Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.
Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.
Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.
Part & Parcel is simply Abigail Roux’s finest Sidewinder story to date, and it ranks high among her other stories, even some of the beloved Cut & Run books. In Part & Parcel, Abigail Roux employs one of my favorite story elements, that of letters delivering a voice from the past.
After the devastating events that saw Nick dying in the streets of Miami, everyone is left trying to move forward with their lives with varying degrees of success. The ones having the most trouble? Nick and Kelly. Now with all the lies that Nick kept hidden from Kelly out in the open, the repercussions from those actions and necessary falsehoods are still disrupting their lives. If they would only face it. The author does a remarkable job of bringing forth the inner turmoil each man is undergoing, the heartache, the anger, and the confusion over how to end the stasis their lives has become. I think too often the PTSD in other stories is tidied up into a neat little box. Not here but the issues Nick has extend not only to his service years but his abusive childhood, current father problems and more. Add on to it Kelly “Doc” Abbott’s own personal crisis and you have not only a team in turmoil but a couple’s relationship floundering in the worst way. Roux’s descriptions make each man’s torment immediate and raw. We hurt for them both.
Then come the letters from Eli, a road trip cross country with the Sidewinders, Zane, and two kittens. A journey I enjoyed stop by stop, conversation by conversation. I loved the dialog. Sometimes hilarious, often heartbreaking, even when snarky and sarcastic. You could feel the long time camaraderie and brotherhood tightening up once more as the letters were read and memories were shared.
Yes, my tears flowed with theirs.
By the end of the journey, the healing process had set in, the brotherhood was back and I felt I really had gotten to know more about each man and their part in each other’s lives so throughly that past novels and plots clicked into place more, relationships become more cleanly defined and I “got” the Sidewinders…finally.
It was great seeing Ty and Zane again and getting a peek into their new lives. Loved the kitties. But the joy was Kelly and Nick, surrounded by family of brothers again. Owen and Digger, each a new revelation to go with the newfound sense of family I felt at the end. And Eli? He was there too, in the letters, in the memories, maybe something more…
I thought Part & Parcel was a deeper, more layered story and I can’t wait to see where Abigail Roux goes next with this series and couple.
I love this story and series but wonder if its given the chance it deserves. The Sidewinder series has the unfortunate element of being Cut & Run’s (meaning Ty and Zane’s ) followup children. I know there are fans out there that anything less than Ty and Zane will provoke a frenzy of teeth gnashing if not polite disappointment. Others expect a rehash of the Ty and Zane dynamic with Nick and Kelly in their shoes, and again this couple seems to take a beating when that doesn’t’ happen. I love these men. They are wonderful, powerful and yes, vulnerable characters and this is a terrific series. I highly recommend it. Grab it up today and start reading.
Cover art by L.C. Chase. Love the style and graphic. Perfect.
ebook, 302 pages
Published December 19th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitlePart & Parcel