Anchors Aweigh by Janey Chapel
Sequel to MARITIME MEN. After completing Navy SEAL training, Cooper Fitch and Eli Jones face assignment into different platoons. Since the strength of their mutual physical attraction is exceeded only by their emotional reliance on each other, the idea of being separated for a year or more is a bitter pill to swallow. But missing Eli may be just the beginning of Cooper’s troubles: he’s got an undisciplined man in his platoon, an uptight commanding officer, and his own insecurity about his leadership skills to deal with. Without Eli at his back, Cooper starts to wonder if he really has what it takes to be a SEAL.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sequels are a tricky thing. Anchors Aweigh is the long awaited sequel for the very popular Maritime Men and thankfully AA delivers in very much the same voice and content as the original. The narrative continues from Cooper’s point of view as he worries about the upcoming separation from Eli and the other members of his crew. When the two decide to rent a beach front condo together to have a home base, they struggle with being apart for several months. However, there is a glimpse of hope on the horizon.
Once again the narrative is told from Cooper’s third person perspective and it’s sharp, clean, and engaging. Cooper is dedicated and almost obsessed with Eli but at the same time, he loves his job as a SEAL and knows the sacrifices and challenges that come with that. Even though the men are clearly in love they don’t feel the need to express their feelings all the time. Their emotions are shown in small, subtle moments of a look or a touch. Even when the two are apart, which they are for the majority of the story, Cooper doesn’t offer angst and drama. Instead he does his job and lives his life with Eli never far from his mind.
While I greatly enjoyed reading this sequel, there are a few points that stretch the story. First is the decision to rent the beach house which didn’t make much sense to me. The rent is very expensive and over the course of almost 8 months, either man is there for perhaps a handful of days at most. Clearly Cooper is creating a home together for them when they finally are assigned together – if that happens – but it seems premature. I wonder if Cooper needed something to look forward to or focus on while separated from Eli but this never came across if it was true. Additionally, the final assignment of the men is a bit whimsical but as it fits how all readers (myself included) would want it to end, there are no real complaints.
Since the entire story, well both stories, are told from Cooper’s point of view, Eli remains very much a mystery. His thoughts, motivations, and desires are hidden and only revealed if Cooper somehow figures them out. On the one hand this fits Eli’s strong, silent type personality but it would have been nice to see a story from Eli’s perspective; especially since he shoulders a great deal of responsibility and promise given his status and rank. Although the series feels finished with the ending, if there are further stories perhaps we could get one from Eli’s point of view.
Overall this is a fitting and delightful sequel to a great book. The focus on Cooper’s SEAL training and his responsibilities is rich and offers an instantly engaging narrative against the backdrop of military men. The romance is well crafted and shown through separation, offering some powerful moments between the two and some hot sex. If you enjoy military settings and want some hot, sex men that will capture your attention and keep you thinking of them well after the book ends – get this series. Start with Maritime Men but quickly move to the equally fabulous Anchors Aweigh.
Get it HERE!