Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 178 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: I absolutely love Annabeth Albert’s easygoing storytelling style.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Player vs. Player. Fight!
Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.
Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.
Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun?
Review: This series is such a hit with me so far. I loved Status Update, the first story in the #gaymers series, and have now also fallen in love with Ravi and Tristan from the newest release, Beta Test. There are so many great elements in this story: It’s NA, which I completely love; it’s full of sexy geeks, which is also fabulous; and, there is an intelligent storyline that you can completely get lost in for a couple hundred pages.
Ravi and Tristan meet on their first day working at Space Villager headquarters—Tristan in marketing and Ravi in graphic design. Unfortunately, though, their beginning is anything but a fast friendship. Ravi thinks Tristan is an uptight workaholic, and Tristan thinks Ravi only cares about being noticed for his flashy style and getting praised for all of his various volunteer gigs. Things between them in the office are tense enough, so finding out they’ll be stuck together on a drive up to Seattle, and then for a week at a conference definitely doesn’t thrill either of them.
The road trip (and conference), is clearly make-or-break for these guys. Both Tristan and Ravi had some pretty heavy preconceived notions about one another going into the trip, and I loved watching those misconceptions fall away as they get to know each other. Tristan may be uptight, organized, and a perfectionist, but those are all ‘survival’ traits he carefully honed while learning how to cope with the traumatic loss of his older brother and the increasing strain between him and his parents. And, Ravi does have great style, and maybe he’s never met a cause he didn’t like, but there is no denying that he has mad people skills, and is wonderfully passionate about all of his volunteering as well as his job. He certainly isn’t turning out to be the flake that Tristan was mistaking him for.
Once they get home, and try to stick with their ‘what happens in Seattle stays in Seattle’ plan, they realize how ridiculously impossible that is going to be. They have each begun to chip away at the other’s façade, and no amount of pretending is going to just make their connection disappear. And, even though they both have their reasons for keeping things between them a secret at work, they soon also begin to see the futility of that arrangement.
I loved these guys together, and how they each gave the other a safe place to truly be themselves. It’s not completely smooth sailing, of course. There is some miscommunication, and some holding back…but, they get there. I really enjoyed their journey. I loved the big ‘A-ha’ moments they each had with their families—Ravi’s with his sister, Avani, when she makes him realize how he must have made Tristan feel about his support of his mother; and Tristan’s epiphany after seeing the ‘Family First’ button for his mom’s campaign.
I absolutely love Annabeth Albert’s easygoing storytelling style. This was a laid back but also very engrossing read. The characters are fabulous, and all of the gaming stuff was really fun and so well done, and obviously well researched. It’s always such a win when being super nerdy also makes you super cool! 😀 I’m definitely looking forward to reading much more from this author. Starting with Josiah’s book, up next in the #gaymers universe!!
You can buy Beta Test here: