Welcome to the blog tour for Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux! This is the third book in the Sidewinder series, and picks up after the well-known Cut & Run series concludes. I do recommend reading the previous books in both series before jumping into this one.
After the shocking events in Crash & Burn, Abigail is back with the entire Sidewinder gang for another adventure… and, of course, some steaming hot romance. So keep reading for an excerpt from the book, and don’t forget to comment on this post for your chance to win audio books from the C&R and Sidewinder series!
And you can check out my five-star (non-spoilery) review of Part & Parcel, here:
Part & Parcel, by Abigail Roux
Series: Sidewinder, Book Three
Part of the Cut & Run Universe
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (December 21, 2015)
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.
March 2, 2013
Kelly didn’t sleep much lately, and when he did, his dreams were full of terror and pain. He woke up every time thinking he’d lost Nick, confused and unsure of what was real and what merely was his deepest fear haunting him. He woke up exhausted, and scared to drift back off for fear that the man sleeping in the hospital bed next to him wouldn’t be there when he woke next.
The last time he’d slept had been for about three hours that morning. He’d curled up on the uncomfortable recliner, too spent to fight sleep any longer, and left the other guys to keep vigil at Nick’s bedside. Zane Garrett had been there when Kelly awoke, sitting in a wheelchair, peacefully reading a book at Nick’s side and occasionally talking to Nick about what he was reading. Kelly had sat and watched them for a few minutes, sadness engulfing him despite assurances from the doctors that Nick would wake at any time.
He hoped Nick could hear them. He hoped Nick knew that they were all there with him, each of them trying to make up for the fact that they’d left Nick behind, alone in the street with his life bleeding out of him.
Kelly sat by the bed now, paying little attention to the sounds of the machines monitoring Nick’s status. Owen Johns was curled on the tiny bench under the window that passed as a couch, snoring softly. They were all exhausted and still recovering from their own injuries, but no one would leave, so they were taking shifts. The others had all gone for lunch at Kelly’s insistence. He appreciated them being there, and he knew they needed to be there as much for their sake as for his or Nick’s. They all loved Nick. They all thought they’d lost him when they’d left him behind. They all deserved to be there when Nick woke. But Kelly needed a little time alone. Time to be alone with himself, with his thoughts and fears and hopes. Time to be alone with Nick, who had yet to wake four full days after nearly bleeding out in the street.
Owen being asleep on the other side of the room didn’t bother Kelly. At least he didn’t have to pay him any attention, and could instead focus on Nick. His friend. His lover. His would-be fiancé who’d never truly proposed.
Kelly smiled sadly. He held Nick’s hand in both of his and traced the tip of his finger over scars and bruises. Nick’s hands had paid for all the damage he’d done to the people trying to hurt them. Kelly’s chest swelled with pride and pain. He flipped Nick’s hand over, following the life line on Nick’s palm. Nick had a knife scar on the back of his hand, and it trailed from his wrist up toward the webbing between his thumb and forefinger, connecting almost perfectly with his life line. Together, they almost encircled his entire hand.
Kelly had always joked about Nick’s scars meaning he’d live forever. Now he wasn’t sure it was all that funny.
He could hear Nick’s laugh in his mind, though. See the way his eyes crinkled when he grinned. It was so real and so close it seemed like he could reach out and touch. But he might never see or hear Nick’s laughter again, and Kelly wasn’t handling it very well.
He sighed heavily as his finger trailed along the scar, his vision blurring with tears and exhaustion. Nick’s fingers twitched, giving the illusion that he was brushing Kelly’s hand affectionately.
Kelly quirked his lips, trying not to be upset by it.
Nick would wake up. He wasn’t dying. He would come back to them, full of laughter and joy, just like he always did.
Kelly’s head shot up at that simple, hoarse whisper, his eyes wide, his heart suddenly racing.
Nick was staring at him.
Kelly pushed to his feet, sending his chair screeching back. Owen leapt up at the noise, crouching, prepared for battle. “What?” he cried.
Kelly leaned over Nick, reaching for his face. When his fingers touched Nick’s skin, Nick’s eyes fluttered closed.
“No, no, Nicko, stay awake,” Kelly begged. He felt Owen moving but couldn’t tear his attention away from Nick’s face to see what he was doing.
Nick opened his eyes again. They were clear and green, but had faded like when Nick didn’t feel well. “Are you okay?” Nick asked him.
Kelly held his breath for a moment, trying to think through the elation to find a response. He finally huffed a laugh and nodded, pressing his forehead to Nick’s cheek. “Welcome back.”
“Where’s Eli?” Nick asked, his eyes closed, his voice tortured from days without speaking.
Kelly’s heart stuttered, and he glanced up to meet Owen’s eyes. Owen’s mouth moved, but no sound came out. He finally swallowed hard and nodded. “I’ll go get Six.”
Kelly returned his attention to Nick, running his fingers through Nick’s hair. “Eli’s gone, bud,” he whispered.
Nick’s forehead furrowed and he squeezed his eyes tight. Then he took in a deep breath and opened them again. “That’s right.”
The relief that flooded through Kelly was bittersweet. Where had Nick been for the last few days, lost in his memories?
“What day is it?” Nick asked, his voice so rough it was almost painful to listen to. “Did I miss Opening Day?”
Kelly laughed, knowing he was dangerously close to hysterical now that the weight of worry had been lifted. He hugged Nick closer, smooshing his face against Nick’s. Nick’s hand settled carefully on Kelly’s back.
“No, you didn’t miss it,” Kelly finally managed. “Still lots of time.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” Nick whispered as his fingers curled into Kelly’s shirt.
His breathing was more labored against Kelly’s cheek, and his grip on Kelly’s back began to tighten, his nails digging in. The beeping of his monitors, which had faded into background noise for Kelly about two days ago, began to encroach on his awareness, beeping going faster, a warning Kelly knew all too well.
Kelly pushed away from Nick just before the machines went into a full-blown panic and Nick twisted on the bed, writhing and gasping. Kelly shoved his chair aside, sending it toppling sideways, as he ran for the door to call for help.
He should have known a gentle reunion wasn’t Nick’s style.
About Abigail Roux
Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year.
Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head.
Connect with Abi:
To celebrate the release of Part & Parcel, we are selecting TWO giveaway winners! One will receive the last four Cut & Run books in audio, and the other will receive the full Sidewinder series in audio. Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 26, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway, and don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!