A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Oh, my! This book has so many of my favorite tropes that I really enjoyed it immensely. I’d tag it age gap, May-December, slow burn, men with children, family drama, Alaska, hurt-comfort, and second chances. Plus, it had a sneak peek at past characters Griff and River to let us know how they are doing.

As the story opens, Reuben is irritated when he learns his friends aren’t going to make the flight to Alaska to begin the vacation they’d insisted he take to destress from his high-powered corporate law office. Add to his irritation the fact that his ex-wife needs an immediate answer about buying out his share in their law firm and he’s not a happy man when he boards the tiny plane in Alaska to begin a solo tour with a chatty tour operator named Toby.

Toby has been providing for his ailing father and younger sister for years so he’s no stranger to responsibility. And he’s flown this trip many, many times over his favorite areas in Alaska and is happy to give personal attention to his solo traveler. Too bad the silver fox is grumpy and straight, or so he thinks. But halfway through the trip, a sudden storm causes them to crash, and it’s Reuben who rescues Toby before their plane catches fire. 

I loved the way the author took both men out of their comfort zones and allowed them to have new experiences and new perspectives—aha moments, so to speak. One of my favorites came at the end of the book when both men acknowledge that the summer they spent together has been all about second chances and what they plan to do with those chances. I’m glad the author didn’t make the crash site the entire setting of the story and, instead, gave them the perfect excuse to spend a few months together and infuse a few other interesting characters into the mix.

Both characters are well-developed and engaging, and added to the chemistry between Reuben and Toby, we have a 14-year-old teen daughter for Reuben who was a spot-on perfect example of an annoying teen girl of that age. (Been there. Had that!) Watching her slowly gravitate toward her father, and he to her, was heartwarming. Meanwhile, Toby had to learn to rely on help from others, giving him a new perspective on how his father has felt for years. Both men changed over the time they spent together during Toby’s recuperation, and the changes had a ripple effect on their families.

When they allowed themselves to live their dreams, the impossible became possible. Set against the background of the most majestic state I’ve ever visited, how could I not love this story? I highly recommend this to lovers of MM romance, especially those who love the tags I mention at the beginning of this review.

The cover predominantly features glorious Alaska scenery with a top pane that holds a partial shot of the MCs’ faces.

Sales Links: Kobo | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 3rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488051275 (ISBN13: 9781488051272)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts :

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat coming soon

New Release Spotlight: Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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New Release Spotlight:

Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert

Series: Frozen Hearts, #2

Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): eBook June 3, 2019 / Print MMP June 25, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): approx. 105,000 words / 400 pages

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Warnings: None

Order now:

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-wild-2

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-wild/id1449963570

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Wild?id=Gfp_DwAAQBAJ

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335006905_arctic-wild.html

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-wild-annabeth-albert/1129779447

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006907

Book synopsis:

When a plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the best place to land is in the arms of a younger man…

Hotshot attorney Reuben Graham has finally agreed to take a vacation, when his plane suddenly plunges into the Alaskan wilderness.

Just his luck.

But his frustrations have only begun as he finds himself stranded with the injured, and superhot, pilot, a man who’s endearingly sociable—and much too young for Reuben to be wanting him this badly.

As the sole provider for his sisters and ailing father, Tobias Kooly is devastated to learn his injuries will prevent him from working or even making it back home. So when Reuben insists on giving him a place to recover, not even Toby’s pride can make him refuse. He’s never been tempted by a silver fox before, but something about Reuben is impossible to resist.

Recuperating in Reuben’s care is the last thing Toby expected, yet the closer they become, the more incredibly right it feels, prompting workaholic Reuben to question the life he’s been living. But when the pressure Toby’s under starts closing in, both men will have to decide if there’s room in their hearts for a love they never saw coming.

Read an excerpt from ARCTIC WILD:

“Doing better?” Toby’s voice was kind, and Reuben couldn’t help but enjoy the way he really did seem to care about whether Reuben was miserable or not.

“Yeah. I am. Thank you.” And he could admit that he’d used his phone at the restaurant in part to avoid staring at the handsome guide—a trick he’d used before to keep from revealing more than he wanted to. Because Toby truly was that attractive with those soul-deep dark eyes and chiseled face and lean body, and the more time he spent around him, the more Reuben found himself caught up in his charms. He had to keep reminding himself that arousal was every bit as unwanted as airsickness.

