After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He's not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O'Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet - after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He's very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.
Nick knows all of Kelly's quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part...or so he thought. But what should've been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other - friends and brothers in arms or something even deeper - before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.
©2013 Abigail Roux (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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"Sidewinders are off to a great start!"
It is one I would listen to again.
The hotel room!
The native Boston accent for Nick.
Shock and Awe seems to fit perfectly.
Kelly Abbott and Nick O'Flaherty have been friends, brothers, comrades in arms for over a decade. With Kelly still on the mend after being shot during the fiasco in New Orleans, Nick takes the time off to stay with his friend and help him while he heals. Kelly isn't sure if it's the pain meds, or being in such close quarters with Nick, but his perception of his friend shifts almost as soon as they get to his cabin. What starts out as mild curiosity, quickly turns into so much more and soon, they cross a line that they can never jump back over again.
I really enjoyed getting to know more about Nick and Kelly. Being secondary characters throughout the Cut & Run series as members of Ty's rag tag secret black ops team, the Sidewinders, I only got to know them in the capacity that fit into those stories. Now the focus of the story shifts to Nick and Kelly, the strong bond they already share after relying on each other in life or death situations for over a decade. So, while to some this may seem like an insta-love story, I assure you, it is not. It's been brewing for close to fifteen years.
Narrated by Brock Thompson, this is my first audio with Thompson and it did take me about twenty minutes to get used to his narration. After listening to the Cut & Run series, I got used to that specific voice for Nick and Kelly, so Thompson's was off at first. It did not take long for the story to pull me in though, and I actually think I like Nick more voiced by Thompson because he has his Boston bread accent. This wasn't the norm for the Sidewinder guys, this was a singular story about Nick and Kelly realizing a mutual attraction, talking about it, then acting on it. It was short, sexy and even a bit steamy.
I quite enjoyed this romantic reprieve and look forward to more stores for Nick and Kelly. They aren't quite as troublesome and volatile as Ty and Zane, but they might graduate to that with more time. If you are a fan of the Cut & Run books of course you'll enjoy this companion series. But if you've avoided that series due to the madness, murder and mayhem... this is slower but just as appealing as anything else Roux has written.
"SO glad it's on audio finally. Good job of it."
*So happy to be able to listen to this!!!*
**(Note - there is a file sequencing problem. Hopefully it will be fixed quickly - I reported it to audible on the release date - in early release, chapters 3&4 are actually chapters 10 & 11. I was quite confused for a moment, skipped ahead, found that chapter 5 was actually chapter 3 ... listened on with no trouble but then had to go back to 3&4 to hear the ending in proper order.)
I don't want to review this one for story or any of the usual. I came to Abigail Roux's Cut & Run series accidentally in the middle by getting my hands on an audio copy of Divide and Conquer. I didn't realize that I was listening to book 4 in a series. I was hooked from the beginning, and when I got to the end I went, "What the HELL just happened?!" And as much as I wanted to see what came next, instead I went back and bought book 1. I devoured everything that Abigail Roux (along with her early co-author) had written in a crazy short amount of time ... and listened to every book available in audio format an insane number of times. This series is what hooked me into the m/m genre and so I am in no way objective about any of the books, stories, arcs or even the author. I love it, her ... all of it.
That said, I have definite opinions about narrators and audio books in general. I have learned to overlook and forgive a lot with certain series for the sake of my affection and attachment to the material. C&R has been one of those series for me. I *hate* having multiple narrators and different voices in my head. I hate when the accents are absent, or just not right. And I hated that I could only listen to books 1-5 of a 9 book series with 3 "spin-off" books also sprinkled through the time-line. I have been wishing (and occasionally pestering the publishers) for audio books since the release of book 6.
This book is listed as Book 1 of the Sidewinder Series. As I said, I can't disentangle myself from my own experiences with these books enough to judge these books objectively. I can't decide if I think that this novella is a good stand alone or not. For me it is an offshoot of the C&R series, and I do know that in going from this book to Book 2 of the sidewinder series I was sad that I couldn't immediately listen to the C&R book that was released between the two, as events in that book colored all of the events in these. (For me) it was fine listening to these 2 books on their own, but the addition of the C&R books and events add so much texture and color to them that as soon as I have access to those, they will all be in one playlist in sequential order on a loop. :)
I was worried about the narrator, but ultimately I loved him. I am no language or accent expert, but for me he hit the tone of the varied accents just right and it added depth to the story for me. I can't wait for the rest of the Cut and Run books to be released in December so I can go on an audible orgy and listen to the whole shebang in chronological order over and over! I am interested to see what the narrator of the C&R series is like, and hope that he is as good a fit and nice a surprise as this one was.
I don't usually pay for novella length books at the price this one is set at, but for Abigail Roux I made an exception and I am not sorry at all. This is a lovely fleshing out addition to the world she created and HAS to be on the bookshelf with the rest of it. No regrets.
"Fans of Roux's Cut & Run series will no doubt love"
Fans of Roux's Cut & Run series will no doubt love this, but it's far less magical for those of us who didn't come in knowing that saga.
Um, so full disclosure here, I only ever read the first two Cut & Run books. I tapped out midway through book three and never looked back. *gasps* I know! I know! I'm sorry...I'm just not a fan of Ty and Zane. *ducks objects* (Mostly Ty.)
But from the moment I read the blurb for this story I knew I had to have it. Two badass Marine Force Recon soldiers realizing their chemistry together and falling for each other? Loads of hot sex? OH YES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
There are actually two short stories in this book - "Shock & Awe", which is about 75% and "Bait & Switch", which is the last 15-20%. Then there's a free chapter of the second book of this new series "Cross & Crown".
