Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Chief’s Mess
SERIES: Anchor Point #3
AUTHOR: L.A. Witt
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 291 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2017
Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.
When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.
But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.
In Anchor Point to help support his sister as she meets with her ex, Anthony Talbot is not overwhelmed with good humor. Clint, his sister’s ex, may claim to no longer be drinking his life away, but even with all the evidence in front of him, Anthony doesn’t buy it. When he finally has enough of trying to grit his way thru tense conversations he takes himself off to the nearest gay bar in hopes that a quick drink–and an even quicker lay–will help him make it through the rest of the trip.
Noah Jackson wants nothing more than to have a long drink after an even longer day. That is until Anthony walks into the bar. Now all Noah wants is whatever Anthony has on offer. The fact the man is only going to be in town for a week is all the better. Noah has not had the best time with relationships and week of scorching-hot sex, with no sad endings, is right up his alley. That is until the week ends, and it turns out that endings are the last thing either of them want.
But carrying on a long-distance-relationship, with several states between them, is hardly easy. Especially when Anthony starts to suspect there is a lot more between them than miles.
I am once again ridiculously pleased with this series. I love the feel of it, I love the characters, I love the authenticity Witt brings to her Navy men. I just love it all.
One of my favorite things though, odd as it may sound, is the use of alcoholism in this book. While it is not a topic that is particularly shunned in books, I don’t think it is something that main characters get to deal with on page a whole lot. Especially like this. Usually we see the after-affects. We see characters in recovery, after their life has fallen apart. Or we might see it in relation to secondary characters (who are usually huge bigoted jackasses). But there was something about the way it was written in this book that I really liked. Noah is not a bad guy. He is not a violent drunk, and most of the time you almost think he has it all under control. It is only when we really start to see how badly he doesn’t that it penetrates how close he is to rock-bottom.
I think the way Anthony discovers, and then doubts himself, about Noah’s drinking is really well done. It felt real. And when it all does come to a head I feel that both parties reacted realistically within their own character arcs. Yeah, we can kinda see it coming, but by that point the inevitable confrontation isn’t what really matters. It is what comes after that, that I really wanted to see. The struggle and growth of both characters just really worked for me.
The sex here, was also well written. There is a lot of it–probably a bit more than I would normally care for–but it is also both incredibly hot, and kinda essential to the story. Which is pretty much how I need sex scenes to happen for me to really enjoy them. A lot of the initial connection between these guys, before they start to get to know each other over the months, is that the sex between them is ridiculously good. If the writing hadn’t been able to portray that to the readers, I think it would have been hard to buy why they even bothered to keep in touch. There was also just such connection between them while in bed. Not just in the physical, but emotionally as well. When they were apart, the sexting/cam-sex was hot…but you could also get the feeling that they missed the connection of touch and being with each other. And when they were together, they were together in all ways. It made for some really good scenes that I would have hated if they had been dropped from the story.
Overall, I just really enjoyed this. Witt writes some damn good characters, and does it in such a way that I am never bored while reading. The cameo from characters in book two never bugged me because they were essential to this story, and I liked seeing them again. This is a great series and I’m looking forward to book four.