Book Review: Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban’s Sticks & Stones

Posted January 28, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban’s Sticks & Stones

Sticks & Stones


Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

erotica, romantic suspense in eBook edition that was published by Dreamspinner Press on January 25, 2010 and has 315 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Cut & Run, Fish & Chips, Divide & Conquer, Armed & Dangerous, Stars & Stripes, Touch & Geaux, Ball & Chain, Shock & Awe, Cross & Crown

Second in the Cut & Run erotic thriller series revolving around Ty Grady and Zane Garrett. This one takes the boys home to Grady’s family up in the West Virginia mountains in Bluefield.

Yes, this is one of those where I’ll recommend (but not insist) you read the first in the series as there are too many references to it, Cut & Run, 1, which will give you insight as to why certain events and actions are necessary.

My Take

That cheeky Roux and Urban (Roux/Urban)! They suckered me right into that first chapter, keeping me on edge and wondering. With Zane and Ty true to form in this twist of a start. Then how that particular action sequence ends. NEVER did I (or Zane) see that one coming!? I must confess, I’m not sure if Zane’s damning phrase is meant to remind us what series we’re reading, or if it will become a rallying cry for these two guys.

I love these guys. They’re the quintessential tough action heroes, perfect for a romantic suspense story. They just happen to be gay and feeling their way …*yes, pun intended*…with each other in a personal as well as career relationship. They combine that slangy tough-guy taunting with each other with a slew of emotional questions. I don’t know if it’s the sex or the twist that catches me…? Whatever. I can tell you that Roux/Urban write a terrific story that will keep you on the edge of your seat with this pair of men who have their unique weaknesses just as the rest of us do. Yes, they’re heroes, but they’re flawed ones and doing their best to do what’s right.

Part of the fun is Ty’s reputation as being impossible to work with, and Zane is getting all sorts of sympathy.

It’s family time, huntin’ time, and couch time. Only, this couch is a dirt path.

Oh, lordy, taking your guy home to meet the parents… Without them knowing. It’s a great family filled with love for Ty and his friends. I loved the repartee around the dinner table that first night. Cracked me up! It’s definitely get-to-know-Ty day what with his interactions with his mom, dad, grandpa, and Deuce. Mom’s comments about Ty’s habit of nicknaming his friends, Deuce’s under-the-table analyses, and the overall set-up for their friendship and Ty’s family’s okay.

Roux/Urban do a nice job of teasing us as well as Ty and Zane as they question what they’re feeling for each other, what the other feels. It’s a typical romance in that neither is sure of the other and too frightened to take that step to find out. The story also gives us third-hand insight into PSTD-type issues for law enforcement personnel. It’s certainly interesting to hear about emotional handling issues from a guy’s perspective.

Roux/Urban get points taken off for not conveying why Ty is not looking forward to seeing the family he so obviously loves. It took a second time through for me to figure it out, I think. The bits in which Ty is thinking, wondering how to deal with Zane’s issues were confusing as well as they seemed to veer back and forth from how can I help to how can I get out of this relationship.

There are a few inside jokes you’ll get if you read Cut & Run. I do have to wonder where Ty’s coming from with that line “…who will I get to do my paperwork”. I laugh at it, but can’t figure out the why of it when I think about it.

We find out why Ty hates motorcycles. More sneaks about Ty’s “special missions”. Never let it be said that military training is useless in the real world. Sometimes it pays to leave the litter behind.

That whole inciting scene with Earl makes no sense. Even as I read further, it still made no sense. It’s points off on that one too. I don’t care what he says later on.

I am enjoying this series. Be warned, it is male-on-male, although there isn’t that much sex in this (not compared to other stories, *grin*). It’s action-packed with zingers and claws!

The Story

It’s an easing back into the job, as Zane and Ty play terrorist after events in Cut & Run. And it could take some time as Zane keeps failing the psych eval.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise when their boss insists the partners take another two weeks vacation, so Zane has a better chance at passing. Only Z has no idea the lengths to which Ty will go to ensure his success. A chance-met hiker on the trail simply provides the reason for later events down the trail.

The Characters

Special Agent Zane Garrett has been keeping his own secrets, like the square-dancing team.

Special Agent Beaumont Tyler “Ty” Grady, who was raised by wolves, is an ex-Force Recon Marine. Deacon is his brother, a.k.a., Deuce, a psychiatrist, and nothing is a secret between them. Mara and the huge Earl Grady are his parents. Chester is his grandpa with his never-be-without-shovel.

Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division Richard Burns is their boss. Special Agent Jason Stanford is the annoyed training instructor. Special Agent James Hathaway, a.k.a., Jimmy Mara, was the partner who got killed.

Charlie is a friend of Ty’s who’s getting discharged in three more months; no more Cubans. Ranger Dale can’t face up to Mama Grady when she gets insistent; Jerry is a fellow ranger.

Redjacket, Swizzlestick, and Earflaps are the stupid bad guys.

The Cover and Title

The cover is very simple, a white background with the title and author’s name sandwiching a compass.

The title is raw and hurtful, a taunt by Ty’s dad. Don’t ever forget that, yes, Sticks & Stones aren’t half as bad as cruel words.