A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.
Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…
Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.
As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
This book is approximately 89,000 words
About the Author
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out more visit annabethalbert.com.
Read an Excerpt
Come for the snow. Stay for the ranger porn. Owen couldn't help his smile as he surveyed the large Department of Natural Resources meeting room. He was really here in Alaska, doing this after it being little more than a daydream for so long. Happy shivers raced up his spine. His fellow volunteers were mainly fresh-faced college kids and retirees, but he lingered over the uniformed rangers near the front, trying not to stare but probably doing a miserable job of that. Because wow. These guys made drab green and khaki downright sexy with their broad shoulders and generous muscles and rugged jawlines.
The orientation was for new winter state park volunteers like Owen, who would spend the season living in remote locations to assist rangers and other paid employees. Experienced rangers would be educating them on everything from avalanche risk to generator operation and state land use regulations. Some returning volunteers and rangers were there for the CPR and first-aid certification refreshers, chummy people who obviously already knew each other and laughed and joked as they helped themselves to the coffee station set up at the side of the room.
He was scoping out the people he might be assigned to work with, and one particular man who stood by himself kept catching his attention — a uniformed ranger who had a few years on him, probably putting him at forty-something, just shy of "silver fox" and firmly in "yes, please" territory with his strapping build and iconic good looks. The DNR ads for the volunteer positions would undoubtedly get triple the response if they slapped this guy's picture on the materials. Hell, if winter in Alaska wasn't already on Owen's bucket list, one glimpse of those steely blue eyes might have done the trick.
He was hoping to be assigned to work with some cool people, since he'd be in close contact with only a handful of people on a regular basis, and he knew from experience how important team chemistry could be. He'd take anyone easy to get along with, but man ... Talk about chemistry. Ranger Blue Eyes took the frisson of anticipation thrumming in Owen's gut and transformed it into something warmer and more intimate. And damn wasn't it nice to feel that sort of attraction again, after all the nagging worries that it might be gone for good. Owen wasn't particularly vain, but he was damn observant, and he'd caught those eyes looking his direction more than once. Sure, part of it was undoubtedly that Owen had misjudged and overdressed in a nice button-down and dress pants and stuck out in the room filled with khaki, flannel, and denim. And maybe some of it was that he was one of only a couple of Asian people in the room. Maybe the guy was simply curious, but Owen had transformed curious into interested more than a few times.
And because Owen was nothing if not a man of action, he took his tea, orientation packet, and notepad closer to the guy, trying to come up with a good opening on the fly. However, before he could speak, a broad-faced woman with dark hair clapped her hands at the front of the room.
"All right, let's go ahead and find seats. We'll be getting started in a few minutes, so get your coffee now!" His ranger prey immediately took a chair, and there it was, Owen's chance to spend the next few hours basking in hot ranger vibes. He was in perfect position to slide into the chair next to his dream guy and offer him his best smile and — fuck — slosh hot tea. That part had not been planned at all, and judging by the man's glare, the intrusion was hardly welcome.
"Oops. Sorry! Are you okay?" Owen passed him a napkin, resisting the temptation to dab at the guy's damp uniform pants himself.
"I'm fine." The ranger continued to frown as he soaked up the tea, which had splashed both his pants and the desk arm of the chair. "It'll dry."
"I'm not usually so clumsy. I'm Owen. Owen Han." Carefully arranging his stuff first, he stuck out a hand. "I'm new here."
"I figured." He took Owen's hand, which was as warm and firm as Owen had hoped. And the tiny smile that tugged at his mouth was almost intoxicating in its endearingness. "And I'm Quill Ramsey. Not new."
"Figured." Owen tried another smile, this one hopefully not too flirty but still inviting more conversation. "Nice name. Not sure I've heard that one before."
"Eccentric mother." The way Quill said eccentric suggested relations between him and his mother were strained. "Apparently she circled all her favorites in the book, then picked at random."
"That's kind of cool, actually. I'm named after the high school teacher who made my parents work together on a class project. Moms, right?"
