cover image Sailor Proof

Sailor Proof

Annabeth Albert. Carina Adores, $14.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-335-98492-0

Albert (Out of Character) kicks off her Shore Leave series with a charming fake dating romance. Naval chief Derrick Fox is ready to be on land after a long deployment with his ex-boyfriend’s new boyfriend. He’s less excited for the inevitability of watching his ex kiss another man when they dock, until his best friend, Calder Euler, suggests Derrick find someone to wait for him at shore for his own kiss, and to that end Calder suggests his little brother, Arthur. The last time Derrick saw Arthur he was a teenage band geek, but the man waiting for him on the docks has long grown out of his awkward stage and their first kiss, however staged, ignites feelings for them both. Then Arthur’s parents arrive earlier than expected to greet Calder and see Derrick with Arthur, prompting questions about their relationship, and a video of their passionate reunion goes viral. Soon their little white lie grows into a fake relationship as Derrick joins the Euler family reunion on Arthur’s arm. Neither wants this temporary arrangement to end as Derrick helps Arthur’s family see him as a mature adult and Arthur has Derrick dreaming of a committed relationship. Complicated but heartwarming family dynamics round out their sweet romance—and the result is thoroughly entertaining. Agent: Deidre Knight, the Knight Agency. (Oct.)