When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.
Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.
Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.
This is a book that I’m going to have to read again. Right after I reread the first book in the series, Shock & Awe. I might even wait until I play catch up with the entire Cut & Run series. I’m not saying that the Sidewinder series can’t be read and understood without reading the Cut & Run series first. I’m just saying that I think that since this is spin off series that readers that are familiar with ALL the characters will have a deeper association with them.
Cross & Crown was the perfect follow-up to Shock & Awe. Nick and Kelly are still in the ‘honeymoon’ stage of their relationship. I like the fact that they have known each other ‘forever’ and had a strong friendship before they realized how deep their feelings for each other really ran. I liked the uncertainty that Kelly felt at times that was balanced by Kelly’s certainty. It made their relationship seem more real.
There were more than a couple of twists and turns and JD was at the center of it all. By the end I almost needed a score card to figure out who was on whose side. The ‘good’ guys and the ‘bad’ guys kind of overlapped there for a while. Abi Roux is obviously very good at keeping readers on their toes. I can’t wait to see what she has in store next for Not only Nick and Kelly but all the other players involved.
I did make a decision by the time I was finished Cross & Crown though. I need to pick up more books by Abigail Roux. Not just because I wanted to see what I was missing as far as this story went. It’s mainly because I like this world that she’s created and the characters are smart, witty, fun and full of surprises. Just like I like them. 😉
You can order Cross & Crown directly from Riptide.
Cut Scene from Cross & Crown
Nick was silent as he looked out on the moonlit fields. They were peaceful now, but it seemed there were echoes of gunfire and cannon blasting, bayonets clashing, men and horses screaming in fear and pain.
“It doesn’t really matter why, or how history writes it down,” Nick said. “The only thing that matters is that every man out there believed in what he was doing. He was standing on this ground, willing to take a bullet fired by his brother, to protect something he thought was worth dying for. That country. That king. That ideal. That land back home. That flag. That man leading him. That man standing beside him.” Nick’s voice filled with emotion and he lowered his head. “The burden of death and bravery in places like this is heavy. I’ve always been able to feel it. Someone should feel it.”
Even if Kelly hadn’t already felt the power of this place, it came through clearly in Nick’s voice. It was holy ground, in its own way, bearing the gravity of the past up in what were now wild green pastures dotted with stone and tourists. The agony of it. The struggle. And Nick believed the same as those men, felt it down to his bones. Call it patriotism. Heroism. Integrity. Honor. That indefinable something that had driven so many men to die for something they felt more important than life also lived inside Nick. It had lived inside their team. And if what he believed in was threatened, he’d do the same as they had done; die defending it.
Kelly’s chest constricted as he looked at Nick’s profile in the moonlight. He had never believed that men like this still existed, not until he’d met Sidewinder.
Nick’s breath billowed in front of him in the cold. His eyes were taking in the battlefield, seeing things Kelly couldn’t see, remembering things Kelly had lived with him. Kelly swallowed hard and set one hand lightly on Nick’s shoulder. He couldn’t think of anything to say, so he didn’t speak at all.