I don’t think I’ve ever started a review quoting the dedication at the start of the book, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do this time, just because the dedication is absolutely wonderful:
“For all of those who keep going, even when they can’t see the light.”
And while this is a wonderful sentiment in and off itself, it is even better, more meaningful, after you’ve read the book. In fact, looking at the dedication again now, makes me shudder, just because of its beauty.
It must be clear to anyone following my reviews that I have utterly fallen in love with Ty and Zane and the books they occupy. It has happened before, and I’m sure it will happen again but still, I’m always a bit surprised when characters in a book become so real to me that I start thinking about them even when I’m not reading. It does make for a more than wonderful reading experience though.
Ty and Zane once again find themselves in the middle of violence and turmoil in this book. With bombs going off all over Baltimore and no clues as to who is responsible or why they are doing it and the public getting ever more scared and distrustful of the authorities that are supposed to be keeping them safe, the city is on a knives-edge as are Ty and Zane and their colleagues.
Things don’t improve when Ty manages to turn himself and Zane into specific targets when he directly addresses the unknown perpetrator during a television interview. It isn’t long before Zane feels the consequences of Ty’s public outburst in a terrifying way, resulting in a situation which forces the two men closer yet again.
And Ty and Zane are growing ever closer, even if Zane still isn’t ready to admit to his feelings for the man who is so much more than his partner. Zane might not be ready to admit to love yet, he does know he’s grown to depend on Ty and the love he has for Zane:
“Zane craved this. He needed it, like he needed air.”
And the connection between them is so much more than just physical:
“Zane shuddered as it occurred to him that it really didn’t seem like just sex anymore. It was more, more passionate, more emotional, more energizing, more draining… at that moment, he wasn’t sure it had ever been just sex between them.”
The reader and Ty may have been sure that Zane has deep feelings for Ty for a long time by now, when Zane at last catches up my heartfelt emotion was: about bloody time too! (I told you I was getting emotionally invested in these characters):
“He loved Ty Grady with all there was to give of his heart, and in the end, all it had taken was one wink for Zane to finally come to terms with it.”
Of course things are never simple for our two agents. Zane may have realized exactly what he feels for Ty, actually using the words “I love you”, opening up to Ty and admitting to his feelings takes a whole lot longer. And just when you think the relationship between the two men might be entering an easier phase, there is Nick, a close friend and former Marine colleague of Ty to throw a spanner in the works and create a host of doubts in both of them but especially Ty.
In these books the romance is more tension filled than the actual thriller part of the story. I find myself worrying about Zane and Ty’s relationship far more than I do about their safety, no matter how dangerous the situation they find themselves in. But once they get past the angst and arrive at that place the reader has been longing to see them in for over 1000 pages, oh boy is it beautiful. All the feelings; in the book and in me…
“The first time I saw you, after I got over hating you, I knew… I knew we’d die together.” – Ty
“First time I saw you, after I got over hating you, I knew (…), I knew I’d fall in love with you.” – Zane
What makes these stories extra special is the tenderness between Ty and Zane when they are together, the way they wrap themselves around each other when they go to sleep, their need to touch each other even when it has to be secretive because there are others around that really gets to me.
The way this book ends, is just not fair. In fact, I’m raging. Especially since I’ve been informed (by those who know about these things as well as the authors) that I have to read a book called “Warrior’s Cross” before I start on “Armed and Dangerous”; the book that will probably put an end to my misery. The authors clearly have a bit of a sadistic streak, ending the book the way they did in the full knowledge that they were going to steer their readers away from the “Cut & Run” series before allowing them to see what will happen after those final two lines in “Divide & Conquer”. I can’t quite decide whether I admire or hate them for what they did to me here.
I’ll end this review with my favourite quote from this series so far:
“Ty took his hand and pulled at him. “Come dance with me Zane”, he requested quietly”… “It was possibly one of the most erotic, most loving things Ty had ever done for him”.
Be quiet my heart, be quiet…