"Yeah." Quill's tone didn't exactly encourage more talking, but Owen was nothing if not friendly. And persistent. His sister the therapist called it aggressively extroverted, and she wasn't entirely wrong.
"So, are you helping with the presentations or here to get recertified in the first-aid stuff?"
"Both." Quill's mouth quirked in something close to a grimace. Owen dug his voice — low and deep, Western without the twang. The he way he spoke like there was a tax on each word made Owen feel like he'd earned a gift when Quill continued. "Didn't realize I'd let my CPR lapse — we had support staff changeover in our field office, but still, I should have known. And yeah, since I'm here, Hattie talked me into leading the discussion about avalanche risk awareness." He gestured in the direction of the woman at the front of the room before his eyes swept over Owen again. "Not that all of you will need that lecture. You interning here in the home office? Heard they were getting a few folks in finance and business relations."
Owen had to bite back a groan. He really should have gone more outdoorsy with his wardrobe choice instead of "need to make a good first impression." He well knew he looked young, but he was beyond tired with reading as a college-aged twink instead of professional adult. And maybe he had been in finance once upon a time, but he was bidding that life good riddance. "Not a business intern. I'm thirty-six. I'm scheduled to winter in Chugach State Park."
"That so?" Quill blinked, and Owen kind of liked knowing that he'd caught him off guard. Good. Maybe he could surprise him in other ways too.
The ranger's mouth moved like he wanted to add more, but Hattie clapped her hands again and called their attention to the podium. As she began her welcome, which was accompanied by cheerful PowerPoint slides, Owen couldn't resist another glance over at Quill. His assumptions might be irritating, but he was everything Owen had always imagined an Alaskan ranger would be. Damn. He really needed to find out where he was stationed stat, because Owen would like nothing better than to be snowed in with those biceps and those intense eyes. Talk about a dream winter.
Thank God the too-chatty newbie wasn't going to be Quill's responsibility. Someone else would have to keep him alive until spring, because this guy was a popsicle waiting to happen. It wasn't just his wardrobe choices that were more suited to the accounting department — his carefully styled dark hair and hipster glasses said he was the sort of high maintenance that never meshed well with the hard, often grueling work of winter parks management. At least he had the sort of build that might be able to keep up — surprisingly muscular arms and shoulders on a lean body. It had actually been his build that Quill had noticed first, his uncanny resemblance to a certain state champion butterfly swimmer who Quill had obsessed over a million lifetimes ago.
But that was then, and here and now Quill couldn't get distracted. He was here as a favor to Hattie, not to get caught up in any fresh eye candy. Besides, if the guy's build had pulled one memory loose, his voice and relentlessly friendly demeanor had hearkened back to another, reminding Quill a little too much of JP, who'd had that similar never-met-a-stranger thing going on that Quill had never fully understood. He'd never figured out why some people enjoyed filling a perfectly good silence with inane questions. He'd had colleagues for twenty years without ever needing to have a deep chat or fill in personal details. He liked working with competent individuals, appreciated hard work and a positive attitude, but mainly he enjoyed his autonomy, liked the days that passed without ever needing to make small talk or figure out the sort of social niceties that had never come naturally to him. God, he hoped they didn't assign him a talker for the winter. That was the last thing he needed.
Also not natural? Sitting through long meetings. God, he felt like he was back in college again, sitting through a lecture he didn't need, fighting the urge to find something else to occupy his attention. The margins of his agenda called to him, the siren song of white space needing filling, but he wasn't twenty anymore and he wasn't going to let his colleagues catch him doodling. He could make it through some boring introductions and reminders that he'd long since memorized. So he kept his pen firmly capped and tried not to let his attention wander too much to the newbie, who was leaning forward, attention fully on Hattie, occasionally jotting a note in the small red leather notebook with a bullet-shaped silver pen. His good taste in accessories spoke to a certain level of income and comfort that Quill didn't usually see from the seasonal volunteers.
