“Sexy, sweet and heartfelt, Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a fresh take on Navy SEALs that will delight and entertain romance readers.”
–Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.
Title: Wheels Up
Series: Out of Uniform #4
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): November 6th, 2017
Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance
Links: Amazon | Apple | B&N | Kobo
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 semi-anonymous 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.
Short excerpt #1: Dustin wasn’t nervous. Just because Wes had put it out there that they could go back to his room didn’t mean they had to. Didn’t mean his pulse had to rev like a personnel carrier, all loud and roaring in his ears. Didn’t mean his fingers had to suddenly have nothing better to do than shred napkins. And it definitely didn’t mean he needed to keep up the idiotic rambling. Damn it, Strauss, remember who and what you are.
Short excerpt #2: I’m not sure how much longer I can do this. Dread, sick and sharp, pierced him right in the gut. He simply wasn’t prepared for dealing with this avalanche of emotions, this overwhelming need to ensure Wes’s safety. He’d done his duty for well over a decade now, and never, not once, had he been as freaked out as he was right then. Something’s got to give.
“So?” Wes prompted after she’d left again. “You don’t want me to hook you up with someone, even hypothetically, but what would you like tonight? Burger and watch the game? Or…”
“Or?” Dustin sounded more curious than off-put, which was good.
“Or…and I’m just throwing this out there…I’ve got a hotel room close to here. We could go hang there after we eat. Just talk. And stuff.”
“Define stuff.” Dustin fiddled with his paper napkin, but he hadn’t said no. And he was cautious, which was a good thing, smart. Another trait all the marines Wes knew had—they were wary, always ready for the next threat.
“Talk. Like how we usually do on Saturday nights.” Wes raised his eyebrows and nodded, telegraphing that he knew perfectly well how those nights usually ended, both of them drenched in sweat and spunk, yawning goodnight into the phone.
Dustin hissed in a breath. “And you’d be good with that? Just our usual?”
“Oh trust me—” taking a risk, Wes leaned across the table, putting his lips against Dustin’s ear “—there’s nothing usual about what I want to do to you. And absolutely nothing boring about a live-action version of our regular game.”
He sat back down in time to watch Dustin’s eyes light up at the mention of game. Yeah, Wes knew how to get him going. And the equal measure of trepidation and anticipation in his eyes made Wes’s pulse speed up. He wanted this, far more than he was willing to let on.
“I…” Dustin glanced around again. “I’m not…”
“Shh. You don’t have to give me an answer yet. We can enjoy our food. And the game. Hopefully UVA loses spectacularly so I can gloat about that when I call home tomorrow, and my dad will be in a better mood.”
“Okay.” Dustin sighed, and Wes knew he wasn’t imagining the relief on his features. Darn it. “How’s your sister doing?”
Wes had told Dustin a little about Sam’s heart condition on a night a few months back when he was feeling particularly down. Dustin remembering how close he was to Sam made warmth spread through his chest. “She’s good. Always got to be on the lookout for infection though. Hopefully this year’s cold and flu season isn’t too rough. She made me a new playlist today. I’ll forward you the link.”
“More of that alternative-country?” Dustin made a face. They might share a taste in movies and TV, but in music they differed, almost comically so.
“Yup. Be glad you’re not riding back with me.” His insides gave a little twinge at the reminder that all he had with Dustin was this one night. And that’s why he needs to say yes. If all they had was tonight, then Wes was going to make it one they both remembered for a long, long time.
He’d seen Wes’s chest before on camera, but the camera was fuzzy, missing key details like how Wes’s nipples were the exact color of Dustin’s favorite butterscotch toffee and how his collar bones looked made for biting. And the camera had never captured the force of Wes’s stare, the way he seemed to see past Dustin’s soul to his most secret of desires.
“Think you could get your cock out for me?” Wes’s voice was as seductive as a kiss, and his eyes never left Dustin.
Using his left hand, Dustin got an awkward grip on his cock, drew it out, waited for the next command.
“You’re doing so good for me,” Wes praised. “Pinch a nipple for me, nice and hard, and I might let you touch your cock.”
“Oh fuck.” Dustin absolutely loved when Wes played like his, and being able to look at his intense face while he made such dirty commands was the best head trip ever. Following orders, he used his left hand to pinch his right nipple, hard enough to make himself gasp.
“Twist it. More.” Wes leaned forward, arms resting on his knees.
“Hurts,” Dustin panted. He’d had worse pain, of course, but somehow deliberate pain like this was a far different beast than the ordinary wear and tear he took over the course of training or a mission.
“That’s right. Doing good.” Wes’s blue eyes were almost black now. “You’ve earned a stroke, but slowly.”
“Yes. Thank you.” Dustin’s eyes squished shut as his hand connected with his throbbing cock.
“No, look at me,” Wes commanded, and Dustin’s eyes snapped back open.
He stroked himself with a firm grip, but slowly like Wes wanted. He had to squeeze hard on the base because he was that close to the edge. “Oh God.” His voice broke.
“Yeah? Tell me what you want.” Wes was breathing hard, the only sign that he wasn’t immune to Dustin’s show.
“I’m close.” Dustin’s whole body trembled as he repeated the slow stroke upward on his cock.
“No, you’re not.” Wes’s voice was stern, his eyes like granite chunks. “Tell me. Tell me what you want.”
Usually this was where Dustin would start begging to come, admitting to progressively kinkier fantasies, but instead the truth tumbled out. “Touch me. Oh, God, touch me please.”
“You making me your blanket?” Wes’s smile was so tender that Dustin’s heart pinched—he wanted this for every damn night of his life. He wanted so much more than his sorry ass deserved.
“Don’t go. Not yet.” He wasn’t ready for this to be done, wasn’t ready for the inevitable goodbye and avalanche of guilt.
Wes didn’t answer, smile turning sad and aching, before he kissed Dustin again. And everything was in that kiss—all the feelings they dared not give name to, all the longing, all the wishes and regrets and needs, all piled together.
“I can stay awhile,” Wes whispered against his lips. It wasn’t enough, wasn’t ever going to be enough, but the boulder in Dustin’s throat wouldn’t let him speak, would only let him pull Wes even closer, kiss him that much more desperately.
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.
To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.
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