Book Review: Shock & Awe (A Sidewinder Story) by Abigail Roux

Nick O’Flaherty is helping Kelly Abbot recover from injuries incurred in Touch & Geaux. They are not only comrades-in-arms but best buds. They know everything about each other.

While Kelly is high on his medication, he asks for a kiss from Nick. Kelly is curious. Nick reluctantly agrees. The kiss surprises them both with its intensity. Eventually this leads to more exploration and almost-sex.

The next day, they have to deal with the awkwardness of what happened. Can it all be blamed on the prescription medication?

Nick tries to avoid but Kelly doesn’t put up with that for long. They are best friends. They can talk this through and try to figure out what to do.

“I just learned the secret to the O’Flaherty charm.” Kelly said, beginning to grin. “You just…stun the other person with honesty.”

So they talk and talk and talk some more and flirt.

“See, every time I think about you now, I get these butterflies,” Kelly explained, fluttering his fingers at his chest. “And it’s weird because it’s you and you’re you. But I like it too. And…I like that’s it’s you. So I’m not sure what to do with that.”

Kelly has never been interested in men before until Nick. He’s confused about what this means. But he knows he wants more with Nick, who is cautious. Nick doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. So they talk some more.

“Look, I love you.” Kelly told him. “You love me. We’ve bled for each other. Why can’t that turn into more?”
“Stop. Before you argue with me, just think about it objectively, without adding in who we are.”
“Who we are is kind of a big deal.”

Yes, who they are is a big deal. But Kelly is so earnest and honest with his feelings that he eventually breaks through Nick’s barriers.

Nick gripped the railing with both hands. “Part of the excitement of attraction is knowing it’s reciprocated, right?”
Kelly nodded. “We found out last night that we um…”
“Reciprocate.” Nick provided.

Before they can consummate this reciprocation. Nick is called back to military service. At the airport, their relationship almost ends before it can began due to some machinations by Nick. I was relieved when that was quickly resolved. How? By Nick and Kelly talking it out as best buds do.

“Bait & Switch” is a short follow-up story that has Nick on a short leave. You learn a little of what is happening with Sidewinder. You see some of Zane. Most important, you see Nick and Kelly re-connect. Kelly is healed from his injuries so they can consummate their relationship. Let me just tell you, Kelly losing is other virginity is a HOT sex scene.

This is the best type of friends-to-lovers story. Through everything, heedful Nick and care-free Kelly communicate well and it helps them develop their romantic relationship as well as maintain their friendship. Their banter is flirty and sweet with the added element of a sizzling attraction. I smiled all through reading this book. It is a quick read at 93 pages. But, wow, there is a lot of emotion packed into those pages, most of it is angst-free. Nick and Kelly are a nice balance to Ty and Zane in that regard. I highly recommend this book.

This can be read as a standalone. You will understand the background better if you have read the Cut & Run series, especially the last book, Touch & Geaux.

You can order it directly from Riptide Publishing and have it NOW! Or you can wait to purchase this from Amazon and Barnes & Noble on November 11.

4/5 stars


Buy Riptide Publishing


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