“We’re turning into Harris Bay now. You should have a good view of the glacier field.”

Field turned out to be something of a misnomer, as it was more like undulating rivers of snow and glaciers. The whole region reminded Reuben of a giant bowl, only the walls were granite and lined with hanging glaciers and impossibly tall. It was like something out of a movie, and for the first time, he understood why Craig had been so keen on coming. The scenery was unlike anything he’d seen before, and he’d seldom felt so small and insignificant as he did when confronted with the vastness of the landscape. He was more used to feeling like the gear in the center of a machine, everything else rotating around him. These sensations of having shrunk and being a speck in time compared to eons of ice were more than a little disconcerting, but also riveting at the same time.

About Annabeth Albert:

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: http://annabethalbert.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/

Giveaway:

Win one paperback set of Arctic Sun, Arctic Wild, and a swag prize pack!

18 to enter, open internationally.

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Oh, my! This book has so many of my favorite tropes that I really enjoyed it immensely. I’d tag it age gap, May-December, slow burn, men with children, family drama, Alaska, hurt-comfort, and second chances. Plus, it had a sneak peek at past characters Griff and River to let us know how they are doing.

As the story opens, Reuben is irritated when he learns his friends aren’t going to make the flight to Alaska to begin the vacation they’d insisted he take to destress from his high-powered corporate law office. Add to his irritation the fact that his ex-wife needs an immediate answer about buying out his share in their law firm and he’s not a happy man when he boards the tiny plane in Alaska to begin a solo tour with a chatty tour operator named Toby.

Toby has been providing for his ailing father and younger sister for years so he’s no stranger to responsibility. And he’s flown this trip many, many times over his favorite areas in Alaska and is happy to give personal attention to his solo traveler. Too bad the silver fox is grumpy and straight, or so he thinks. But halfway through the trip, a sudden storm causes them to crash, and it’s Reuben who rescues Toby before their plane catches fire. 

I loved the way the author took both men out of their comfort zones and allowed them to have new experiences and new perspectives—aha moments, so to speak. One of my favorites came at the end of the book when both men acknowledge that the summer they spent together has been all about second chances and what they plan to do with those chances. I’m glad the author didn’t make the crash site the entire setting of the story and, instead, gave them the perfect excuse to spend a few months together and infuse a few other interesting characters into the mix.

Both characters are well-developed and engaging, and added to the chemistry between Reuben and Toby, we have a 14-year-old teen daughter for Reuben who was a spot-on perfect example of an annoying teen girl of that age. (Been there. Had that!) Watching her slowly gravitate toward her father, and he to her, was heartwarming. Meanwhile, Toby had to learn to rely on help from others, giving him a new perspective on how his father has felt for years. Both men changed over the time they spent together during Toby’s recuperation, and the changes had a ripple effect on their families.

When they allowed themselves to live their dreams, the impossible became possible. Set against the background of the most majestic state I’ve ever visited, how could I not love this story? I highly recommend this to lovers of MM romance, especially those who love the tags I mention at the beginning of this review.

The cover predominantly features glorious Alaska scenery with a top pane that holds a partial shot of the MCs’ faces.

Sales Links: Kobo | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 3rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488051275 (ISBN13: 9781488051272)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts :

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat coming soon

A MelanieM Review:Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

When a plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the best place to land is in the arms of a younger man…

Hotshot attorney Reuben Graham has finally agreed to take a vacation, when his plane suddenly plunges into the Alaskan wilderness.

Just his luck.

But his frustrations have only begun as he finds himself stranded with the injured, and superhot, pilot, a man who’s endearingly sociable—and much too young for Reuben to be wanting him this badly.

As the sole provider for his sisters and ailing father, Tobias Kooly is devastated to learn his injuries will prevent him from working or even making it back home. So when Reuben insists on giving him a place to recover, not even Toby’s pride can make him refuse. He’s never been tempted by a silver fox before, but something about Reuben is impossible to resist.

Recuperating in Reuben’s care is the last thing Toby expected, yet the closer they become, the more incredibly right it feels, prompting workaholic Reuben to question the life he’s been living. But when the pressure Toby’s under starts closing in, both men will have to decide if there’s room in their hearts for a love they never saw coming.

