Madeleine Urban and Abigail RouxFish & Chips (Cut & Run, #3)Dreamspinner Press, December 6, 2010
Authors’ website | Goodreads | Buy book here
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 of their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, Ty and Zane 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, Ty and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own.
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Agents, FBI, Action, Cruise, Uncercover as Married Couple
Sharon’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3
Janna’s Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3
Discussed by SharonS. and Janna:
What is it about this series that appeals to you?
I think it’s the mix of action, hot alpha heroes and suspense that’s so appealing to me. Ty and Zane, the two male leads, are such complex characters as well. They are growing on me more and more with each book. I just love their raw, physical magnetism and their fierce attraction to each other. But now that their relationship starts to develop into something more emotional too, it’s getting even better.
Sharon:I think you said it best with “raw, physical magnetism”. With the first book I was drawn in by the throwing together of two alpha males and watching the fireworks both emotionally and physically. Both men have spent their whole lives living up to someone else’s expectations. M/M stories bring out vulnerability in alpha characters like nothing else. With each book we get to experience all the facets of the relationship as it slowly builds. These characters are pure genius.
Janna:I totally agree with you on the “pure genius” part. *g*
How would you compare this book to the previous two?
Janna:Well, the first two books were stronger on the suspense/thriller aspect than this third book. The investigation that Ty and Zane as FBI agents are involved in in this third book is not as focused and thrilling as it was in the other books. The development of their romantic feelings prevails here and in my opinion the suspense does suffer a bit from that. On the other hand, after two books of very slow paced romance building I was dying for the kind of tender affection and exploration of deeper emotions that we get in Fish & Chips!
Sharon:I pretty much feel the same way. It seems like the relationship needed to move forward in a certain way and a story was kind of concocted to facilitate this. The story line wasn’t very clever like the earlier two and again one of them almost dies. I mean really, how many times can an author use that one? At this point all I want to do is watch this relationship evolve. Which kind of leads us into the next question…
What did you think of the plot device used in this story? (Undercover as married gay couple)
Sharon:At first I thought I rolled my eyes when I read they would be portraying a married gay couple and would have to “act” the part, which is what they secretly want to do, it was too convenient, but the emotions the situation brought out in our guys was incredible. I will talk more about this aspect in the next question. Basically don’t let the plot device deter you from reading this one.
Janna:Agreed, I think in this situation the undercover act worked well, because it brought out something in these guys that would’ve stayed hidden for a long, long time without the ‘act’ I think. They were ready for a more public display of their feelings.
What did you think of Ty and Zane’s responses to the make believe roles they had to play?
Sharon:This is where the beauty of this book lies. Both our guys are treading so carefully around each other. Zane is certain Ty isn’t looking for anything serious and will take off on a whim so he doesn’t want to get too close, but he really wants to grab hold and possess Ty in every way possible. Ty wants nothing more than to love and be loved. He is almost like a teenager experiencing his first love. He is a little naïve and has a romantic view of love, but he thinks Zane isn’t capable of giving him that because he already found his true love once. The roles they took on in this book allowed them to act on their feelings and experience what it could be like if they would let it.
Janna:Exactly, their roles gave them the perfect alibi to act on their feelings, while otherwise they wouldn’t have considered acting that way in a million years. And I loved seeing how they enjoy the affectionate interaction and public touches and use of endearments.
This is the book where Ty declares his love to Zane. What did you think of Zane’s reaction?
Janna:Ooh, tough question, I hope my answer won’t be too spoilerish. ;) I kind of did understand Zane’s reaction, because it wasn’t out of character. And let’s not forget the tremendous fear he was experiencing at that moment... But I wouldn’t have minded a different response of course. Although I think that the words he did actually say to Ty, and his subsequent action, were almost as good as a more ‘traditional’ response, because they showed his vulnerability and his progress at the same time. It all makes me anticipate the next book (Divide & Conquer) even more, if possible. How about you, were you disappointed?
Sharon:Nope! Based on Zane’s situation with the drinking, letting go of his wife and fear of losing Ty, I think the author’s wanted to give Zane his own book for this big moment, and it is going to happen, it is just a matter of when and I can’t freaking wait! I want tears from these men!
Sharon:I think it was when Ty tore into Zane for endangering his life because of the drinking. Powerful emotions there and a turning point for Zane.
Janna:There are many moments I loved, because of their emotional impact but the moment when Zane bought a little something for Ty (a compass shaped pendant on a leather cord) and Zane realizing what he did, I thought was very romantic (even if he hasn’t given it to Ty yet).
It was bought, paid for, and wrapped up before Zane gave a thought to what he was doing. If he were feeling particularly romantic, he might have admitted he sometimes thought of Ty as his compass. But those words weren’t passing his lips. Not today, anyway. Not until he knew why he thought that. Not until it stopped scaring him.
After experiencing a moment of panic over the impulse rather than the actual purchase, Zane decided on qualifying it as a Christmas present. He could get his partner—his lover—a nice Christmas present, right? It might not be Ty’s style, but Zane didn’t care. After settling on that, all he saw as he walked back to the stateroom with the small package in his pocket was the compass rose nestled against the hollow of Ty’s throat.
The series so far:
#1 Cut & Run -> reviewed here
#2 Sticks & Stones -> reviewed here
#3 Fish & Chips -> reviewed here
#4 Divide & Conquer -> reviewed here
#5 Armed & Dangerous (expected in May 2012)
Related book:Warrior's Cross -> reviewed here