Earlier this week I read and reviewed ‘Touch & Geaux’ - a story that managed to break my heart not once but twice - so I definitely was in the market for something a bit lighter. Thankfully, ‘Shock & Awe’ delivered just that; a more or less angst-free, sweet, sexy and very funny story.
‘Shock & Awe’ is the novella that kick starts the ‘Sidewinder’ series which is a ‘Cut & Run’ spin-off and concentrates, if this story is anything to go by, on Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott.
Kelly is recuperating after the near fatal gunshot in ‘Touch & Geaux’ and isn’t surprised when his friend Nick volunteers to stay by his side until he’s able to look after himself again.
When Kelly expresses his curiosity about kissing a man Nick isn’t too worried about satisfying it for him. Neither man is quite prepared for the way they react to what should have been an innocent kiss though.
With Kelly still in serious pain and on painkillers the two men can only take their experimentation so far, regardless of Kelly’s insistence that he wants to experience it all.
And both men have to consider what this new direction might mean for their longstanding friendship. Are they risking their close bond on a drug-fuelled whim, or is there more to Kelly’s desire and Nick’s reaction to it?
I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. It was nice to read a romance in which the story wasn’t about two characters getting to know each other; Kelly and Nick have known each other for years and don’t have secrets. This book is about two men dealing with the changing dynamic between them, and their reaction to the new feelings they’re developing for each other.
For me the best part of the story was probably the banter between Kelly and Nick; it kept a huge grin on my face almost from start to finish and started early on when Nick has to help Kelly to his bed so he can rest:
“Bet you never worked this hard to bet a guy in bed, have you?” – Kelly
Nick’s answer when Kelly asks him about his sexual preferences was priceless:
“I consider myself equal opportunity.” – Nick
The romantic and sexy exchanges were at least as good as the humorous ones and at times managed to take my breath away.
“He moaned again, and the sound travelled through his body, awakening the rest of him to the moment, to the scent of guns instead of roses, the brush of leather instead of lace.” – Kelly’s first kiss
And then there was the one line that actually had me laughing out loud:
“Oh, look at the pothead calling the kettle names.” – Nick
Just when I was about to get really upset that the story ended at only 77% into the book and, more importantly, before Kelly has a chance to fully experience sex with Nick, I discovered something I wasn’t expecting; an extra story called ‘Bait & Switch’. I liked that we got a quick glimpse of Zane in this story but loved that we finally got to see Nick and Kelly going all the way as well as committing to each other.
I was well and truly hooked on Abigail Roux’s books before I started this novella. I was also more than a little bit in love with Ty and Zane, something which hasn’t changed. I guess I’ll have to add Nick and Kelly to my (rather short) list of book-boyfriends now. I’m going to enjoy spending more time with them while watching how their relationship develops.