A MelanieM Review: A Cut & Run Series Review (Crash & Burn #9) by Abigail Roux

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Cut & Run Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Crash & Burn coverBook Rating:  5 stars out of 5 for Crash & Burn (Cut & Run #9) by Abigail Roux

In 2008, two authors – Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux – introduced two  complicated and dangerous men to the M/M readers all over.  Little did they know what had been born that day with Cut & Run, the first of nine main stories, multiple side stories and a side series, Sidewinders.

Here is the blurb for that first novel:

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case. Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer. Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again – this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.”

 It was the first time that Ty Grady and Zane Garrett met and disliked each other immensely.  The glares flared, the snarkCut & Run cover flew, and the action accelerated the antagonism and attraction that sparked between them.  And the readers were hooked! Oh, man, were we hooked!  These guys were so dark, so complicated, so brilliant and charismatic that we had to have more.  Thank goodness, Abi and Madeleine were listening.

Already the comments were piling up and they all were sounding very similar:  “Love Ty, Love Zane, love the lines, the suspense, the action (oh, that action!)   And that was just book one.  Then came Sticks & StonesSticks & Stons cover followed by the amazing Fish & Chips (how I loved those titles).  Yes, just thinking about that book makes me run to start reading it all over again.  Ty and Zane masquerading as a gay couple on the high seas.  Here are a few lines from that memorable book:

Fish & Chips coverFish & Chips Quotes:

“When Ty was truly hot and bothered, it could be an amazing experience, like being mauled by a lion without the fuss of needing stitches after.”
― Abigail Roux, Fish & Chips

“Falling in love or just plain falling : they were both terrifying at any speed”
― Abigail Roux, Fish & Chips

Remembering now?  It was also the first time the L word was mentioned.  What a wild emotional journey that story was! A true leap to love and promise, however temporarily acknowledged, for them both.  This story was memorable for so many reasons and elements.  A large gem in a box full of diamonds.

From there we and Ty and Zane tried to move forward, always an iffy proposition with these two.  Nothing is every easy…its guns, and shootouts and physical trauma to go along with the emotional high stakes that kept pulling us in deeper and deeper.

Divide & Conquer coverThere was  Divide & Conquer (Cut & Run, #4)  which traumatized the heck out of me and kept me clued to the page through every heartbreaking scene.  This was Zane as we have never scene him before and hoped we never would again.  The fear for Zane and Ty was palpable all the way through.  This was also the last book that Madeleine Urban cowrote.  Now Ty and Zane become all Abigail Roux’s and the transition was as smooth as it could be for these two.  Abigail Roux truly made both men her own.  And ours.

Favorite quote: “First time I saw you, after I got over hating you, I knew,” he said, echoing Ty’s words, “I knew I’d fall in love with you”

 Armed & Dangerous coverArmed & Dangerous (Cut & Run, #5)  One of my favorites (ok, they all are, but this is high on a high list).  Ty and Zane separated but brought back together for a case that involves Julian  Cross, an enigmatic assassin?agent?man about crime? Julian is a puzzle that will keep on giving (read Warriors Cross) right up to the end in Crash  & Burn.  Loved Julian!  But it was the development in Ty and Zane’s relationship that made this story sing and resonate so with the readers.  The barriers were breaking down along with our hearts.

Armed & Dangerous Quotes:

“What do you want, MacGuffin, a duel?”
“No.” Julian held out both hands, one palm flat, the other held over it in a fist. “Rock, paper, scissors. Two out of three.”
Ty rolled his eyes and held out his fist, apparently willing to play. Julian hit his palm three times, and Ty kept time with his fist in the air. But when Julian threw a paper, Ty reached into his jacket with his other hand and pulled his gun, aiming it at Julian.
“Ty!” Zane said in exasperation from the front seat.
“Glock, paper, scissors. I win.”
“You are an ass,” Julian muttered.”

“I love you” Ty said, the quiet words devoid of any self-consciousness of his usual bravado. ” And I’ve never been able to say that before with such conviction. I can’t remember a time when you weren’t the first thing I thought of, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I don’t care what stands in our way.” —that noise is me sobbing away

Dine & Dash coverDine & Dash (Cut & Run, #5.5) a cute, free short story is followed by one I consider another foundation stone for Ty and Zane because we travel first to West Virginia and a close look at the Grady clan and its convoluted dynamics and then to Texas for an entirely new perspective on the Garrett family and Zane’s  background.

Of course, I’m talking about…

???????????????????????????????????????Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run, #6).  We had the well deserved calm in their relationship before an emergency blows it all to hell.  We get a determined tiger on the run, a knife throwing game of oneupmanship and so much insight into both Ty and Zane that at times I felt like my heart was bleeding.  But no  that was still to come.  Quotes?  A gazillion of them here but I chose only a few:
Stars & Stripes Quotes:

“I love you,” Ty said out of the blue, his voice almost sing-song.
Zane laughed. “You’re drunk.”
“I loved you before I was drunk.”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

“Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. Gay son? That don’t cost me nothing.”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

“She told me to wait,that I was going to lose a finger.” Earl looked toward the kitchen and back at Ty and Duece. He snorted. “I asked her, did she think I was stupid? Then a couple of snips later, whack. Off went the finger. And you know what that woman said to me? I said ‘Mara you cut my finger off.’ And your mother said to me, ‘Well Earl who’s stupid now?”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

Yes, I had to end on a laugh.  I love those Gradys no matter what, and that includes Chester and his shovel.

???????????????????????????????????????Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run, #7) brought the boys to New Orleans and confrontations with their past and each others part in it. Never before have I so wanted to hunt Abigail Roux into the ground.  This book just plain hurt.  I cried buckets of tears, wiped out several shelves of tissue boxes and still couldn’t let this story go.  The story was stunning, the reverberation deep, lethal, and perhaps unforgivable.  If this is not the finest story of the group, I don’t know what is.  The writing was remarkable but more indelibly was the impression it left on our hearts and Ty and Zane.

Just one quote because the tears will start flowing all over again.

Touch & Geaux Quote:

“You told me one time that . . . I was your compass. I gave you direction when you were lost,” Ty said, nearly choking on the words. He glanced up, eyes reflecting like liquid in the low light. “Well, you were my anchor. You were something solid for me to hold onto. I wanted you to remember that.”

 Just two more to go and we couldn’t believe that soon it would all be over.  How was Abigail Roux going to pull it all together? There was a mole at the FBI, Ty and Zane weren’t sure who they could trust, their relationship was getting deeper and decisions needed to be made. So of course, Deuce, Ty’s brother, decides to get married on an island off of mainland Scotland.  In a storm.  With murderers on the loose and the targets not defined.  The Sidewinders are present and the air ripe for physical violence, emotional trauma and unforgettable goings on.   It was a wedding, for cripes sake.  Didn’t they know better than to invite Ty and Zane?

???????????????????????????????????????Ball & Chain (Cut & Run, #8), as I said, takes place on a private island in Scotland where Deuce and his fiance, and their child, will be married.  Everyone is along for the celebration and ceremony, including many participants with their own agendas.  Here, a spectacular murder takes place, albeit one that I wished had happened much earlier.  Never liked that man.  Or trusted him.  Roux should have killed him twice.  Not all fans were as crazy about this book as they were others.  Too many  other relationships intruded into Ty and Zane’s in this, the penultimate story.  But really, I don’t see how Roux could have gotten around that factor.  She had one more book to bring it all to a head and other people and their relationships had to be included at this point to make sense of it all at the end.  This book gets much better when you have read Crash & Burn because it fits this story more easily into the whole then when read at first.

Ball & Chain Quotes (more of them because hey, its almost over):

“Zane hurried to catch up. “Wait, Ty, you want to do that with her with us?”

“She’s a year old. She won’t understand death and destruction for at least another year.”

“If we ever decide to adopt, you’re a mute in any interviews.”

“Understood.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“You’ve taken a lot of hits in the last few days, Ty. Let me take this last one for you.”

Ty stared at him, struck breathless, struck speechless. He snaked his arm around Zane’s neck and hugged him tight. He nodded, still unable to speak.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“Zane sighed. “I was so hoping this would be a normal vacation.”
Ty smacked him on the side of the head. “Don’t use bad words.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“You let me think I was being stalked by a ghost, you fuck nuts!”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

And here we are.  Book 9.  The official series finale, Crash & Burn.Crash & Burn cover  I sort of, really, absolutely hoped this day wouldn’t come but of course, it had to.    At some point Ty and Zane had to come to an ending, no matter how much we wished otherwise.  How was Abigail Roux to end the series?  Ty…oops tie  up all the loose ends?  And finally, make our guys and their relationship whole and as happy as it can get for these two.  And where are the kitties?  Ty needs his kitties.  Who didn’t cry with Smith & Wesson went home to Julian? Huh? Huh?  Nope, Ty needs a furball of his own because they don’t let people have tigers as pets in Baltimore.  I know this for a fact! So how did it all turn out?

Happily, wonderfully, totally satisfyingly kill those bad guys, kiss as though you will love each other forever again two thumbs up.  Or as much as it can be when I really don’t want to say goodbye.  So many people we have come to love over the nine books are present and accounted for. I will miss them too. We learn about the mole, (damn you!),  many  people die, some that you liked, Chester had a wild time with his shovel and, yes, there was another wedding much closer to home.  I wept more buckets, laughed a ton, and reminisced all the way through this story.  And I loved every word of it.

I know we reviewers try to remain objective but with Cut & Run, I just can’t. Ditto Crash & Burn.  Thank you, Abigail Roux for continuing on after Madeleine stopped writing and making Ty and Zane truly your own. For that’s how I think about them now. Thank you, Madeleine and Abigail, for two of the most loved characters out there. Ty and Zane?  What a great ride its been! It’s been eight wonderful, memorable years of love, sex, suspense and action.  What a saga and its one that will remain always high on my to be rec’d list and Best of Lists and Most Memorable Lists and whatever lists you can think of.  I’m betting its all that for you too.  The only thing I can hope for now?  Seeing them again in some of the other stories and hoping that all the books ended up published together in paperback so I can page through, over and over again and remember why I love them so.

So here it is.  The End.  And the final quotes, at least for this post.

Crash & Burn:
“You realize we’re looking at our future, right? Two of us in a retirement home, bitching about our catheters and heated blankets.”
― Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

“Can I start calling you hubby?”
“Do it and die.”
“Snookums, then.”
― Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

 and I’ll end it with this one, words that will send me running back to the very first story and start the ride all over again.

 
“- Some roads to love aren’t easy, and I’ve never been more thankful for being forced to fight for something. I started this journey with a partner I hated, and a man in the mirror I hated even more. The road took me from streets of New York to West Virginia, from the place I born to the place I found a home. It forced me to let go of my past and face my future. And I had to be made blind before I see. (…) I promise to love you until I die. (…) – I promise to never leave you alone in the dark, he whispered.”  
Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read and their sales links:

Ty & Zane Are Back in Ball & Chain! Visit with Abigail Roux (Inside Info and Amazing Contest)

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Welcome to the Ball & Chain virtual tour! If you’re following along, you’ll be able to win yourself some goodies that might just save your life! I’ve got five Survival Kits in a Sardine Can, perfect for traveling and hiking or taking with you to remote island weddings where people might be dying. And I’ve got five sets of trading cards with original artwork and character work-ups for the less adventurous readers!Ty & Zane Survivial Kit

Contest: Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing to win one of five Survival Kits in a Sardine Can or one of five sets of trading cards with original artwork. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on April 1 , and winners will be announced on April 3rd. Contest is valid worldwide.

