Saturday, February 14, 2015

Divide & Conquer (Cut & Run #4) by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

Another great installment in the series, as usual with a lot of action, injuries and heart ache, emotional roller coaster when it comes to the boys and how much they are BAD at telling each other how much they mean to each other, well, since Ty already confessed to loving Zane, I guess it's mostly Ty trying NOT to say what is so hard for Zane to deal with and Zane struggling with his feelings for Ty, not knowing if he is capable of saying the words he realizes are already there for a while now even if he hadn't said them to himself before. 

This book starts with a series of bombing and bank robberies in the city the police and bureau are unable to stop or predict since the villains uses the "Divide and Conquer" technique having a bombing in one side of the city while a bank robbery happens in a totally different location. The locals who want results not excuses are thoroughly angered with their lack of safety start to turn against the armed forces as well. Ty and Zane get thrown in the middle of the mix when after they jump to help with a possible bomb, Ty angrily growls to the TV reporters "They are coming for HIM" (meaning the master mind behind it). Pierce - our main Villain - sees this act as a personal "insult" trying his best to target Ty and Zane specifically and actually succeeding in hurting Zane pretty badly.

Zane and the way he was injured was truly heart crushing. It was also the first time when Ty could really be there and STAY there for Zane, showing real support, yet it was difficult for both of them being unable to DO anything since Zane couldn't work and Ty was "grounded" by his superior (for being a target), so staying home and guarding Zane made sense yet it doesn't made it any easier on any of them. 

Amusement was hard to come by for both of them until Ty's recon team - Sidewinder - comes on a visit for one weekend. The whole group getting together was something Ty needed - a little time off - yet as he blurts out the fact that he is bi and is sleeping with Zane makes a hell of reaction on some of the guys, not exactly what he expected (for better or worse). I was quite mad at Ty at what he did but also what he told them about Zane afterward. He gave Zane a lot less credit than he deserved and since it's obvious his friends will take any new addition to Ty's trusted circle with caution I think it was a shit move even if they are his close friends. I'm also quite mad that Zane said nothing at a certain point where Ty confessed to him about the outing yet I do recall there is a reference to that later on in the books. 

Ty has a major crush down when he loses his precious bronco. It was so emotional I actually really felt bad for him. Even if it's quite ridiculous when you think about it.. it's only a car, right? or maybe it's me being a girl not getting why guys get attached to still objects ;) 

This book has a major step for Zane and Ty, not only because Zane FINALLY says the words to Ty, but because of their ordeal together when Zane gets hurt and later on when Ty admits to his best friends about his relationship with Zane, not beating around the bush and actually telling them he loves Zane. This is a major step for both of them I guess. Something SO long awaited, yet there are still miles to go, since they are still in the closet even when it comes to their families. 

Unlike the previous books that ended in a very positive note, the ending of this one was crushing (literally and figuratively), It's quite a cliff hanger which I found a bit disappointing.. I don't like books ending this way.. (even if I own the next one and can start right away..)

In the scene were Zane FINALLY says the words - Ty asks if it was THAT hard to say - I totally got Zane when he admitted it WAS. I remember in a relationship I had, something like an eon ago this moment when we were curled up in one another, taking a nap, and me desperately trying to say words that never felt as real as they felt then. I actually WANTED to say the words, truly did, but all I could do was open my mouth like a fish with no sound coming out. It took me more than half an hour, maybe even more to hoarsely breath the words out (knowing my boyfriend was fast asleep DID help). What I DIDN'T expect was his sleepy reply of "I love you too". DAMN I was SURE he was asleep..    

Chronologically after this book there is a side book called "Warrior's Cross" telling us of Julian and Cameron - a gay couple Ty and Zane encounter on the 5th installment. There is no necessity in reading this book at all but it DOES give the story behind these two. I'm planning on reading it AFTER the I re-listen to the 5th installment since there is no audiobook version to any more books in the series and since I have a full reading list this month there is no way I could squeeze it in before.. 

This is the last book in the series written by Abigail and Madeleine together. From the fifth book on, Abigail is writing the series all by herself. I don't really know what happened but I remember I read somewhere that Madeleine had to stop writing for some reason. 

As with the previous installment this book was narrated by Sean Crisden. Though it took me time to get used to his voice (since the first two installments were narrated by someone else) I guess I'm pretty used to him now and really appreciate the great work he does with the side characters and their different voices yet I STILL don't really like how he narrated Zane's voice and since I'm totally "Team Zane" hearing him like I would have wanted him to sound is quite important to me. But well, there is only one more book narrated AT ALL so from the 6th book on I can hear him in my head how I want him to sound ;)

Additional Details: Audiobook, 8:58 Hours, 11-14 February 2015 / On GoodReads

Originally reviewed 27/05/2013:

loved this book! Ty is dealing pretty amazing with everything that's going around (no spoiler here :-)) and Zane really tries, I mean, I get him totally. I could see myself in his situation opening and closing my mouth with no sound coming out, and just thinking about it gets me all dizzy and shaken. Up until now this it THE book they work on a real relationship and with difficulties of being a couple and outing themselves yes/no

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 320 pages, 25-27 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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