Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring-an out-and-proud married couple-on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is.
Portraying the wealthy criminals requires a particular change in attitude from Ty and Zane while dealing with the frustrating waiting game that is their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, they realize there’s more to being partners than watching each other’s backs, and when the case takes an unexpected turn and threatens Ty’s life, he and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own.
Ty and Zane have become it for me. The couple I will compare all other couples to in terms of what emotions they’re able to wring out of you. I cannot remember the last time I read a series where I had so many feelings. I’m not the type to just cry at the drop of a hat, but Roux and Urban have had me on the brink a dozen times throughout the series, with seemingly little effort.
At the start of Fish & Chips, Ty and Zane are in a relatively stable place in their relationship. They’re back on the field and they’re only struck with the urge to strangle one another every once in a while. Things are going pretty well. Sure, Ty is trying his best not to reveal how deep his feelings for his partner go, but beyond that everything’s just peachy. And then they get their next assignment: to impersonate happily married couple Del and Corbin Porter. I know some people found this bit of the story line to be a little on the cheesy side, but I honestly didn’t mind. I liked that Ty and Zane were given an opportunity to act like a couple-a real couple-without fear of the consequences or what other people would think. Anyway, Ty and Zane reluctantly accept the assignment and realise that along with some cosmetic changes, they’re each going to have to undergo a little bit of a personality transplant. Del, the man Ty will be impersonating, is a little on the submissive side while Corbin is an aggressive creep. When I first read this, I wasn’t convinced. Ty the submissive? Not going to happen. But not only did it happen, Ty’s submissive act was explosively hot.
This case has an affect on more than just Ty and Zane’s sex life. It changes how they treat each other. Slowly but surely, they’re getting more comfortable with the little things that before now they had avoided. Casual touching, being able to watch each other without it being thought of as weird, holding hands in public… All the things most couples would take for granted. In addition to the physical aspects, Ty and Zane also begin opening up to one another a little bit more. I think that aspect of it was my favourite part of this book. In Cut & Run and Sticks & Stones, Ty and Zane have proved that they are utterly at ease with the physical aspect of their relationship; it’s the emotional side that they struggle with. In Fish & Chips you see them taking little baby steps towards being honest with each other about how they feel.
This is my favourite scene from Fish & Chips. Every time I read it, I die a little.
He licked his lips as his thumb grazed the ring. “I love you” was not something he had ever really planned on telling Zane, especially in a situation when neither of them could hide from the other. But it had come out so naturally up there on that railing he hadn’t been able to stop himself. Now, he could either lie right to Zane’s face and let Zane believe it had been a mere ploy to get him to jump, or he could tell him the truth. Again.
Ty was tired of hiding it.
“I have a problem, Zane,” he admitted, sounding slightly surprised that he was saying it out loud, especially now, when everything seemed to be going well for their odd relationship.
Zane raised on brow. “Besides sitting soaking wet in a jail cell in the middle of the Caribbean?”
“I have to say, it’s not a first for me,” Ty muttered. He smiled and looked up at the ceiling. almost talking himself out of saying it. He waited a moment to make sure he really wanted to say it, and when he spoke he had finally dropped the fake accent. “No, this is a different kind of problem.”
Despite the expressed surprise from a moment ago, this time Zane’s voice was more serious, with a shade of audible concern. “What is it?”
Ty bit the inside of his lip as he looked down at his hands and turned them over. They had begun to shake slightly. He could feel the nerves coursing through his body. If he told Zane, nothing would be the same. Their entire partnership would change, for better or for worse. And he knew he would get nothing out of it except the relief of coming clean.
Falling in love or just plain falling: they were both terrifying at any speed.
He sighed heavily and lifted his chin stubbornly, meeting Zane’s eyes without flinching. “I didn’t say it just to get you to jump. I’m in love with you, Zane,” he admitted in a calm, clear voice. “I have been for a while.”
God, these two idiots just hurt my heart. Every. Single. Time.