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Resilient Heart

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  686 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Originally released as part of the Unconditional Surrender bundle, now available as a stand-alone novella complete with BRAND-NEW 10,000 word short story/epilogue. When a wounded soldier is forced to accept help from his former best friend, both men discover the true strength of their entwined hearts.

Army IT specialist Xander keeps his emotions wired as tight as his NETCOM
ebook, 118 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Annabeth Albert
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  686 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am on a lucky streak right now! This is another wonderful masterpiece of military romance!!

Resilient Heart is absolutely gorgeous!

Grittingly realistic, just the right kind of dark with a beautiful heartwarming romance and two insanely well written leading guys.

It can't get better. It could have been longer, though. When I like a story, I simply don't want it to end!

Xander and Mackey have been roommates in their network communications unit of the US Army.
A few nights of shared hand jobs in the
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
4.5 stars

I bought but never read

Unconditional Surrender - An M/M Military Bundle by Cat Grant

an anthology in which this story first appeared.

Shame on me!

I love Annabeth Albert's writing, and this is her hottest story to date.

Xander and Mackey: You can't get more real than this.

Trust, faith, healing . . . it's all here.

There is such tenderness between these guys. Xander suffers from deep depression and PTSD following an explosion in Iraq that left his body and mind shattered. The happy, easy-going Xander who loves to laugh and tease is gone.
* A Reader Obsessed *
Gawd this right here encompasses everything I could want in a romance - military MC's, hurt comfort, and tons of angst.

Yes, I know I complain and balk at something being potentially angsty, but obviously, deep down, there is a kind of emotional pain that I do like to torture myself with - and this right here had that lovely gut twisting, push/pull, with tons of longing and insecurity and doubt. Yep.

As a recap, Mackey and Xander are bff's with benefits, each wanting more but too afraid to talk a

Oh, this is my favorite kind of book! A fabulous short story that was originally in an Anthology, specifically Unconditional Surrender - An M/M Military Bundle, that comes out later as a stand-alone book with extra details and an extended epilogue added. I loved the short story the first time around, but for 99¢ we get the SUPER SIZED story and there was so much more to love!

Resilient Heart tells the story of Army buddies Xander and Mackey who were best friends and fuck buddies while serving tog
Simone - on indefinite hiatus  -
This was my first book from this author and although I liked it, I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would and I can't even exactly pinpoint why...

I have a penchant for everything military-related and the more realistic and authentic an author deals with PTSD and depression the better, which was definitely the case here IMO. Sometimes I couldn't relate to certain reactions of the characters, though, for me they were a bit staged, especially the 'let's have sex, it will make everything better'
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***3.5 Stars***

An enjoyable, though at times emotionally difficult read about PTSD, depression, fortitude, perseverance, honesty, trust and overall....unconditional love.

"Haven't you figured out yet that you take care of me every bit as much as I take care of you? We take care of each other. Always have."

Denise H.
**** A must read, **** deeply amazing story of true love !
Gosh, I'm so glad I read this beautiful story.
Xander, 28, was injured, is scarred mentally and physically. He feels so alone. No more job he loved, IT Unit in the Army, before the IED hit. He hates life right now, with an amputated arm, and gimpy foot, plus the PTSD, he figures he's doomed.

Mackey, is Xander's best friend (with benefits), who has shown up to take him home from the hospital. Mackey has a permanent 5 o'clock shadow, big m
A solid 4 stars!!! Ok... Maybe even 4.5 😉

It was a very emotional read... And well-written, too!

I have nothing to do with medicine, but for me Xander's depression and PTSD were very real... I felt as if I suffered with him :(
There was so much anger in his thoughts, so much feeling of helplessness...

And Mackey...? Mackey was incredible... How much compassion, and strength and support (and yes, guilt, too!) can a human being be capable of having and showing and giving?

This story made my heart ac
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: military

It was good and the comfort-healing theme was done just right.

Not my favourite from this author, though, and Xander's digs about Mackey's bisexuality grated on my nerves a little bit.

Nice job with the epilogue.
Aug 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing

This is good, noone is perfect and there's no magic cure. They work through things, it's a battle. Everything is good by the end but at the same time you know there will still be dark moments, just that now they'll work together and get through. Plus cute dog.
The story gets quite heavy, but never feels forced the emotions were believable rather than for the sake of drama.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Okay, I admit when I started the story, I was ready to complain about it. The story opens in a hospital scene; Xander has been seriously injured after his convoy was blown up by an IED, he is missing his forearm, his face scarred-up, and right now his ex-friend-with-benefits, Mackey is visiting the mission to take care of Xander.

You see, I always prefer to be with my characters since the very beginning. So the fact that the story started in “the middle” with reference to a big argument that Xand
Wow....how have I not read this before? I think this is one of this author's best works. This was a super good hurt/comfort and second chances book. (Gah....both of which I love so hard) The story starts as Xander's being released from the hospital after serious injuries he got while he was serving in the Middle East. Mackey shows up out of the blue (at least in Xander's mind) because he almost lost Xander once and he's not willing to do it again.

What follows is an intense story as Xander tries
Short but intense read.
I enjoyed that both Xander and Mackey are flawed and feel very real.
The bonus story at the end was extremely satisfying.
Barb ~rede-2-read~
I first read this as part of the Unconditional Surrender anthology, though I didn't realize that when I started the story. Nevertheless, I read it through again as it's been expanded and there's a length epilogue bonus in this edition that gives readers a glimpse into Xander's and Mackey's future.

