Tag Team Review: Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) by Annabeth Albert

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike's flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike's arrival would spark from Zack's teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can't refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won't be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He's an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he's had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can't risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack's restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn't know how to be the man Pike deserves.


Adam - 4 Hearts

Zack Nelson has always toed the line. Faced with the pressures of family, church, and the military, Zack suppresses his sexuality. It works until he gets a new roommate, out and proud, and undeniably attractive, Pike Reynolds.

Pike makes Zack want to live in the sunshine, but that means finally owning up to the truth. And while Pike is willing to be patient, he won’t live in the closet. Before they can be happy, Zack will have to learn how to be happy in his own skin.

As soon as I found out that Zack and Pike would be the MCs for this book, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Both MCs appear in Connection Error, but ‘Off Base’ can be read as a stand-alone.

Readers are introduced to Zack and Pike while they’re still acquaintances. They’re attracted to each other, but between Zack denying his sexuality and Pike refusing to sleep with a supposedly-straight man, it doesn’t go anywhere.

Zack’s behaviour didn’t win him any brownie points early on, with him denying his feelings to himself and the lengths he goes to hide his sexual orientation. But I could understand where he was coming from. I’d say Zack’s hang-ups had less to do with hating himself than with the pressures of those around him.

Pike was instantly likeable. He won’t settle for less than he deserves, but he’s willing to be patient and take things slow. He’s willing to make reasonable compromises to make their relationship work.

I really liked how the two became friends before moving on to something more. It made their relationship all the more believable. The two filled the emptiness that the other felt. Zack and Pike gave each other the shoulder needed to deal with the stresses of work and life in general.

Plus, they have great sexual chemistry. A virgin SEAL learning the joys of man-on-man sex? Yes please!

Throughout the book, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was clear that something had to give for Zack to come out, and for Pike to decide whether Zack was worth staying for in the long-haul.

When the shit finally hit the fan, the fallout tested Zack and Pike’s relationship to the limits. But I was really happy with the outcome. Both MCs pulled through, and their relationship came out the stronger for it. Zack completely makes up for what he put himself and Pike through.

Overall, I really enjoyed ‘Off Base’. The romance was angsty but the HEA was very sweet, and you can’t help but root for Zack and Pike. A great start to this author’s new military MM series!

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 3.5 Hearts

The OFY trope continues to be hit or miss for me, though Off Base was more hit than miss. What seems to work for me is if the protagonist is struggling with their own acceptance of their sexuality rather than their closetedness being fear of society's judgment based.

Zack is both. He's a SEAL with openly homophobic team members AND his family is small town religious right while also being a virgin who hasn't even indulged in gay porn.

Pike is at the other end of the spectrum. He's out and loud and proud about it. And he's got Zack's number. I really loved that he played along with Zack's "straightness" knowing to challenge it would've spooked him in a heartbeat. Zack is thirsty, curious and Pike is willing to keep things on the DL for the time being and it's not as though Pike's getting nothing out of their... activities. There is a good amount of sex that clocked in the low to medium range of hotness for me. But I am a filthy perv, so grain of salt. Or maybe more like a block.

Naturally events transpire that force both their hands, so to speak. In this regard, to me, the story was well plotted. The events might've been a tad cliché but not unfathomable and certainly relatable.

The usage of military terms and acronyms gave the story an authenticity without veering into overly technical territory all of which a thoroughly enjoyed and is primarily what drew me to the book in the first place.

What I'm 50/50 on is the dramatics/angst. Some of the internal dialogue for both men was, on the one hand, eyebrow raising in its intensity, an intensity that I didn't necessarily think matched their actions. On the other hand, it's very sweet and that sweetness mitigated some of the unpleasantness that gets lobbed at Zack along with my ire, so there is that.

What is preventing me from rating higher is I didn't sink into this story and become absorbed by it or either of these characters. However, I am invested in this series, particularly Apollo's story and would recommend it to MM romance fans, especially those who like military men.

ARCs were provided by NetGalley.

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