Arctic Wild is the second book in Annabeth Albert’s Frozen Hearts series that takes place in Alaska, and much like the first novel it has so much to recommend it.  It has that breath-taking setting that’s described in gorgeous vivid detail.  The research into the National Park’s, the locations, even the climate changes give this story an authenticity that can take your breath away, especially as seen from the cockpit of a small seaplane of the type(s) regularly used in Alaska.

The author’s realism extends into the everyday livelihoods, local populace, and cultural heritage, even schools and town life.   Both novels, including Arctic Wild more so with the local native inclusion into the series, ground the series not just with the incredible beauty  of Alaska but with the people living out their lives there year round. I understood the love for a place and land, listening to the dialog and conversations of various individuals within this novel.  Great job!

The transition of Reuben Graham from uptight reluctant vacationeer to someone who feels the call of Alaska itself is also well done.  I believed in it and him, the change in the man, the work and reversal in his relationship with his daughter.  All heartwarming and gems of this story.  Maybe my favorite parts, honestly.  Watching the daughter grow and become who she really was? Perfection.  That includes the characters of Tobias Kooly’s family, mostly his sister who helped her get there along with her father.

And then there’s Toby and his relationship with Reuben.  Sigh.  You see. That didn’t quite work for me.  As much as I liked Reuben?  Toby’s character seemed a little unformed in comparison.  Perhaps because he was much younger, or continued to cave in with regard to his father’s wishes. Or something.  But whatever it was.  It just felt like such an unequal matchup in characters, and not just because of the age difference.  I have loved a age gap romance so that’s not the issue here.   It just felt as though his sister came across as a much stronger person or character than he did on the page and she was secondary to the story.  However, she remains a much brighter presence in my mind even now.  In fact, quite  a few of the people within the story jump to mind and I can see them clearly, just not Toby.  So what does that say?

Albert mentions several of the local tribal customs(the families getting together to fish their quota of salmon etc)  within the story and I wish they had been enlarged on.  They enriched the tale and made it a more layered, authentic novel with their inclusion here as they would be in real life.  Loved that aspect of this book.

So while I found the relationship between Toby and Reuben to be not exactly to my liking, I loved so much else about this story that I’m definitely recommending it along with the first in the series Arctic Sun.  Loved seeing a glimpse of that couple here again as well.  I can’t wait to see what the next story brings.  I will be here for that too.

Cover art by Carina Press is lovely, especially the Alaska background.

Sales Links: Kobo | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 3rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488051275 (ISBN13: 9781488051272)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts :

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat coming soon

 

 

. 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!

A MelanieM Review: Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

Everything’s bigger in Alaska, especially the HEAs. Annabeth Albert kicks off the brand-new Frozen Hearts series with Arctic Sun, an opposites-attract romance between a rugged outdoorsman and a smoking hot former male model.

He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.

Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…

River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.

With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.

Arctic Sun is another successful contemporary romance from Annabeth Albert, one of my go to authors. This wonderful story manages to combine the breathtaking scenery and isolated landscape of Alaska with the romance between two  complicated, wounded men, highly different on the surface and yet so alike deep underneath.

With the state of Alaska as a third main character as well as a location, Albert also deals with some serious subject matter, also through her two main men.  While it’s obvious from the start that each man is struggling with some demon or demons, what they are exactly is a slower reveal.  The exact nature of what each man is battling is hinted at and given away in the synopsis so I don’t mind spelling it out here.  For Griffin Barrett, it’s sobriety and gambling.  For River, a eating disorder and a toxic way of life.  And neither one has exactly finished dealing with their addictions in a way that’s helping them move forward.  One is hiding and one is running.

Both away from themselves until they find each other in Alaska.  And Annabeth Albert brings us intimately into their journey and the larger than life wonder that is Alaska.

I loved the use of the photography group as a format for bringing Griffin out of his typical hermit like state and the other participants were great characters.  It let the model River slowly ease away to the real person underneath and I enjoyed that journey as much as Griffin.  And all the sights they took in. The locations and the beauty of Alaska is described in depth as is the joys of travels by aircraft of all sizes and type.  What I did think was underplayed was the long arctic nights and extreme cold as well as the distance between people and small towns. But that’s perhaps for another story as this is but the first in a series.

The complications, angst, and rediscovery here is saved for River and Griffin.  It’s one tough journey and a very rewarding one.  I loved the men and the HFN they received at the end.  It was realistic and heartwarming.  And I’m ready for more.

An Annabeth Albert story is a cause for joy.  The people are so real, the books so well written, that you just fall into them fully, connecting with the romance and their lives.    I highly recommend all her series and this story.  Pick them and this up and get started today.