 

STRW: Abigail Roux was kind enough to answer some of the questions I have been dying to ask her since I found Ty and Zane in the Cut & Run series and about her latest novel, Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8). Let’s get started….

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STRW:  I know you (Abigail) always do extensive research on the locations for your stories.  Ball & Chain is set in Scotland.  Where you able to travel there?

Abigail Roux:
I was! I went to the UK and Ireland last summer and spent almost three weeks traveling with two friends. I post about my research travels on a Tumblr I made specifically so people could follow along. You can find it at abitravels.tumblr.com. It follows my adventures, and the adventures of Nelson the om nom, who goes everywhere with me. I like to share those adventures with readers; it makes the process even more hands on.

STRW: • What was your inspiration for setting the story in Scotland?

Abigail:
Originally the book was supposed to be set in the Caribbean. After a little research, though, I realized it would never work for my purposes. So I did a Google search for isolated wedding locations, and the name that caught my eye first was a place called Knoydart. We actually traveled there to scout it out. It wound up not being right for the book either, but I was able to see enough of Scotland, which is absolutely breathtaking, to create an amalgam of the things I needed. So the book takes place on a fake island, but everything about it is as authentic as I could make it.

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STRW: • What was the biggest challenge to writing this penultimate story to the Cut & Run series?

Abigail:
Oh gosh. It’s so stressful. I want these last two books to be worthy, and I want them to be memorable and perfect and I want readers to end the series on a high note. And that’s going to be so very hard to do. It keeps me awake at night. But when I got into this book and started writing, all that slipped away and it was just about the story and the characters again. So the biggest challenge is compartmentalizing it to keep me from freaking out!

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STRW:• So many people have fallen in love with Nick and Kelly; did you find it hard to balance out the readers’ devotion to Ty and Zane with our need to see more of Nick and Kelly when putting them in the same story?  Especially this story that we have been waiting for-the reunion of Ty and Zane?

Abigail Roux:
I didn’t find it hard, no, because Nick always had a huge role in this book. He’s actually the driving force behind a lot of the tension and drama. Adding Kelly to him was no trouble at all because Kelly is an easy character. He doesn’t make waves, basically, because he just rolls with it. I don’t think they take away from Ty and Zane, and they certainly don’t subtract from Ty and Zane’s romance or their tale. I know some readers have been worried about Ty and Zane sharing page time, but at this stage they have to or the books would be all about them hiding under the covers refusing to answer their phone.

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STRW:• Do you think you will be able to let go of Ty and Zane at book 9, or will the series continue?

Abigail Roux:
The series will definitely end at book 9, whether I like it or not. That’s always been the plan, and there’s no reason to change it now. I will miss them terribly, because at this point they’re both a part of me. But I have surprises for readers coming in the Sidewinder Series. No one will have to say goodbye to Ty and Zane until I kill them off!

STRW:• Is there a Ty and Zane wedding to look forward to?

Abigail Roux:
Well, someone does get married in Ball & Chain . . .

STRW: Now that’s just evil…
• Both characters have undergone so much growth over the series.  It has been wrenching to read about at times, joyful at others. Is there one special scene that is your favorite with the men?

Abigail Roux:
My favorite scene between Ty and Zane will always be in Divide & Conquer when they dance in Ty’s living room. It wasn’t planned as we were writing; it was just something Ty did almost without my permission. It made it feel very authentic, even to me, and I love the quiet romance of it.

STRW:• Ty and Zane are definitely an A List couple.  People are mad for them.  Why do you think they have such staying power for readers?

Abigail Roux:
I wish I knew so I could bottle it! I think both men are so flawed, people can relate to them easily, but they also do things most of us don’t’ allow ourselves. Zane is hard on himself and he lets his past and fears dictate his actions, and that’s something a lot of people do and can sympathize with. They root for him to pull past that. Ty is impulsive and fun and frankly kind of crazy, and that’s a luxury a lot of people aren’t allowed in life. Ty and Zane offer us a combination of pieces of ourselves we recognize, and pieces we wish we had. I think people have latched onto them because they see a bit of themselves in one or both characters.

You can contact Abigail Roux at:

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???????????????????????????????????????Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8): Home from their unexpected deployment, the former members of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder rejoin their loved ones and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they were forced to leave behind. Ty Grady comes home to Zane Garrett, only to find that everything around him has changed—even the men he went to war with. He barely has time to adjust before his brother, Deuce, asks Ty to be his best man. But that isn’t all Deuce asks Ty to do, and Ty must call for backup to deal with the business issues of Deuce’s future father-in-law.

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Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott join Ty and Zane at the wedding on an island in Scotland, thinking they’re there to assuage Deuce’s paranoia. But when bodies start dropping and boats start sinking, the four men get more involved with the festivities than they’d ever planned to.

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With the clock ticking and the killer just as stuck on the isolated island as they are, Ty and Zane must navigate a veritable minefield of family, friends, and foes to stop the whole island from being destroyed.

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You can pre-order Ball & Chain from Riptide and get it two days early!

