Review: Rocky Start (A-List Security Book 4) by Annabeth Albert

Rating: 2.5🌈

I’m very fond of many of this author’s series from #gaymers to Portland Heat to her Out of Uniform series, all terrific.

But the men and relationships of the A-List Security have been mostly problematic for me, in multiple ways couple by couple, book by book.

It’s not that the writing has been anything but well done or that the characters haven’t been believable. For the most part, they have.

The issues have been that they aren’t either particularly likable, there’s been little discussion or groundworklaid down for them to have any kind of relationship that’s believable given the crafted personalities and histories. It’s been the odd relationship dynamics (weak, one-sided, off putting) as well as the one dimensional groundwork that’s been used.

As a formula, Albert has started to move them along a game board path and there they go, whether it makes a realistic or narrative sense.

It happens here almost immediately. This story was perilously a DNF almost at 10 percent. Just Albert’s previous books in other series kept me going.

But the character of Avery, his personality, which was at odds with his background as a SEAL and established team member of the A-List Security agency had me putting down the book several times. I have a low threshold for man-toddlers. I question how authors don’t realize they are perceived by their readers.

I can tell you how I perceived him.

By 11% I was throughly tired of Avery. And thinking why am I supposed to enjoy this character? So far his qualities are being clueless, borderline offensive about homosexuality (especially odd given the LGBTQIA agency he works for , a fact which Malik brings up and Avery has a inadequate answer for. To say nothing of the sheer naïveté he exhibits for a character that’s a veteran and a member of the A-List Security. He actually threatens the believability that it’s Malik that’s a new hire instead of an established team player.

I’m starting to zone out. Never a good thing. Only Malik is keeping me moving forward with the story.

From here we jump into a awkward “gay exploration” or worse GFY sex scene, which I abhor, because that’s what you do when you have been talking about homophobia, and laid no foundation for any relationship except a dinner. You jump into gay sex which Avery then uses to make everything awkward, miserable, pick your adjective.

It’s 14 percent and I’m about out the door.

I struggled with trying to get through the remainder of the story and did, barely. It occurred by a style I’d call “reading fidgeting”, haphazardly getting into the storyline until I had to drop it again. Repeat.

Whether it’s my reading preferences, the narrative choices made by Albert with regard to the character of Avery , his decisions with his sexuality, and their relationship, I found this book just didn’t work for me on multiple levels.

Malik was the only bright spot and he wasn’t enough to elevate the novel’s themes or romance to a well rounded storyline. I won’t go into his PTSD because that felt extraneous after the annoyance of Avery. I wanted to pull Malik out of the book and into a story he deserved.

If you’re a fan of the series or author, then I’m sure you’ll already have read or put this on your TBR list. It’s not one I’m recommending.

A-List Security series:

✓ Tough Luck #1

✓ Hard Job #2

✓ Bad Deal #3

✓ Rocky Start #4

Rocky Start: MM SEAL Bodyguard Romance (A-List Security Book 4)


I think I’m falling for my bodyguard co-worker. Now I need protection… from myself.

As a former SEAL intelligence officer, I’m supposed to be smart. Unfortunately, those smarts don’t apply to love. I did a nice thing and took my heartbroken fellow bodyguard out for a Valentine’s dinner. Just us bros. But my plan worked a little too well, and a night that ended with a scorching kiss has turned into the most awkward morning at the office ever. Now we’re working together as bodyguards on a remote mountain movie shoot. And we’re roommates.

I’ve never been attracted to a guy before, but something about Avery calls to every protective instinct I have. We’re not dating, but every night alone together, I fall a little deeper. It’s also Avery’s first time with a guy too, and while we’re both enjoying all sorts of new things together, I worry my heart will be broken when we return to civilization.

No matter how badly this may end, I can’t seem to stop wanting Avery. All of him. I want to see who he’ll become if he ever manages to get out of his own way. I want to be his biggest cheerleader, best friend, and the guy he comes home to. But going from secret hookup to forever after is a big ask. Are we both brave enough to take the leap?

ROCKY START is book four in the A-List Security series. It features TWO highly protective SEAL bodyguards, a double awakening, an exploration of the sexy, lacy kind, and all sorts of brand-new emotions. Get ready for all the high heat, big feels, and found family feels readers expect from this fan-favorite military romance author. Join A-List Security for this lower-angst series featuring former SEALs and celebrity clients. Happy endings and no cliffhangers guaranteed!

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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