Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Pages: 314
Date: 22/10/2013
Grade: 5+
Details: no. 3 Cut & Run
Own / Kindle

The Blurb:

“Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring—an out-and-proud married couple—on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is.

Portraying the wealthy criminals requires a particular change in attitude from Ty and Zane while dealing with the frustrating waiting game that is their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, they realize there’s more to being partners than watching each other’s backs, and when the case takes an unexpected turn and threatens Ty’s life, he and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own


When reviewing “Cut & Run” in August I wrote that one of my reasons for rating that book “only” 4.5” was that I wanted to make sure there was room for the grades of the subsequent books in the series to go up. The friends who insisted that I needed to read this series had also informed me that the books would just get better and better, so the slightly less than optimum rating seemed like a good idea at the time. And I guess it was. I did enjoy “Sticks & Stones” more than I did the first book so the grade went up to 5. And now I have finished “Fish and Chips” and wouldn’t you know it, this is my favourite book so far. That isn’t a problem of course, except that I’ve run out of higher grades. On my blog I can – and have – just added a plus to the 5 this book so clearly deserves. Unfortunately, that opportunity doesn’t exist on any of the other sites where I’ll be leaving this review. Therefore, if you’re reading this review anywhere other than on my blog, know that I actually graded this book 5+ stars.

Yes, “Fish & Chips” is most definitely my favourite title in this series so far because the undercover case Zane and Ty are sent on gives them, and the reader, the opportunity to look at and experience their relationship on a whole new level. While the two men decided at the end of “Sticks & Stones” that they wanted to stay together as lovers as well as partners their relationship has, for obvious and work-related reasons, stayed under the radar. In fact their new colleagues in Baltimore don’t expect their working relationship to last for any length of time given Ty’s reputation and the way he and Zane are constantly arguing with each other. And yet, Ty and Zane have been growing closer to each other. They may both run shy of admitting to any deeper feelings but they are at least willing to concede that they want to be together.

“He’d reached a point where Ty’s attitude and cockiness were more turn-ons than annoyances.” - Zane

So the opportunity to spend two weeks as a gay married couple – be it of the criminal variety – allows our two men to act on their attraction in public, without having to worry about who might see them and what the consequences of coming out might be. The fact that Zane has to play the part of the dominant partner while undercover – a role that usually falls to Ty in their private life – brings a whole new dynamic to their relationship; a dynamic both of them seem to enjoy more than they would have expected.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Ty and Zane story if it was all plain sailing. Ty struggles with the fact that he thinks he is in love with Zane, especially since he is sure that Zane doesn’t feel the same for him. And his doubts run deeper:

“Could he really be in love with someone he was afraid to ask about his past?” – Ty

Zane on the other hand is afraid to investigate what he might be feeling for his lover. All he knows for sure is that he is deeply afraid of losing Ty. And while his thoughts and reactions might suggest to the reader that his feelings run rather deep, Zane has no intention of investigating those feelings, never mind admit to them.

“That was the problem: Ty wasn’t his keeper – Ty was his conscience.”

It is wonderful to see how Zane, who for a very long time thought that whether he lived or died really didn’t matter to anyone, slowly comes to the realization that:

“He’d already known he’d answer to Ty, anytime, anywhere. But now Zane believed, for the first time in so long, that he had someone who truly cared about him.”

Of course this book is much more than a love story about two men slowly and carefully finding their way to each other. Being undercover on a ship, pretending to be a gay married couple may sound like fun and games – and very often is – it soon turns out that it is anything but a pleasure cruise (pun intended). Especially after several attempts are made on Ty’s life.

“No matter how many times a person almost died, it never got to the point that it was easy to shrug off.” – Ty

This book was clearly more about the relationship between Ty and Zane than the mystery they were trying to unravel. And although there were quite a few nail-biting and action filled moments in this story even those seemed to be more about the men and their feelings than anything else. I, for one, didn’t mind at all. I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to get a much better insight into Ty and Zane, while they were getting to know each other as well as themselves better.

“Sometimes Ty wished he knew what to say to help Zane, but then he reminded himself he wasn’t exactly what one could call stable, either. There was a lot of pot and kettle going on here.”

In my review of “Sticks & Stones” I worried that maybe I had been misreading the story; the way Ty and Zane were feeling about each other was the complete opposite of what I would have expected. So imagine how happily surprised I was to discover that not only had I not been wrong, Ty himself actually agrees with me:

“If he’d been a betting man he would never have picked himself from the two of them to be the sap who fell in love.”

And talking about falling in love; I guess it is time to admit that I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Ty and Zane and these books. I guess that means I should be grateful to those friends who “bullied” me into reading this book. And I am, whole-heartedly.

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