Contest:  Abigail Roux is giving away five Survival Kits in a Sardine Can, perfect for traveling and hiking or taking with youTy & Zane Survivial Kit to remote island weddings where people might be dying. And I’ve got five sets of trading cards with original artwork and character work-ups.Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing. . Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on April 1 , and winners will be announced on April 3rd. Contest is valid worldwide.

ScatteredThoughts Summary of Reviews for November 2013

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November really was such an extraordinary month for books.  It almost makes me giddy with joy. I can’t remember when I last had more 5 and 4 star  rated books as I have had this month.  And their genres and plots ran the spectrum, from contemporary fiction to what I might best describe as fantasy horror, making this truly a rainbow month of great books by outstanding authors.

There are quite a few books that are a part of a series and should best be read in order, while others are stand alone pieces of fiction, with one or two in between in that they are a part of a series but could be read by themselves. It’s all in the reviews which I have linked to each title.

The holidays are upon us and ebook gift cards are a wonderful way of sharing books with those we love.  Make a list, check it twice to make sure you have the titles listed below on yours:dried flowers for november
November 2013 Review Summary

*part of a series

5 Star Rating:

Corruption by Eden Winters*, contemporary
Encore by Shira Anthony*, contemporary
Lessons for Suspicious Minds by Charlie Cochrane*,historical
Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux*, contemporary
Sweet and Sour by Astrid Amara, contemporary
The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin*, horror, fantasy
Too Many Fairy Princes by Alex Beecroft, fantasy

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

After The Fall by L.A. Witt* (4 stars), contemporary
Bar None Anthology (4.5 stars) mix of contemporary, scifi
Close Quarter by Anna Zabo*(4.75 stars), supernatural
Family Texas by R.J. Scott*, (4.5 stars), contemporary
Good Boy by Anne Tenino*, (4.5 stars),contemporary
How I Met Your Father by LB Gregg (4.25 stars), contemporary
Illumination by Rowan Speedwell (4.5 stars), contemporary
Long the Mile by Ally Blue (4.25 stars), contemporary
The Retreat by BA Tortuga*, (4 stars), contemporary
The Stars that Tremble by Kate McMurray, (4 stars), contemporary

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Captive Magic by Angela Benedetti* (3.75 stars), paranormal
Hat Trick by Chelle Dugan (3 stars), contemporary
The Blight by Missouri Dalton (3.75 stars), fantasy

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:
N/A

Review: Shock & Awe (Sidewinder #1) by Abigail Roux

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Shock & Awe CoverAfter being shot in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has returned home to his cabin in Colorado with fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty joining him to help him in his recovery.  Kelly and Nick, bonded through their years together as part of a Marine Force Recon team, have always loved each other like brothers but past confessions and the recent events in New Orleans has Kelly thinking past brotherly bonds into something far more intimate and sexual. During a quiet moment at the cabin Kelly asks Nick to kiss him and is surprised when Nick does.  But the kiss turns into something unexpected for each man…its deep, and warm and overwhelmingly sexual, and leaves Nick and Kelly wanting more.

That one kiss leads to others and only the reality of Kelly’s wounds keep the men from more.  Confused, Kelly and Nick try to examine their feelings not only towards each other but about a deeper commitment outside their band of brothers.  But the past has a way of intruding on the Sidewinders, pulling them towards danger and an uncertain future.  Can Nick and Kelly find their way through their confusion and doubts before they are called to duty once more?

Abigail Roux is killing me here.  I am still trying to recover from the events of Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) when Roux starts a new series about the Sidewinders, the Marine Recon group that Ty Grady is a part of, and has me in tears all over again.  But I am getting ahead of myself and this review.

Shock & Awe, the titles continuing in the tradition the author started in the Cut & Run series, is an expansion series into the tight band of brothers Abigail Roux introduced in the Cut & Run series.  We met the various members of the Sidewinders as they came to visit Ty Grady in Baltimore and through appearances made in several of the Cut & Run stories.  Nick, especially, was an important character in helping to understand Ty’s past and the close  bonds of the Sidewinder Marine Force Recon Unit.  Going too much into Nick O’Flaherty’s background would offer up spoilers for past stories but suffice it to say he and Ty have an unusual past history that is referenced here in Shock & Awe acting as an impetus for Kelly’s musings and startling request.  And while the others members of the unit (Digger, Owen, and yes Ty) make an appearance, Shock & Awe is focused on Kelly and Nick. It starts shortly after the events of Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) where Kelly was shot in New Orleans when all the Sidewinders gathered to celebrate a birthday.

The smaller, more intimate setting of Kelly’s cabin is perfect for the introspection and actions that follow an unusual request from Kelly for a less than brotherly kiss from Nick.  Normally, Roux has a much larger canvas on which to place her characters and storyline but having one location lets the author (and readers) concentrate on the developing relationship and emerging emotions of Nick and Kelly.  I loved this aspect of the story.  The author had previously given the readers only a cursory introduction to Kelly while past stories made Nick an unwelcome intrusion into Ty and Zane’s relationship.  Now both characters get to stand on their own and this story turns them into the remarkable men that Roux had always intended us to see them as.  I had no trouble at all falling in love with both of them.  Here is a little window into their close relationship. They have just arrived at Kelly’s cabin and are getting settled:

Kelly made a derogatory sound and closed his eyes again. Nick pulled away, then gently covered him with the sheet.

Kelly may have been the corpsman, but Nick had always been the caretaker of the group. He’d been a wingman, fall guy, sounding board, and alibi. He’d been mother, father, big brother, and crazy uncle. Whatever they’d needed. He’d always been the one who’d made sure all the Sidewinder ducks were in a row, and he was probably the sole reason the house they’d all shared in Jacksonville hadn’t burned down.

