facade of military propriety.

Tai is doing the best he can given his circumstances, and the fact that Tai and Gideon actually connect seems odd until you realise they have a lot in common. Strangely enough, I think I empathised more with Gideon than I did Tai, although I respected Tai more—Tai has actively made his own situation better and fought to have control of his own life, where Gideon has not. Yet.

K.C. Burn writes a good story that develops naturally, both in the plot and the romance. I would recommend this story (and the other two, if you are interested) to people who enjoy a light futuristic science fiction story that focuses more on the people and society than the technology. There are definitely dystopian elements, as you would expect of a frontier world first colonised by criminals and the dispossessed, but some aspects of society seem to pop up again and again, as they have here. Overall, a nice, easy read that will stay on my ereader for when I need to put my feet up and relax.

Reviewed by Alison

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One door closes, by G.B. Lindsey published by Carina Press 4 Kisses!

doorTitle: One Door Closes

Author G.B. Lindsey

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages:149

Characters: Calvin Ware, Will Cabot and Calvin’s brothers

Sub-Genre Gay romance

Kisses: 4

 

 

Blurb

Years ago, Calvin Ware found a refuge in Neverwood, a home for wayward boys. Now, following the death of his foster mother Audrey, he’s returned to fulfill her request to restore the decrepit Victorian mansion to its former purpose.

Under the threat of repossession, Cal clashes with his foster brothers over restoration plans while fending off the unscrupulous developer who is breathing down his neck. Audrey’s well-meaning presence in his dreams does more harm than good as he struggles to cope with it all. What’s more, the contractor he hires to get the building up to code turns out to be Will Cabot, his high school flame.

As they begin working together, Cal finds he still has feelings for his first love. But his mistakes of years ago threaten their future, just as they ruined their past, and Cal knows he can’t withstand the heartbreak a second time.

 

Review:

Very good story about three men, saved from a life of foster homes and bad memories by a woman with a huge heart and a big home. Calvin had never known a home before Audrey took him in. Now faced with her death he and his brothers are forced back to that place to make it what it once was. Their first job is to restore the house and second is to open the home to children again. When Calvin calls for a contractor he has no idea his childhood love would show up at his door. Both men trying to keep their feelings under-wrap, while working with the deadline is almost comical. But when they finally give in it is explosive.

I definitely recommend this book, it was a fun and easy read.

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Reviewed By: Jerry

Trick of Time by JL Merrow


Title: Trick of Time
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 110
Characters: Ted Ennis, Jem Pocket
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Historical, Time-Travel Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

A lover from another time

When Ted Ennis steps out the doors of the Criterion Theatre for a cigarette and finds himself in Victorian London, he begins to doubt his sanity. At first he thinks it’s all a film set, and is sure that the strikingly handsome young man leaning against a lamppost must be the leading man…

What starts as a sordid transaction with a beautiful rent boy quickly turns into something much deeper, drawing him back again and again as he gets to know Jem and craves meaningful encounters with him.

But Ted doesn’t understand the exact conditions necessary for his trips through time–and for Jem, time may actually be running out. Now Ted has one last shot to get back to Jem and save their relationship, before it’s too late…

Review:

When I had the opportunity to read and review Trick of Time by JL Merrow, I immediately jumped at the chance to do it. There aren’t many time-travel themed books in the gay romance world, so I was anxious to read and review this book.

The blurb does an excellent job at describing the story, so I won’t rehash a lot of it. Since the death of his lover, Ted has been going through the motions in life. Through a favor of a friend, he’s managed to get a job at an old theatre, and even though he’s appreciative for the work, his heart isn’t really into it. One night during the middle of a performance, he decides to take a smoke break outside and finds himself in the middle of Victorian London. When he spots a very handsome man standing beside a lamp post, he suddenly decides to approach the man and see what’s up. What Ted doesn’t realize is he’s stepped into another time and that there is one man in the past who will bring light and love back into his dark lonely world he’s been existing in.

I loved this book! It was easy to feel sorry and empathize with Ted. He’s lonely and misses his partner terribly. When he meets Jem, I was happy to see Ted find his hope again. Watching Ted start to care for Jem and take another chance at finding love, was a beautiful thing to see. I thought he and Jem were very well matched and I enjoyed every moment they spent together. I also enjoyed watching the very modern Ted spend time with Jem in Victorian England. I thought Ms. Merrow did an excellent job at capturing the past, as well as Ted’s confusion and shock of suddenly being caught in another time.

My only gripe about this book was I wished it had been longer. I would have liked to see them really work at being in a relationship. I also would have loved to have seen how one of them really handled living in another time. But I did love the ending and I enjoyed the couple of hours of escapism the book gave to me. I also loved the cover! It reminds me of an old-school romance cover and since I adore romantic covers, this one is a favorite of mine.

