Betting On Love SINK OR SWIM–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M navy romance from Annabeth Albert. SINK OR SWIM is the second book in her Shore Leave series that features naval submarine officers finding love. In this installment, a landlocked submarine logistics chief finds his big win of an idyllic cabin really nets him a family, instead. This book follows SAILOR PROOF, and features Arthur’s brother Calder getting past his competitiveness and into a cooperative relationship.

About the book:

Winning and losing are subject to sexy interpretation…

Navy chief Calder Euler loves to win big. His latest score? A remote mountain cabin. Checking it out is supposed to be a quick trip, but Calder’s luck abruptly turns when a freak injury and a freakier snowstorm leave him stranded.

Oh, and the cabin isn’t empty. A silver fox caring for two young girls claims that the property is his, but Calder’s paperwork says otherwise.

Felix Sigurd is on a losing streak, and his ex-husband risking the cabin in a reckless bet is only the latest in a series of misfortunes. He’ll tolerate the handsome stranger for a couple nights–even care for his injuries—but that’s it.

Calder doesn’t know a damn thing about kids, but making pancakes for Felix’s girls is a surprising delight. Trapped in the cabin, the four of them slip easily into the rhythms of a family. But when the ice melts, they’ll have to decide if a future together is in the cards.

My Review:

Navy chief Calder Euler is about to be blindsided. He’s driving in to the Cascades to view his “new” cabin, that he’d won in a high-stakes poker game. As a submarine logistics manager, Calder is notorious for his organizational spreadsheets, and gambling. He’s always prepared to make a calculated risk, but this time, the dude he was playing didn’t actually own the collateral he’d offered up. Nope, the cute snowbound cabin had been in his ex-husband’s family for generations, and the guy thought it would be another fun way to stick it to his ex, Dr. Felix Sigund.

Felix knew his marriage was falling apart, but adopting his orphaned nieces was the final straw for his happily childfree ex. But, the settlements of their “joint” property–read Felix’s inheritance–have cost Felix a good bit of cash. He’s happy for a weekend escape to his woody cabin, until his young nieces scream about the stranger inside calling it his own. Startled, Calder falls down the stairs and twists his ankle nastily. It’s a tough blow since he’s still recovering from a concussion suffered on his last sub deployment. It’s why he was even stateside to “win” the cabin. As frustrated as Felix is for this unexpected drama, he’s not about to force an injured Calder into a dangerous car trip–which is moot, since the roads soon snow over. 

During the weekend, Felix and Calder develop a few sparks, and Felix indulges going along with Calder’s easy-going attitude. Thing is, Calder recognizes that Felix is a pretty great guy, and awesome parent, and he’s drawn to Felix’s care-taking nature. He’s been a bit melancholy missing his best-friend (Derrick) who moved cross-country with his younger brother (Arthur) several months back. (Derrick and Arthur are the couple in Book One of this series.)  Bisexual Calder rarely has strong connections or successful hook-ups, but Felix is amazing at putting him at-ease, and turning him completely on.

Calder guesses Felix doesn’t want to continue seeing him, he’s super focused on his parental responsibilities, but Calder has plans to ensure he’s able to connect with Felix over and over again. First, he insists on helping him settle his ex’s machinations, and secondly giving Felix a friends-with-benefits offer that’s too good to be true. An indispensable Calder means Felix has some fun, too. And, well, Calder’s not averse to kids; he just hasn’t really been around kids much since he was one. That said, he’s all about plans and his careful attention to detail gives him insights that cause Felix’s nieces to trust him pretty quickly. It’s Felix who’s been burned too much, and Calder pretty much never figured on a committed relationship–until he’s nearly smack in the middle of one with Felix and his small family. 

I really loved how Calder woke up and realized he had a toxic obsession with winning. He’d heard it from Derrick and Arthur, and he’s trying to turn over a new leaf, in that regard. He’s got plenty of opportunities to grow into a better man through his developing relationship with Felix, but Felix is just struggling to be 100% independent and berating himself if he needs to accept help. He can’t deny that the girls need a bigger circle of folks who love them, and Calder (plus his large family) is an unexpected support. Felix’s difficulty with responsible delegation of parental duties really hit home for me, and he was such a caring and dedicated person. He is truly a man worth Calder’s deep love, and their meet-cute was adorable. 

Highly recommend!

Interested? You can find SINK OR SWIM on Goodreads, Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. I read a review copy provided via NetGalley.

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.

Find Annabeth online on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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