Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M military romance from Annabeth Albert. TIGHT QUARTERS is the sixth book in her Out of Uniform series that features romances of Navy SEALS stationed in Coronado, California. Having read and loved OFF BASE, AT ATTENTION, ON POINT, WHEELS UP and SQUARED AWAY, I knew I’d be in for a thrilling romance.
About the book:
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.
Petty Officer Bacon is a Navy SEAL tasked with escorting an embedded reporter on their latest mission. He’s not happy about it, especially he’s nervous about maybe spilling info that could incriminate two former SEAL team members, Lowe and Strauss who were the MC’s of WHEELS UP. Plus, it’s never good to be on-mission, but not a part of it. As a chaperone, Bacon’s orders are to bring the reporter back in one piece, even if it means bailing on his team.
Spencer Bryant is out to write another award-winning book to highlight issues with veterans and enlisted personnel not getting the support and care they need. A previous confidante, and friend, for whom Spencer wrote a best-seller, was a retired military man whose PTSD put him over the edge. While on mission, Spencer is humbled by the bravery and camaraderie of the SEAL team–and he’s unwillingly attracted to his handler, Petty Officer Bacon, who seems to not have a first name. While running training exercises, Spencer and Bacon develop a camaraderie of their own–tinted with unrequited sexual tension. Their actual mission deep in the terror cells of the South Pacific goes terribly wrong, however, and Spencer struggles with the guilt of Bacon leaving his men in danger to just save him.
The navy shuts down Spencer’s access to the SEAL teams as soon as he’s brought back to base, yet Bacon knows how to find him before he leaves for the US. They know that the navy won’t be happy about any fraternization, even if Spencer’s no longer embedded–and yet the need for affirmation adds gasoline to their smoldering attraction. It should only be the one night, but Spencer’s thrilled when Bacon reaches out later to tell him that things went better the second time around, and his teammates, though wounded, survived.
This communication brings Bacon and Spencer together in a way each man truly needs–contact that supports, not distracts. On leave, Bacon drives from San Diego to LA to visit Spencer and the sparks are ridiculous. These guys fit together so well, Spencer’s far away life providing Bacon with an emo outlet he hasn’t had since high school. Still, the story Spencer wants to write, feels compelled to write, centers on suicide and depression of veterans suffering PTSD, and it’s a wedge growing between them even as their relationship matures over months from buddies-with-benefits to exclusive boyfriend status. When Bacon finally learns about Spencer’s planned book deal he’s crushed–the SEALs are his family and this could hurt them–would certainly offend them that Bacon is dating a man who trashes the navy and other armed forces. It’s the deal-breaker Spencer expected, but he didn’t think he’d fall for Bacon first…
It’s a little bittersweet, but a brief separation and some counseling on both sides helps each man find a pathway back. Bacon’s connection to an amputee helps him see that PTSD and depression are true killers of his comrades, while a mentor helps Spencer remember that life isn’t just a story–it’s meant to be lived and savored. I liked how they each make amends, with Spencer being present for Bacon just when he needs him, and Bacon coming out and trusting his team to support his love for Spencer. There is a lot of support for Bacon, and he’s happy to life his life in the open. The finale brings the story full-circle with Bacon baring his non-classified secrets and them building a life together.
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. 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.
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!