This first book in the Shore Leaves series by Annabeth Albert is a sweet, light-hearted, low angst, fake-dating mm romance between a submarine chief and an adorkable musician, with some of my favorite tropes; fake-dating, opposites attract and falling for best friend’s younger sibling.
When his big brother calls, Arthur Euler agrees to help his brother’s friend, Navy Chief Derrick Fox, out with a plan to make his cheating ex boyfriend jealous. Giving Derrick a home-coming kiss doesn’t seem like much of a deal. But when the whole Euler family is there and so happy for the two being involved and invites Derrick to the annual family holiday, Arthur and Derrick find themselves pushed into continuing the charade for much longer than expected. But how fake are the feelings they have for each other, really? Arthur has a rule about not dating military men and Derrick is done with relationships, but they decide to take this fake dating opportunity to practice being better boyfriends for the future. But as the days go by, it all seems more and more like real love…
This was such a cute, sweet and fast read! I love the adorkable Arthur and the big Euler family. I also loved the way Derrick made Arthur feel seen and always stood up for him against his competitive family.
I had some issues with the pacing though. It was strangely enough both too slow and too fast. I’d wished for the attraction between Derrick and Arthur to have been allowed to take a little longer, but on the other hand, the family holiday with their constant pining and all focus on the bed-sharing issue felt a bit too drawn out, if that makes any sense…
But all in all, this was a highly enjoyable and cute read with two tropes that I love: fake-dating and opposites attract, plus a wonderful big, chaotic and loving family. It’s one of those stories that will make you smile and warm your heart!
Thank you to Carina Adores for the ARC and blog tour invitation! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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