Cover art is gorgeous with the seaplane and the mountains in the backdrop.

Buy now:
Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488051258_arctic-sun.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006885/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-sun-annabeth-albert/1129705419
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/arctic-sun/id1438313132
kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/arctic-sun-1
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Sun?id=G55zDwAAQBAJ
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Sun-Audiobook/1488206201

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by Carina Press
ASINB07J3C79NH
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts #1

Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders

Frozen Hearts Series

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild  cpming June 3rd

Blog Tour Spotlight and Giveaway : Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Blog Tour Spotlight: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert

Series (name + # in series): Frozen Hearts, #1

Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): eBook: Monday, April 1, 2019 |Print (mmp): Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): eBook: approx. 95,000 words| Print: 384 pages

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance, Male/Male Romance

Warnings: Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders.

Buy now:
Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488051258_arctic-sun.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006885/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-sun-annabeth-albert/1129705419
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/arctic-sun/id1438313132
kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/arctic-sun-1
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Sun?id=G55zDwAAQBAJ
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Sun-Audiobook/1488206201

Book synopsis:
Everything’s bigger in Alaska, especially the HEAs. Annabeth Albert kicks off the brand-new Frozen Hearts series with Arctic Sun, an opposites-attract romance between a rugged outdoorsman and a smoking hot former male model.

He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.

Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…

River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.

With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.

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!

This book is approximately 95,000 words

About the author: 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. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth:
Website: http://annabethalbert.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annabethalbert?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbertauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv
Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/

Check out this teaser: The mountain man scowled at River. The older guy next to him was the one splashed all over the website— well-known photographer Roger Barrett—with the sort of craggy features that suggested a long life lived in the sun. He smiled at River, shaking his hand, and telling him what a fan his sister-in-law and nieces were of his book. But it wasn’t the old guy who held River’s attention at all. No, that was all reserved for Mr. Tall, Dark, and Cranky, who clearly didn’t share Roger’s good opinion of River, but good heavens, the man certainly made all those rumors about mountains and fresh air resulting in larger-than-average humans seem true.

He totally looked the mountain man part too— shaggy brown hair, the sort of tan that River’s friends would pay good money to emulate, hazel eyes that re- minded River of the greenish brown stone of a mosque he’d visited in Istanbul. And muscles for days. Big, broad shoulders stretching the fabric of a denim shirt, thighs like tree trunks, and that scowl. This was a guy who would be at home playing the sheriff in some old west drama. Or maybe a gunslinger…

Giveaway: Enter to win 1 of 2 paperback copies of Arctic Sun + a fun-filled swag pack! Must be 18 to enter and win, open internationally.

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Blog Tour Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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ROUGH TERRAIN by Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform, #7 *Final book in the series*

Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook):

eBook: Monday January 14, 2019

Print (mmp): Tuesday January 29, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook):

384 Pages

Subgenre:

Contemporary Romance, Male/Male Romance, Military Romance

Warnings (if any):

No content warnings needed. Hot fake relationship shenanigans dominate along with being trapped outdoors, but HEA for everything. No addictions/bdsm/deaths etc.

Links:

Synopsis:

The camping trip from hell may be the first stop on the road to happily-ever-after in Rough Terrain, the final book in Annabeth Albert’s critically acclaimed, fan-favorite Out of Uniform series.

Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

Blog Tour Exclusives:

Teaser #1:

“Canaan. Baby. Everyone will be coupled up. I’m bringing Eric, and everyone else has someone. I don’t want things to be awkward between us.”

God forbid they were awkward. Like breaking up in Prague hadn’t been bad enough, or Damian taking up with Eric, the replacement drummer, mere minutes later, now apparently they had to socialize like adults because the rest of their friend circle demanded it. And quite honestly, Canaan had lost enough the past few years. He wasn’t losing his oldest friends too. “Things will be fine.”

“Of course,” Damian said, a little too quickly and brightly. “But last time we talked, you said you were seeing someone… Just bring them. It’ll be easier. On everyone.”

More like easier on Eric’s jealous ass. And had Canaan said that? He supposed it was possible in some vague make-Damian-happy way that he’d alluded to such a thing.

