Title: Level Up (#gaymers universe)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 17th 2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Word Count: ~40,000
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.
However, Bailey ends up being not quite what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.
A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.
Approximately 40,000 words. Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.
What starts as a short introduction and details about a charity calendar photoshoot turns into a forty-plus email chain about gaming and other things in common with the tone turning very flirty by the time Landon arrives at the Los Angeles’s Central Library ready to meet his crush, photographer Bailey. Really, Bailey is one the main reasons Landon is even willing to go through with a *gasp* nude charity calendar photoshoot.
Bailey Morgan is super excited to meet Landon, and is hoping to take this burgeoning friendship to a possible relationship. However, when it turns out Bailey is a “he” and not a “her”, and Bailey’s physical appearance is a reminder for Landon of a past trauma, it seems like the hope they both had for possibly more than friendship is over before it even started.
But when Bailey sees Landon have a panic attack it’s everything he can do to support, help, and reassure Landon he would never do anything to hurt him.
The big question is can Landon work through the trauma of his past to secure a future with Bailey?
Trigger Warning: There is mention/discussion of a prior sexual assault, however no on-page violence or assault is portrayed.
Told in dual POV, Level Up is a sweet romance sprinkled with hurt/comfort and a HFN ending. Personally, I wish there had been a bit more on page relationship building and it felt like a lot got glossed over in this short novella, but overall it was an easy, quick read.
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