Title: Sticks & Stones | Cut & Run #2
Author: Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban
Publishing Date: January 25, 2010
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / 4.5 blissful hearts
Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty.
When they’re ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone’s sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia, hoping the peace and quiet of the mountains will give them the chance to explore the explosive attraction they’ve so far been unable to reconcile with their professional partnership.
Ty and Zane, along with Ty’s father and brother, head up into the Appalachian mountains for a nice, relaxing hike deep into the woods… where no one will hear them scream. They find themselves facing danger from all directions: unpredictable weather, the unrelenting mountains, wild animals, fellow hikers with nothing to lose, and the most terrifying challenge of all. Each other.
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Do I still love Ty and Zane in the second book? Sequels are, after all, rarely better than the first one.
Cut & Run is still the best book of the two, but I don’t love Ty & Zane any less. Quite the opposite. With each new page in each new book they both seem to grow – as individuals as well as together. It is deeply fascinating to read and watch.
In Stick & Stones we get a view into the family dynamics of the Grady bunch complete with a grandpa with a shovel and cackling laughter and a brother who has a tendency to psychoanalyze people around him. Sounds rather typical Grady, doesn’t it? I at least thought so when I read it and this book had me laughing in more places than Cut & Run had.
“Sticks and Stones may Break Your Bones …” but words will break my spirit. Or any other kind of idiom, as this particular sentence has a lot of them, but all of them fit this story. The family dynamic between Ty and his father, Earl Grady, is one where this especially will come ‘handy’ and Zane has a hard time coming to terms with their relationship.
It creates some tension between Zane and Earl, though they will have to come to terms with those when they are suddenly finding themselves stuck on the mountain hunting down poachers and treasure hunters.
However, as with the previous book, it is not only the physical threat our two protagonists have to work with. Their relationship is still new and more often than not, the only time they agree on something is when they are between (or on) the sheets. They are both alpha dogs and have a hard time finding a compromise in their daily lives. Getting to know each other on a more personal level takes more from each of them than they had imagined, though Ty is the first to come to the conclusion we readers have known for a while.
I like being able to wake up to you. I like knowing you’ll be there if I need you,” he continued, obviously uncomfortable with what he was saying but refusing to be deterred now that he’d begun. “I like being with you, Zane. And I’d like to keep that up now that you’re here,” he admitted shakily. He met Zane’s eyes determinedly. “I want you.
Stick & Stones take the relationship between Ty and Zane to the next level and shows us that we are working with two adult men who has their own flaws. Part of what we as readers love about them, I’d say. We can tell they are human and neither of them are perfect.
“Deal with it, Meow Mix,” Deuce advised
It is definitely a well worth your time read and if you are a fan of the first book, you will have to read this one, too, as we get more insight into the Grady bunch and why Ty is the way he is. However, it still does not reach the emotional level we had in the first book, which is why I am ‘only’ giving it 4.5.
It is beautifully written, but I still miss the emotional rollercoaster ride I was on in Cut & Run.