“I…uh…” The absolute best thing would be to say the truth, which was that he was exactly as single as he’d been boarding that plane in Prague. As single as he’d been in the three years since, flitting from hookup to hookup, nothing sticking. But what came out was “He’s a SEAL. You know, unpredictable hours. Could be deployed anytime. Can’t say for sure if he’ll have leave…”

“Well, can he try?” Damian did not sound in the least impressed by the SEAL factoid. “And really, I’m happy for you. About time you moved on.”

“Yeah.” About that…

“Listen. Since your guy’s military and all, I’ll just tell Kelly you’re bringing him. I’ll cover the fee, and you guys just show up.”

“I’ve got money.” Not much, but he did have some, and didn’t feel the best about letting Damian float him. Not to mention his imaginary boyfriend.

“My present to you. I insist. Just get your ass to Flagstaff.”

“I’ll try. Probably by myself though because—”

“Bring. Him. Don’t be a loser.”

Too late. He already was a loser. Giant L and all. Twenty-six and concocting relationships out of thin air like some sixteen-year-old might. And he’d be showing up alone with some bullshit story, and things would be awkward with Damian and Eric, because of course they would be.

Teaser #2:

“Big plans this weekend?” Canaan asked while he made the drink.

“Working out with a friend tomorrow. Gonna film some new moves.”

“Please tell me you put those clips online.” Thinking fast, Canaan grabbed a blank stamp card and a pen and thrust it at him. “I’ll fill a stamp card for you if you give me your handle.”

“Well…” Rooster’s eyes shifted to his friends, who were deep in conversation. “Navy doesn’t exactly approve of me being on social media…”

“Not gonna tell a soul,” Canaan promised. “I just like workout videos and fitness pics.” And how.

“Yeah?” Rooster gave him an appraising stare, one that had Canaan damn near preening. “That so?”

“Yup.” Canaan set the blender going and returned to the counter. He filled a stamp card and waved it at Rooster. “So how about it?”

“Okay, okay.” Rooster scribbled something on the other card and pushed it at Canaan. Their fingers brushed as they traded cards, thick callused fingers rubbing against his, and Canaan swore his toes curled from the contact.

“So how about you?” Rooster asked as Canaan poured his drink into a purple plastic Smoothie Palace cup.

“How about me what?” Canaan was still busy celebrating getting his username and felt a little punch-drunk on the contact to boot.

“Big plans?”

Here was the opening Canaan had been waiting months for, and no way was he missing it. “Dunno. I get off at nine. Wanna help me find trouble?”

“You make that offer to all your customers?” Rooster studied him intently, and Canaan straightened his spine, trying to pass whatever test he was giving him.

“Just my favorite ones.” The more honest answer would be just you, but Canaan didn’t want to seem too desperate, so he kept his voice light and easy. “How ’bout it?”

“Rooster!” Bacon called out before Rooster could answer. “Come on. We’ve got that meeting in ten.”

“Sorry. Gotta head out. Thanks for the card.” Rooster gave him a smile but no answer before hurrying over to join his friends.

Teaser #3:

Maybe they were better off as buds. But telling himself that didn’t stop his brain from taking note of how Canaan looked digging into the soup. His lips parted, a sigh escaping, and his eyes went soft, happiness smoothing his features. The sound of pleasure he made at the first taste of the broth had Renzo shifting in his chair.

To distract himself, he asked Canaan all about his favorite foods while they ate, and he liked discovering that they had a lot in common with a taste for all things Asian, a dislike of beans, and a high tolerance for spicy foods. Hell, he liked just hanging with Canaan in general. He was fun and spontaneous and easy to be around.

The food was as good as Canaan had advertised—well worth the drive—spicy broth balanced with sweet barbecued pork, loads of delicious noodles, and crisp veggies. Heaven.

“Good thing this isn’t closer to base. I’d lose all my ab definition in a week,” he joked.

Canaan gave him an appraising stare that made Renzo’s face heat. “I don’t think you have much to worry about there.”

“Ha. You have no idea how hard I work for this body.”

“I think I speak for all your admiring fans when I say it is well appreciated.” Canaan gave him another of those looks that made Renzo think about sex again. Damn it. Just buds was hard.

Teaser #4:

And as he watched him sleep, it hit Canaan that while he was on this weird adrenaline high, Renzo did this every day. Every day for days on end he confronted danger, high risks, threat of death, and he had a whole team of people counting on him the entire time too. While Canaan had been busy freaking out, he’d worried a lot about himself, about Grandpa, about what he’d miss out on. And he’d worried some about what he and Renzo could have had, especially when Renzo had been threatening to go out on his own.

