03 August 2014

Abigail Roux Spotlight!

 After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet—after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.

Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part . . . or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address.

Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other—friends and brothers in arms, or something even deeper?—before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

This is my first book by Abigail Roux and while it was obvious that this book was a spin-off from her Cut & Run series (I had to look it up) because of the shared history between Nick and Kelly, I didn’t feel like I needed to read the other series first in order to enjoy this book. As this is a novella and the first installment in the Sidewinder series, which looks as though it will focus on Nick and Kelly, this was a nice introduction to the characters – especially for readers like myself who have no prior exposure to them.

In Shock & Awe, Kelly is returning home to recover from a near fatal injury and Nick has stepped up to play nurse as the bullet was meant for him. Whether it be the pain meds, the near death experience, a bit of alcohol, or the care and concern Nick is showing him, Kelly finds himself drawn to Nick and considering things he never has before. Kelly is straight, but Nick is not and Kelly is finding himself curious as to what it would be like to be with Nick. After he admits his curiosity and convinces Nick to kiss him, Kelly finds himself even more curious as to how a relationship between the two would work. But due to Kelly’s injuries, Nick is adamant about not pursuing anything as he doesn’t want to hurt Kelly nor does he want to risk their friendship. As Kelly wears down Nick’s defenses in one sexy scene after another, the reader is treated to ever increasing levels of hot man-on-man action – good grief, who knew how hot just kissing could be? And although Kelly doesn’t get all of his carnal questions answered before Nick gets recalled to active duty, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t panting by the end of the book – I will never look at a wall the same way again.

Shock & Awe is an excellent beginning for the Sidewinders series and I am looking forward to starting Cross & Crown shortly. I cannot wait to delve further into the developing relationship between Nick and Kelly and my fingers are crossed that Kelly gets his answers sooner rather than later (for purely selfish voyeuristic reasons). I quite enjoyed Ms. Roux’s style of writing and have added her Cut & Run series to my wish list so that I can get to know all of the characters better.

And make sure you read the short story Bait & Switch that’s at the end of Shock & Awe. I almost missed reading it because it starts off with Zane, so at first I thought it was from the Cut & Run series. It wasn’t until I added that series to my wish list that I realized it wasn’t. It is a tidbit more of Kelly and Nick and trust me, you won’t want to miss it. 
 When Nick O'Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.

Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.

Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

There seems to be quite a bit of jump in time between Shock & Awe and Cross & Crown – perhaps a book or two from the Cut & Run series – but again, Ms. Roux provides enough information via the characters’ thoughts and conversations that I didn’t feel as though I was missing parts of the story. We learn quickly that although Nick and Kelly are pursuing a relationship, they are doing so long distance and in this installment, Kelly has come to visit Nick in Boston.

At Kelly’s insistence, Nick did not take vacation time for Kelly’s visit and, as luck would have it, a major case lands on Nick’s desk the morning of Kelly’s arrival. As I have not read the Cut & Run series, my familiarity with the characters is based strictly upon Shock & Awe­, so I was unaware that Nick was a police detective, but his effectiveness was apparent when his boss agreed to let him hire an outside consultant for the case, thus enabling Kelly to work with him and assist in the investigation. What follows is an action-packed, history-rich treasure hunt as Nick and Kelly try to help an amnesiac regain his memory, find a murderer, rescue a kidnap victim, avoid being killed, and decide what to do about their relationship. All while trying to spend some quality time together for the physical aspects of their relationship … those men weren’t the only ones in need of a cold shower.

While I enjoyed Shock & Awe, the novella served as an introduction to Nick and Kelly, their newly formed relationship, and the Sidewinder series. As such, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Cross & Crown when I picked it up, but I was not the least bit disappointed in the story. Ms. Roux has created such rich characters in Nick and Kelly and I cannot wait until the next book in the series to see how their relationship continues to develop and where they go from here.


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