Saturday, February 28, 2015

Armed & Dangerous (Cut & Run #5) by Abigail Roux

Another great installment in the series. I can't get enough of Ty and Zane and in this one there is another couple which are simply adorable together! I'm talking about Julian and Cameron. Ty and Zane are instructed by Richard Burns to find Julian Cross and bring him ALIVE to DC. He doesn't explain why.. mainly because he doesn't want Ty getting mixed in the mess but it turns out totally different than either of them expected. 

But before I get into the plot I want to mention something - 

From this book forward Abigail have been writing the series alone, without Madeleine Urban that is. I've read somewhere that Madeleine stopped writing.. too bad :( I think that in the beginning I could feel it, the difference, I"m not really sure how, but for me, both Ty and Zane were somehow "off", I didn't really "buy" Ty's reasoning for leaving Zane the note and leaving and then when they finally met and sort of talked about it, there was something there that felt "not enough". I'm not even sure if it's because Abigail wrote it on her own or what exactly but since I've heard she was writing Ty before (and Madeleine writing Zane) maybe doing such a difficult interaction between them effected the writing of the scene. But later on it returned to being the awesomeness that this series is usually like :)

Getting back to the plot! Well, the best way to get a spook like Julian is getting a hold of his lover Cameron who is actually a "regular guy" (meaning no unusual defensive or offensive abilities ;)). After capturing and taking both of them, they are stuck with the over intelligent and creative Julian who constantly tries to escape. From his side of things - that's the only way to survive! what he knows is bound to get him killed.. and it's not that he is to blame, he just heard what he shouldn't have and now a dirty CIA agent is after him and he isn't sure Ty and Zane are there to take him to his death or just back to the service of the CIA he was finally out of - either way he isn't planning on staying.. well, until shit starts really hitting the fan and too many agents are trying to get them and Julian realizes he is better off having a backup of two armed and dangerous agents than trying to run away and protect his lover all by himself. 

From the beginning, and not only out of habit, Ty and Zane aren't acting "cuddley" with each other, they have no desire for Julian and Cameron knowing they are a couple so when they finally slip - which was HILARIOUS! when Ty barked at Zane "You totally just outed us to the criminals" it has quite an affect not only on them but the way Julian and Cameron see them. Their first reaction is shock (as Ty and Zane usually act as though they are very close to punching one another) but later on Julian comments on how hard it can be working with you partner and love when you life is always in harm's way. For Ty and Zane on the other hand it's seeing how they might/could be together and not hiding behind anything, just being together and not caring who sees them and what others might think. At the moment a few of their friends know but their families are generally out the loop.. seeing Julian and Cameron makes then realize they are READY to be out trouble is the cost might be too high for them.. 

Deuce also makes an appearance or rather Ty and Zane land on more than his doorstep when on the run. As usual it's fun getting his point of things on Ty's troubled life. I added up a few favorite quotes from this encounter. 

"What is this, your version of a camping trip?” Deuce asked Ty as he set the bat aside and moved to help with the bags they’d carried in. “We’ve run into some… trouble,” Ty said with a wince. “Run away from some trouble,” Zane corrected as he shut the door behind him. “I see,” Deuce said. He flipped on the kitchen light and turned to look them over. “I don’t see blood.”

“Where’s uh… what was her name? Yoga girl?” “Livi,” Deuce said with a smile. “She went home last night, had to feed her dog.” Ty nodded. “Best to keep her away while we’re here.” “Sure, let me just call her up and tell her I’m harboring my brother, his partner, and their two federal fugitive buddies for a few days, take herself a spa weekend. That won’t get me accused of anything nefarious.” Ty waved a hand through the air, obviously not caring.

"Dare I ask what you’ve done to deserve protective custody?” he asked Julian. “I deal antiques,” Julian answered in a soft voice. Deuce nodded, looking Julian up and down. He turned his head to look at Ty speculatively. “That’s a euphemism for ‘I kill things’, isn’t it?” Ty closed his eyes and nodded.

We’re running from the CIA,” Ty told her [Livi], not even attempting to spare her. “They’re trying to kill us.” “Well, kill him, specifically,” Zane added as he pointed at Julian. “I sell antiques,” Julian said, monotone. She narrowed her eyes, looking amongst them and then at Deuce. “Is this some sort of boys’ weekend that I’m not supposed to intrude on? Because I can totally leave before they hurt themselves trying to lie convincingly.” Deuce gave her a warm smile and shook his head. “I think the only one lying is him,” he said, pointing at Julian.

I think it was one of the best chapters in the book (Chapter 14, just so you'll know :P). It was SO funny and that's just the a small taste I HAD to include. 

After the time off Ty took from Zane he is now finally ready to be honest with Zane about his life, his past (as much as he can), it's truly important to him that Zane get to know ALL of him but with two other men around them it's quite difficult.. Yet they do have a little time off to openly speak to one another, including Ty admitting to almost getting married when he was at New Orleans.. As I already read the other books in the series (beside the last one naturally..) I KNOW there is a significance to all those details as they appear in the 7th installment "Touch and Geaux" with quite a lot of revelations... it's also the angstyest book in the series.. be warned.. 

