Sink or Swim
by Annabeth Albert
Release Date: February 22, 2022
Publisher: Carina Adores
Book #2 in the Shore Leave series
Number of pages: 314
Source: ARC from NetGalley & Carina Press
Ages 17 and up
Winning and losing are subject to sexy interpretation…
Navy chief Calder Euler loves to win big. His latest score? A remote mountain cabin. Checking it out is supposed to be a quick trip, but Calder’s luck abruptly turns when a freak injury and a freakier snowstorm leave him stranded.
Oh, and the cabin isn’t empty. A silver fox caring for two young girls claims that the property is his, but Calder’s paperwork says otherwise.
Felix Sigurd is on a losing streak, and his ex-husband risking the cabin in a reckless bet is only the latest in a series of misfortunes. He’ll tolerate the handsome stranger for a couple nights–even care for his injuries—but that’s it.
Calder doesn’t know a damn thing about kids, but making pancakes for Felix’s girls is a surprising delight. Trapped in the cabin, the four of them slip easily into the rhythms of a family. But when the ice melts, they’ll have to decide if a future together is in the cards.
Calder was a bit of a surprise for me in this story. In the first book, Sailor Proof, and at the beginning of this book Calder really comes across as super confident, even cocky. Once Felix and his nieces are thrown into the mix, Calder’s true self starts peaking out. I really enjoyed this book and reading about Calder’s journey, as well as Felix’s.
Every time Calder showed his vulnerability and moments of low self-esteem it was a reminder that he’s only human. His thoughts that he wasn’t good with kids while being beyond amazing with Felix’s nieces really showcased how Calder’s brain works. The pressure he puts on himself when it comes to sex and close personal interactions is unnecessary, and he slowly starts to realize that the more time he spends with Felix and the girls. It’s very sweet the way Felix helps him to grow his confidence, while Felix himself has his own fears hold him back.
Just as Calder is gaining confidence and realizing he wants a life he never knew he wanted, Felix is doubling down on his fears to let anyone into the lives of him and the kids. It’s understandable. They have all been through a lot and the young kids do not need any more turmoil or loss in their lives. Felix needs to learn to trust or he’s going to burn out long before the kids are grown and on their own. Luckily, there is a person in Felix’s life that will tell him the truth he needs to hear how ever many times he needs to hear it. And lucky for him, Calder doesn’t give up easily.
There are so many beautiful moments in this story. There are fun and light-hearted moments along with the deeper feelings to keep things well rounded. I really appreciate the author writing a character that is in a traditionally “macho” job who is, without question, a very attractive person who also has insecurities about sex. There is such a range of sexual orientations and one word or label doesn’t necessarily cover a person. Calder is an example of not fitting in just one box and I like that we’re seeing more of that in romance lately.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and CarinaPress. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**
Lovely review – you really have me wanting to read this one!
You really don’t have to read the 1st book to read this one, but they’re both great.