It was so odd to think back on all those years and know that Nick had been hiding part of himself he thought he couldn’t share. It almost broke Kelly’s heart to think of all the secrets he’d spilled to Nick, all the things he’d gotten off his chest, but Nick had never been able to do the same.

And when Kelly’s heart breaks so does ours.

There is so much emotion, so many feelings packed into this story that I found it hard to believe it was only 92 pages long.  It was just long enough for me to fall completely in love with these two and time enough for Abigail Roux to break my heart not once but twice before the story ends.

Abigail Roux has proven over and over in each of her stories that she has the ability to make us believe in her characters, their passions and relationships.  She is also a proven master of the hidden agenda, cliffhangers and heartbreak.  You will find all of those here too.  Grab this book up and fall in love with Nick and Kelly.  The second story in the series, Bait & Switch (A Sidewinder story) is located after this one and will have you gnashing your teeth as well as crying quite a few tears, especially as it features Zane and Ty as well as Nick and Kelly.  This is a 2 tissue box affair from start to well…..just pick it up and starting reading.

If you are new to Abigail Roux and her connected series (Cut & Run and Sidewinder), it would be best to start at the beginning to understand all the relationships of the men mentioned.  Plus you will find yourself with two new addictions.  One is winding down.  There are only two more stories to go in the Cut & Run series.  I hope that Sidewinder enjoys just as long a run.   Don’t miss out on these remarkable men and this terrific author.

Cover by LC Chase.  I loved this.  The green cover sets it apart from the Cut & Run series while the shamrock continues the tradition of a single object helping to tie the series together.  Perfection.

Sidewinder series to date:

Shock & Awe (Sidewinder #2)
Bait & Switch (A Sidewinder story)

Cut & Run Series:

Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) Expected publication: March 15th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7)
Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6)
Dine and Dash(Cut & Run #5.5)
Armed & Dangerous (Cut & Run #5) – by Abigail Roux
Divide & Conquer #4, Fish & Chips #3, Sticks & Stones #2, Cut & Run #1 – all of these written by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Book Details:

ebook, 92 pages
Expected publication: November 11th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
original title Shock & Awe
ISBN13 9781626490567
edition language English
characters Ty GradyZane Garrett, Nick O’Flaherty, Kelly Abbott

Not What I Expected and This Week’s Reviews

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Doctor__NeedleSo, there I was lying on the hospital table waiting for the fluoroscope to start up and the doctor to appear to give me an injection. With a very long needle.  One the size of the Empire State Building. And of course, the first words out of his mouth are “well, this shouldn’t hurt very much” and my heart sinks.  Because between you and me, I have a long history with that phrase (as I am sure most of you do as well) and it isn’t a good one.

I can remember various dentist offices and dentists themselves saying that just before annihilating my mouth in a frenzy of drills and numbing injections that never seemed to work.  I remember vaccines and pops of cotton that, yes indeedy, hurt, even though the doctors swore up and down they wouldn’t.

And then there were the injections I received for rabies (8 of them at the time) that alternated sites, left, cheek, right cheek (not the face mind you), left arm, right arm, stomach…well you get the drift.  Oh the perils of being a park naturalist.  There have been ones for the flu, tetanus, and during anaphylactic shock, epinephrine.  I have had ones for antibiotics and ones for steroids.  Lots and lots of shots over time and always with the same result.  Shot then pain.

And you know what?  Each time, the doctor assured me it shouldn’t hurt very much.  And  each time it most certainly did.

drag queen sharon needles

knitting needlesNow I don’t have a problem with needles themselves.  I even adore certain needles, like my mahogany knitting needles or knitting needles of any type.  I also think the drag queen Sharon Needles is pretty darn awesome.  I even have a certain fondness for sewing needles even though I am hardly proficient with them.  They have repaired many a beloved teddy or tiger and for that I am grateful.

But medical needles, long, long medical needles?  I think not.  True they are necessary but I don’t have to like them and once more here I was waiting to be injected.  But first they had to find the right spot….yeah, topical anesthesia  doesn’t help there.  And yes, I felt that needle going in…and in…  and the doctor asked me…wait for it…did I feel it and did it hurt?  He’s lucky all I shot him was a glare. Cause yes I did feel it and yes, it hurt.  Argh.  And I am not, repeat not a baby about these things and I have a high tolerance for pain. But yeesh….they need to find something different to say…cause I am telling you that has truly gotten old.

So here I am, my hip is throbbing.  The doctor said I should feel better in a day…if the shot works.  Sigh.  Sometimes life is a crap shoot.  Sometimes you role doubles and sometimes snake eyes. And by now I really should know to stick to the needles I like when given a choice, and leave the others alone.  Because here is something I have learned over the years….when someone tells you its not going to hurt, run, run like the wind in the opposite direction, it’s going to hurt like hell.

Now for the week ahead in reviews.  It’s one terrific book after another this week.   There are two guest blogs on our schedule. One by the fabulous Abigail Roux for the release Shock & Awe.  And the other by an author whose books have always appeared on my must read list, L.B. Gregg and her latest release How I Met Your Father.  Added to that are two new books in series I just love, R.J. Scott’s Texas Family and Kate McMurray’s The Stars That Tremble and this will be a stellar week indeed!

Twas the week before the week of Thanksgiving…..