Owen had a way of biting his lip when he wrote that directly challenged Quill's resolve to let in zero distractions. The guy's eagerness really was strangely compelling, and Quill had to resort to making subtle hash marks with his department-branded pen to keep from staring. He was beyond relieved when Hattie declared a break after she and a ranger from Kenai finally finished a presentation on department regulations and policies. Quill made his way to the front of the room because he might be antisocial, but he wasn't that much of an asshole friend. "You're doing great," he told Hattie as she clicked around on a laptop, setting up the next topic. "All settled in? How's Val?"
"Val's okay. Still fighting morning sickness, but we're on track for a March delivery. Having a house again is such a novelty. I think I'm driving her nuts with all my plans for the nursery."
"Good for you." Quill tried to mean it. It wasn't Hattie's fault that her on-again-off-again girlfriend had shocked them all with a proposal and a serious case of baby fever. Now Hattie had a desk job, a baby on the way, and for the first time in fifteen years, Quill had to face a winter without his best friend, his right-hand person. She understood Quill like few others, gave him the space he needed while still being a positive, helpful presence in his life. And instead of giving their office another ranger to replace her, budget cuts meant that the department in all its wisdom was bringing in a winter caretaker volunteer for the Hatcher Pass area that was Quill's primary jurisdiction.
"It'll all work out." Hattie squeezed his arm. "For you too. Change is good for all of us."
Quill had to snort because if there was one thing he hated, it was change. Give him the same brand of boots, the same turf to patrol, the same menu, and the same friends, and he was a happy ranger. The change from Hattie to someone new had had his back stiff for weeks now, tense with worries over who they might assign him and how they might get along — or not.
But he tried to keep his voice upbeat for Hattie's sake. "Says you. So, which of these is our person? Or people? Did they give us a couple?"
"Ah. About that." Hattie shuffled a stack of papers next to her laptop, looking away. "Your caretaker's been delayed. We're trying to reach her by phone, find out what the problem is. She's a recent college grad and seemed super promising. But one way or another we'll have something worked out for you by tomorrow at the latest."
"Fine." His back went from tense to rigid. Fuck. More uncertainty. There was plenty else Quill wanted to say, chiefly that he didn't want to winter with someone who'd skipped the training. And that a recent college grad was undoubtedly too green to start with. But this was Hattie and she was trying her best with her new position, and budget cuts and unreliable people weren't her fault.
"You're up next. Try not to scare them too much with winter weather risks. Smile."
"Hey. I'm not that scary." Presentations were a part of the ranger job, but he'd typically let Hattie handle a lot of the tourist education duties because yeah, it wasn't his favorite thing. And he supposed he did tend to come off as a bit dour, covering his nerves at talking to a crowd with warnings and reminders.
"Yeah, you kind of are." She shook her head, but her voice was laced with affection. Turning her attention to the crowd milling about the room, she directed people back to their seats, then introduced Quill in the sort of glowing terms he'd let only her get away with.
His stomach did the weird quiver it always did before public speaking, something he tried hard to ignore. He wasn't the shy kid who hated being called on anymore, and despite his unease, he was prepared with picture slides of different dangers. Twenty winters in, he knew his stuff, and he tried to remind himself of that as he got started.
Stupid tips about eye contact and imagining the audience in comical situations had never worked for him, so he focused on the back of the room as he explained the risks unique to Alaskan winters. However, his attention kept drifting to Owen Han and his earnest expression and shiny pen moving across his page of notes. Surprisingly, something about his concentration settled Quill, made his voice surer and stronger, made him feel like he was speaking directly to Owen instead of the room at large.
Of course Owen, like a good chunk of the audience, was ill prepared for what lay ahead. Even people with a lot of snow experience in places like Minnesota had trouble grasping what an ever-present danger avalanches were.
Quill took his time with lots of pictures and patient explanations, trying to keep in mind what Hattie had said about not scaring people, but he needed them to understand the often harsh realities. It was a rare winter when he didn't see at least one fatality, usually from a human-triggered avalanche, and he was determined to do his best to make sure that none of the volunteers ended up a grim statistic. The more he spoke, the more comfortable he became, but he was still relieved when he reached the end of his slides.