Beautifully written with likeable characters that live and breathe off of the written page, Trick of Time is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. I loved the creative and heartfelt storyline and never wanted the book to come to an end. If you are looking for a well-written romance with a unique and romantic storyline, then Trick of Time is definitely the book for you! Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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What Binds Us by Larry Benjamin

Title: What Binds Us
Author: Larry Benjamin
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 276
Characters: Thomas-Edward, Matthew Whyte, Donovan ‘Dondi’ Whyte
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Romance, Drama, Interracial, Contemporary
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

Spanning a decade from the late 70s to the late 80s, set in Philadelphia and Long Island, What Binds Us is the story of three young men who discover a love that both unites and separates them. Theirs is a world of privilege and love, a world of their own making that begins to unravel despite their shared love and best efforts.

When, at 17, Thomas-Edward escapes southern New Jersey and the tyranny of his parents love, he thinks he is ready for anything. Anything quickly arrives in the form of one Donovan Dion “Dondi” Whyte who is like no one he has ever met before and who introduces him into a looking-glass world in which everything was familiar yet larger, more exquisite, more precious than anything he had ever known.

Dondi is handsome, sophisticated, passionate, urbane—everything Thomas has dreamed of loving, of being since childhood and yet when he meets Dondi’s younger, quieter brother he is hopelessly attracted to him.

What happened? How did Matthew come to switch places with Donovan in Thomas’ heart?

Review:

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started reading, What Binds Us by Larry Benjamin. Mr. Benjamin is a new author for me, and from what I read from the blurb, I had a feeling it was going to be a typical boy meets boy, but loses boy to another boy romance. Little did I know that I would quickly get wrapped up into the life of the main character, Thomas, and experience the excitement of him finding his first love, going through his first heartbreak, finding true love and finally experiencing a love and friendships that is so beautifully written it literally brought both tears of happiness and sorrow to my eyes.

When the novel begins Thomas is almost eighteen and is excited to go to college and live outside of his parents’ watchful eyes and high expectations of him. Thomas is a little naive and is both in awe and almost overwhelmed from being thrown in a somewhat diverse college crowd. When he meets the beautiful and carefree, Donti, he is immediately captivated by the young man’s free spirited ways. Even though Donti does not believe in love, Donti does take Thomas under his wing and they form a deep friendship that neither man was expecting to have. But as they hang around together, Thomas can’t help but fall in love with the adventurous Donti, even though Donti has told him time and time again that even though they are best friends and more, that having a relationship together would bring nothing but heartache to Thomas.

Thomas watches Donti go through many lovers and suffers in silence. He’s willing to at least keep Donti as a friend even though it hurts him every time Donti is with other men. Thomas keeps up a brave face and decides if he can keep Donti in his life in some way, whether it just be in friendship only, any sadness on his part is worth it. When Donti asks Thomas to spend the summer at his parents’ huge estate, Thomas agrees, not knowing that he’ll soon meet Donti’s quiet and intriguing brother Matthew. Soon, Thomas becomes close friends with Matthew and he begins to feel a strong emotional pull to him that he’s never really experienced with Donti. As the days and weeks go by, Thomas and Matthew develop a love between them that either man expected to have. As Matthew and Thomas’s relationship evolves into something deeper, will Thomas’s friendship with Donti pull the young lovers apart or will they form an even stronger friendship that nothing will ever break them all apart?

I could go on and on about the storyline and about the different twists and turns the book took me through, but I won’t. I honestly don’t want to spoil this beautifully written book for anyone, so I’ll stop there. The novel spans over ten years, so all of the characters in this book change and evolve as time moves on for them. I also want to point out that the characters in this book are realistically written and humanly flawed people that were easy to relate too. They are not perfect, nor do they always make the right decisions, and just like real life, this causes them to have to live with the consequences of these sometimes reckless acts. In the end, I ended up loving all of the main characters in this novel and once I finished reading it, the book lived with me for several days afterwards.

I would say that even though this has some strong romantic elements to it, this amazing book is also about the deep bonds of friendship and what that can entail. Just like in real life, there is love and loss, good times and bad and happy times as well as sad times. I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions while I read this book, and when the book ended, I had a smile on my face and felt hope for the characters in it. After all, isn’t that what we all want in life? We all hope things will work out for us and we’ll end up stronger and have a happy/contented life. This was the hope I had for these characters as the story came its conclusion.
What Binds Us has earned a token spot on my keeper shelf and I will actively look for more books written by Mr. Benjamin in the future. If you are looking for a refreshingly, thought provoking and well-written romance, What Binds Us is definitely the book for you! Highly recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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