Monday, Nov. 17:   Texas Family by R.J. Scott
Tuesday, Nov. 18:   The Stars That Tremble by Kate McMurray
Wed., Nov. 19:         Guest Blog by L.B. Gregg for How I Met Your Father
Thurs., Nov.20:      Guest Blog and Contest by Abigail Roux and Shock & Awe release
Friday, Nov. 21:       Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux
Sat., Nov. 22:           How I Met Your Father by L.B. Gregg

Review: Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) by Abigail Roux

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

???????????????????????????????????????FBI Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have been relegated to desk and PR duties after their last case made them too high profile for undercover work.  With 20 years on the job, Zane is considering retiring and other major  life changing decisions when Ty gets a call from one of his old friends who is in jail in New Orleans. His friend  needs Ty’s help and fast.  New Orleans is the last place Ty should be considering going because of the time he spent there undercover as well as all the memories it holds and not just for him.  For Zane, New Orleans is a city rife with echos from their past.  But for Ty, loyalty is everything and both men set out to rescue Ty’s friend.

From the moment Ty and Zane land in New Orleans, the bodies start to pile up and danger hunts them at every street corner.  Once more Ty’s past has come back to haunt him and now it threatens to kill not just him but all he cares for, including Zane.  But the threat Ty and Zane face in New Orleans is not just physical, but an emotional threat to the heart of their relationship and the trust they hold for each other.

With criminals and the law closing in on Ty and Zane, all the last secrets that had been deeply buried come out. Will both men be able to withstand the resulting emotional and physical explosions or will they see everything they have worked so hard for destroyed.

I fell in love with this series in 2008 with the first release of Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1), then written by Madeline Urban and Abigail Roux.  From the moment we are introduced to Ty Grady and Zane Garrett, the reader knows that here are two characters so complicated, so weighed down with their past and inability to trust anyone other than themselves that if they were ever to get together the resulting fireworks would be memorable and glorious.   It would also take loads of work, painful work to make it happen which is how it occurred over the course of the next several books.  And for every step forward, the authors had our heros take two steps back.  And this intricate ballet happens while Ty and Zane are engaged in various cases that often threaten not just national security but their lives as well.

After the last book, Stars & Stripes, in which we found the pair mostly happy with their relationship and coming out to their families, I knew that such a happy time would be short lived.  There was just too much still happening around them, too many unresolved issues that had been glossed over and now we know why.  Abigail Roux has always struck me as a meticulous planner and researcher.  When her characters go on location, you can bet  Abigail Roux has spent some time there visiting the various locales, jotting down names of bars, streets, and other places her characters have spent time.  Now if she does that for just one book, what sort of planning would she do for a series?  For me, the answer is that the series would see the same attention to detail but on a much larger scale and with the end of the series already in place. In Touch & Geaux, I see elements that demonstrate, at least to me, that some of the events here have been in motion for some time.

It is hard to go into details without giving anything away, but the revelations that explode in this book caught me totally by surprise.  I never would have guessed them in a million years but now that I am thinking about them, the basis for these surprising disclosures start back in Cut & Run and pop up through every subsequent book in the series.  Things I maybe gave less attention to than I should have are now imbued with a deeper, darker meaning, their true purpose clear.  And it all points to some masterful planning by Abigail Roux.

If you are a true fan of Ty and Zane as I am, than just be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster, worthy of at least several boxes of tissues and then some.  If you are truthful with yourself, than you have to admit you knew this was coming.  Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are complicated men with dark, secretive pasts.  Both are very good at keeping secrets, even from each other and the ones Ty has been keeping from Zane will go right to the heart of each others issues.  Issues of trust, truth and self knowledge – it doesn’t get any more powerful than that.  All those things have haunted both men from the very first time they met each other, and have continued to do so for all the two years they have been partnered.  Actually their relationship in all its gritty,slow, painful, and  complex glory has always struck me as one of the most realistic things about this series.  I liked that the slow climb to a romantic partnership was equal in complexity to the men themselves and that a HEA is always in question.

There are things here that might make one scoff or at least pull back in disbelief.  LIke a motor bike ride from hell or a magazine shoot that seems unlikely for the FBI in Washington, DC or Baltimore even, but again we have seen Zane ride like that before, think back to another  wild  Zane ride to the National Aquarium.  And maybe even the FBI can loosen up enough to put out a calendar.  Who knows in these times?  But the real meat and bones of this story are Ty and Zane and their relationship, everything else is almost superfluous. Or enough it seems for me to overlook it on my way to the heart of these men and the status of their lives at any given point.

One of the things I often hear mentioned about the Cut & Run series is the switching POV that happens repeatedly throughout the books.  I know that each author wrote one character, right up until Abigail Roux took over writing the series by herself.  That fact most likely explains the POV changes in the series.  And once that pattern was set for the series it made perfect sense to me that Roux continued to write the books in the same manner in which they were started.  I actually love hearing the thoughts of each man and it has contributed to the  intimate connection I feel with both Ty and Zane that I might not otherwise have achieved.  And that connection is a strong one, attained through outstanding characterization, snappy, memorable dialog, and scenes that have me howling in laughter or in tears, sometimes both at the same time.

This is perhaps the finest book of the series yet, it was certainly a return to the darker, tumultuous times when Ty and Zane were on unstable ground in almost every way.  This book is necessary because it brings back home to us that so much still had to come out, that there was still so much that Ty and Zane had to work through for a real partnership to succeed.  As it was for them, this path is a painful one for us too. But what a journey we are all on together.  I can’t wait for the next book to arrive.