From my first read:
Xander – partial amputee, depressed, and suffering from PTSD is finally about to be discharged from Walter Reed Army Hospital when his longtime friend with benefits, and the man he
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I should have left well enough alone :-/ because I enjoyed it LESS the second time around :-/!! True rating ... wavering between 2 and 2.5 stars ... all in all, it was just "okay" for me :-/!!

I feel like giving this one another go :-) ...


True rating ... 3.5 [rounded down to 3] stars! I didn't round it up to 4 solid stars just because I was a bit let down by the tentative-HEA at the end :-/! I wasn't prepared for the ending ... maybe if I had been, my rating would have
4.5 Stars

That new epilogue really made this story. Without it, the story would still be good, but I really think the epilogue made it fantastic. I feel kind of giddy now.

More review to come :)
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
This novella features a truculent army veteran, Xander, who lost an arm and leg in one of his mission and is forced to take a break to recover. His best buddy in the army, Mackey, who also happens to be his fuck buddy, attempts to help him get his life back together.

The book touches on a lot of topics from PTSD, depression, disability, coming out, and homophobia in the army in such a short book. Because of the length of the story, I feel like too many topics were covered and there wasn't enough
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heart warming and beautifully written

Oh the epilogue bonus chapter absolutely made this little novella perfect, it's only losing a star because it was short and I wanted to read more about Xander and Mackey.

I love military romances and Annabeth Albert is a true master of them, managing the mix between hot alpha men and vulnerable and hurting so well.

This one had the added simmering story plot of PTSD and it was treated with empathy and understanding. It's a complex and often misunderstood diagno
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars... Whenever I read military books like this, I also think how blessed I am that my husband made it back both times when he was deployed. The whole time they're deployed this or something happening worse to them is always a fear of the spouse. So glad both Xander and Mackey had each other and that Mackey didn't ever give up on Xander . ...more
That was sweet. I really liked the bonus epilogue story. :))
But I have to say it's a little bit boring. IDK, it's just me.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mm-romance, 2015
Currently at a work conference with only my iPad. Can't get into pretty, gif reviews. 3.5 stars. ...more
h o l l i s
Once upon a time he and Xander had a best-friends-with-benefits thing going, but that thing had blown up the night before an IED made the rest of Xander's life go boom.

RESILIENT HEART is a tough read but definitely worth the pain.

He was pretty sure his therapist had every synonym for 'noncompliant' all over his chart.

Events over in the sandbox have left Xander with a permanent limp, a messed up shoulder, scars on his face, and only one hand. The happy fun and lighthearted IT specialist has been
This is a beautiful story of second chances. I dragged to start reading as stories with PTSD character could be so angsty and full of drama. This was NOT like that. It felt real. The hurt, the denial, the acceptance, and - finally - the healing.

Xander and Mackey were best buddies as well as friends-with-benefits for years, as long as their military service time. What they never revealed was their true feelings of each other. One new year's eve while on deployment in the sandbox, they had hu
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I first read this book I fell in love with Mackey and with Xander. The commitment Mackey makes to Xander is just amazing, even when Xander is at his lowest point,Mackey just pulls him through and fights for them.Its an amazing love story. I personally love M/M romances but I really love when the men maintain their gruff exterior and still show their feelings. I like the strong men lol, what can i say!

The emotion and depth of despair to the highest elation set in this book is truly amazing.
Ruthie Taylor
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
"I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads."

This is a really life affirming story, which has a wonderful epilogue. The relationship between these two men, how they have got to where we meet them, it all combines to give us a really good read. Strong, damaged military men are hot, two of them are off the temperature scale!

Wicked Reads Review Team
Kelly L
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mackey and Xander melted my heart with their love & the obstacles they overcame using sheer determination, and caring more about the other as opposed to themself. The epi was wonderful. Grown-up love and each needing the other because of that love. The heartwarming healing for both men. Perfect title. This is moving story of resilience on all levels. Physically, mentally, emotionally, both as individuals and as the couple that they are. I loved it.
Marlobo ♥ epilogues
Main story read as part of Unconditional Surrender - An M/M Military Bundle. Bonus story included here rounded up my rating.

Main story's review:
Realistic approach all along, that was excellent. Despite being all stated, something didn't work for me when it comes to make me feel the MCs's emotional state, most of all regarding Xander and his medical condition
This was great. Emotional, tender, military details were accurate, great writing, balanced perspectives from the two MC, and very smexy smex (view spoiler) So hot!! All around a fantastic read! ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
So I had a bit of a twig in the eye or like a whole tree when I read the last chapter (of the epilogue) ngl. These two characters grabbed me right from the start and that makes their happy end feel so *earned*,you know? And that's what made it so emotional for me! ...more
This novella was PERFECT. I loved everything about it. Even the note from Annabeth at the end about seeking help. Xander and Mackey have been best friends for a long time, ever since they were team up together as Army IT specialists, they also enjoyed a bit of "benefits" but while they both craved more, they had their own reasoning for staying silent, mostly because it's difficult for both to express themselves with words. But when Xander almost dies of an IED, Mackey realizes they've got their ...more
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Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

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