Review: L.A. Witt – Rank & File (Anchor Point #4)

Author: L.A. Witt
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:

Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.

Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.

When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.

But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.

Except—too late.

Review:

Remarkably similar in concept to a recent release by another popular author, this one is pure LA Witt in style. In fact, if were on a panel, blindfolded to all but the story in front of my face, I could read a few paragraphs—well, let me make that a sex scene!—and I’d know it was her work. It differs from the other book in that this one is almost exclusively about the couple themselves—their sexual attraction, relationship-building, career choices, and ultimately their love.

Told in alternating POV’s, these guys get together for one reason only—sex. They know upfront that it’s against navy policy, since one’s enlisted and one’s an officer, yet they do it anyway—and they continue to do it, despite knowing it would result in court martial if they were caught. That’s half the thrill, though. In fact, it isn’t until they spend a weekend together in Portland that they realize they aren’t just fuck buddies anymore. Yet neither wants to acknowledge that out loud. So against all regulations, they continue to get together at each other’s apartments late at night, always leaving before the next morning, always looking over their shoulders to assure they aren’t seen. As readers can imagine, this takes its toll, particularly after they’d spent such an enjoyable weekend being “out” together in Portland.

Will is a Senior Chief career enlisted military cop and he intends to put in another eleven years to get to his thirty-year retirement, hopefully with an overseas tour and a promotion along the way. Brett is a Lieutenant, with only nine years in, having come through Annapolis in the tradition of his navy family and with his career planned out since he was old enough to talk and walk. His father is insistent that these years doing paperwork and boring activities are all a prelude to rising through the ranks and he’s never allowed Brent to even consider another career. And Brent hasn’t—until an innocent remark by Will gets him thinking about it and he’s gobsmacked with the thought that he’s never even explored another possibility. After all, he wasn’t allowed to think of anything but the navy as a career so he simply didn’t.

What happens to these two men as they grow and mature in their relationship and they consider the importance of career versus life partner is the main thrust of this story. If you like sex scenes, have no fear—there are many of those—and when I say many, I mean MANY. But there’s also quiet times and fun times and scenes of work and every day life. There’s a small bit of character carryover from previous stories but it’s all minor so this can easily be read as a standalone. For lovers of MM romance, particularly between big, muscular, “Alpha-type” men, this one is one to consider.

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