Rough Terrain (CrabbyPatty’s Review)

Title: Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform Book 7)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: January 14,, 2019
Genre(s): M/M Military Romance
Page Count: 384
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


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…

FYI, I’ve read three books in Annabeth Albert’s “Out of Uniform” series and enjoyed them immensely, but after reading more than a few SEAL-related books lately I was a bit burned out with the general theme. But, holy cow, hold the presses … I loved the everlasting heck out of “Rough Terrain.”

The author has a way of taking various plot devices (fake boyfriend and two MCs in peril that brings them closer) that could be overdone in lesser hands and makes them fresh and insightful. Canaan is an admitted “SEAL chaser” and is fascinated by gorgeous Renzo who, with his SEAL friends, weekly drops by the smoothie place where Canaan works (in addition to finishing up his classes to become a nurse).

Renzo looks like the typical buff SEAL but he’s got some issues. He’s relatively shy, doesn’t like hook-ups, prefers long slow gentle kisses and is uncomfortable with sex. (“Canaan was beginning to suspect that Renzo had a hidden romantic side that really valued the emotional part of sex.”) He’s also got a huge hero complex and a strong bend towards perfectionism. “He had this … need to be perfect. […] To be the best son. Best brother.”

Canaan, on the other hand, is very comfortable in his freewheeling existence and his sexuality:

Ah. There you go. It’s a perfectionist control-freak thing with you. No one’s great at sex – that’s part of the fun. Weird parts knock together. Things get tangled. People fall off beds. Lube runs out. But then you get lucky, and everything works, and it’s … Nothing like it.

But Canaan also knows that “he wasn’t the kind of guy people planned futures with.” He’s still a college student at 26 and basically lives with his grandpa.

Yet, these two dissimilar personalities work so well together, and for the most part because they honestly communicate with one another. They work together to survive a perilous situation and work together for their happy ending. Yes, the sex scenes are pretty darn hot, but it’s their basic understanding and appreciation and love for each other that really really works so well in this book. (Personally, I could have done without the subplot about Canaan’s evil-ex but that’s a small niggle.) 4.5 stars and a Recommended Read.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Rough Terrain provided by Carina Press, via NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

A few “badges” from NetGalley:
100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader

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