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Stars & Stripes
by Abigail Roux
Series: Cut & Run #6
Sixth in the Cut & Run gay romantic suspense series and revolving around two FBI agents: Ty Grady and Zane Garrett.
In 2013, Stars and Stripes won the DABWAHA Romance Tournament for Best Romance of the Year.
It’s an odd one with most of the story taking place at Zane’s family ranch, but most everything revolves around Ty: his injuries; his cat-tastrophic fears of big, really big, kitties; his fear of horses with all its funny scenes. Scenes which challenge their sense of togetherness. Heck, with all that Ty gets into, I can’t really blame him when he says, “I hate Texas.”
“I will knock you off that glue stick.”
And Ty named his horse Elmer, hmmm…
In the end, it’s about family, the good and the bad, and on the whole, I reckon Zane and Ty have it pretty good. Okay, maybe not that good since they still have Smith & Wesson, and Zane has his own “family” issues around them.
Roux simply makes this so warm and comfy with great characters, a sly sense of humor, a welcoming family — most of ’em anyway, and snarky coworkers. There are so many scenes I fell in love with: the phone call at work that starts this off, the one where Zane feels the love when he meets Deuce heading down the stairs and shares a brotherly moment, enjoying Ty’s hug-happy ma, being made to feel like one of the family, Roux’s excellent sketch of a toddler, Harrison’s acceptance. How very lucky Ty is…and Zane right along with him.
It’s an unusual heart-to-heart for both boys as both are wanting to tell their parents about their relationship, but worrying about it at the same time, considering a long-term future. However, it doesn’t go quite as intended.
Guys, this is what women like to hear:
“‘No, I don’t have to go home with you.’
‘I can’t wait to get home with you.'”
I do have a few niggles: that flasher scene seemed superfluous unlike that dance on the beach…sigh…it was so romantic, and the comment Ty makes about “the impression that he’s been at the hospital with his family. Weren’t you there?” as a response to Beverly’s dig.
“The Marines didn’t want me, and it’s hard to find a job where you can shoot things without getting arrested.”
But the niggles are very minor, especially when I remember all the humor in it from Ty’s T-shirt: Gravity — It’s the Law; Ty’s practical suggestion about lying; the pressure points, oh LOL, it is never too early to learn; Ty’s animal magnetism, ROFL; Ty and the shooting contest…more laughing…
I can see Beverly’s point, but hey, she should’a kept popping ’em out for insurance. But that’s about the only thing I can understand. I mean, her son and his partner are both FBI AGENTS, how can Mark’s term as a Marine be more recent than Zane and Ty’s experience? How can she be so clueless? Or such a nasty, nasty woman?? She actually thinks that Ty is after Zane’s money!?? Heck, the way “Mother” is carrying on, I’m thinking she’s the mastermind! Then there’s Mark…what is his deal about Ty?
Never thought I’d say this, but the way Roux portrays Ty and Zane and their coworkers sure humanizes the FBI.
Good advice about kids!
They’re just little people. They can be charmed like anyone else. Be a little silly, let them know what they’re saying is the most important thing in the world, teach them right from wrong.”
It sure sounds like Roux is setting us up for the big reveal. She keeps talking about how much more comfortable Ty is at being demonstrative with his affections to Zane in front of strangers and how close they come to getting caught by coworkers.
Dang, the ending had me smiling and weeping, all at the same time. I can’t wait to dive into Touch & Geaux, 7.
It must be that time of year as two phone calls come out of the blue. Both boys’ families need their help. Mama’s chopped off Daddy’s finger. And someone’s shot Dad.
It’s very much family time with Grandpa Chester’s sly remarks and poachers and Mother attacking Ty.
Special Agent Zane Garrett, a.k.a., Lone Star, a.k.a., Big Iron, is good at his job and grateful for Ty’s antics — distracts him from the alcohol. He stays busy flinging out shiny things to distract the hyper Special Agent Beaumont Tyler “Ty” Grady, a.k.a., Hot Dog, a.k.a., Tytanium (for all that he’s survived), an ex-Force Recon Marine, with his beautiful singing voice and great tracking skills. Together they’re a force to reckon with, complementing each other’s skills. Nick O’Flaherty is one of Ty’s Force Recon teammates. Thank god he knows Dari!
Mara is Ty’s ma; Earl is Ty’s daddy, and Zane has his reservations about how his father treats Ty. Deacon, a.k.a., Deuce, is Ty’s little brother, a psychiatrist, with a pregnant girlfriend, Livi. Chester Grady is Ty’s grandpa, cheeky bugger!
Annie, a veterinarian, is Zane’s sister who’s married to Mark Masterson, also a former Marine; they have a little girl, Sadie. Harrison Garrett, Zane’s dad, is good people too and wicked clever to boot. Bullet is his Australian shepherd. It’s Beverly Carter-Garrett, Mother, who’s a major pain always trying to put people in their place — below her, more concerned with appearance than substance. The scary thing is, Zane is a whole lot like her. Jamie is Zane’s only cousin; Uncle Stan is Jamie’s dad. Manuel, Joe, Ronnie, and Cody are some of the hands on the plus-5,000-acre Carter Garrett ranch. I think Juanita is the cook.
Marissa works with Annie at the veterinary practice, and she’s hooked up with Cody. She and Jill Marshall want to meet Ty. Stuart is one of a group of four gay bashers who work on another ranch, Cactus Creek. Bobby runs the bar.
Fellow FBI agents include:
Special Agents Acott Alston, Michelle Clancy, Fred Perrimore, and Harry Lassiter are the boys’ coworkers. Dan McCoy is their boss and the special-agent-in-charge in Baltimore.
The cat sanctuary
Tish runs the big cat sanctuary. Hansel and Gretel are a pair of white Bengal tigers. Baihu is a white tiger. Barnum and Bailey are the orange Bengal tigers with whom Ty falls in love. Ooh, look out, Meow Mix!
Sheriff Barnes is overwhelmed.
The Cover and Title
The cover is the standard white with a tiger balloon animal gracing the page, LOL. You’ll understand when you’ve read it!
The title refers to the timing of Beverly’s annual shindig on the Fourth of July as well as the Stars and Stripes Ty saw.