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Monday, September 24, 2012

REVIEW: "Stars & Stripes" by Abigail Roux


Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux
(Cut & Run #6)

Male/Male Romance -- Romantic Suspense
For Ages 18+
Steam Level: Burning 

August 13, 2012 -- Riptide Publishing
Ebook, 292 pages

Rating: 4 Stars



SUMMARY

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.

MY THOUGHTS

I don't know how Abigail Roux does it, but every new book in this series makes me love Ty and Zane even more!  I have spent alot of time gushing about my obsession with this couple over the past few months and this review is not going to be any different.  Stars & Stripes is the sixth book in the Cut & Run series and readers have seen the main guys go through alot over the past five books from alcoholism to kidnappings.  While this is not my favorite of the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this installment with its depiction of a great romance and approachs to real life problems associated with two guys being in love.

After almost a year full of drama, Ty and Zane are finally in a good place with their relationship.  They both love each other and aren't afraid to admit it.  While they still have to keep their romance a secret at work (for reasons other than fear of discrimination), the comfort level between Ty and Zane is wonderful to read about.  I love all the intimate little moments that Roux gives us where the guys just sit and talk about important and non-important things.

Now that they are gaining momentum in their relationship, readers get to see Ty and Zane deal with external issues related to their love.  This book portrays both boys coming out to their families with varying results.  I really liked how these scenes were written from the showing of the fear that the guys had to the relief they felt when it was done regardless of the reactions.  I think taking the series in this direction shows that Ty and Zane are beginning to rely on each other for almost everything and really starting to think about the future.  There is even a great scene where they discuss the possibility of kids someday.  So sweet and so normal which is rare for these guys! 

The suspense plot for Stars & Stripes involves Zane's family which forces him to take Ty with him to Texas for the first time.  Readers haven't gotten to learn much about the Garretts in the first five books and it is easy to see why.  While Zane's father and sister are great and supportive, his mother is a piece of work!  I won't spoil it for future readers, but I will say that it took alot of restraint not to want to reach inside the pages and strangle her.  The fact that Zane came out of that relationship even semi-sane is a miracle that is mostly due to Ty's influence.

Anyway, Zane is forced back to Texas after his father is shot while interrupting some kind of mysterious dealings on the edge of his horse ranch.  Ty and Zane band together to figure out what is going on and to prevent anybody else from getting hurt.  Throughout the investigation, they come across a wide range of weird incidents from exotic animals to drug deals to shady dealings amongst family members.  I found quite a bit of this plotline to be a unrealistic and sometimes just out there.  It didn't alter my enjoyment of the book much, but I felt very aware of the ridiculousness of the storyline.

In conclusion, I found this book to be another entertaining installment of a great series.  I think Ty and Zane are so enjoyable that I was able to overlook the bizarre plot and just hang on for the ride.  The way that Roux depicts these two guys is unmatched and I find myself deeply caring about whether they get their ultimate happily ever after.  Plus there is some hot cowboy sex in this one!  Can't wait to read the next one!

SERIES INFORMATION

Cut & Run
1. Cut & Run
2. Sticks & Stones
3. Fish & Chips
4. Divide & Conquer
5. Armed & Dangerous
6. Stars & Stripes

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