ball and chainRating: 5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Team Sidewinder has just returned from their unexpected deployment and are trying settle back in to their relationships and their lives.  But before Ty and Zane get too comfortable, Ty gets a surprising call from his brother Deuce. It turns out Deuce and Livi are getting married the following week on a remote island off the coast of Scotland that her family owns.  Deuce wants Ty to be the best man, of course, but he also has another request. It turns out there are some security threats to the wedding and to his father-in-law to be’s company, and Deuce asks Ty to bring along one of his military buddies for extra security.  So Ty and Zane, along with Nick and Kelly, head off to Scotland.

The guys hope this might be a relaxing vacation, but with Ty and Zane’s track record they are not too confident. And as it turns out, their fears are well founded as shortly after they arrive, a dead body is found.  With a storm cutting off cell service and all the boats lost or destroyed, there is no way to contact the mainland or get off the island until the ferry returns later in the week. So in the meantime, the guys have no choice but to lead an investigation themselves. Between the wedding guests, the staff, and the hired security, it is impossible to know who to trust, and as the bodies pile up the mystery becomes more complex and the threats more terrifying.  Everyone is trapped and unless they can figure out who is killing people and why, all their lives are at risk.

Ok, so I will say right now that this is one of my favorite books so far in the fabulous Cut & Run series.  It has a wonderful mystery, great relationship development, and lots of heat mixed with great sweetness.

First off, the mystery is just fabulous here.  It is twisty and complex, with an old style, gothic, dark and stormy night kind of feel to it.  Everyone is trapped in this creepy mansion in the storm, they have no power, no way to communicate with the outside world, bodies keep piling up, and no one knows who to trust.  Add to that, and just about all our series regulars are here: Ty and Zane, Nick and Kelly, Ty’s family (including his grandpa, who steals a few scenes along the way), Deuce, Livi, and baby Amelia, and even Dick Burns who is a wedding guest.  The mystery is so clever and exciting, we never really know who to trust and who to fear, and no one is ever safe.  It is just wonderfully done and completely engrossing.

In addition to the mystery, we have a lot going on for our four heroes.  Ty and Zane are as hot as ever, reconnecting after their long absence.  The men are continuing to move forward in their relationship and are wonderful together as always.  The other main focal point is Ty and Nick’s relationship.  Both men are still struggling to settle back in after their deployment. It was clearly hard on both of them, and Nick in particular is struggling with PTSD and never quite on an even keel throughout the book.  He and Kelly are still keeping their relationship quiet, worried about telling Ty over the wedding when they figure the news will freak him out. But things are also tense between Nick and Ty, as Nick has been harboring a lot of anger at Ty and feelings of betrayal that all come to a head as things heat up during the investigation.  Although this is mostly Ty and Zane’s story, I really enjoyed seeing them interact with Nick and Kelly and to see them deal with Ty and Nick’s relationship issues as well.

This book hit the perfect tone for me after the intensity of Touch & Geaux.  The story has a really well developed mystery, but it is not nearly as angsty or complicated as the previous book and for me that was welcome. (I will say I did wish I had read Touch & Geaux more recently as there are some references to events there that I couldn’t remember and that aren’t clarified here.)  So with Ball & Chain we get a great, old fashioned mystery with many twists and thrills, wonderful character and relationship development, and lots of heat combined with sweet romance. Definitely a hit for me.

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