I love the Cut & Run series, but I’ve heard some readers were disappointed in this installment, which made me a little worried about how it would play out. I actually enjoyed it, but I understand why those fans were dissatisfied. The series is almost over. And with just one installment left, this book focused as much on Nick O’Flaherty as it did on Ty and Zane. For readers looking for more payoff on the core romance, there are only pieces of that here and there. Instead, the story focuses on a murder-mystery plot with all the relationships in the background.
As the story begins, the men of Sidewinder are returning from six months of deployment. Ty and Zane are reunited, but their time apart has changed each of them in ways that aren’t immediately apparent. The love is still there, however, and they want to figure out their future together. In the meantime, Ty’s brother Deacon is getting married on his fiancé’s family island in Scotland. There have been threats to his daughter’s safety, so he asks Ty to come and bring some friends for back-up. That’s how Nick and Kelly come along for the ride.
Almost right away, people start dying and our men have to figure out who is responsible and why. It’s a pretty good mystery, with twists and turns that kept me surprised and engaged. But as all of this is going on, the relationships among Ty, Zane, Nick, and Kelly are evolving. It’s true that Nick is prominent, but I don’t think Abigail Roux did this to prop the Sidewinder books… at least not entirely. In my opinion, the Nick storyline is more important in how it pertains to Ty. In learning to know Nick, there is more of an impact as we learn how broken his relationship is with Ty. I feel like –through this story– I have more insight into Ty and his behaviors that have brought us to this point. We see the mistakes he has made, as well as the loyalties he has and what motivates them. It’s not really a “Nick and Kelly” subplot, so much as one that’s about Nick, himself…. a thread that connects to both Kelly and Ty. It didn’t bother me, but I can see why at this stage in the series, people could feel robbed by the minimal focus on the Ty and Zane love.
All this is not to say there is no Ty and Zane time. There is. A thread weaves throughout the book that gives a lovely payout at the end. It’s just not the fire and epic angst of books past. This is true both in and out of the bedroom. They are a team and they are in love, but there is no teeth gnashing about whether they can be together. We’re past that.
Overall, I liked the book. It didn’t captivate me the way, say, Armed & Dangerous or Stars & Stripes did. But I liked it. And while I am sad the series is about to end, I am glad Roux isn’t going to draw it out. I am ready for our boys to get the happy ending they deserve.
*ARC Provided by Riptide
Click to purchase: Amazon
Ball & Chain
by Abigail Roux
Release Date: March 17, 2014