Release Day Blitz ~ On Point (Out of Uniform #3) by Annabeth Albert (Reviews, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Title: ON POINT
Series: Out of Uniform, Book 3, but each book is a stand-alone HEA w/ a new couple in each book
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: June 5, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Length: 78,000 words
Genre: Romance, contemporary romance, military romance, SEALS
SynopsisNever fall for your best friend…
Pushing thirty, with his reenlistment looming, decorated navy sniper Maddox Horvat is taking a long look at what he really wants in life. And what he wants is Ben Tovey. It isn't smart, falling for his best friend and fellow SEAL, but ten years with Ben has forged a bond so intimate Maddox can't ignore it. He needs Ben by his side forever—heart and soul.
Ben admits he likes what he's seen—his friend's full lower lip and the perfect muscles of his ass have proved distracting more than once. But Ben's still reeling from a relationship gone to hell, and he's not about to screw up his friendship with Maddox, too.
Until their next mission throws Ben and Maddox closer together than ever before, with only each other to depend on.
Now, in the lonely, desperate hours awaiting rescue, the real challenge—confronting themselves, their future and their desires—begins. Man to man, friend to friend, lover to lover.
The rain pelted down as he made his way up the ridge, thick sheets that obscured his vision and made the terrain slippery and treacherous. Overhead, a large black bird with a colorful beak swooped in, almost sending Ben skidding into a ravine.
He whistled low, a deliberate pattern, one of the team’s signals. He repeated the sound as he approached where Maddox was supposed to be. An answering signal came from a dense thicket of green vegetation.
“It’s me. Hold your fire,” Ben called as he slipped into the mass of trees and roots. The plants here were nothing like the ones back home—giant heart-shaped leaves and bright rubbery flowers that almost looked bird- or insect-like. The trees had massive, visible roots covered with moss, and were connected by thick vines that could easily be mistaken for a deadly snake.
Below him, he could see the encampment, SEALs scurrying around. The injured hostage and Issacson, their wounded radio man, were carried out, which had to mean the chopper was close. Time to haul ass. “Maddox?”
“Here.” Maddox slid out of the shadows, rifle at the ready, just as Ben had expected. “Com’s down for you guys too?”
“Yup. Chopper’s coming in. LT sent me to bring you in. No time to waste. Issacson took a bullet, but he’s stable, and one of the hostages is in bad shape. Possible hostiles escaped, but Rogers and company are hunting them down.”
“Got it. Lead the way.” Maddox let Ben take point as they made their way down the ridge. They had to skirt the edge of a steep drop, every muddy step cautious even as they needed to make haste.
Two things happened at the same instant—gunfire broke out above them and a chopper approached, engine noise making it hard to track the source of the shots. But Maddox was already on it, crouching low, rifle ready. Another shot whistled over their heads and Maddox returned fire. They both left the trail and headed into the brush, intent on finding the hostiles.
The chopper circled low, then went back up. Fuck. The chopper was struggling to land in the encampment clearing, which meant the next pass was critical. Still staying low and gun ready, he inched forward. No more gunfire had followed Maddox’s, but that didn’t mean he could let his guard down for a second.
The chopper circled again, but the terrain had shifted and Ben could no longer see the encampment beneath them.
“Fuck.” Maddox never cursed, so Ben whipped his head around just in time to see Maddox slipping off the poor excuse for a trail.
Ben scrambled on his stomach, stretching out an arm, trying to catch Maddox. “Grab on.”
“No. Don’t—” Maddox didn’t get the sentence out before they were both tumbling down the muddy incline, heading straight for the ravine that lay between them and the encampment. Ben tried to slow their descent but his attempt to grab at some vines only resulted in the foliage following them down.
Maddox screamed, a legitimate yell that chilled Ben to his boots because Maddox never lost composure. Ever. Ben had once watched Wizard put sutures in Maddox’s scalp while Maddox hummed, never dropping his tune.