There is FINALLY a talk about the kiss between Ty and Nick. I was really pissed off at the way they both sort of ignored the issue while not really ignoring it (Ty barely talking to Nick now and Zane isn't mentioning the whole deal) but when they are staying with Nick for a night on the run it's finally there, a conversation much needed between Nick and Zane with heart crushing revelations and a closure to that stupid annoying kiss. 

Like the two previous installments this one was also narrated by Sean Crisden, it's kinda sad that when I'm FINALLY used to Zane's voice by him (I didn't like it in the beginning) now there are no more narrated books in the series AT ALL! I have to say, with my misgivings, he did a GREAT job with all the characters, making different voices and accents to each character which made it easier to know who is talking and also gave a distinguished feel to each of them. 

One final note - If you are interested in Cameron and Julian there is an outside stand alone novel of how they got together. It's call "Warrior's Cross" and it was written a few years before this novel by both Abigail and Madeleine. In a way it makes more sense reading that one before this one so you'll KNOW them better when you read of them, but it doesn't really matter. I plan on re-reading it next month since this one is the final Audiobook available in the series so next month I have "Warrior's Cross" as well as books 6 and 7 in the series.  

Additional Details: Audiobook, 9:38 Hours, 25-27 February 2015 / On GoodReads

Originally reviewed 29/05/2013:

Loved this book!!!
First, I think that the it was "flowing" better then the previous ones. not that I didn't love them! I did! but something about this one just had me clinging to the book feeling sorry I have to go through my usual mundane life instead of sitting and consuming this book.

Now we have a real relationship between Ty and Zane. not just being scared of expressing themselves, hiding behind secrets and fears but a real honest relationship
They also get a "sniff" of another relationship from Julian and Cameron who don't have to hide their relationship from anyone, which takes me back to the 3rd book where Zane and Ty don't have to hide and see be with each other as they want to be (in a life threatening sort of a way like it always is with these two :))

Loved Julian and Cameron, I'll be reading their book when I finish this series. I'm really interested to know how it worked out between these two. so different from each other and yet it works out perfectly between them. 

The relationship between the 4 of them - Julian, Cameron,Ty and Zane was fun to read at all times. It was great seeing how similar the 3 "bit guys" are and how they learn to trust each other. and also see how much of a difference Camron with his "macho bullshit radar" has to offer these three. 

All in all an excellent book!!!

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 330 pages, 27-29 May 2013 / On GoodReads
Cut & Run is a GREAT MM Romance series written in the beginning by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban and continued from the 5th book with Abigail Roux solo. I really enjoy Ty Grady and Zane Garrett's relationship and since it's quite slow going on the built - the way the relationship was formed and established between them felt very genuine.

Ty and Zane are both FBI agents. Ty being former Marine and Zane having a lot of experience in the Under Cover field as well. They are put together against each others will (doesn't it all start this way? :)). It doesn't take more than 2 seconds for the both of them to realize they are the absolute opposite of the other and it doesn't take a genius to realize it's going to crash and burn between them... and yet they somehow do find themselves attracted to each other and moreover start to trust each other as partners. It takes them a few books to build a "real" relationship, takes them time to "come out" in front of family and friends, and yet they have to keep their romance to themselves when it comes to their work if they want to work together since the FBI doesn't partner couples (it doesn't have to do with them being gay).

I think it's a really good suspense romance as well, though the mystery part isn't the strong part of the books but the building of their relationship with every book that follows. Each book has it's own issue that needs to be resolved but there is also somehow a bigger picture with both Ty and Zane's past slowly unraveling and coming to bite them in the ass with the last three installment rapping up all the major troubles they were dealing with right from the beginning.   

We also get to meet Ty's teammates from his time as a marine. Once a Marine, always a marine, right? and there's also a spin off series of two of Ty's teammates - Nick and Kelly called Sidewinder. I've read and reviewed the first one - Shock and Awe. But sadly I don't feel the connection to the characters as I do with Ty and Zane so I won't continue reading more in the spin off.

Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban published one more book together - "Warrior's Cross". Though it was published in 2009 the "right placement" of the book in relation to the Cut & Run series is before the 5th installment since it gives a better understanding of the couple who appears in "Armed & Dangerous". Julian and Cameron's story is VERY different than the Cut & Run series. It's a sweet love story.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (Though I admit in my opinion the last two books were the weaker link, I expected more of them and got a bit too much of the new and shiny couple - Nick & Kelly).

This was and will be one of my absolute favorite MM Romance / Suspense Series. Ty and Zane, yeah, mostly Zane, are a couple I'll always carry with me. The road we went through together made them almost real in my mind and I'm really sad to say goodbye to them now that the series is over. Goodbye my friends.

1. Cut & Run (published 1 September 2008) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
2. Sticks & Stones (published 25 January 2010) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
3. Fish & Chips (published 6 December 2010) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
4. Divide & Conquer (published 14 October 2011) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5. Armed & Dangerous (published 18 May 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5.5 Dine & Dash [ free bonus scene ] (published 8 July 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★
6. Stars & Stripes (published 13 August 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
7. Touch & Geaux (published 8 April 2013) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
8. Ball & Chain (published 17 March 2014) ★ ★ ★
9. Crash & Burn (published 30 March 2015) ★ ★ ★ ¾

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