Author: Abigail Roux
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 321 Pages
At a Glance: I recommend this book to all the hardcore fans of these men.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.
Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.
Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.
Review: Whew! This book is an emotional ride through the Sidewinder universe. I really enjoyed getting to know Eli Sanchez, a man who died early in this series but whose influence has always been present. Eli’s death had deep and long lasting repercussions on the entire team, and this book ties up all the loose ends, opening old wounds to let them heal. Eli’s last wish for the team is a cathartic trip down memory lane, a trip all the members of the team desperately needed to take. Eli’s journey takes them literally back to where they all met, and brings them forward into present day. It’s a take on the old adage, sometimes you have to go backwards to be able to go forwards. This book is about that journey—it is about forgiveness, enduring friendship, and love.
Sidewinder is in a bad way after the events revealed in Crash & Burn. They all have new hurts to shoulder but none more than Nick and Kelly. Sometimes it takes a while for the heart to catch up to what the head knows, and even though Kelly knows why Nick lied, his heart is still stuck somewhere back in that mess. Nick is mired in guilt for his actions, as necessary as his secrets were, and he can’t forgive himself for the harm he has done to Kelly and the team. How can he earn or even ask for anyone else’s forgiveness when he cannot forgive himself? Kelly thinks he has forgiven Nick, but it’s hard to totally forgive when the man you love refuses to acknowledge that at the height of his lies, he asked you to marry him and now ignores the fact that he did. Nick and Kelly desperately need some steady footing, and that’s what Eli’s emotional journey is destined to provide them.
The letters Eli leaves have the team opening up to one another in ways they didn’t even realize they needed, sharing stories. Sharing their combined secrets from each individual man’s point of view strengthens the already tight bonds the team holds. There are lighthearted touches along the way, such as Ty’s kittens that keep you entertained, and the writing moves quickly from one thing to the next so you don’t get bogged down with emotion. The book is well written as all the Sidewinder/Cut & Run books are. I have to admit I miss the action, though. These men are made to blow things up, and the bit at the end, with Ty and Zane getting back to their old antics, made me laugh.
I also have to admit that all the emotions got to be a bit too much. At one point I was throwing my hands in the air, yelling at my Kindle to just let the poor men be happy for once instead of their being one more sore they had to emotionally lance. In the end, though, we get our HEA for the entire Sidewinder team, not just Nick and Kelly, and that makes it all worth the trip from heartbreaking to heartwarming. I really think this book was necessary for the series, as there were so many loose ends and questions left over from previous books that Abigail Roux needed to clean up, and the premise of Eli’s letters was a clever plot choice that allowed her to say what she needed to about each character within a framework of the entire team.
Of course, the book had to ultimately be about Nick and Kelly because so much of the Sidewinder storyline is based on Nick’s lies and choices—it would be his personal life that took the hardest hit—and his romance would be the hardest to save. In the end, if this is the last Sidewinder story, then I am satisfied. If it isn’t, Abigail Roux has created a clean slate for whatever she writes in the future, having successfully closed out the complicated plotlines she began in Shock & Awe. I recommend this book to all the hardcore fans of these men. If you haven’t read any of the books in the series yet, you will be totally lost. But for the rest of us avid followers, it is a great period put on the end of a long, complicated and excellent story.
You can buy Part & Parcel here: