Just bear with me while I catch my breath and try to find the words I need to write this review because...Jaysus what a book.
In my review of ‘Stars & Stripes’ I said that while I liked that book and enjoyed my time with Ty and Zane it missed the WOW-factor for me because the relationship element of the story was just too smooth and – shock horror - wasn’t angsty enough. Well, in a perfect example of ‘be careful what you wish for because you might just get it’ this book made up for that lack of angst...and then some. In fact, I’m not sure ‘angst’ is the right word to describe everything that happens between Ty and Zane; all out warfare might be a better description.
Ty and Zane find themselves in New Orleans. And while this place holds happy memories for Zane, it is not somewhere Ty should be. When he was pulled out of New Orleans after spending two years there while undercover, he left a lot of unresolved issues and enemies behind. Issues and enemies that seem to know he’s back and are determined to bring him down once and for all.
And it is not just Ty’s past haunting him. Zane’s undercover past has descended on New Orleans as well and appears to match Ty’s when it comes to their need for vengeance. It soon becomes clear that Ty and Zane’s pasts are far more interwoven than Zane could ever have expected. The revelation that Ty has been keeping secrets from him for the past two years despite their, apparently strengthening, relationship crushes Zane. During the ensuing fight things are said and done that can never be taken back, leaving both investigators teetering on the edge while various groups are still out to kill them. It also becomes clear that someone is relaying information to their enemies. This may be one investigation too far for this couple; even if they manage to survive the attempts on their lives, their relationship may well be beyond repair.
This was, at times, a very hard book to read. The passages where Zane and Ty fight nearly broke my heart because it was so easy to understand both men’s point of view. The betrayal Zane felt made as much sense as Ty’s conviction that he had been doing the right thing all along. And that is the reason this particular version of angst didn’t upset me or put me off the book. I’ve read too many romances in which the issues between the two main characters seems contrived; only there because the author needed something to create tension. In this case it all made sense; not just in the context of this book but in relation to the story-line over all seven books. And while that didn’t make the whole mess any easier to read, it did get me even more involved with and attached to these two investigators.
There was one instance of coincidence in this book that went a bit too far for me. It seemed very unrealistic and I could see it coming a mile off. Having said that, it also brought me an ‘ah, isn’t that sweet’ moment in what was, otherwise, a tough and heartbreaking story, so I won’t hold it against the author.
Ty and Zane have over the past year or so joined the very small and select group of favourite fictional characters. They have become almost real in my head; I find myself dreaming about them and can easily imagine meeting them face to face. This doesn’t happen very often and I’m delighted every time I am lucky enough to stumble upon an author with the power to make their world real for me. I think it is safe to say that Abigail Roux has found a life-long fan in this reader.
My favourite quote from this book:
““Who are you Ty?” Ty smiled against his cheek. “I was an assassin”, he whispered. “I’m a marine. I’m the man who doesn’t miss. And I’m yours.” Zane bit his lip on a smile. “Who are you Zane?” Zane cocked his head. “I’m an artist. I’m a geek.” He felt Ty smile. “I’m one badass motherfucker on a motorcycle.” Ty began to laugh. Zane dipped his head until they were staring into each other’s eyes. “And I’m yours.”