Thoughts on: Cut & Run (Cut & Run, #1) and Sticks & Stones (Cut & Run, #2)
By: Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Genre: M-M Romance
To be perfectly blunt, the first time I read Cut & Run, I wasn’t impressed. While the story included a mostly interesting murder-mystery (it baffled me how the main characters trusted the killer so easily without knowing him), the guys, both FBI Special Agents, never grew on me. I felt like Ty Grady was too caustic and abrasive toward his partner Zane Garrett. I didn’t buy that Ty was gay, and Zane had so many issues that they seemed insurmountable. The book was filled with angst and drama, and while the first sex scene was hot, it didn’t resonate with me.
After reading the Hell & High Water series and falling in love with Prophet Drews and Tom Boudreaux, I decided to give the Cut & Run series another try. Several of my friends on Goodreads had positive things to say about the series and were actually comparing the two couples.
The second read through went better for me. I don’t know if I picked up on the little clues more or was just more in tune with the authors, but I found myself liking Ty and Zane and pulling for them to get together in more than just a work capacity (and more than in a friends-with-benefits type set-up). I laughed at Ty’s wit and all his nicknames. I enjoyed how Zane grew to be able to read Ty, despite Ty not sharing anything personal about himself. They ending wasn’t as happy as I like my romances, but it fit within the context of the story. Plus, I knew there was more to come.
I was happier with the story after the second read. I improved my rating to 3.5 out of 5 stars. One of those, “liked it, but didn’t love it” deals.
Sticks & Stones was a definite improvement for me. I had a hard time putting my Kindle down. The guys are definitely growing, and in this story, we get a lot of insight into what makes Ty tick. The read itself is action-packed, with all sorts of unexpected things happening in the mountains of West Virginia. Ty’s brother – Deacon, aka Deuce – is a nice addition, and I enjoyed reading his perceptions of the men. While the “L” word hasn’t been exchanged between the two guys, they are getting close. Unfortunately, they still doubt each other and have trouble communicating. They are improving, though, I will give them that. I really appreciated the tender moments in this story. I felt like Zane did his best to read his partner and to give him the space he needed while still showing his caring and concern. Personally, I think the snuggling scenes were the best!!
After reading this story, I’m all about Ty and Zane (although Prophet and Tom still have the upper hand). I’m definitely excited to start the next installment, Fish & Chips. For this read: 4 out of 5 stars