The audience had some good questions, including one from Owen about avalanche beacons. Despite the whole resemblance to JP thing, Quill liked his voice, which had more than a hint of California to it — casual vowels and easy confidence. Too much confidence re- ally, assuming that technology like the beacons were foolproof.
Quill explained their limitations, but he wasn't terribly surprised when Owen caught up with him again in the line for lunch.
"So why tell backcountry visitors to get beacons if they often fail to make a difference?" Owen asked, notebook out, which really was rather adorable. And smart, taking this training seriously. Made Quill respect him that little bit more.
"Well, they can save lives, but everyone in your group needs one, not just a few designated persons, and you need to practice with them. Most people skimp on the number of beacons or they never practice, so when disaster strikes, they're not prepared. Beacons don't substitute for preparedness. And some people use them as an excuse to get overconfident or take risks, and that's also problematic."
"So practice is key." Owen jotted down notes in a crisp, precise handwriting.
"Also, not to get too gruesome on you, but a certain percentage of victims will die from hitting trees and rocks on the way down. The beacons only work if you survive the ride."
"Ah." Owen's skin paled as he considered this fact. "Makes sense, I guess. And you did a great job, laying out all the dangers."
"Thanks." Quill's neck heated as he wasn't sure what to make of the praise. Lunch was a simple buffet of sandwich fixings, chips, and cookies, but the line in front of them was slow as people took forever deciding. He supposed it was only polite to try to keep the conversation going. "Have you been around snow much yourself?"
"Well, I grew up in the Bay area, so not much snow there. But I worked at a Lake Tahoe ski resort a couple of winters in college. Summers too. And I've been on other ski trips. I like snow," Owen said with the sort of authority of someone who'd never had to deal with months on end of the stuff.
"That's good." Quill wasn't going to be the one to burst his bubble, but volunteers like Owen had a tendency to not make it through their first real winter. Loving snow wasn't the same as being able to cope with the dark, frigid days that defined an Alaskan winter. But he'd promised Hattie he wouldn't scare the volunteers, so he simply added lightly, "Being able to ski will definitely be a plus for you."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Arctic Heat"
Copyright © 2019 Annabeth Albert.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I couldn't get into this book fully, so it took me longer than normal to finish. The two main characters were opposites in many ways, and that's probably why they ended up getting along so well eventually. Owen is incredibly chatty, and out, while Quinn is reserved, a loner, and doesn't want the complications that come with having someone in his life, as well as being out. Two different men, with different experiences find love and friendship in the Alaskan forest. Please note that I did receive an ARC of this book, and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Owen and Quill's story was so beautifully told. There was no jump into the heat, but a measured walk-through and a chance to witness true love begin, be tested and nurtured...with some decent heat thrown in a little later. The Alaska setting was awesome! Makes me really want to go check it out. Annabeth's stories are pretty new to me, but I am already a follower and will be reading the previous stories.
Alaskan Adventure Arctic Heat is an opposite attract, age gap, slow burn , emotional and sexy MM Romance . I love Annabeth Albert's detailed and vivid descriptions of Alaska , so much so that Hiking and Fly Fishing are now on my Bucket List. I liked reading this book. It's an entertaining and easy to read , even though it deals few few heavy topics. 3.5 Stars I just reviewed Arctic Heat by Annabeth Albert. #ArcticHeat #FrozenHeartsSeries #NetGalley
ARCTIC HEAT is an engrossing and lovely romance between two men in Alaska. Quill is a ranger in his 40s with a troubled past in regards to his sexuality. He is good at his job and does not want anything to get in the way of that. As such, he often refers to himself as married to the job. Each winter, he works with a caretaker to keep the station running and take care of calls as they come in. His usual caretaker is out on maternity leave as she and her partner have just had a baby. Owen is a volunteer who is seeking new experiences after testicular cancer. He begins to have a mutual crush on Quill at the training sessions, but when he is shot down, he knows how to take no for an answer. However, soon, they are paired up and things that seemed like they could be forgotten are difficult to actually put aside. With a long and dangerous winter ahead, they will need to come together as friends. Being just friends is difficult though, considering how attracted they are to each other. In forging ahead with something new, Quill will have to deal with his hang-ups- no easy task. I was completely engrossed in the story and really loved the way the relationship developed here. Both Owen and Quill were easily likable and sympathetic characters. I also really enjoyed the call outs and rescues that add something extra to the story. This book was a lovely and engaging read that I highly recommend picking up. The ending was just incredible, and I loved not only the journey but the way everything concluded. Great romance, intriguing scenarios, and beautiful settings make this an all-around excellent read. Please note that I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.