But Renzo had neither freaked out nor focused on himself—the whole time, he’d been worried about Canaan. Keeping him warm. Making the alarms to drink and eat. Making sure Canaan had first choice of food. Coming up with plans to keep them safe and ensure the rescuers spotted them. Damn. It was humbling to think of all Renzo had done for him. And now Renzo was exhausted. Spent. Energy reserves clearly gone.

And yet, he would do something like this again, soon probably. With better equipment and better teammates, but he’d face danger again, head on. Because that was what he did. Who he was. His moral fabric was made of camo—tough as ripstop, unwavering and unyielding. Maybe Renzo had joined up because of his brother originally, but he hadn’t been lying about finding himself on the teams. And who he’d found there was possibly the best man Canaan had ever met. His throat ached just looking at Renzo, hands tightly clenching to stop from touching him.

“I’m going to take better care of you,” he whispered softly. “You took care of me, so maybe it’s time someone took care of you like you deserve. How about me?”

Renzo, of course, slumbered on, but something inside Canaan shifted. Changed. Accepted this new reality in front of him where this sleeping giant was suddenly the most important person in Canaan’s life.

About Annabeth Albert:

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. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth Albert:

Giveaway information:

Prizes:

1) Paperback copy of any back catalog Out of Uniform series book. Open Internationally.

 

 

2) e-copies of any back catalog Out of Uniform series book. Open Internationally.

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A MelanieM Review: Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The camping trip from hell may be the first stop on the road to happily-ever-after.

Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

Everytime I think I have a favorite series by this author narrowed down, then Annabeth Albert goes ahead and releases a new story. In this case its Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) and, sure enough my heart and attention is switched back to the Out of Uniform series from #gaymers or whatever series it happened to have landed on from the last Annabeth Albert novel I last finished reading.

It works like that with this author.

She has to ability to imbue her stories and characters with such vitality, such heart that they live beyond whatever electronic device you happen to be reading the novel on.  From the moment you meet them, dive into their lives and whatever messy situations they happen to be in, you are completely sunk!  Hooked by the fact that Albert has connected you heart to heart, thought to thought, emotion to emotion to these men and whatever she and this story has in store for them.

Rough Terrain has so much in store for us as readers and for its main characters!  From meeting Canaan Finley making smoothies and waiting for the SEALs to arrive, especially the one he’s crushing on to finding out about the upcoming weekend where Canaan desperately needs to appear with a date, the reader’s anticipation starts to rise.  We know who    he will take but how will Albert bring it about?  And what will happen.  Then we meet Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi and oh my!

This is a series filled with complicated men and rough roads to coupledom. But never have I so eagerly awaited the path these two took together and was so rewarded with the story that followed.

The dynamics between them in various situations from normal daily routines to some of the most traumatic, life threatening scenes imaginable were extraordinary.  From the dialog, to the action I felt every moment, clung to the horror, and almost cried with relief with all the events that take place in the wilderness.  It’s truly amazing in every respect.  And that and the romance will make you want to read this story  over and over.  It’s really one of the highlights of the series.

If you love contemporary stories, here is a novel and a series you won’t want to miss.  If you are a fan of Annabeth Albert, you are probably, like me, already for the next one.

I highly recommend the story, series, and author.  I’m a huge fan of all three.

Cover art by Carina Press art department does a great job in continuing to brand the series with the color tone and overall design.  The figures do well by the main characters and storyline.

Sales Links:   Carina Press |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: January 14th 2019 by Carina Press
Original Title Rough Terrain
ASINB07GB8B4XR
Edition Language English
Series Out of Uniform #7

Series Out of Uniform /add to Goodreads here:

Off Base

Homecoming (1.5)

Off Leash (1.6)

At Attention (2)

I Do (2.5)

On Point (5)

Wheels Up (4)

Homebodies (4.5)

Squared Away (5)

Tight Quarters (6)

Rough Terrain (7)

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

How to describe this story?  Hmm.  I feel wrapped up in warmth and goodness. Like I received an unexpected gift.  Annabeth Albert paints a clear picture of her characters early in the story so readers, like me, can shadow them and experience their joy, their sorrow, their emotional growth, and yes, their love.

