After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.
Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.
Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.
Off Base is a sweet, and occasionally very hot, love story between Zack Nelson, a newly minted Navy SEAL and Pike Reynolds, a mathematician fresh out of graduate school. They are polar opposites from the start. Zack Is struggling with his own sexuality and with making his way in the testosterone-laden world of the SEALS. Pike is out and proud and doesn’t care who knows. When the book begins, the two know each other only vaguely as acquaintances with mutual friends. However, when Pike takes a job in San Diego where Zack is stationed and needs somewhere to live, ends up becoming Zack roommate in his newly acquired off-base housing. From there, the relationship blossoms from barely friends, to friends with benefits, and finally to love.
However, throughout the relationship, Zack remains confused and deeply closeted about his own sexuality. When he is hurt in the field and his denial of Pike’s true place in his life leads to Pike not being told about his injuries or allowed to see him, Zack’s secrecy threatens to tear them apart. Will Zack be able to step up to the plate and be honest about himself in their relationship or will his inability to come to terms with it tear them apart?
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Zack and Pike’s story. My heart ached for Zack all the way through. He’s a good, honorable man, from an ultraconservative upbringing with ultraconservative parents, who is trying his best to be all things to all people. His struggle is believable and realistic. He knows that whatever choice he makes it will fundamentally alter his life forever after. There are real emotional stakes here.
The main plot line is extremely well done. The subplots, not so much. There’s one particular subplot about one of their cats getting very sick and needing to have surgery that never gets resolved at all. They take the cat to the vet. The cat goes back for surgery, and you never see it or hear of it mentioned again. It’s not necessarily an important part of the story itself, but if you’re going to bring up the subplot like that it should be resolved. This one wasn’t and that bothered me. Overall, it’s a good story. With a little tighter editing, it could’ve been a great one, but it’s not quite there yet.