My largest problem with the story stems from my belief that it is written for fans of Cut & Run, with the author's belief that the readers of the story would come from that series. People, places, and situations are described with little backstory, so someone like me, who hasn't read the other series felt like I was floundering most of the time trying to play catch up and figure out what was going on. It was like a "members only" club I had somehow gotten the invite to by mistake.
"Shock & Awe"
While in New Orleans with his Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder, medic Kelly "Doc" Abbott was almost fatally killed during a shootout. Now, I don't know why he and his team were in New Orleans. I don't know what happened in the shootout. I don't know how long, except that the blurb says a month, Kelly had been recovering in New Orleans before friend, and fellow teammate, Nick O’Flaherty takes him home. I don't know because the story opens with them arriving at Kelly's cabin in Colorado and the barest background of information about what's happened or happening.
When Nick brings Kelly home to finish recuperating Kelly is also apparently still reeling from the news that Nick is gay and has been in love with other team member, Ty, for a decade. Though, at some point, Nick kissed Ty and realized he wasn't in love with him anymore? I wasn't really sure on those points either.
Whatever, anyway, Nick is helping Kelly out as he recuperates and Kelly is suddenly very curious about the whole gay thing and talks Nick into kissing him. This sparks their desires and they follow their passions. There are a lot of super hot sexy times, which I LOVED, but I did find I had to keep suspending my disbelief that Kelly, who could barely walk unaided, couldn't turn on his side without help, or climb stairs, was participating in the aforementioned super hot sexy times within hours and days of returning to his cabin.
Nevertheless, the sexy times they are a'smoking!
NOTE: For those who purchased and downloaded the Audible.com version of Shock & Awe on 11/18/2015 (and who knows how long after until it's fixed) some of the chapters are out of order. After Nick and Kelly kiss it then jumps ahead to the airport...then jumps back to Nick and Kelly at Kelly's cabin. Chapters 2 and 3 of the audio book should actually be between chapters 10 and 11. Audible is aware and working on it but I wanted to give anyone who downloaded before the fix a head's up - because it totally messed with my mind.
The story ends with Nick being redeployed with the rest of the team, sans Kelly, and Kelly's absolute devastation at not being kept together with the rest of the Sidewinders.
"Bait & Switch"
Nick shows up on Zane's doorstep (for those who haven't read any of the Cut & Run series you will be lost entirely) during a 48 hour leave with a letter from Ty, Zane's lover and partner.
Kelly meets Nick at Zane's, then they take Zane to dinner where we get a little follow up on the other Sidewinder teammates and what's happening with them now, then Kelly and Nick go to a hotel for hot sexy times, and finally, they talk about their future together.
I was a little lost, because I didn't understand how much time had passed between the ending of Shock & Awe and the beginning of Bait & Switch. Added to that misery comes my biggest problem with the narration - I was loving the character voices and narration in Shock & Awe, but when Brock Thompson gets to Bait & Switch he changes the character voices. Seriously. It was a total mind f*ck.
Here I've been listening for almost two hours to these two characters and suddenly they sound completely different! I actually spent ten minutes going back and forth between the two to make sure I wasn't losing my mind! So jarring. I didn't really get to enjoy any of Bait & Switch because I liked the character voices from Shock & Awe better and couldn't understand how no one caught that big of a mistake.
All told, between Audible's editing screw-up, trying to figure out backstory and what was happening, and the change of character voices in the narration I didn't have a great time with this. Which makes me sad. Being that this was the first story in a new series there should have been more explanation of the characters and how they got to where they were. Fans of Roux's Cut & Run series will no doubt love this, but it's far less magical for those of us who didn't come in knowing that saga.
"Engaging, Flirty, Passionate 1st of Spin-Off Serie"
To a certain extent, most definitely. I love to read a book and form my own conclusions, but yet, as I listened to the narrator, I felt he nailed the pace, tone, characters, and situation.
The blend of playfulness and passion in a friends to lovers romance.
His ability to tell a story so I forgot he was even there. (I mean that as a great compliment). He got it so right that not once was I pulled out of the story to be distracted by his narrative.
Spicy Hot Friends to Lovers Romance
The novella came with a follow-up short story, Bait & Switch that did the job of smoothing the abrupt ending and leading into what is to come after.
This is a beginning to a spin-off series, but I would strongly recommend reading it after the Cut & Run series. It falls after Touch & Geaux in that other series and refers back to situations and characters a great deal.
"I love Nick and Kelly! Not happy with narration"
I liked this book a lot and was excited to see it at Audible....The narrator was a disappointment :( He did ok on Nick but he turned Kelly into a different character to me...He made Kelly less vibrant and playful.
"Is it hot in here?"
Seeing as I gave up on the "cut and run" series three books in, I didn't know this was a spin off. You definitely don't need to read the cut and run series to read this one. Though it does help a little, I never felt lost for long while listening to this one. There's no action in this book, its mostly just them figuring out what's going on between them. It's pretty good can't wait to listen to the next and see where this relationship goes.
"Love This Series!"
Yes! Brock Thompson does a great job with differentiating between Nick and Kelly. His gravelly voice adds to the emotional scenes.
LOVE Nick and Kelly and getting to be in their head as they discover each other and what they ultimately want from each other.
The salute at the end, when they are at the airport. I won't say more but that is a moment that really got to me. Very touching moment that just cemented how close the Sidewinders are.
Nope. Name fits just right.
This is a side story to the Cut and Run series and yet it works by itself. Short, fun, sexy and heartwarming. This is a another good one from Abigail Roux.
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