Canaan Finley is working the register when his favorite Navy SEAL, the guy his team calls Rooster, comes into his family’s cafe for a smoothie. The hot guy has caught Canaan’s attention each time he comes in but this time, Canaan isn’t going to let the moment pass without making…a pass.  He manages to surprise Rooster who is equally attracted to the cute guy making his smoothie just the way he likes it.  A cute intro, I like the way the author set the two up so that it’s natural to ask Rooster when Canaan needs a fake boyfriend.  He used to be in a rock band that’s just finished a European tour and would like to attend their “reunion” camping trip but won’t go alone. Why? Because his ex and the guy he cheated on Canaan with are both going to be there and Canaan doesn’t want to seem a loser. 

Over the course of the trip, which is no simple excursion to the woods, Canaan and Rooster are caught in a canyon during a flash flood.  Rooster’s quick thinking and rock-climbing skills save them both and over the course of time, as the two are stranded on a ledge above the canyon, attraction blooms into a solid foundation for a relationship.

The author’s skills in creating two very different characters who complement one another in unusual ways, getting those characters to be important to readers, and then making the characters important to each other is what I love best about her work.  These men are flawed, and they have backstories that include good judgment and bad mistakes, but I got so attached to them after a few chapters that I couldn’t go on with my daily routine until I knew more, more, more! Each scene was better than the previous and I simply had to know what came next and whether or not these two could find their way to their HEA.  And if a certain couple named Ben and Maddox (On Point) happened to run into them while they were out on a date, and if that run-in led to Rooster finding out about Canaan’s past adventure with the couple, well, all I can say is that was icing on the cake of my happiness.

I very highly recommend this story. In fact, I very highly recommend the entire Out of Uniform series to all MM romance lovers. And if you love SEALs or military men in your romance, this one is super perfect.   

The cover features two bare-chested men, one hugging the other from behind. The one in front, wearing camo pants, is Rooster. Canaan, of course, is behind and the models chosen look like those described in the story.  The coloring and theme of the cover matches the other Out of Uniform books in the series.

Sales Links:   Carina Press |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: January 14th 2019 by Carina Press
Original Title Rough Terrain
ASINB07GB8B4XR
Edition Language English
Series Out of Uniform #7

Series Out of Uniform /add to Goodreads here:

Off Base

Homecoming (1.5)

Off Leash (1.6)

At Attention (2)

I Do (2.5)

On Point (5)

Wheels Up (4)

Homebodies (4.5)

Squared Away (5)

Tight Quarters (6)

Rough Terrain (7)

 

A MelanieM Review: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

Ahhhhh….the holiday spirit is in the air! I’m getting the hankering to set a fire, toast some chestnuts, grab a hot toddy, and look out the window for the first sprinkling of snowflakes! Never mind that our leaves just started turning colors and the tricker or treaters barely had the door slammed on them. Nope, feeling all  holiday and Christmassy here.  Why?  Because Annabeth Albert’s story, Better Not Pout, has left me feeling that way!  That’s why!

Next I’ll be hearing jingle bells up on the roof.  Laughing.

With this marvelous, heartwarming story, characters guaranteed to make you laugh, make you love and yearn for family, and everything that the holidays can bring up in your heart and memories, the author has jump started my Christmas and holiday season.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki?  A hard case that comes under the spell of Teddy the man with a  huge heart in elf h gear and a town that seems full of people all named MacNally.    I was under this town’s and Teddy’s spell myself, that’s how real Albert makes them all.

It’s a slow burn relationship for Nic but he’s the only one.  For Teddy and the reader the slide into love is quick and permanent.  I could have stayed with this couple and town for the longest of times.  Definitely past New Year’s.

It’s the writing that’s so well done.  We feel like we know all these people.  The ones in trouble and needing Teddy’s assistance, all the many family members, all the situations that Teddy and Nic find themselves in, the snow, the tentative path towards a relationship, and finally, the love.

Yes, this is an excellent story for the holidays.  Or anytime of the year.

Grab it up, a warm blanket or two, get all snuggly and prepared to be transported into the snow, and the town where Christmas and love is alive and well and waiting for two men so very much in need of it.

And yes, I highly recommend this story.

Cover art is not credited but it’s adorable and a great representation of the characters. Love it.

Sales Links:   Carina PressBarnes & Noble (mmp)  | Barnes & Noble (ebook)   |   Amazon 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 288 pages
Expected publication: November 12th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleBetter Not Pout
ASINB07DCT4BQB
Edition LanguageEnglish