My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
There is some really fabulous demi rep in this book and I was really pleasantly surprised by Calder, who isn’t anything like he came across in his brother Arthur’s story.
Calder is a bit lost when this book starts, he’s been grounded on desk duty after an accident on his sub and he’s chomping at the bit to find something to do. When he “wins” a cabin in a poker game, he thinks it’s perfect timing to get away and see what his prize is like.
Of course, it’s never plain sailing 😁 and the cabin comes with the unexpected surprise of Felix and his two nieces, who he’s bringing up as a single dad following his half-sister’s death a few years ago.
The two of them have an instant prickly attraction to each other and what I really loved about this book was the organic way Annabeth navigated them through their own hidebound ideas about what they might want for their future with what they actually were both craving for.
This is a kind of slow-burny romance, they move into a friends with kissing benefits and the occasional leisurely hand job/frotting but Calder’s got a pretty low sex drive and he’s lacking in self-assurance when it comes to bedroom matters, which I really found made a nice change.
The other thing I ADORED about this book is the communication. There’s no ridiculous flouncing or misunderstandings, these two men sit and talk about everything, their feelings, their worries, what the future might hold and whether it’s worth the pain of reaching for happiness again.
It’s a definite “grown up” romance with two men who are facing huge life changes, Felix with the girls, Calder with his Naval career, and the care given to each of them involving the other in their discussions really resonates.
It’s low steam, which absolutely suits them as a pairing, both men are thoroughly committed to the other by the end and I also liked that Annabeth got the involvement of the girls pitched just right. Madeline and Charlotte are important but never take over the narrative.
Another great entry in this new military series.
#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review