Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Second-class petty officers Dalton Taylor and Chris Ingram have been best friends since coxswain’s school. Now they’re stationed together in the harbor patrol unit of NAS Adams. They’re content as friends, but secretly, they both ache for more. Neither makes a move, though; while Dalton is out and proud, Chris is closeted—even from his best friend.
Then another coxswain’s negligence nearly drowns Dalton. After a taste of how easily they could lose each other, neither man can keep his feelings hidden anymore, and it turns out love and sex come easy when you’re falling for your best friend.
Things aren’t just heating up between the friends-turned-lovers, though. The Navy is investigating the accident, and the harbor patrol chief isn’t going to let his star coxswain go down for dereliction of duty, even if saving him means throwing Dalton under the bus.
As the threats and gaslighting pile up, Chris and Dalton need each other more than ever—as shipmates, friends, and lovers. But if their chief prevails, the only way they can save their careers is to let each other go.
I enjoy the stories in this series. After all, who wouldn’t like hot, built Navy men? But each book carries its own unique flavor and this one was one of my favorites.
I think it’s because the author treated the two MCs as a couple right from the beginning, even though they didn’t become lovers until later. They were best friends; they shared a career and a love of the sea; they had integrity; and they had a good sense of humor and enjoyed being in each other’s company. And most of all, they had each other’s back. They are the kind of guys who I think of as a duo—one is never far from the other. Instead of setting up each man individually, telling his back story and having their lives run parallel before making them intertwine, somehow the author made this couple so strong—even when they were just friends—that readers couldn’t possibly doubt their coupledom.
A scary almost-death adventure out on rough seas occurred early in the story, so nail biting began much sooner than I expected. The scene was dramatic, realistic, and downright frightening. And it proved to be the catalyst that led from friendship to romance for Dalton and Chris. It also proved to be the catalyst for the drama that forms the core of this story—drama that primarily occurs between each of the men individually and together—from their chief. Chief Lasby does everything in his power to shift the blame of the accident that nearly claimed Dalton’s life to Dalton himself. Otherwise, the blame would fall where it belongs—on the shoulders of the chief’s favorite coxswain.
There’s a ton of information about the Navy, the rank system, the official regulations and the unofficial reality of life in the service. I enjoyed every detail because it made the story more realistic, and I was impressed by the author’s ability to weave factual information in with her vivid imagination to bring us a heartwarming love story in the midst of a very realistic potential catastrophe.
This can be read as a standalone, though two characters from previous series play a significant role toward the end. It’s not necessary to know who they are to be able to enjoy the story, but those of us who have read the others books can appreciate the update on these two friends.
I highly recommend this one to those who enjoy slow burn, friends to lovers, military men, and just plain old romance.