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

Warrior’s Cross, Roux and Urban

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on February 5, 2013

If you’ve read my recent review of the Cut & Run series, you’ll know that I recently have ventured into M/M books. Thanks to our very own Magnolia, Pam, I read Warrior’s Cross between books 4 & 5 of the Cut & Run series, and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I enjoy book 5 a lot more, I am so grateful I didn’t miss this wonderful story.

The book starts out with the mysterious Tuesday Night gentleman at the restaurant where Cameron is head waiter. This mystery man is obviously friends with the owner, however he always sits in Cam’s section and he never speaks. Until tonight. Thus begins the story of Cam and Julian.

Cam is a quiet, slightly introverted waiter. He feels he’s nothing special, and has a bit of a crush on his mysterious diner. Julian is dark and, well, mysterious, and has a crush on his waiter. As we watch them fall for each other and develop a relationship, you begin to realize how much Julian NEEDS Cam. Without him, it seems Julian will descend into this dark pit and will never have happiness. While Cam always worries about his own heart, as he should, you always get the sense that even if Cam and Julian broke up, Cam would eventually be okay. Maybe not happy, but at least living a normal life. You never get that sense with Julian. If Cam leaves, Julian will never recover.

While it’s easy to love Cam, I fell HARD for Julian. He just absolutely breaks your heart. There’s a scene which takes place towards the end of the book right outside the restaurant. It’s beautifully written and practically cinematic. I could see it as if it was a movie playing in my head. While I have no problems visualizing when reading, this scene was so well done I could see and hear every moment of it. After you’ve read the book I suggest going to Ms. Roux’s website. She has a section there for playlists, and the song she chose for that climactic scene in front of the restaurant really was the perfect choice. I often disagree with an author’s choice of a particular song, but in this case it was dead on. I went back and had to re-read the scene and it just enriched the emotional impact of that moment that much more.

I have to say, this book is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Maybe it was the combination of Cam and Julian and how well they fit. Maybe it was how I fell for Cam and fell harder for Julian. Maybe it was the fantastic and seamless writing of the team of Ms. Roux and Ms. Urban, but whatever it is, this book stuck with me long after I turned the last page. This morning, a few weeks after finishing the book and after having written the bulk of this review, I picked it up again to reread parts of it just because. This book gets a full 5 stars from me and has immediately been marked as an all-time favorite.

Rating: 5 Stars