Ben grabbed for him again and— Pop. Ben’s arm pulled at an unnatural angle, caught up in a tree root and not Maddox’s strong grip as he’d intended. He wrenched loose but the damage was already done, and still he slid, mud carrying him faster, rocks and vegetation raining down after them.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Ben’s arm and shoulder were on fire and he was still moving, sliding, nothing working—
Boom. The bottom of the ravine arrived without warning, a muddy bog that sucked him down, but it was hardly a soft landing, rocks and plants poking at him. His arm had him cursing, eyes watering. He’d seen Rogers dislocate a shoulder last year in the grinder obstacle course, and at the time he’d rolled his eyes at how Rogers had carried on. He had a sick feeling that he’d done the same or worse to his shoulder, and he got the urge to cry and howl.
“Oh fuck.” His stomach heaved and he barely made it to his side before he threw up from the pain. He turned his head and almost lost his guts again. Maddox lay a few feet from him, leg at an unnatural angle, blood dripping from his head, helmet nowhere to be seen. Not talking or cursing.
Clawing at the rocks with his good arm, Ben pulled himself closer, looking for the telltale rise and fall of Maddox’s chest—and not seeing it.
“You are not fucking with me,” Ben growled. “Mad? Come on, man.”
Still nothing, not even a ghost of movement across Maddox’s pale lips. Terror, nothing Ben had ever known before, froze his veins, made him lightheaded from more than just the fall. He refused, utterly refused to live in a world where Maddox wasn’t okay.
“Maddox. Horvat.” He shook his shoulder, cursing under his breath. No, no, no.
Whoosh. A chopper—the chopper—flew overhead, much too far to spot them down this ravine, and heading away from them.
Sputter. Maddox let out a mighty cough. It might have been the most beautiful sound Ben had ever heard, because it meant Maddox was here, that he was fighting, and Ben started to laugh with relief until Maddox spoke. “Heck. They’re leaving us.”
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Maddox has been in love with his best friend, fellow SEAL and roommate, Ben, for years, but now he's ready for more in life than pining for his friend and being a SEAL. Ben is attracted to Maddox, but is afraid of anything ruining their friendship.
When a mission goes awry, they're thrown closer together and depending on each other to survive. Will this be the push they need to give a relationship between them a go?
I loved both Maddox and Ben. They were amazing both individually and together, be it as friends or lovers. I have to admit that it took me a bit longer to warm up to Ben, but he really proved himself in the end. They had great chemistry and were uber hot together, but above that, the bond they shared was awesome and transcended the pages. While the two of them had a lot of issues they had to work on, Ben with his trust and abandonment issues and Maddox with his trust issues, they worked through it all in a very realistic manner and without going overboard with the angst.
I loved seeing these two in action and that we finally got to see what goes on during the training and missions these men have to go through. I think Annabeth Albert did a fantastic job with this, making the scenarios very believable.
Overall, On Point is definitely my favorite of the series so far. I loved everything about it, the writing, the pacing, the action, the romance and the progression from friends to lovers. Maddox and Ben were just awesome and I hope to see more of them in the future book(s) in the series. 💗
*** Copy provided to the reviewer by Carina Press via NetGalley for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***
*Copy provided to the reviewer by NetGalley for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*
On Point is Book 3 in Annabeth Albert's Out of Uniform series. I believe to fully enjoy this series, you should read all the books in the appropriate order.
We met Maddox and Ben in the previous books and even in those books, you could feel the chemistry between the two. I have anxiously been awaiting their story, and this book didn't disappoint! I've loved Maddox throughout the series. He is sweet, sensitive, and always caring for others, especially Ben who he's in love with. Maddox doesn't want to be a Seal for life, he wants his own bakery and a family.
I didn't love Ben, but I didn't hate him either, but it was close! Ben is a player. He was burned from a failed marriage and has decided it's his life mission to be with every man under the sun. Ben holds onto his hurts and slights in his life and lets them fester. He doesn't move on and he holds grudges.
Then on a mission, things go wrong and his only concern is keeping Maddox alive. Afterward, when he finds out Maddox is going to start dating, Ben can't let that happen. He can't let Maddox have another relationship. At this point, I was disappointed in Ben for the game he was trying to play. But, things aren't as simple as they seem when you're in love with your best friend.
I say it over and over, but I don't like to pick favorites. But... this is my absolute favorite of the series! I loved this book from the first page and to the last and everything in between. I loved Maddox and my heart broke for everything he went through. There were some tense moments in this story and some moments that made me teary eyed. And, in the end, Ben proved that he deserved someone as spectacular as Maddox.
Rating: 5++++++ stars!
Meet the Author
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.