Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux
Series: Cut & Run #6
Source: Personal Library
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Cut & Run Series Book 5 – Sequel to Divide & Conquer
Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have managed the impossible: a few months of peace and quiet. After nearly a year of personal and professional turmoil, they’re living together conflict-free, work is going smoothly, and they’re both happy, healthy, and home every night before dark. But anyone who knows them knows that can’t possibly last.
When an emergency call from home upsets the balance of their carefully arranged world, Ty and Zane must juggle family drama with a perplexing crime to save a helpless victim before time runs out.
From the mountains of West Virginia to a remote Texas horse ranch harboring more than just livestock and childhood memories, Ty and Zane must face their fears—and their families—to overcome an unlikely enemy and bring peace back into their newly shared world.
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It’s official: I have a new favorite book in the Cut & Run Series!
(BEWARE OF SPOILERS)
“I love you,” Ty said out of the blue, his voice almost sing-song.
Zane laughed. “You’re drunk.”
“I loved you before I was drunk.”
I’ve had a rough time trying to figure out how to write this review… Truth is – I fucking LOVED this book… Problem is – all of the things which made this particular installment of the Cut & Run Series so successful are massive spoilers, so seriously: BEWARE OF SPOILERS in this review!
First off, the majority of this book took place in Texas. Complete with countless Texas / Cowboy jokes and all that… You know who is a proud Texas native? This Chick!
Summer evenings in Texas were apparently blazing hot right up until the sun went down, when they became merely uncomfortably warm.
I was entertained by all the Texas love going on. I enjoyed Ty’s hatred of horses, and Zane’s Cowboy alter-ego leaking out… Plus all the saucy “ride ’em cowboy” references and sexy stetsons… It all came together to make Texas a character in her own right…
I especially loved the scene of Ty and Zane at the Alamo on the Fourth of July. That was a trifecta of love for me. My birthday is July 4th, and I’ve spent most of my birthdays beneath the Texas stars watching fireworks with the people I love…
It is not spoilery to tell you that there is a tiger involved (there’s a tiger on the cover after all) and I wanted to offer the highest of fives to Abigail Roux for something I’ve noticed and appreciated about her books, but never taken the time to point out… DETAILS. Awesome ones… I’m not talking about descriptions – though, those are pretty badass as well – I’m talking about attention to detail which borders on Easter Egg level.
For instance: A chunk of the story line in this book was spent searching for a Tiger. Now, remember in the beginning of the book when Ty & the rest of the FBI team was chasing the streaker in downtown Baltimore? Remember what detail (besides testicles) was prominent on that streaker? A huge TIGER TATTOO on his chest. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these details… That’s merely the first non-spoiler one I could comment on…
AND NOW FOR THE SPOLIERS!
Continue at your own risk…
The Big News:
Ty & Zane came out to their families!!!!!
Chester Grady already had my heart from Sticks & Stones with his quirky old man ways & his beloved shovel… But his behavior in this book solidified my love for him.
“All’s I’m saying is love’s a blessing, no matter all the same.” […] “What?” he asked. “Y’all didn’t know they was sweethearts?”
So he kind of forced the issue, but it was precious all the same. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how I feel about Earl Grady’s immediate violent reaction, so I’m glad Chester was there to make me smile. By the end of the book all the Gradys were welcoming Zane to the family, and Zane was finally settling into the loving family he’d never really experienced before…
Zane’s Father, Harrison Garrett:
Harrison shrugged and chewed a piece of the sweet bread Sadie had stuffed into his mouth. “Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. Gay son? That don’t cost me nothing.”
Yeah, I can’t help but picture the paterfamilias of the Garrett family as Sam Elliot… His reaction to his son’s relationship was fantastic, and he took the time to thank Ty for saving his son.
Zane’s Sister Annie:
“Zane,” Annie said with a hand on his shoulder. “Go find a state that allows it, and marry that man.”
Annie already knew that Zane was in a relationship with Ty, but it was still sweet to see how much she enjoyed seeing her brother so happy. I’ll even forgive her for giving me a heart attack for the “He’s gone.” comment when Ty was attacked.
Sure the boys had a run-in with a few roughnecks in Texas who attempted to give them shit, but Ty and Zane certainly got the last laugh with that bunch… Can’t be homophobic when you’re dead… And as for the rest of them: have fun being a hateful bastard while you’re in prison!
Also, allow me to profess my undying hatred of Zane’s mother…
On Big Cats:
Meow-Mix finally makes a friend.
“He’s goddamn petting the tiger.”
Poor Ty had some bad luck with big cats who want to eat him, so it was nice to see him make friends with the tigers at the animal sanctuary. That damn tiger saved his life more than once! And while I was sad to see Smith and Wesson gone when Ty & Zane returned to Baltimore, it was more than adorable to hear that Zane had “adopted” the tigers so they could continue being happy and healthy.
In Other News:
Ty & Zane are precious in this book.
They’re tender with each other, and verbal about the depth of their love. Coming out was a circular thing for their relationship – they came out to their families because they wanted their partner to be recognized as an important part of their lives… But coming out also brought them closer together. They took the risk and it paid off.
Now we’re talking about marriage and kids and all the things that warm my uterus to think about…
For the first time, they were actually discussing their future in concrete terms. They’d both known, on some level, that they intended to spend the rest of their lives together. It felt like a solid force now, though, something as real as the hands that pressed into his back or the lips that met his over and over as they made love.
I want the best for Ty and Zane… I’m hopelessly enthralled with watching their story unfold. I can’t wait for more!