After having their faces plastered across the news during a high-profile case, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have become more useful to the Bureau posing for photo ops than working undercover. Just as Zane is beginning to consider retirement a viable option, Ty receives a distress call from a friend, leading them to a city rife with echoes from the past.
New Orleans wears its history on its streets, and it’s one place Ty’s face could get him killed. Surrounded by trouble as soon as they land, Ty and Zane are swiftly confronted by a past Ty can’t hide-one with a surprising connection to Zane’s.
As threats close in from all directions, both men must come to terms with the lives they’ve led and the lies they’ve told. They soon discover that not all their secrets are out yet, and nothing lasts forever.
I was on Abigail Roux’s website a long while ago, just before Touch & Geaux was released. I don’t remember what the situation was exactly, but it had come out that a fan had sent Abi a message saying that she loved the series so much she was going to stop at Stars & Stripes. Or something to that effect. And I thought, what an odd duck. As it turns out, this person was actually a smart duck. A very smart duck, indeed. I cannot remember the last time a book made me so miserable! In all fairness, we’d been warned that Touch & Geaux was going to be rough but nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for the anguish I experienced at the hands of this book.
ust a quick warning: there will be spoilers from here on out. Not little spoilers; big ones. If you haven’t gotten to Touch & Geaux yet and want to remain blissfully ignorant, you need to look away now.
The story starts off well, with Ty and Zane still in their happy place. They’re boss is making their lives uncomfortable (he’s the boss, so why not?) but besides that the boys have nothing to worry about. And then Nick O’-fucking-Flaherty calls Ty. He tells Ty that he’s in New Orleans and that he’s been arrested for murder. Ty, being the loyal guy that he is, hops on the earliest plane, with Zane in tow, to go help his friend, even though he knows that being seen in New Orleans could spell big trouble for him. Ty and Zane arrive in New Orleans being all, “Where’s the fire?” and it turns out that it was just a hoax. It was the Sidewinder boys’ way of getting Ty to travel to New Orleans so that they could celebrate the fallen Elias Sanchez’s birthday. I’m still irrationally angry with Nick about this. Obviously, there’s no way he could have predicted what was going to happen, but still. Ty’s a little annoyed but he gets over it pretty quickly, and it looks like things are going to be fine. Ha! All that is is Abi lulling you into a false sense of security before she kicks you in the face. We get introduced to a new character, Liam Bell, who a lot of people seemed to find charming. I was not one of those people. The shit starts hitting the fan as soon as that smarmy fucker (excuse my language, but I feel strongly about this) shows up on the scene. In all fairness, it’s not entirely his fault but I found his… glee at the turmoil between Ty and Zane infuriating, to say the least.
Anyhow, things rapidly go from bad to worse, and then they get even freaking worse. Ty had to go to hospital, then his cover in New Orleans was just about blown, Liam was threatening Zane, the Miami drug cartel from Zane’s days undercover were after him, and then all these secrets-the ones Ty never wanted to tell-were being force out of him, and it was just awful.
Turns out, Ty was keeping two humongous secrets. The first secret was bad, the second one was worse and the consequences were soul destroying. No, I’m not exaggerating. This book bloody well made me cry, and I’m not a crier. I didn’t know who I felt worse for: Zane, for being lied to about so much for so long, or Ty, for being forced to watch everything he cared about start to crumble. And, all the while, Liam fucking Bell was sitting around smirking. It was just… too much. My parents were genuinely worried and then genuinely annoyed when I told them I was getting this worked up over a bloody book. And, as you can see, nearly five months after Touch & Geaux’s release, I’m still a tad upset.
And, because misery loves company, I’m going to share with you the most gut-wrenching quotes from this book.
Zane gritted his teeth and slammed his palm against the wall. “Tell me the truth or I walk!”
Ty swallowed hard, but it was obvious he was weighing whether or not he should speak.
“You really have to think about it?” Zane shoved away from Ty, unable to tear his eyes away even as the pain twisted in his heart like a knife. “I guess we finally found the one thing more important to you than I am.”
Ty’s face hardened. “You know that’s not true.”
“Fuck you, Ty! I feel like I don’t know a goddamned thing right now!” Zane jabbed his finger toward Ty. “I tell you I’m going to walk and you have to fucking think about it? Just fuck you!”
Ty’s grip tightened and he lowered his head. He was holding onto Zane as if he’d fall if he let go. Zane recalled the last time they’d both fallen; Ty’d begged him to trust him, and then thrown him off a building. Literally. And Zane had trusted him, with his life, with his happiness, and finally with his heart.
During all that, though, Ty hadn’t trusted Zane with one simple secret.
“Well forgive me if I don’t believe a goddamn word you say. The only way I hear the truth from you is when someone has a gun to your fucking head. Or mine!”
“Someone did have a gun to your head!” Zane started to get up, but Ty reached out to grab him. He didn’t dare let him turn away, afraid Zane wouldn’t ever turn back again. “After everything we’ve been through, why the hell can’t you believe me?”
“Because you lie.”
“Grady, come back,” Zane said quietly.
Ty tore his eyes away from the shimmer and met Zane’s gaze.
“That stuff must have a hell of a punch.”
“Easy to get lost in,” Ty murmured.
“Yes,” Zane said under his breath. His facade cracked, and suddenly he looked devastated. Like he’d given up. “You are.”
“I’m sorry, Zane,” he gasped, trying to hold on tight.
Zane pressed his face into Ty’s neck, fighting back a sob. His entire body was trembling.
Ty dug his fingers into Zane’s back, holding him close. He put his lips to Zane’s ear. “I’m so sorry.”
Zane’s shoulders tightened under Ty’s hands. “I would have chosen you over anything,” Zane hissed. He pulled back, breaking Ty’s hold, bunched the front of Ty’s shirt in both hands, and jerked Ty forward until they were nose-to-nose, until Ty’s feet weren’t solidly on the floor. “My job, my family, my wife. I would have given my life for you! But you! You can’t even give me the truth!”
I’m done. If anybody needs me, I’m that chick huddled in the corner in a fetal position, crying.