I believe I read somewhere that Abigail Roux has 9 books planned for the series, perhaps 10.  You can go and preorder Cut & Run #8 right now as I  have already done.  Considering how I felt, still feel,  about the end of Touch & Geaux, I needed that promise of a resolution hopefully to come for all involved, including the readers.  So I think I will pass the time by going back to the beginning and rereading the books in order.  I think that with the knowledge I now possess many events will take on an entirely new look and context.  I can’t wait to see what I will find.  In the meantime, here is the buy link for Cut & Run #8.  It is available at a discounted price until April 14, 2013.

The cover by LC Chase is another is a great branding style, the voodoo doll figures prominently in the story. Great job.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read:

Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7)

Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6)

Armed & Dangerous , #5 –  by Abigail Roux

Divide & Conquer #4, Fish & Chips #3, Sticks & Stones #2, Cut & Run #1 – all of these written by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

And a big congratulations to Stars & Stripes and Abigail Roux. DABWAHA Champions.  Stars & Stripes just became the first ever M/M romance to win the DABWAHA tournament!

 

It’s Here! Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for Touch & Geaux!

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Happy Monday everyone!  Today Scattered Thoughts is participating in Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for Abigail Roux’s book Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7), one of Scattered Thoughts Best Series of…well you name the year and this series will still be at the top of my list.  Scattered Thoughts will be joining the party along with many of your favorite book blogs by posting about the book and including one of my favorite quotes (so hard) from any book in the Cut & Run series. Readers who collect each quote and submit their findings to marketing@riptidepublishing.com will be eligible to win one of two runner-up prizes and one grand prize.  And oh, what a prize it is!!!  But I’m not telling, at least not yet!

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Also on the agenda for today, is Riptide Publishing’s first ever  live chat, with Abi Roux, happening at 12pm EST on April 10, with the RSVP link https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/107747069078430869043/events/crbhmnugf1hbokmj86anv4vaesc?authkey=CLPsidKGwKnvBQ.  I love Abigail Roux (although I will admit I am currently hunting her down with a nerf bat with Ty and Zane’s names on it).  Abigail Roux is a meticulous researcher for her novels, master of memorable dialog, and currently holder of the Evil Queen title, mostly due to Touch & Geaux. Grab the book, read the reviews (yeah, yeah, I know, reverse order but it works for Touch & Geaux), pick up your pitch forks and torches and join me in Scattered Thoughts own hunt.  Those of you who have read the book will understand totally, a toss up between lobbing jewels at Roux’s head or cow plops.  Don’t be left out of the know, you need this book and here is  your chance for prizes too!

For those of you on the hunt, here is the quote I chose:

“Cameron found himself smiling as he thought about the two tough, acerbic FBI agents. “It’s so cute. They’re in love.”
“It’s like watching two kittens fight with machetes,” Julian muttered.
“Julian.”
“What? Its weird!”
“No its not. They’re perfect for each other. Poor Zane though,” Cameron murmured. “In love with Ty Grady.” He couldn’t imagine how frustrating that would be. Then Julian inhaled, and Cameron chuckled slightly. Yeah, he could actually.”
― Abigail RouxArmed & Dangerous

The thing about the Cut & Run series is that there are literally hundreds of quotes that I could have chosen.  Choosing one is like asking which is your favorite child, almost impossible to do.  I did go with funny because to choose the ones where Ty and Zane are emotionally vulnerable is just too close at the moment, more about that later.  I will say that Touch & Geaux is the best of a quality series that keeps improving with each new release.  How that is possible is due to Abigail Roux.  Has she sold her soul?  I know many are wondering…..hmmmmm…how tiny can those horns be?

Later today I wlll blogging about some of my favorite moments from Cut & Run.  Moments that made me laugh like in Fish & Chips (Cut & Run #3) when Ty Grady had to impersonate arm candy Del Porter.  When Ty stepped out after being waxed and bleached, well, my sides hurt just thinking about it. And then there are the moments that had me in tears…so many moments…..starting from the beginning in Cut & Run (book 1) when  we first meet the two men that I have come to care for and follow through tumultuous event in their lives in every book that has been released since.  Touch & Geaux is a milestone among milestones in this series.

Tomorrow I will be posting my review of Touch & Geaux.  You can also find  reviews for the all books in the series included in the links providedCut & Run Book 8 in the review or just look them up. All the books can be found here.

And now for even better news.  You can preorder Cut & Run #8 now at Riptide Publishing.  Here is what Riptide Publishing has to say:

The as-yet-untitled Book 8 of the Cut & Run series, availabe to pre-order for 25% off in ebook and paperback or 30% off in print and ebook combo for one week only as our thank-you to the fans for taking Stars & Stripes into the DABWAHA finals!

Please note that the release date is approximate and subject to change.

On Sunday, April 14, 2013, this page will be taken down. When it returns again in late 2013 or early 2014 for new pre-orders, the ebook will be full price again, so take advantage now of our special DABWAHA celebratory sale!

So those are the details, now let’s get hunting!!!   Touch & Geaux is a “must read, must have” for Scattered Thoughts and you don’t want to be left out in the cold.  Read my review tomorrow and stay tuned for Scattered Thoughts Most Fav Cut & Run moments…..who knew Monday could be so fun?

Here is the buy link for Touch & Geaux http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/touch-geaux ???????????????????????????????????????

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Glorious Books, A Web Hunt and Glorious Weather Too! What A Week It’s Going To Be!

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The weather is perfection today so I am getting ready to pull on the gardening gloves, turn the water for the outside faucets back on and prepare to spend the day getting down and dirty.  I have ferns, some grasses and even an English Daisy or two to plant and weeds to uproot.  To say the least, I am grinning like crazy in anticipation.

