Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty. When they're ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone's sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia, hoping the peace and quiet of the mountains will give them the chance to explore the explosive attraction they've so far been unable to reconcile with their professional partnership.
Ty and Zane, along with Ty's father and brother, head up into the Appalachian mountains for a nice, relaxing hike deep into the woods... where no one will hear them scream. They find themselves facing danger from all directions: unpredictable weather, the unrelenting mountains, wild animals, fellow hikers with nothing to lose, and the most terrifying challenge of all...each other.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, Cut & Run, and found the "relationship" between FBI agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett to be unique and engrossing. Sticks & Stones, as the second book, has the feel of a middle book to me. It is entertaining and easy to read, but didn't seem to have the fire that Cut & Run did. But, that being said, I still love reading about these two crazy alpha males and their growing intimacy.
I won't re-state the plot since it is pretty clearly explained in the book summary, but I will say that, in a nutshell, Ty and Zane go on a wilderness hike with Ty's father and brother and find more trouble than they bargained for. One of the best parts of this book was the introduction of Ty's family. It really gave Zane and the readers some perspective on his unique personality while still keeping him as a huge mystery man. Ty's younger brother, Deuce, was a particularly fun character to meet. It was so much fun meeting the Grady's that I can't wait to meet Zane's family and see how they shaped his personality.
In terms of the romance, I don't feel like Ty and Zane's relationship took a huge step forward in this book. I felt like it was pretty stationary, mostly due to the fact that they were dealing with more external issues than internal. But, despite this lack of growth, I still found them to hilarious and sweet at the same time. The chemistry between them is amazing and every scene is written to perfectly suit that tension.
I will admit that I found myself a bit bored by the whole "trapped in the wilderness" plotline, but it was nice to see the guys interact in a completely different environment. All in all, this was a decent middle book in what is shaping out to be a great series.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "Once you admit to yourself that you are or aren't something, then you can begin searching for the reason why," Deuce went on. "And once you've found that, you can begin to take steps toward making it better. So, tell yourself you're an asshole, stop being an asshole, your problem's solved," Deuce said in a pleased voice.
Cut & Run
1. Cut & Run
2. Sticks & Stones
3. Fish & Chips
4. Divide & Conquer
5. Armed & Dangerous
5.5. Dine & Dash
6. Stars & Stripes