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Publisher's Summary

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else - someone Mark remembers as a too-young, too-hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets - and his heart.

This book is approximately 80,000 words.

This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Deborah Nemeth.

©2018 Annabeth Albert (P)2018 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    5 out of 5 stars

This book will touch your soul and heart

WOW, I was not expecting this book at all, in the best of ways!!!!! First of all, book #4 is my favorite and it's so intense, emotional and erotic it's very hard to forget. So, I started reading Squared Away with the thought it would be something like the other books in the series, relationship wise anyway. But it turns out Annabeth has done it, again, and blew me away completely.

The narration is just FANTASTIC, Greg Boudreaux is an amazing performer with an innate sense for emotion and delicate tone changes. I read this book before I listened to the audio, and because I knew he will narrate it after he narrated book #4 in the series (my absolute favorite!) he had some BIG expectations to live up to.And boy did he ever! Greg took this wonderful book and infused it with emotion and life, the children's tiny cries and funny comments, Marks tough seal voice and Isaiah's charming personality. In a live video he did on facebook he spoke about getting ready to narrate and he said he reads the book first and really tries to narrate the book they way he felt it while reading. I can honestly say he narrated the book the way I imagined it should be but with so much more I could not know to expect. His voice is so versatile an he knows just the right moment to change it to maximum effect. i enjoyed this book the second time just as much, if not more, than the first time.

This is a book about family, and love, it's infused into every word and character and seeps into you when you read it. Mark and Isaiah are PERFECTION together, first of all as partners in taking care of their three nephews while coping with the loss of the children's parents, Mark's sister and Isaiah's cousin who was more like a brother, in terrible circumstances. The kids are young, and need constant care, so both men throw themselves into the role of caregivers with hardly any time to cope with their own loss and grief. This turbulent time forces them to see the best in each other, lean on each other and soon the need for comfort is too great.

Mark and Isaiah form an incredibly delicate, impossibly sensual connection that is so unlike most M/M book out there it's almost magical to read. And it focuses so much on the emotional bond, between them and the family they slowly become with their nephews, children they start thinking of as their own. This is the best thing about Squared Away, the emotional bond, between all the characters, some from previous books, but always at the forefront are Mark and Isaiah. The kids, Daphne, Zoe and little Liam are just adorable! And you really get the feeling of them dealing with all the hardships of parenting, there is no sugarcoating and most of the time is spent around the kid's needs.
Mark and Isaiah's intimate interactions were so amazing to read, really putting the E in erotic, but not like you would expect! I do not want to spoil anyone's reading so I will only say this: Annabeth is a MASTER at bringing unique characters, making them feel alive. Part of that is the fact she brings diverse sexualities and gender identities into play, and this quality in her writing is exceptionally good in this story. I will not divulge it exactly, as I feel it’s an important part of the book and characters, but again- it's very unlike most M/M books and it managed to be incredibly erotic and sensual, to a point I was squirming in my seat while I was reading. It was HOT in the depth of emotion and not so much the graphic descriptions. And it is refreshing and real and so fitting for this story, it was a story I was invested in with my heart and soul through and through.

This book has many deep emotions but no major drama moments, which is 'just right' for these two amazing men. It's like the saying "silent water runs deep", this book will borrow into your heart and stay there! The ending was pure MAGIC in both the setting and how they figured out the way they want their future to be as a family. I was clutching my chest all teary eyed, emotionally wreaked. Another amazing book in a wonderful series, Annabeth is a one-click author for me and I am so looking forward to more books in the series!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic

Loved every word of this one and Greg did his usual fantastic job. This one is now my favorite in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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touching, emotional and hot!

I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler and I think people would want to know and I think you should read this regardless – but… Mark is Gray Asexual.

Definition: From AVENwiki. Sexuality is not black and white; some people identify in the gray(spelled “grey” in some countries) area between asexual and sexual. People who identify as gray-A can include, but are not limited to those who: do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes.

This story was very touching, emotional and hot despite it’s non-traditional characters. I was really rooting for the two of them and it made every physical encounter that much more resonant for what it meant to each man.

The family stuff gets in the way – and that too felt really “real”.

There were times when the story lagged and there were times when I wanted the guys to just “figure it out “ already – but for the most part this was a well-paced, very well-developed love story. (I have only a limited tolerance for angst and there is a fair amount in this.)

Highly recommended- esp for the HEA!

(I don’t think you need to have read the others in the series to appreciate this book.)



Audio

Greg is an absolutely amazing performer and there are not enough words to describe how important the difference is between what he does and simply “narration”. I love the emotion he infuses as well as his ability to make each character feel unique and special both with accents and inflection/pacing/personality, etc.

This is the best way to enjoy this series and is highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Be ready for heavy emotions

I am a self-proclaimed audiobook listening snob…and VERY hard to please when it comes to vocal performances. This is the first time I’ve heard a performance by Mr. Boudreaux and I have to say I’m damn impressed. So impressed that I’ve opted to listen to the next book in the series instead of reading it which has happened with only one other performer. He truly brought this story to life. He expressed the emotions of the characters perfectly. I loved listening to his voice which is a rarity with me. I can now say I’ve expanded the list of vocal performers I’ll one-click to two (yes, you read that correctly).

It took me a while to finish this book. I actually started it back in April. And let me assure you that there are few authors I trust more than Ms. Albert with my emotions, but this book scared me when I started it. She’s not kidding when she uses the word ‘tragedy’ in the synopsis. That tragedy is compounded with a dozen family issues. Throw in an unrequited crush that doesn’t go away for years, a closeted seal that not only discovered his sexuality late in life but carries around guilt and has a complex about it and that doesn’t make for an easy read.

There is a lot packed into this story and I couldn’t touch on all of it in my review without basically restating and ruining the entire book. Mark comes to terms with his sexuality (which after the opening scene surprised me and made perfect sense for him). He faces what his sister did. He deals with the grief of his parents’ death again. He learns that sharing the burden and giving up control is sometimes necessary and doesn’t make you weak but stronger. He learns the meaning of unconditional love. Isaiah discovers he wants more out of relationships – every type of them – than he’s been getting. He learns to stand up for himself and what’s important to him. He realizes that needing and asking for help and sharing the burden doesn’t make you weak but stronger. He finally understands that doing what’s necessary isn’t always enjoyable but usually rewarding in ways that mean the most. He finds his prince charming.

As with the rest of this series, I highly recommend this book. I think it could definitely be read as a standalone (although I highly recommend reading the rest of the series as well) even though there is mention of a few previous characters.

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love this

wow, i was shocked and upset when i read about the accident almost like i knew the couple and was at their wedding! loved tbe ending! must read!

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Yay

Loved it! Thank you for making an ace character that properly explains how it feels!

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Good book

This is a good book with wonderful characters and a needed exploration of sexuality, which often doesn’t happen in these types of books. It was really good. And with Greg trembly as the narrator you couldn’t ask for better.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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sweet story

It's not the most steamy M/m romantic in the collection but it is a love story. Love comes in so many ways and I thought this book has a lot of heart.