Stars & Stripes - Abigail Roux More like 3,75, rounded up for the sake of a series I have lovingly followed since its very beginning. This newest installment in the series doesn't transport the "Cut&Run mood" until about 1/3 into the book, and I've been pondering the reason for that for a while. It isn't the fact that Ty and Zane are an affectionate, committed couple now who actually would like nothing better than being able to be open about that fact to all the world. They've both accepted the mutual attraction to the point of embracing it, worked hard through their respective inhibitions and finally committed to each other, and now want to enjoy their hard-won happiness openly. And during the first part of the book, it seems that it isn't a question of if they are going to come out at work eventually, but when. Their respective coming out to both sets of parents was one of the central themes in the book, but--and that's in part what bothered me--that's about it. Right down to the easy acceptance all around, except for Zane's mother, and she was a) not a very believable character despite the explanations given throughout the book) and b)I couldn't help wondering how a grown man of 43 could let himself be bullied around by his mother as much as Zane obviously did During the previous books, I loved watching them change and grow towards each other, but none of that happens here in this book. Maybe the internal conflict felt sufficiently dealt with to the author, but as for me, white-picket-fence-happy doesn't suit Ty and Zane. Also, Ty's sexually submissive side seems to gradually expand into their everyday life dynamics, which I didn't like overly much either, as the fight for dominance, their respective alpha-maleness and the compromises they found (and the work it took them to get there) was part of this serie's appeal for me. The action part was well done as usual (the shootout read like something right out of OK Corral), incredulous, of course, but that's another thing I like about this series, that the cases are merely the canvas for the characters and their relationships to unfold. And toward the end, there were glimpses of the old Ty and Zane, of the two men who are so vulnerable in their emotionality that they hide their feelings so deep they can't give them words, conveying with actions or talking about something else entirely to communicate what they feel for each other, and--which was totally the best thing about this book for me--by now they are so in tune with each other that they actually DON't need words anymore to understand each other, not only as work partners, but also as life partners. And that's exactly what I've come to love about Ty and Zane and what was missing during the first part, as they kept nattering on about what they felt for each other, which was TOTALLY unlike them. However, there was fun and banter and DELICIOUS oneliners galore like always. Favorite one?"Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. Gay son? That don't cost me nothing." --Zane's father