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I'm a hopeful cynic.

Divide & Conquer - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban I was at a loss for words when I finished Divide & Conquer. I hadn’t had such a sucker punch of an ending in a book for a long time. I was so mad and frustrated and overwhelmed you could practically see fumes coming out of my ears. It took me a couple of days to gather my thoughts and process my emotions. And this review won’t be easy. Because this is the first installment in the Cut & Run series I’m not sure how to rate: it could very well be my favourite and my least favourite book so far.Some reasons why Divide & Conquer could be my favourite book so far in the Cut & Run series:• The text messaging parts in the beginning and Ty nicknaming Zane “Lone Star” on his phone contacts list.-Fuck you, Zane. Fuck you. So much. -Promise you’ll scream for me tonight.• How the text messaging scene led to that countertop “almost” sex scene:-I meant to at least get us up the stairs -Fuck me here• Jealous Ty going all alpha-male on blind Zane. It was a side of him I enjoyed and hated at the same time but hey, it led to the DOOR scene and I’m not complaining one little bit.-I’m burning every little brown bag I find in your fridge from now on.-Even the cheesecake?-Don’t push me, Stevie Wonderand-You’re mine. Jersey Shore can get his own.• Ty sitting on his back step with a cheap cigar and a couple of bottles of hard lemonade, after that night out with his buddies. Some of his thoughts I loved and some of them made me want to cry out in frustration.Ty didn’t know if Zane wanted his loyalty, but he had it nonetheless. Semper Fi.• That moment in that softball field when Zane finally realizes he has it in himself to love Ty.He loved Ty Grady with all there was to give of his heart, and in the end, all it had taken was one wink for Zane to finally come to terms with it.• How I got to understand Zane even better in this installment. The strength he showed during his temporary blindness. How he coped and how he fought his insecurities (that phone call Zane made to Deuce while Ty slept with his head in Zane’s lap was one of my favourite Zane scenes.) How he grew to love Ty even more, if that were possible. How he realized they could be together for long periods of time without killing each other. • The slow dance scene. What can I say. Deep down I’m a hopeless romantic. This was another love/hate part of the book for me though.And some of the reasons why Divide & Conquer could be my least favourite book so far in the Cut & Run series:• How Ty behaved like a prick while Zane was in the hospital. Your partner was blown up and came out of it alive but, guess what, he’s BLIND. Said partner asks you to not leave him alone (because he’s scared out of his fucking mind) and you assure him you’re gonna be there for him. And then, a few hours later, you get all antsy and tired of the situation and ask him: “When do you get out of this place? I need to fucking sleep before you drive me crazy”. Are you at all serious? Major WTF moment, especially since Ty had been doing all he could to get to see Zane before that. From defying direct orders to asking orderlies to reassure his partner he’d be back asap.Another major WTF moment was that doctor advising Zane to not run into things when Zane asked him if there was anything else he should be doing after he was discharged. Way to go, doctor! If that’s the best advice you can provide to a patient that lost his sight a few hours ago, then you are a disgrace to the medical profession.• The whole “look, there are other people these two could hook up with” shebang. It didn’t spice things up for me (except for the door scene, of course, but I’ll get to that); it gave a kind of schizophrenic note to the characters (oh, who am I kidding, “to TY” is what I want to say) and made me wonder how thoroughly the authors thought of the whole thing before throwing it in there that way. Ty getting distracted by some EMT with big tits or a low-cut shirt or whatever was just plain ridiculous (plus, come on, what kind of outfit was that particular EMT wearing? The EMTs I know wear really unremarkable uniforms with shirts buttoned up to the very top and properly tucked in. Add the cold February weather and she should be wearing a heavy reflective jacket on top of that. Unless that particular EMT was about to star in some porn film or something.)Same goes for Ty’s ex, Shannon; the tall, athletic, attractive brunette, who still has the hots for him. What exactly did she contribute to the story? Ty apparently still cares about her and her daughter. And? Again, it seemed to me that she was thrown haphazardly into the mix in an attempt to establish Ty’s bisexuality (which we are very well aware of) and his ability to score some hot ass (which we have more than realized by now. He scored Zane, didn’t he?)And don’t get me started with Nick. What an excuse of a character! He’s supposed to be Ty’s dearest and oldest friend. He is supposed to care. He is supposed to have Ty’s back. But when Ty comes out to his Recon buddies, and one of them all but spits in Ty’s face in disgust, calling him queer in the most belittling way, he keeps his own homosexuality to himself, preferring to make disparaging remarks and bash Zane instead. Man! Your buddy has just told you he’s in love with the guy and the best you can offer is how unworthy the guy is? And, to add insult to injury, you go on to kiss your buddy –twice!- and tell him how you’ve been in love with him forever and how he knows where to find you. Great support you’ve offered there, pal. Taking advantage of one of your friend’s most vulnerable moments, trying to manipulate his emotions and practically sabotage his current relationship. Kudos. Rah. Woo hoo.Now Ryan? The Italian stud? The only reason I put up with his presence was that door scene and Ty’s “Don’t push me, Stevie Wonder” remark. Other than that, the poor guy could have stayed where he came from. Also, the way he was used to make us think he might have planted a bomb in Zane’s place was, well, clumsy. I felt sorry for him.I also couldn’t help but notice how Ty was actively involved with all his potential love interests, either currently or in the past. He had history with them. Zane’s admirer, Ryan, is like one of those blow up dolls. Fake. He’s just an acquaintance and, either he likes it or not, Zane hasn’t even taken a second glance at him. So why the imbalance?• Ty blowing off Zane’s “I love you” the first time around. Such a big deal is made out of it but when Zane finally says it he’s just being seduced? Give. Me. A. Break. It made zero sense.• The ending. Seriously? This is how Zane is rewarded after all the things he went through, both physically and emotionally? You have got to be kidding me. I love Ty. Absolutely. But if he’s gone for anything more than a quick run, he’s on my shit list. Big time. He’d better be back in less than an hour with a bag of fresh bagels and a tall latte for Zane. That’s all I’m saying.Plus, the way the ending was delivered? I got the feeling the authors put that last sentence there just for shits and giggles. “Hey, let’s make Ty seem like a total ass in the end! That’ll be fun!”I could go on and on about this and about how mad I was at Ty almost throughout the book but this review is getting too long. And it won’t make any difference. One thing is blatantly obvious though: the rant above exhibits the level of my emotional attachment to these characters. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters, right?Dreamspinner Press kindly provided me with a copy of this e-book through NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review