Also this week I am reviewing some books that are not only on Scattered Thoughts “Must Read” lists, they have made my Best of 2013 List as well.  Among them are Sarah Black’s The General and the Horse-Lord, T.J. Klune’s Into This River I Drown, Abigail Roux’s Touch & Geaux and Jay Kirkpatrick’s Freedom.  I can’t remember when I had so many wonderful books to read and recommend that released almost at the same time.  A surfeit of riches for us all to enjoy time and time again.

And on Monday, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is participating along with many other websites in Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for ???????????????????????????????????????Abigail Roux’s Touch & Geaux, book 7 in the amazing Cut & Run series.  On April 8, 2013, all participating book blogs will be joining the party by posting about the book and including one of their favorite quotes from any book in the Cut & Run series. Readers who collect each quote and submit their findings to marketing@riptidepublishing.com will be eligible to win one of two runner-up prizes and one grand prize.  More about this Cut & Run fun will be posted tomorrow along with my blog of Cut & Run favorite moments in the afternoon.

What a week!  So here is the full schedule, don’t miss a day!

Monday, April 8:          Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for Touch & Geaux,

Scattered Thoughts Favorite Cut & Run Moments

Tuesday, April 9:          Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) by Abigail Roux

Wed., April 10:             Freedom by Jay Kirkpatrick

Thursday, April 11:      The General and the Horse-Lord by Sarah Black

Friday, April 12:           Brute by Kim Fielding

Saturday, April 13:       Into This River I Drown by T.J. Klune

Really, just turn this week’s lineup into a shopping list because you won’t want to miss a single one.  Now the flowers and worms are calling me, really I can hear them right now.  So off I go or should I say Geaux in keeping with the books this week.  Have a wonderful Sunday everyone and I will see you right here on Monday.

Authors News, Book Reviews and Book Giveaway

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What an exciting and blustery week this has been at Scattered Thoughts!  Things are quite topsy turvy around here! There are  so many notable and anticipated books being released this week that I can almost hear the twitching and scrambling as people get ready to click “download”.  Two of those books are being touted here this week and the next.  And I am equally scampering around trying to get my reviews finished for all of them.  But I will just say this, you are going to love them, hate parts of them and reread them often! Just saying.

Now another thing to bring up is that I had scheduled T.J. Klune’s latest novel, Into This River I Drown for review on Saturday and that is notInto This River I Drown going to happen and here’s the reason why, I finished the book and then just sat there speechless, just absolutely floored.  Really, folks, I was in no way prepared for this novel.  I have read all of Klune’s books, most of which I adored, one not so much and still would never have guessed he would have written such a milestone of a novel, one that people always hope to write but few do.  But I can’t figure out how to write the review, don’t know even where to start yet.  So look for it at the end of next week, hopefully I will have figured it out by then.  But please go get this book, right now even if you have to drop what you are doing to do so.  Read it, finish it, and then let me know what it means to you. I really want to know.

Next on the agenda is that I am participating in Riptide Publishing’s Cut & Run Web Hunt in celebration of the release of Abigail Roux’s seventh??????????????????????????????????????? book in the Cut & Run series, Touch & Geaux.  On April 8th, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, along with other terrific book blogs, will be joining the party by posting about the book and including one of their favorite quotes from any book in the Cut & Run series. Readers who collect each quote and submit their findings to marketing@riptidepublishing.com will be eligible to win one of two runner-up prizes and one grand prize, to be revealed soon.   I will have more on this web hunt on Saturday so stay tuned in.  Again, fyi, I think this is one of the best books in a superlative series, just outstanding, but you will have to wait until Monday to read the full review.

Finally, I know this is going to be a very expensive week for all of you book buyers so I hope to lighten the financial load just a bit for one lucky person.  Tomorrow Sarah Black’s latest book, The General and the Horse-Lord is being released by Dreamspinner Press. To celebrate, Sarah Black is guest blogging here about her characters and soap making.  It’s fascinating post and the book is just terrific. Sarah Black is a must read author for me and you can always find her on my “favorite” lists (see Marathon Cowboys and The Legend of the Apache Kid).  So stop buy tomorrow and leave a comment.  At the end of the day, one lucky person will be chosen from those who commented and they will receive a free copy of The General and the Horse-Lord.GeneralandtheHorse-Lord[The]

Wow, so much going on around here!  Later today I will be reposting my Author Spotlight on Sarah Black in preparation for tomorrow’s giveaway.  So mark all these dates on your calendar, check in with us tomorrow, and let’s finish this week up in style shall we?

Riptide’s Publishing Disaster Relief Effort for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

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From November 3rd to November 10th, Riptide Publishing is donating the 25% of all proceeds onsite to assist in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.  If you have waited to pick up any of their releases, now is the time to do it.  Maybe you missed the latest in the Cut & Run series Stars & Stripes or The Gravedigger’s Brawl from Abigail Roux or need to pick up Heidi Cullinan’s latest Tucker Springs novel, Dirty Laundry.  Or are you overdue to go all gladiator for the latest books in the Rome series.  Whatever the genre, make your purchase go further than just your reading enjoyment, let it provide much needed help for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Go to Riptide Publishing’s website this week, purchase one or more books and go Red, as in Red Cross.  You won’t be sorry.  Here is the link for Riptide Publishing.  There are a gazillion (almost)  title to choose from and from a remarkable array of authors. Here are a few of the ones I have reviewed that you might have missed:

Read my review of Stars & Stripes  by Abigail Roux here, read my review of Country Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov here

Read my review of The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux here. Read Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino here. Read my review of Blacker Than Black by Rhi Etzweiler here .

Read my review of Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan here and all of the Josh of the Damned series by Andrea Speed, starting with Pretty Monsters here.