Thursday, March 02, 2017

Review: Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) by L.A. Witt

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Title: Afraid to Fly

Author: L.A. Witt

Publisher: Riptide

Release: 16th January 2017

Genre: M/M (military)

Rating:

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Synopsis

Once a fearless fighter pilot, Commander Travis Wilson is now confined to a desk. It’s been eight years since the near-fatal crash that grounded him, and it still rules his life thanks to relentless back pain.

Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser almost drowned in a bottle after a highly classified catastrophe while piloting a drone. His downward spiral cost him his marriage and kids, but he’s sober now and getting his life back on track. He’s traded drones for a desk, and he’s determined to reconcile with his kids and navigate the choppy waters of PTSD.

Clint has been on Travis’s radar ever since he transferred to Anchor Point. When Clint comes out to his colleagues, it’s a disaster, but there’s a silver lining: now that Travis knows Clint is into men, the chemistry between them explodes.

It’s all fun and games until emotions get involved. Clint’s never been in love with a man before. Travis has, and a decade later, that tragic ending still haunts him. Clint needs to coax him past his fear of crashing and burning again, or their love will be grounded before takeoff.

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Mark’s Review

They don’t come any more damaged as characters than Travis and Clint. PTSD, chronic physical pain, nightly nightmares, alcoholism, divorce and ruined relationships because of it.These guys are or have been through hell and back and are a pure mess through no fault of their own. For me this book first of all illustrates how serving in the military can really break people, physically and psychologically but if all you have known is the navy than what other choices do you have than to stay and cope the best way you can. On the inside you’re falling apart but on the outside you have to appear to have your act together.

You would think first of all that two people like Travis and Clint would not be good for each other but then it turns out that the understanding they have for each others’ problems makes them a perfect match. They just have to find a way to be patient with each other and understand how they can help one another. They have admired each other from afar for quite a while but thinking the other isn’t gay, bi or wahetevr. Both guys have been married and have children but the navy has basically destroyed the happy family life that they both thought they would have at the beginning. Clint is estranged form his wife and kids and can only visit them when supervised, Travis is luckier because his daughter lives with him but she loves her father and understands having PSTD issues herself brought on by her father’s flying accident which has left him with chronic back pain. He now has to live with this for the rest of his life. The pain is always there it just depends on the level, basically good days and bad days.

The meet at the navy ball, as Clint brings a boyfriend with him, although it causes him major embarrassment. Not because the navy has any problem with him dating a guy, but Logan his boyfriend, is a serious embarrassment as a person. This I found refreshing to read how far the military has now come with the acceptance of gay personnel. I’m sure it’s still not perfect but we have come a long way considering what attitudes were like 20 or so years ago. When I was in the RAF homosexuality was still illegal under military law. Now the young men and women march in uniform at gay pride parades along with all other military and civil services in the UK. Yes, we have really come a long way but still we can’t be complacent.

It takes the navy ball for Clint to realise it’s not going to work with him and Logan, drops him off home, breaks up with him and decides to go back to the ball where he was sitting at Travis’s table. This gives him the chance to start talking to Travis socially and when they both find out they like men and have fancied each other for a long time then you could say the rest is history. However, there is a lot of personal emotional baggage that both men have to clamber over before they get to their HEA. There is Travis’s back pain which limits his activities in the bedroom. There’s no swinging from chandeliers and playing Tarzan here. He lives in constant fear of any partner he goes out with becoming bored with the sex eventually and then leaving. Its this fear that stops him from falling in love thinking that Clint will get bored and leave so no point it getting too attached. He doesn't realise its this thinking that could eventually push Clint away and not the other problems. As for Clint well it takes him a long time to spend a night with Travis as he is afraid that waking him up every night with his nightmares will push him away. But slowly they both come to accept and can understand each others’ problems.

Mix into this that both men have kids then things aren’t easy for them. Obviously this brings with it a whole load of family drama. We only get to meet Clint's family a few times via Skype but you get to feel and totally understand his ex-wife’s concerns, anger and disappointment in Clint. Not the life she had imagined for herself at the beginning of their marriage no doubt but the caring about him is still there in a warped kind of way. Not easy for her either and then Clint has to tell her and the kids he’s now in a relationship with a man.

This story for me is a wonderful telling of how two broken characters can actually find love based on the fact they can understand the other’s problems like no outsider can. It deals very nicely with bisexuality and shows us that the love between two people is the main thing and not the who. Their previous marriages went to the wall due to the navy and what it did to them, so no blame or cheating apportioned on either side. This in itself I felt was very sad, had it not been for the fact that the jobs broke both men then they still might have been happily married.  Although there are a lot of emotional and physical issues for these guys to work through the book for me is still very low on the angst factor. We get Travis doing something extremely stupid regarding their relationship first in the last 10% of the book, but this is quickly sorted out again with them both having a serious talk on the issues they have been avoiding until this point. When a character has constant physical pain I also felt the danger here is to become a little repetitive in its description whenever it’s mentioned and in Travis’s case it obviously comes up a lot, every time Travis was mentioned so was his TENS unit. The plot is pretty straight forward with no real surprises, revelations twists or turns, just your usual story of two characters finding love, a way to be together and trying to make it work.

I do however like the head hopping and alternative point of view. One chapter Travis and then one chapter Clint. Its a format that sits well with me and I get a lot of enjoyment from it giving a balanced view of each characters thoughts and what they’re thinking about each other. As in real life we never say exactly what we maybe be thinking. I liked this book a lot on the basis that Travis and Clint find the support they need in each other as they can understand each others’ issues. It’s not a book about polar opposite characters coming together but more one of mutual understanding through what they have in common. If you’re looking for a book that will leave you feeling proud and uplifted for the MCs at the end after showing enormous strength of character, battling on all emotional fronts to get themselves sorted, how they have worked through their issues to come out the other end as better people, willing to trust, love and take that risk, then this book will be for you.

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Just Drive ( Anchor Point #1) by L.A. Witt

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Title: Just Drive

Author L.A. Witt

Rating: 4 Stars

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Synopsis

For Sean Wright, driving a cab in the tiny Navy town of Anchor Point isn't an exciting job . . . until he picks up just-dumped Paul Richards. A drive turns into a walk on the pier, which turns into the hottest hookup Sean's had in ages.

After a long overdue breakup, Paul can't believe his luck. Of all the drivers, he's picked up by the gorgeous, gay, and very willing Sean. Younger guys aren't usually his thing, but Paul can't resist.

One taste and neither man can get enough . . . right up until they realize that Paul is Sean's father's commanding officer and the last man Sean should be involved with.

With two careers on the line, their only option is to back off. It's not easy, though; the sex and the emotional connection are exactly what both men have been craving for a long time. But Paul has devoted twenty-four years to his career and his dream of making admiral. If he's caught with Sean, that's all over. He has to choose -- stay the course, or trade it all for the man who drove off with his heart.

::: DEBRA’S REVIEW :::

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Meet L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

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