We’re so pleased to welcome Abigail Roux and the Part & Parcel blog tour to The Novel Approach today. Enjoy this exclusive excerpt and then be sure to check out details on the giveaway below.
Blurb: 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.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
Excerpt: “You okay?” Kelly asked as he eased down beside Nick. His hand was warm through Nick’s thin T-shirt.
“Yeah,” Nick whispered. He slid his hand up Kelly’s arm, staring into his storm-tossed eyes.
“You sure? Your heart’s racing.” Kelly moved his fingers up like he was going to check Nick’s pulse again.
Nick licked his lips, nodding jerkily. “That’s because I’m nervous,” he practically gasped.
Kelly stared, unblinking, unflinching. His thumb rested against Nick’s chin again, and his eyes followed its progress as he slid it up the line of Nick’s jaw to his cheekbone.
It seemed like forever to Nick, like it took Kelly hours to move. It seemed like he held his breath for so long that his lungs burned, that his body screamed for him to do something, anything, to relieve the pressure building.
It wasn’t until Kelly finally met his eyes again, when his fingers finally tightened against the back of Nick’s neck, when he finally leaned closer, that Nick sucked in a breath. A moment later Kelly’s lips were on his, warm and gentle and familiar.
Nick didn’t dare move, didn’t dare make a sound beyond the involuntary whimper that escaped his parted lips once Kelly pulled back. He was left with his eyes closed and his breath stolen, grasping Kelly harder so he wouldn’t move away.
Kelly brushed his nose against Nick’s, and then his lips met Nick’s again and he shifted like he might climb into Nick’s lap. Nick tightened his grip on Kelly’s forearm, and Kelly moaned quietly against his lips.
“I miss you,” Nick whispered between gentle kisses.
Kelly pressed his forehead to Nick’s, leaning his body against Nick’s shoulder. “Asshole,” he grunted.
Nick ducked his head, but Kelly put a hand on his shoulder and shoved off of him, raising up and slinging one leg over Nick’s lap. Nick gripped Kelly’s hips to remind him to be careful as Kelly straddled him, both hands resting on Nick’s shoulders, his head cocked. Nick swallowed hard, flushing with a heady mixture of nerves and adrenaline and desire as Kelly pushed his blanket off his shoulders with a smirk.
“How’s your heart rate?” Kelly asked wryly.
Nick was embarrassingly out of breath, but he managed a smile. “Racing.”
Kelly rewarded him with a crooked grin. “Mine too.”
Nick sat up straighter, wincing, still staring into Kelly’s shadowed eyes as his fingers wandered under Kelly’s shirt to graze over his ribs. Kelly leaned closer to brush his nose against Nick’s.
“What have you done?” Kelly asked, dropping his voice to a seductive whisper.
Nick sucked in a deep breath, holding it as he tried to find a good answer that wouldn’t get him yelled at. When he finally let it gust out, Kelly rolled his eyes and sat back, pursing his lips and nodding as if he’d known Nick had been up to no good.
“I told you to sit,” Kelly huffed. “I told you not to move. I told you to rest.”
“I know, but—”
Nick practically growled as he rested his head on the back of the couch and flopped his hands to the cushions. It was like being in the Marines and having to report to his corpsman all over again. “It’s been over four weeks, Kels.”
“You know if you overwork yourself it’ll set back your recovery.”
“I was looking for Seymour,” Nick said, his voice a bit more caustic than he’d meant for it to be.
Kelly sat back, eyes gone wide. “You have him?”
Nick’s attention strayed to the coffee table, and Kelly glanced over his shoulder, where he could no doubt see Seymour on the table, along with the envelope full of letters Nick had found in the top of the cardboard box full of Eli’s things. The box itself was now sitting beneath the glass top.
Kelly leaned back, his lithe body twisting and straining against Nick as he plucked up the sock monkey. “I can’t believe you found him. Where was he?”
Nick found it hard to swallow, and he licked his lips to stall as his eyes strayed to the envelope again. “It’s the stuff Eli’s mom gave me,” he said, voice gone hoarse as he thought about the letter he’d read. “I . . . I just had this sudden need to go through it, I don’t know.”
Kelly sat back on Nick’s thighs, cocking his head and frowning at the ragged sock monkey in his hands. Seymour was about twenty inches tall, with a scraggly tail, gangly arms and legs, and big ears that had more often than not been used as handles. He had at one time sported white, green, and orange stripes, with a little blue-and-green beanie and blue puffs for buttons, but the colors were faded and dirty and the button puffs were long gone.
Kelly had always been vaguely disturbed by the look on Seymour’s face, especially after they’d had to sew up his left eye, but Eli had loved him and carried him with him wherever they went, including into battle. He’d stick him in his back pocket or his pack, depending on where they were. When the monkey had taken a piece of shrapnel to the eye—and saved Eli’s ass in the process—Eli had ordered a purple heart ribbon to sew onto his beanie so everyone would know Seymour was a combat veteran.
They’d taken pictures of him at landmarks around the world, sometimes risking life and limb and jail time to position him. It had always been their understanding that Seymour was to continue traveling even after Eli’s death, until he had seen the world.
“Seymour,” Nick grumbled affectionately.
“EZ was always so proud of the pun. Seymour needs to see more.”
Kelly blinked at him, then looked back at the sock monkey. “Oh my God.”
Nick chuckled, then bit his lip when Kelly glared at him. “Did that just hit you?”
“Yes. Shut up.”
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.
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!