Review: Tight Quarters – Annabeth Albert
by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #6
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 9, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.
Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.
Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.
Trigger warnings: View Spoiler »suicide, homophobia, description of child abuse, cancer « Hide Spoiler
I’ve read a few of the earlier books in the Out of Uniform series, but missed the last few, but I decided to pick up this one anyway. It works perfectly fine as a standalone, though I recognized several of the secondary characters from previous books.
Spencer was quiet for several long beats. “I’m not going to be embedded forever,” he said softly, almost as if he couldn’t believe he was letting himself speak. “Tell you what, sometime down the road, you get leave, you still want to burn up my sheets, you let me know. I’m not fucking you in this sorry excuse for a rowboat—”
“Kissing?” Bacon couldn’t contain his hopefulness.
“Ha. I don’t trust myself to stop at a kiss.”
Bacon is a Navy SEAL sniper with a minor injury that’s preventing him from being in alpha squad – the best members of the team, the ones who do most of the heavy lifting – and is even more put out when he ends up assigned to babysit a journalist for their next mission. However, the journalist is none other extremely sexy, charismatic, and confident silver fox Spencer Bryant, named most eligible bachelor of the year by a gay magazine. Expecting the man to be a disappointment in person, Bacon’s surprised when Spencer is able to keep up with the team and follows orders. Bacon’s impulsive, but even he knows better than to start something with Spencer while he’s still embedded, but after a mission gone wrong leads to Spencer’s time with the team being cut short, their chemistry turns into a one night stand, and then, slowly, the beginnings of a relationship. But Spencer’s next project – an expose on the treatment of special forces spurred by the suicide of a friend – will put him at odds with the Navy and jeopardize Bacon’s career. Are both their jobs that they’ve worked so hard for more important than their chance at love?
One of Ms. Albert’s strengths is her complex characters. Bacon is pan, with a deep and sad backstory, and not out to his team, some of whom don’t hesitate to make homophobic slurs every chance they get. Despite that, he still is incredibly loyal to his team and proud of being a SEAL. He also has an emo/goth side, a relic of his childhood in a rural community, one that he doesn’t show much to the world, but it’s one of the many facets that fascinate Spencer. Spencer is gay, and while he’s been previously married, that relationship failed under the stresses of the constant travel that comes from his job. The two had such great chemistry even with the slow-burn due to the deployment, but the part of their relationship I loved most was how much laughter and joy they had together. Yeah, there’s hot sex, but they also spend lots of time talking and just being a regular domestic couple. Most of the angst in this book comes from Spencer’s actions and misunderstanding of what motivates Bacon – and what motivates himself, and there was a bit of a tearjerker ending from Spencer’s mentor.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book, and I will definitely be going back to catch up with the rest of the series. If you love complex characters and a steamy slowburn romance, you’ll love this book!