As usual a 5 star book. Can't wait for the next book.
Arctic Heat is the third (and I think final) book in the Frozen Hearts series, a great collection of standalones set in the wilds of Alaska. The series consists of all slow burn romances with great characters, but each with enough originality and a different path to the couple’s happily-ever-after to ensure it never feels dull and repetitive. I really liked Owen and Quill and how this opposites attract romance came together. I’m always partial to the quiet, gruff characters using harsh words as a shield and I enjoyed seeing Owen dismantle Quill’s walls piece by piece while staying true to his own wants and needs. The dialogue between Owen and Quill was a good balance between light fun with some seriousness, making Arctic Heat an enjoyable, easy read. However, it was the heat that really surprised me with this book. Though I’ve come to expect a good amount of chemistry between this author’s characters- particularly regarding the emotional connection- the physical chemistry and sexy scenes in Arctic Heat were enough to chase away any winter chills. If you’re in the mood for a slow burn romance that lives up to its name, I’d definitely recommend Arctic Heat. *eARC received via Netgalley. Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*
Arctic Heat sounds like my kind of read, at least on the surface. In reality, the story was much too slow for me. I felt like it was unnecessarily drawn out with a lot of focus on the mundane, day to day stuff. The rescues and various maintenance tasks were interesting, but I would've much rather read about the Alaskan countryside than how many times these guys made coffee. Suffice it to say that I was bored for a lot of this one. As far as the romance goes, it was as slow-moving as the story. I can get behind a good slow burn, but this was pushing it. I get that Quill was resistant, but it grew repetitive, and by forty percent in, I really didn't care all that much if he did give in. I think part of that comes from Owen being so pushy. Quill may not have actually said the word no, but it was implied a lot. Of course, Quill comes around, or there wouldn't have been much of a romance, but I had a hard time liking Owen. The big problem to overcome came from where I expected, and I'm not a fan of the big changing moment used here either. Both have been done and done again. Given the length of the book, I would think a little more time could've been spent on a more original problem and on an ending that didn't feel so rushed. It felt like it took forever to get there only to be pushed through to the end. This third in the Frozen Hearts series also gave me a few problems structurally. We get both Owen and Quill's points of view in a chapter, but there was no designation to let the reader know that, and I really didn't notice a big difference in either voice. Both of those things led to confusion about who was doing what and when. I'm an adult, I can figure it out as I read, but more than once, I'd be part way through and realize the point of view had changed. I realize that my opinion is probably not the popular one, it rarely is, but I just found this one much too easy to set aside and even harder to pick back up.
❄Cool story about breaking through fear to take a chance on love 4-4.5 stars I enjoyed Owen and Quill's story, with good writing and a cool (in more ways than one!) setting in the wilds of a winter Alaska. Yes, there is heat to their relationship (despite or maybe aided by the coolness of their living conditions!), but it's the slow build of tentative friendship, trust and then romance that makes it stand out. Owen's medical backstory and his enthusiasm for getting out there and grabbing the renewed lease on life he's been given were inspiring. Quiet, closeted Quill was harder to like at first, but as the story proceeded, his fear of exposure and reaction to intimacy was more comprehensible due to his family background. It was great to see him break through years of self denial when his aha moment crept up on him. The story was just a bit too long IMO, maybe because I just cared less about the nitty gritty of their daily jobs and rescue responsibilities. But the action-packed climax and the happy aftermath were worth some slow spots. I really liked this couple and how their lives panned out. Chalk up another Annabeth Albert Alaskan MM romance in the winner category! Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.
