Reviewed by JenWhen I finished Cut & Run, I had real concerns about how where this series would go. Both the male leads were so damaged, I couldn't see how they could ever really get over their issues in a believable way. But in this book, I got my answer: they'll do it slowly, and with the unwavering support of each other.
It's only been a few weeks since Ty and Zane were reunited and neither has been cleared to return to the field. Their psych evaluations aren't where they need to be. So their boss sends them on vacation to get their heads on straight. With a bit of prodding, they set off to West Virginia to visit Ty's family. Once they arrive, they quickly embark on a hiking trip with Ty's dad and his brother, Deuce.
Of course, there is danger on the mountain. You know there's trouble ahead as soon as we hear that phone towers are down and they'll be cut off. It may be a new setting, but Ty and Zane can get into just as much trouble in the backwoods as they can in the city. They get their asses kicked again, from grenade attacks, pistol whippings, traditional butt-kicking and even a cougar mauling. And their bodies manage to keep going.
But the real meat of the story isn't in the action. It's in sorting through all the emotional baggage. Deuce is a shrink and his observations help Ty and Zane discover hidden truths about themselves and their relationship. We finally get a glimpse inside Ty --and it's obvious that this may be the first time he's ever examined his own feelings as well. For all his strengths, we see how truly fragile he is. And frankly, my heart is starting to hurt... wanting these two to make it.
There's not as much sex in this installment as in the last book, but there was one scene in the woods that made a lasting impression. Let's just say, I ended that chapter feeling a bit flushed.
So... the guys are still really screwed up. But I have hope for their future. Good stuff. 4 1/2 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Sticks & Stonesby Madeleine Urban and Abigail RouxRelease Date: January 25, 2010Publisher: Dreamspinner Press