After recovering from their forced vacation turned near death experience, Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back at work for the FBI. For their new case, the men go undercover posing as Corbin and Del Porter, two high-end thieves who the Bureau has recently quietly arrested. The FBI has determined that there is a big deal happening between the Porters and their partners aboard a cruise ship bound for the Caribbean. They now want Ty and Zane to take the Porters’ places and get information needed to bring the crime ring down. The catch is that Del and Corbin are a married couple. For the first time, Ty and Zane not only don’t have to hide their relationship, but they will be in a situation requiring them to act like men in love. And of course, as always, what appears to be a simple case turns into something much more dangerous, forcing the men to fight for their lives while dealing with the emotional impact of their job and relationship colliding.
This is the third book in the fabulous Cut & Run series, and I love that once again it takes us in a new direction and introduces different challenges than previous books. In Cut & Run, the story is primarily a police procedural as the men work to solve a serial killer case. Their relationship is just developing and we just begin to see how the two men feel about one another. In Sticks & Stones, the guys are on vacation and the book doesn’t focus much on their jobs at all, although it is still a suspense story. That one is really about learning more about Ty, his background and his family, and understanding how the personalities of the men are shaping their relationship. And here in Fish & Chips, we see yet another side. Although Ty and Zane are on a case, they are not actively investigating, but rather gathering information. So they have a lot of downtime, much to both of their dismay, and we get to see a lot more relationship development than we have in previous books.
One of most interesting aspects of the story to me is the way the undercover operation intertwines with their personal relationship. Zane is pretending to be Corbin, the dominant one in the couple and the brains behind the operation. And Ty as Del must be the eye candy – gorgeous, seductive, and not so smart. So Ty and Zane must assume these roles and carry them throughout the assignment. I loved seeing poor Ty bleached, buffed, and waxed in order to effectively play boy toy Del. And the roles force the men to take on a different dynamic than usual, with Zane as Corbin being more possessive, showing off his hot husband, and taking the lead during sex. And once again Urban and Roux don’t leave us with just that layer. We also get to see how the men struggle as their feelings for one another become stronger, each trying to figure out if his partner is showing real feelings, or still playing a role. It adds such a great dynamic as we see these men who struggle showing their emotions forced to act them out publicly, but at the same time unsure where they stand with their partner.
In Fish & Chips we really see the relationship development take a forefront. It is clear that Ty and Zane both feel even more strongly about each other than they have before. But once again it is also clear that they not each in precisely the same place with their emotions. And even though both men are getting better about trusting and sharing their feelings, they still have some trouble opening up to one another.
My only tiny criticism here would be that the ending of the investigation didn’t come together for me totally. It felt a little rushed after so long with no progress and the resolution was a bit confusing to me.
But overall this was another wonderful installment in this series that I am just loving. The authors continue to move the relationship along and each book has been fresh and interesting. I think this is especially noteworthy as I have been reading them in quick succession, not over time as they were released. Yet each book has still feels new and exciting and like it is moving things forward in their relationship. This story is a great combination of romance and suspense and the series just continues to build. I totally loved it and highly recommend Fish & Chips.