Mini Reviews: Wheels Up & Off the Ice

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wheel's Up by Annabeth Albert

Synopsis: Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren't listening to rules and regulations.

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he's his SEAL team's new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He's kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they're taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn't always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He'll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they're just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team's newest member, they're in for the shock of a lifetime...and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.
Review: I didn't end up loving this one as much as the others in the series. They had some sexual chemistry but nothing that made me want to root for them as a couple.  We are told that they've become close online throughout their many talks, but we don't get to see many of those as they have been talking online for a few months prior to the beginning of this story.  There were quite a few steamy scenes involving some light kink and dirty talk but I wanted to see more "couple-y moments".  I didn't feel like I ever connected to the characters and they drove me pretty nuts with their hot and cold behavior. It's became VERY repetitive after a while: "We can't see each other anymore because it's against the rules and we could be court-martialed", followed by a sex scene. Then right back to "We can't see each other" again...over and over.  I also didn't love the ending as much as I had hoped.  With as much of the back and forth behavior and guilt over repeatedly allowing it to happen over and over I wanted things to be solid and wrapped up tight, and I didn't get that feeling with this ending.  Things were still in a HFN state, with plans for the future.


Off the Ice by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn

Synopsis: Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.
Review:  I really enjoyed this one.  I read Permanent Ink, that was written by both authors, and I enjoyed it even though I had a few issues with it.  I ended up liking this one even more than that one.  Off the Ice had a lot of the things that I love in romances: great banter, some humor, steamy chemistry, and it's an opposites attract story.  This one also has a little bit of kink and an age gap, which I'm normally not a huge fan of, but I didn't mind it in this one.  The storyline is primarily relationship focused but that didn't bother me too much.  Sebastian and Tristan have a ton of chemistry together which makes for some steamy scenes but I thought the gradual feelings in the relationship were handled realistically. 


  1. I was disappointed in Wheel's Up as well. I felt like we didn't see how they came to mean more to each other than a hookup.

    I'm holding my review until next month but it's very similar to yours.

    I do want to read Off the Ice though!

    For What It's Worth

  2. Bummer about Wheel's Up but Yay for Off the ice! That book sounds good!


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