Touch And Geaux, Abigail Roux

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on April 8, 2013

I’m a HUGE fan of this series. I devoured the previous 6 books and Warrior’s Cross in less than a week and have been waiting for the latest installment, Touch & Geaux. I stayed up all night reading it, SHRIEKED at the ending, and I have no idea when book 8 is releasing. *sob*

Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are two FBI agents who are partners both professionally and romantically. While they’re “out” to their families, and to Ty’s former Force Recon team, they haven’t outed themselves professionally yet. This book starts with a typical day at the office for Ty and Zane. They’re getting called into the boss’s office. This time they’ve being “selected” to be part of a calendar put together by a first responder organization for charity. And like any good FBI agents who have often been deep undercover, they are thrilled! Seriously, there’s some serious pouting going on.

McCoy smiled, though he looked as if he was trying not to. “Am I to assume the two of you will agree to representing the Bureau in this?”
“I think ‘agree’ is too strong a term,” Zane said. “This is a bad idea. Remember when we were on TV?”
“Yes, Grady got fan mail for a month.”
“I did?”
“We burned it, as you should all evil things,” McCoy answered.

And off they go to the calendar shoot. From there things start moving at a breakneck pace. A party, a panicked phone call from a friend, a worried flight to New Orleans, a kidnapping, a murder, and that’s just the first three chapters!

Of all the books in this series, this one was the most heartbreaking. Ty and Zane have some issues that come up which causes MAJOR problems, both between the two of them, AND within the trouble in the book. However, if I try to review any of it, it’ll give too much away. I, personally, LOATHE spoilers, so I hate spoiling anything for anyone else. Just know that I spent a lot of this book sobbing. And the very end? The last two lines? Shrieked AND sobbed. I think I broke something. I KNOW I scared the cat.

All that said, the issue that comes up between the two seemed a little…forced. While my heart totally broke for these guys, in the back of my head I was thinking it was a little TOO left field. I don’t know that we’ve really seen the seeds of this sown throughout the rest of the books. I think if Ms. Roux had written one more book where she dropped a few more hints, it wouldn’t have seemed so sudden. Of course, the shock and suddenness are what makes this whole argument so heartbreaking, so you decide.

Also, Ty and Zane have dealt with Nick O’Flaherty before. He was Ty’s best friend and his “second” in Ty’s Force Recon team. Nick, we’ve learned from past books, was in love with Ty. In fact, last time we saw him was when Ty told his team about Ty and Zane. Nick took it so well he kissed Ty and begged Ty to leave Zane. Yet, in this book, there’s none of that tension between the three of them. Sure, we assume they’ve dealt with it, and there have been calls between Nick and Ty, and even Nick and Zane, but Zane is way too possessive of Ty to have let that go so soon, especially with all the tension in this book. And with the problems between Ty and Zane, even though Nick doesn’t do anything to drive a wedge between them, there should have been more insecurity on Zane’s part.

All in all, I loved this book. I think it’s one of the best of the series. Ms. Roux began these books co-writing with Madeleine Urban, and I think there was a period of adjustment where Ms. Roux needed to learn who Ms. Urban’s characters really were before Ms. Roux hit her stride. I think she’s found it. Ty and Zane are far less interchangeable for me than they were in previous books. Well done.

Rating: 4 Stars

Lynda the Guppy
aka Team Meow Mix
aka The Fish With Sticks

Cut & Run Series, Abigail Roux & Madeline Urban

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on January 16, 2013

There is a sub genre, I guess you’d call it, called M/M. Which is a romance where both characters are men. My only previous exposure to this type of story is Suzanne Brockmann’s book “All Through the Night.” Of all her Troubleshooters books, this was my favorite because my love for Jules knows no bounds. Other than that, though, I’ve never really read M/M. I didn’t know much about it or the authors, so I never really tried it. One of my fellow bloggers (Lori) kept going on and on about this one series of books she was reading. The Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban. All right. I’ll give them a try. I picked up the first book on January 5. 7 days and 7 books* later, I’m wondering when the next book comes out! (April 8, 2013, according to Goodreads). I’ll have you know I was up until sunrise nearly every day this week reading these books.

The first four books were co-written by Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban, and, honestly, they write together well enough that there is a seamless transition between the books written jointly and those solely written by Ms. Roux.

Ty and Zane are FBI agents assigned to work together to catch a serial killer in New York. When we first meet them Ty is irreverent, headstrong, and a rule breaker, while Zane is buttoned-up, Mr. By-the-Book, and will absolutely not do anything to get himself in trouble. Things change, though, as we learn more about these two. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Ty is still irreverent, headstrong, and a total rule breaker, but he’s also brave both with his body and his heart. He’s kind and loving and romantic. Zane is the one who surprised me. As we learn more about Zane we find he HATES being a buttoned-up Mr. By-the-Book, but he feels he has to be, as he’s on shaky ground with his career.

Watching these two fall for each other and fight it all the way was fascinating. Because both main characters are male, there’s a whole different dynamic at play with the two of them. They’re rougher and more physical than a Hero would ever be with a Heroine. But at the same time, there’s more fear there due to the inherent problems of being gay in today’s society. Do they come out to their friends? their coworkers? their families? What happens if they’re rejected by those around them? What if they each can’t deal with their relationship and one rejects the other?

My biggest complaint, and it was resolved eventually, is that there is more emotional game playing with these two than I would like. A lot of unwillingness to trust.  In a more traditional romance, “I love you’s” would have happened in book 1, and while I might have preferred it a LITTLE earlier than where it occurred in this series, I think Ms. Urban and Ms. Roux really were true to the characters by making them work things out. Slowly. In fact, one says “I love you” far earlier (as in an earlier book) than the other. No, I won’t tell you who. That’s half the fun!

Once they start working through their emotions and really commit to each other, however, their trust is absolute and they are strong and supportive of each other at every step. They’ve made a pact to be more honest with each other and really TALK about things, especially things from their pasts. I enjoyed that the conflicts they face rarely come from within the relationship, but are external forces (murderers, thieves, cats, puns).

I’m so happy I listened to Lori and Pam and read these books. They were absolutely right and the books were totally worth the lack of sleep. I’ll be on the lookout for more, both in the series and from the authors.

*There are actually only 6 books in the series right now, but on Pam’s recommendation I read Warrior’s Cross between books 4 & 5 as some of those characters play a large role in book 5. More on that book another day.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Bring on the Men Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

RATING: 4.5 Stars