Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.
Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.
Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.
Since reading Cross & Crown last July, I still haven’t found time in my review schedule to backtrack and read Roux’s Cut & Run series. With as much as I found myself crying while reading Part & Parcel, I cannot begin to fathom how hard this book would have hit me had I been able to read the Cut & Run series. Roux does such an outstanding job with Nick and Kelly’s memories and the literal trip down memory lane the Sidewinder crew takes in order to fulfill Eli’s last wishes that it didn’t matter that I didn’t “know” Eli before this. Because once the guys got to the final stop, I was right there with Nate, feeling as if I had known Eli the whole time.
The book’s opening scenes from the present show Nick sacrificing his life to save Ty and Nate. Fortunately, this group of men don’t die easily and even though Nick didn’t survive the latest mission unscathed, he did survive it. During the course of his convalescence, Nick rediscovers the box of Eli’s belongings that Eli’s mother delivered to Nick at his funeral and in it, he finds Eli’s letter to him along with a collection of additional letters that are to be opened along the way as the Sidewinders complete their final mission and fulfill a promise to a dead man. This is when I expected everyone to swing into action and find the rhythm that seemed to be eluding Nick and Kelly. But Kelly puts a kibosh on the trip until Nick has healed physically and mentally – and surprisingly, Nick agrees. However, I could feel the wedge that was working its way between Nick and Kelly and was sad to see them part ways, even if it was just temporarily. When, with the help of a friend, Kelly realizes that he has to make the next move if he wants to save his relationship with Nick, he ends up greenlighting Eli’s mission and the Sidewinders all gather at Eli’s graveside for a final hurrah in his honor. What follows is at times heart wrenching, at times heartbreaking, and at times funny as heck as the men set out to complete each of the tasks that Eli has set out for them.
The level of love and trust these men have in one another is awe inspiring as they take their direction from a series of letters written by one of their own at a time when he knew something had to give so that the Sidewinders could find what it was that made them brothers – and Eli wasn’t referring to their time served together. Their bonds went deeper than that and his final wish was that they would find that spark again. And they did. This group of guys go whole hog on their “mission” and despite fights, discomfort, hard truths, and ghosts from the past, they do find their way back to being brothers again and, along the way, Nate’s “adoption” into the group is made permanent. What I did not know and could not foresee as events unfolded and secrets were revealed was whether or not there would still be a Nick and Kelly once the trip was over and just when I thought I knew how it would work out, Nick’s big secret had me wondering if they’d make it. Roux certainly knows how to keep a reader entertained even as she hammers your heartstrings. Part & Parcel was an excellent addition to the Sidewinder series that only made my need to read the Cut & Run series that much worse. Well done!
Part 3 of the Sidewinders saga
Opens with Nick laying down his life to save Ty and Zane. But the Sidewinders are known for their ability to survive, and that’s why Nick does. As Kelly is there throughout Nick’s recuperation, they seem to grow apart. Small things are putting cracks in their relationship that are widening the gap between them. Nick comes across the box of Eli’s things that were given to him after his funeral. He has not had the emotional strength to go through it until now.
Eli has left detailed instructions for the entire crew to follow. Nick and Kelly have been through so much and it seems that they must go through even more. As the Sidewinder crew go through the painful stops and relive all the moments both painful and humorous I start to really understand what Nick is going through, why he feels like he is not good enough for Kelly, and how everything is always his responsibility. The teams are so close to each other it’s almost like they are one unit with 5 different heads. It takes Eli making them relive their memories so that they can see them as they really are not what they have made them into. As Nick starts to forgive himself for things that were novel his fault to begin with he starts to become the Sarge they all love.
Kelly has his own guilt to work through, and his brothers, help him too. Kelly reacts first than thinks second, which is hurting his relationship with Nick. Yet when he starts walking away to take time to think before he says hurtful things he doesn’t mean, Nick doesn’t like that at all. Kelly and Nick come to an agreement that they will talk about their issues and not just push them aside. Kelly is really relived. I was moved more in this book then any of the others, because there is so much more about the relationships between the members and how they all care about each other. It’s a really great ending to this series.