I would rate this 4.25 stars. Although the third book in the series, this can be read as a standalone with no issue. Owen is a former investment banker. After a bout with cancer, he has decided to volunteer alongside park rangers in the Alaskan wilderness. There are little glimpses of his Asian family home life. His illness has made him less shallow, more willing to have fun and try new things. As a professional ranger Quill has no interest in a green city slicker volunteer but his best friend and partner Hattie has a new desk job and he can't do his job alone. Quill hates change--set in his ways he is a private man. Owen is a people person and has the experience needed to slot into Quill's work, and life, if Quill will let him. Owen needs to recognize some things might be more important than his bucket list. Even for people with a lot of snow experience, this is a dangerous job. If they can learn to trust each other, they can both have everything they didn't know they wanted. This is a slow burn, opposites attract story that ratchets up the sexual tension over several months out in the wilderness together. I like that Owen is a take charge, independent man who doesn't take help because it's easy, but will ask for help or listen when he needs it. I like that he is honest about how he feels and what he wants. I like that he is thoughtful, that he never takes charge in a way that would be taking advantage of Quill. Being privy to Quill's past experiences is necessary as he doesn't always communicate that with his words, whereas Owen will. Most of this book is about Owen battling his own wants and needs--confronting his own past traumas and unhealthy learned behaviors. Quill also accepts responsibility for his decisions, never blaming Owen for them. This book focuses on the delicate dance of shared intimacy moving them forward, and different life experiences holding them back. The most difficult part is Quill battling the hyper-masculinity he was taught and learning to let Owen be a real partner and take charge when it's the best thing to do instead of fighting it because he thinks he should. Owen's cancer isn't just mentioned once as a plot reason for this volunteer experience; it's discussed naturally throughout the course of the book, both to explain its mental affect on Owen's outlook, and as something a lover of his would need to know and understand. Every time I started to feel a little cabin fever, there is some emergency or situation with park visitors to break up that monotony. All the things that happen emphasize the effect of learning to live in the now and enjoying the ride. That's when Owen's POV is the most poignant, when he realizes this is not just fun and games to him, that things happen that can't be planned for. All three of the books in this series show how people think themselves into a box. I love it so much when they allow themselves to think their way out of the box too. I liked how even with the circumstances, things are not magically fixed, conflicts not glossed over. The sex scenes, always hot, ramp up as the intimacy turns them into something more. Yet, Quill's eloquence was still a little too smooth all of the sudden, the epiphanies and big gesture a tiny over the top. Still, if that's the only real fault I can find, that means this is a really well done, solid romance novel with likeable characters that I wanted to find happiness together.
This is the third installment in the Frozen Hearts series. It is a MM contemporary adventure romance set in Alaska. The main characters in this book have emotional baggage that makes the pairing interesting. This book also deals with the setting in a much harsher way than the previous books in the series, as it is set in the winter in Alaska. The characters were well developed and the pace of the story is just right. It was a wonderful story. Though it is the third installment, it can be read as a stand-alone.
