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Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux: Fish & Chips

Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux--Cut & Run Book 3 - Fish & ChipsThat strange distance and anxiety is still with me. When I first started reading this, book three, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to say that by the end. An opportunity drops in the Feds’ laps at the very last minute and they have to put a team on it ASAP. Enter Ty and Zane. They caught one-third of an antiques fencing ring and need the boys to pose as them for the meeting the were to be attending. When it came up that the meeting was going to be on a cruise and the boys would be playing Corbin and Del Porter, I sniffed a bit of camp in the air. But when it came up that rather than being brothers, the Porters were a very out, legally married, gay couple, I gagged at the idea of gross caricatures of gay men that were replete with stereotypes. That probably says more about me than the writers, especially since they’ve been relatively decent so far, but I lack trust in most things and I need constant reassurance that things are on the up and up.

The odds were stacked against them from the beginning and I hope the Feds don’t actually jump on cases like that. Last minute means practically no time for preparation. And if an undercover case ever needed one, this would certainly be it. It was a circus of agendas and emotions. It’s to be expected that they’d have look over their shoulders and perhaps run for their lives, but when you consider that none of their missions have ever gone to plan, you realize that’s all they’re ever doing. And man, it it great!

In the middle of the double crossing and double agents on the high seas, Ty and Zane are still trying to figure things out, but having to act as a gay couple blurs the lines of their complicated relationship. And all of that’s making somethings strikingly apparent to them while still leaving others to question. The boys are still a mess, but significant progress has been made and it is painfully good. At one point, I was so speechless, I just had to stop reading. I had to sit with the scene for a bit before I could go on.

As I write this, the strange feeling is becoming less so. I have been reading so many 123-they’re-in-love stories that I have somehow forgotten that it doesn’t have to be that way. I haven’t actually forgotten, because those are the kind of stories that I write. But it’s been a really long time since I read someone else’s story and felt this–this sweet pain, this lovely melancholy–over the absence and presence of love. I’ve definitely read some really good stories, but this particular feeling hasn’t been felt since the first time I read Miyamoto Kano’s Hydra/Rules series.

I am so glad that the story did not live up to my fears. Book four is next, of course, and I’m not wasting any time starting it. By the time this posts, I’ll probably be at least a quarter of the way through.

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