In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality. Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms. As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.
5 out of 5 (exceptional)
Squared Away is the fifth book in the Out of Uniform series, but can be read as a standalone, as I did. However, I must say that now I have found out what an exceptional writer Annabeth Albert is, it won't be the last book of hers I read!
Isaiah is a bit of a 'flirt', and at eighteen he decides he is going to lose his V-card to a SEAL at his brother's wedding. However Mark, the SEAL, isn't interested in just being 'someone' to sleep with, and so tells Isaiah he isn't gay or interested. He then manages to avoid Isaiah for the next five years, although he still hears about Isaiah's exploits. Trust me, he is no longer a card-carrying member! These two get thrown together by tragedy, and are both left in charge of three children. This story revolves around the decisions they make, and how they learn to love and live together, whilst loving three mini-humans who demand so much time.
Squared Away is a complex love story that goes so slow it is completely and utterly scintillating. I wondered how it would work with Isaiah's reputation, but it was simply amazing. Yes, his reputation bites him in the ass, but with Mark, he goes slow - and it is beautiful. There are reasons for this as Mark is demisexual. We find out exactly what this means for Mark, and the struggles he has, both with it and with being scared to want more with Isaiah. Oh man, this is so good. I mean, seriously! The chemistry between these two melted my kindle, and I loved every word. It is heart-breaking, it is beautiful.
With no editing or grammatical errors that I noticed, Squared Away is an exceptional story, told by a brilliant author. Her style of writing is realistic, with plenty of complex emotions and situations. Life doesn't always go smoothly, but it can be worth the effort you put in to a difficult situation. Absolutely amazing, and I am now putting more books by this author on my T-B-R list! You'd be a fool not to read this one.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific
Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.