Four out of Five Stars
The Summary: The camping trip from hell may be the first stop on the road to happily-ever-after in Rough Terrain, the final book in Annabeth Albert’s critically acclaimed, fan-favorite Out of Uniform series.
Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.
Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.
Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…
Canaan Finley works at a smoothie shop that Renzo Bianchi (aka Rooster) and other SEALs like to frequent. He doesn’t only have a weakness for men in uniform, there’s more to him. He takes care of his grandfather and he’s studying to be the nurse and he sometimes fills in as a drummer for his former band when needed. When he is invited on a camping trip with those former band mates, they don’t want him coming alone. He makes up a story saying his SEAL boyfriend may not be able to make it, duty calls at any time. The problem is, he doesn’t have a SEAL boyfriend. After spending an evening with Renzo he broaches the topic to see if may Renzo wouldn’t mind pretending for the weekend. When disaster strikes, they both acknowledge that there may be something more there. But can Canaan handle being with someone in the military, who moves around when it’s needed and is deployed at moment’s notice?
Oh, ya’ll, fake boyfriend trope? Sign me up every freaking time. Add in lots of kissing? Annabeth Albert can write some intense kissing scenes. Like when I become a super amazing author, I want to write kissing scenes like hers, kind of intense. There was an intimacy Renzo and Canaan’s kisses that I feel like a lot of authors over look between their characters. That level of intimacy shows a level of trust, understanding and caring between Renzo and Canaan. I’m a sucker for it and I have no shame.
Renzo, no matter how much pride he takes in his body, he’s still insecure. It hurt knowing that there were parts of his romantic life he had been denying himself. He tried so hard to be the perfect SEAL, son, brother and I think that quest for perfection caused a rift in himself. I could relate entirely on that part (except my body is NOT a temple lol). Canaan was so gentle with Renzo and showed him bits and pieces of his life. I think Renzo needed the balance that Canaan offered him and because of that balance he bloomed.
Of course there were parts that you wanted to shake Renzo and be like, “Why are you doing this to yourself?!” But it took someone at work, which everyone should have a boss like that, who kind of woke him up to what was happening and why he was feeling the way he was.
I absolutely loved this installment of the Out of Uniform Series and I’m looking forward to Annabeth’s new series that is to be set in Alaska!! She is definitely one of my favorite authors that I recommend to everyone who reads, or is interested in reading M/M.