Quill and Owen were great characters, I really enjoyed the slow-burn aspect of their romance because it allowed their relationship to really develop. While the story had a bit of angst it just added weight to the storyline and felt needed and not gratuitous. All in all a very enjoyable read and another great addition to the series. *I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley*
Owen and Quill make an interesting couple, one is out and proud and the other is so far in the closet he can't even see the light seeping in under the door. Annabeth Albert does an amazing job bringing these two together and giving them each what they need in order to form a friendship and a deep love for one another. This has been a great series and Owen & Quill's story was a wonderful addition to it. I loved the slow pace that solidified their friendship and helped cultivate it into something deeper. Yes there is a bit of an age difference and yes they come from two different backgrounds but their friendship conquered that and their love conquered everything else. Annabeth has taken us on another journey to the picturesque state of Alaska and like Owen, I have it on my bucket list....yes we have bucket lists for the same reason but mine does not include being a forest ranger for the winter there because lets face it I wouldn't survive the cold but I would most definitely go there for a couple of weeks on vacation to see all that the beautiful state has to show us. I swear each time I have read a book in this series I have felt as if I was there looking at the beautiful scenery because of the Annabeth Albert writes, she makes you feel as if you are right there with them watching everything unfold as it's happening and it's a beautiful thing. If you enjoy MM Romance, Interracial Romance, May-December/Age-Gap Romance then I urge you to grab a copy of this book because it is definitely worth the read. Happy Reading!!! **I have voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book for my Blog, Nadine's Obsessed with Books**
Owen and Quill Quill was something, closed up behind high walls, where no one can reach or hurt him. He has the exterior of a man who has his life altogether. With Owen, as the new volunteer guy who will help him, the park ranger, in the next seven months, close by, Quill is grumpy with the purpose to hold him on arm length. Owen will leave after he scraps this from his bucket list, so no point to come out or get close even if it seems so right. Owen is the opposite, easy talking and easy-going, positive thinking and all in for a sexy time when possible. Kicking cancer he knows life is too valuable and too short to waste. It takes a lot of work and patience to unravel Quill, but oh boy, when he’s finally unraveling, it’s a sight for the eye. Closing down is natural for Quill, how can he trust and open his sensitive heart, without being hurt. “A resonant bass note of understanding that made his soul, not his lips, not his libido, want a piece of Owen.” With a defect generator, they have to sleep in the only space with more warmth. When Quill finally wants to let his heart speak, he’s afraid it is too late. What a beautifully, widely, written journey, about opening and rising from frozen inner contained feelings. To see Quill bloom was something for the eye. He is such a precious man. Owen is the very best, open, clear and cheerful. Bit by bit we get to know both men. Their daily life as park rangers is diversified by activities and all are captivating to experience. I loved both men, so opposite and with their characteristics. One determined and the other not even want to give it a try. An extraordinary story, it’s beautifully layered and developed. The special rough environments were a delightful addition. An emotional story with a lot of feelings, also some angsty moments, but overall about love, thaw, trust, and choices. I loved every word from front to back cover. Highly recommended!
Another great book in this series! I'm really sorry to see the Frozen Hearts series come to an end. I did a bucket list trip to Alaska in May of 2018 with family and friends. Annabeth Albert had just announced that she would be writing a series set in Alaska but I knew it would be quite a while before the first book would be published. I don't know if the fact that she was writing this series made my trip even more exciting or not but I'm sure it didn't hurt. I'm no photographer but I was inspired so much on that trip that I took more pictures with my iPhone than I have of any other trip I've ever been on. As I've read each book in this series it's brought back wonderful memories of the beautiful things I saw in Alaska. We were very fortunate to have fantastic weather with very few clouds and only a little rain. There were a lot of young people working in the various venues and I was reminded of this while reading Quill and Owen's story. Quill is captivated by Owen and his zest for life but he's afraid to take a chance on a relationship. He's not out to his co-workers and has good reasons for not wanting to come out or be involved in any drama. Owen has survived cancer and facing that devil changed his outlook on life. He's got a bucket list and spending the winter in Alaska is on it. No amount of discouraging from a hot park ranger will keep from fulfilling his commitment as a volunteer. Arctic Heat touched my heart in many ways. I'm a cancer survivor like Owen, and having faced that it changed my outlook on a lot of things, just like it did for Owen. Owen's cancer was also the same kind that my nephew had when he was in his early 20's. Reading about what Owen went through was a little hard even though he – and my nephew – survived. Arctic Heat has just the right amount of angst – enough to keep things interesting but not so much that I was cringing a lot while I read it. While this is a bit of a slow burn story at first, there's also a nice amount of heat going on once Quill gives in and decides to enjoy Owen for as long as he's there. Arctic Heat is a book that held my attention from start to finish. I should have known better than to start reading it in the evening. I couldn't put it down and stayed up until 5:00 a.m. reading it; thank goodness I'm retired! Annabeth Albert is one of my favorite authors of M/M romance and I can't wait to read whatever she has coming up next. A review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book. ***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***