Book Reviews

Sink or Swim (Anchor Point 8) by L.A. Witt at Riptide Publishing

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Military/Former Military / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 23-August-2018

Book Blurb

When need meets fear, can two very different men find common ground?


Alhazar Bukhari spent his Navy career in the closet. Now he’s retired, divorced, and hungry for the love he’s never had a chance to experience. He tries to put his faith in Allah to bring the right man into his life, but it’s hard to be patient after all this time.

 

Chaplain Dylan Pedersen spends his days counseling Sailors, and his nights with men he doesn’t know. Months after finally escaping an abusive relationship, he’s terrified of anything more than a physical connection. Maybe it’s a sin, but he’s too lonely to not let men into his bed, and too scared to let them into his heart.

 

When Alhazar’s civilian job brings him aboard the USS Fort Stevens, and his daily prayers bring him into Dylan’s chapel, the chemistry is instantaneous.  Sex and friendship quickly evolve into more, but Dylan’s too haunted by his recent past to be the man Alhazar wants. Alhazar needs love, Dylan needs time, and if they can’t find some sort of balance, they’ll sink before they ever have a chance to swim.

 

Book Review

"But pain's like water. It finds a way to push through any seal. There's no way to stop it. Sometimes you have to let yourself sink inside of it before you can learn how to swim to the surface." ~ Katie Kacvinsky

The last place Alhazar Bukhair, of 'Sink or Swim' by L.A. Witt, expected to meet someone was in a Christian chapel, but when he needs somewhere to practice his Muslim faith, he asks the chaplain if it would be okay, half expecting to be told no. Chaplain Dylan Pedersen surprises him by saying that the chapel is a sacred place for all faiths, and Alhazar is more than grateful. Alhazar soon learns that not only God, but Allah moves in mysterious ways.

There's an instant attraction between the men but neither are sure how to handle it. If the difference in faiths isn't a big enough road block, Alhazar is divorced with kids and so is Dylan, an indication that neither of them is gay. Another issue is that Dylan has recently escaped an abusive relationship, one he walked away from, but not Chase, his ex; he is doing everything possible to draw Dylan back into a bad situation. He is even attempting to use Dylan's mother against him, hopefully, to try to convince Dylan that he's made a mistake. It's incredibly hard for Dylan not to get sucked back under his influence. Dylan is even afraid to leave the base for fear of running into him, not that his ex will physically hurt him, but Dylan is so conflicted that he's not sure he can say no if asked to come back. Abusive relationships are extremely difficult to break away from because the victim is so convinced that he is totally dependent upon the perpetrator that their self-esteem is totally shattered; their faith in themselves and their decisions is practically nonexistent.

Once Dylan and Alhazar get to know each other better they realize that they are more alike than they think. In spite of all their seemingly insurmountable barriers, Alhazar and Dylan manage to find common ground, appreciating their similarities and respecting their differences. Finally, Alhazar talks Dylan into leaving the base to go meet his family, including his ex-wife and finds acceptance due to his positive attitude toward their different religions and way of life. One night, when they are on a date off base, they run into Chase. He is his normal, slimy self and even tries to get Dylan to have a drink with him. While Dylan is trying to wrap the situation around his brain, Alhazar jumps in, tells Chase that he is Dylan's boyfriend and off and to stay away from him. Chase just smirks and walks away. Dylan is furious because Alhazar took his opportunity to stand up for himself, something Dylan desperately needed to do in order to let Chase know it's truly over. They have a bad argument and Dylan breaks up with Alhazar, turns, and walks away.

Alhazar and Dylan are strong, atypical characters as gay men or men of their representative faiths. There's a lot going on in this story: abuse, prejudice, different faiths, and lots of LGBT issues, not that these issues are not important but some of the time, the discussions felt more didactic, rather than just part of the story. I did like how Dylan and Alhazar are able to put exterior things aside to forge the intense love between them. Thanks L.A., for an enjoyable book.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Riptide Publishing for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 340 pages/90000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-July-2018
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $24.98 bundle
Buy Link https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/sink-or-swim