Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Player vs. Player. Fight!
Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.
Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.
Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun?
A rock solid fan of Annabeth Albert, the first story in this series, Status Update. also made me one of the series. It couldn’t be helped really. The series theme was a hook. Gaymers? You bet. Plus Albert then went on to delight/frustrate me by creating a game that was both real enough that I could believe in it yet couldn’t download it and play the heck out of it. That would be the popular videogame, Space Villager. So I couldn’t wait to see where the author was going to take this series, and potentially, the game next. My answer was Beta Test, a story I loved almost as much as the 5 star story that preceded it. It was only a tiny smidge less, barely noticeable.
Geoarchaeologist Noah Walters and video game designer Adrian Gottlieb of Status Update are a hard act to follow-they had dogs (and we run into them again here) but once again Albert creates two layered, flawed and absolutely interesting men to connect with. We meet both of them on their first day in the employee conference room at Space Villager. And two more difference men upon appearance you couldn’t ask for. Ravi is gorgeous, outgoing, graphic designer…so vibrant he leaps from the page. Tristan is all tightness, awkwardness personified, and walled in. The buttons on his shirt should probably go over his head he’s so buttoned up. Yet, he’s also so appealing in his need to be there and his fears are understandable even if they don’t show to his colleagues. The fact that we know these two will find each other starts the anticipation building. Which brings up a plus for me.
I’m a huge fan of the slow ride to romance and love which Annabeth Albert does so well. No slam bam thank you sir…which is fine too btw. But I love the long path to relationships, the figuring things out, the slip-ups, the two steps (or more) back for every one going forward. And yes, there’s plenty of that here, with both mens backgrounds and families. In the first book, and again here, its a road trip that serves to cement the men together. Albert has either been to these places (most likely), done her research or both and its shows. Wait ’til you visit Weed with Ravi and Tristan! But its so much more. Its the game, its the pulling together for the show, and other employees…who also feel as real as everything else in this outstanding story.
My only complaint? Annabeth Albert is making me wait for the next story in the series! I want more. More of these couples. More of Space Villager. More most certainly of this terrific writer whose stories flow so effortlessly from page 1 to the end, keeping me captivated, hooked on the couple and game right up until the last period.
Love contemporary romance? Annabeth Albert? Any combination of those? Pick this and the story that starts the series up. I love them and highly recommend them both.
Cover is terrific and perfect for the story.
Sales Links: | Amazon
Kindle Edition, 178 pages
Published May 30th 2016 by Carina Press
Original TitleBeta Test