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At Attention (Out of Uniform) Mass Market Paperback – April 18, 2017
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''How in the world have I missed Annabeth Albert's wonderful books?'' --USA Today, praise for the author
''Albert's at her best here, with angst and humor coming together in a beautiful romance that honors past and present ways of loving someone.'' --RT Book Reviews (4½ stars, Top Pick!) --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
About the Author
Annabeth Albert grew up reading 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 is a published romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. She 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 toddlers.
Audiobook Narrator Bio: Cooper North is an audiobook narrator known for his readings of books in the Power Play series by Lynda Aicher.
--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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We met Apollo Floros in Off Base as a Lieutenant, 34, with the SEALs and we had learned that his husband had passed away sometime before the series began. In this book, from Apollo's POV, we get a better sense just how deep his despair is. With his husband's death, Apollo probably would have spiraled into depression. He's never gotten grief counseling, but the one thing that keeps him going is his twin girls, Chloe and Sophia. Apollo's mother usually looks after them, but for this one summer, she's booked a vacation to Europe and will be away for two months. Apollo's work schedule keeps him busy and he needs someone to relive him of some every day work and to look after the girls when he's gone.
Apollo's best friend's younger brother, Dylan, has had a crush on Apollo ever since he met him at 15. It's a cute little crush, but now Dylan is out of college, 23, and in need of a place to stay over the summer while he works as a children's day camp counselor. He gets hired on to help Apollo out around the house, and woah, the sparks start flying. It's definitely more lust and physical attraction rather than love that overtakes the two and Apollo and Dylan are hot.
Apollo is constantly feeling guilty about his conflicted feelings toward Dylan. The man still keeps his wedding ring on, but goodness sakes. He has a very regimented system in place, not only at work, but around the house as well that, luckily, Dylan adapts to pretty well. Dylan's had lovers in high school and college, but he has to remind Apollo that he's not a kid anymore. Dylan is an adult with responsibilities and I like that he knows when to set his foot down in order to make Apollo make up his mind and stop being so wishy-washy.
I love the alternating POV, so that we can get a sense of how Apollo and Dylan feel about each other. If it were just from Apollo's POV, we would never be able to know that Dylan is struggling between accepting their relationship as a hot summer fling with an end date or wanting it to be something more. If this were just in Dylan's POV, we would never know that Apollo's is terrified of letting go of his ex and also starting to realize that Dylan might mean something more to him than just a kid brother of his best friend. There's a definite age-gap between Apollo and Dylan, but I'm just dying whenever Apollo makes himself out to be one step away from a hospice. He's only 34. And Apollo's tattoo. It's so cliché and cringe worthy, but it is meaningful.
Apollo's twin girls are 5-years-old, but they never feel intrusive. They're absolutely adorable and I loved reading about them. Kids in romance storylines can often feel like they're just in the way of the main couple getting together, but the author manages to work Chloe and Sophia into the storyline and actually makes me love them.
The secondary characters are very enjoyable to read. Apollo's friends, Ben and Maddox, are entertaining as hell and has the potential to be very interesting. I'm hoping we get a story with these two, so they can get a HEA. At the moment, it seems very much a one-sided romance and I AM HERE FOR THIS. Isaiah is introduced late in the story, but I think his story would be enjoyable to read since we hardly know anything about him. Zack and Pike from Off Base appear in this story a few times and are still totally adorable.
Apollo and Dylan are just heart-wrenchingly angsty, but I can understand why. Sex is not a problem for these two (*coughmirrorsexcough*), but everything else is a hurdle they need to overcome. I was audibly gasping out loud in the last two chapters at some very <333 moments and I simply can't wait to see what else Annabeth Albert has in store for the Out of Uniform universe!!!
***Thanks to Carina Press for providing me an ARC through NetGalley***
A second chance at love story.
Apollo is a widowed father. Tough and gruff and closed off to any possibility of a new relationship.
I don’t want to feel the things I do for you.
I found him hard to like even as I respected his grief.
Dylan is young. A recent college graduate with an old crush on his brother's best friend.
—he didn’t scare easily, didn’t back down, didn’t stop asking for what he needed and wanted.
I liked Dylan a lot. He was so perfect though. I would have enjoyed seeing his thoughts a little more.
Even though there were quite a few side characters, grandparents, friends, work associates, etc., I didn't feel like they added a lot to the story. They were more or less placeholders and props for the plot. The same goes for Apollo's two little daughters. They were rather one dimensional.
But I don't mean to sound like I didn't enjoy reading this. I actually did. It was an easy, light read. I'd be tempted to give it four stars but over half a dozen typos and punctuation errors made it a three star read for me.
--One Sentence Summary--
Lieutenant Apollo Floros knows he should resist his attraction to his new live-in help -- not only is he much younger, and Apollo's friend's little brother, but Apollo is still reeling from the death of his husband.
--What are the Issues--
It's been two years since Apollo's husband died and he's still not ready to move on. He's focused his life down to his twin daughters and work and he doesn't want anything interfering with that. Apollo believes he's too old and jaded for Dylan and that's on top of the fact that Dylan is the little brother of his friend. Dylan had a crush on Apollo when he was a teenager and Apollo a young man but it's been years since they've seen each other. Close proximity shows Dylan that his feelings might be more than just a crush but he's uncertain if Apollo will ever see him as anything but a kid. Dylan knows that there's no time limit on grief but can he live in Neal's shadow forever?
--What I Liked and Didn’t Liked--
Apollo the Grumpy -- I was very excited to read Apollo's story because I loved his introduction in Off Base. Though I still liked this book I didn't enjoy it as much as the first one. A large part of this centered around Apollo as the struggling widower which is a trope that I've never been crazy about. Apollo is determined to remain single, believing Neal was it for him and he knows that he can't love like that again. This causes a lot of tension between him and Dylan. Dylan for his part is incredibly sympathetic and understanding over Apollo's grief but I often felt really bad for Dylan having to compete with a ghost. All things considered Apollo's hot and cold routine wasn't too bad, compared to other books I've read, so I mostly felt like just giving him a hug and telling him it would all work out. I was very happy with how things worked out in Apollo's head in the end. I felt that his transition in thought was very natural and didn't feel forced.
Dylan the Charmer -- I loved Dylan in this book and he may be one of my favorite Annabeth Albert characters. He was so sweet, understanding, great with the twins, but also fun and charming. He was confident in himself and what he could offer Apollo and he never backed down from calling Apollo out when needed. His playful side was great for the girls but also great for brining Apollo out of his moody lifestyle. Dylan was very mature and it was wonderful to read a character in their early 20's who has their stuff together; as someone who was the same way, it's nice to relate. I have a lot of respect for Dylan and his treatment of Apollo as they worked through Apollo's guilt over moving on from Neal. It's a hard situation and Dylan never made Apollo feel bad about his struggle.
Not as great as Off Base but still another enjoyable Annabeth Albert book. I can't wait to read more about Maddox and Ben!
Most recent customer reviews
I loved Apollo in Off Base and I was so happy to see his story is up next because I was in the zone, and I didn't quite read the summary...Read more
I really enjoyed Dylan and Apollo's story! Two 'regular guys' negotiating a romance...way fun too read