Though Crash & Burn did a really good job providing closure for Ty and Zane, it definitely left Nick and Kelly hanging. The events of that book are heavily spoiled in this one –and they will be in this review too– so if you haven’t read it (and intend to) you may want to stop here and remedy that.
Still with me? OK. Last time we saw Kelly, he was on death’s door, bleeding out from the wounds he got trying to save Ty and Zane. As this book begins, he’s alive, but in bad shape. His body is broken, and it takes a long time for it to start mending. That is what sets off the ripple effects that are the foundation of the book. It puts Kelly in the role of Doc again, pushing his romance with Nick on the back-burner and putting off some much-needed confrontation over all the lies that came to light in Crash & Burn.
Nick’s convalescence also prompts him to seek out a goodbye packet left by his old Sidewinder buddy Elias Sanchez. It’s been years since he died, but Nick hasn’t been able to bring himself to deal with the letters until now. In them, Elias tasks him with calling the Sidewinder men together again for one last adventure in his honor. So that’s what he does.
There are some things in this book that are done very, very well. Others… less so. I’ll start with what works: the concept is fantastic. We never really knew Eli, but he comes alive through flashbacks and his letters. His love for his brothers shines through in a way that’s almost tangible. His insights are uncanny, but believable, as the story drives home the real connection that exists among these men. This entire storyline hits the mark on an emotional level and gives us an engaging backdrop for the Sidewinder reunion.
Other things that work: Ty and Zane. And the kittens. And a sweeping feeling that Roux has really taken us on a journey through the lives of these men.
The romance element was a mixed bag. I love how completely Nick and Kelly love each other –and that it’s a love born out of a deep knowing of one another. It also makes sense that these two have a ton of stuff to work out, seeing as how Nick has been keeping a gigantic secret from Kelly for the entirety of their romantic relationship. But I had issues with how their conflict played out. There is a cloud that hangs over them for almost the entire book. They have it out –deal with things– only to lash out and sulk and angst over and over again. It felt like their continued conflict was forced. Like they kept blaming each other for the wrong things and piling up insecurities that just aren’t supported by what we’ve seen of them together.
I also felt kind of hit over the head with the concept of Nick as the heart of the team. How he gives and gives and gives. How he’s their lighthouse and all. I get it. I even believe it. But it was too much.
Then there is what felt like a rather pointed informational scene, defining parts of the rainbow of sexuality. It took me out of the story. I don’t need labels for how or why these guys love each other –and honestly, I don’t care about Digger’s sex life (or Owen’s, for that matter.)
Overall, I enjoyed the book. Roux is good at engaging me –and I have felt connected to many of these characters for a long time. Obviously, I had some issues, but I am glad I got to see them all ride off into the sunset.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Part & Parcel
by Abigail Roux
Release Date: December 19, 2015