Review: Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux

Home from their unexpected deployment, the former members of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder rejoin their loved ones and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they were forced to leave behind. Ty Grady comes home to Zane Garrett, only to find that everything around him has changed—even the men he went to war with. He barely has time to adjust before his brother, Deuce, asks Ty to be his best man. But that isn’t all Deuce asks Ty to do, and Ty must call for backup to deal with the business issues of Deuce’s future father-in-law.

Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott join Ty and Zane at the wedding on an island in Scotland, thinking they’re there to assuage Deuce’s paranoia. But when bodies start dropping and boats start sinking, the four men get more involved with the festivities than they’d ever planned to.

With the clock ticking and the killer just as stuck on the isolated island as they are, Ty and Zane must navigate a veritable minefield of family, friends, and foes to stop the whole island from being destroyed.

***may contain spoilers so watch out!***

OK, so here’s the deal.  I have been anticipating this book ever since I finished Touch & Geaux.  I was jealous of everyone who got an ARC and I couldn’t wait to read more about Ty & Zane and see what kinds of shenanigans they could get up to.  When I learned that it had been released early on Riptide I jumped on it right quick.

Then I started to read…

I was eager to see the reunion.  I just knew it was going to be epic.  I was expecting one of the hottest sex scenes I have ever read.  I knew they were going to reunite, it was going to be so romantic and joyful, and then burn up my screen with the wild monkey lovin’.  I didn’t get that.

And I was pissed!!!

Only 5% in and I was already disappointed.  Big, epic reunion at the base and they go home and fuck like bunnies, right?  NO!  All of a sudden it is two weeks later and I’m left looking for the missing scene, thinking I got a defective copy because surely Ms. Roux wouldn’t skip over something like that!  I mean, who does that?!?!?

Then they go to some castle on a cliff on a remote island off of Scotland for Deuce’s wedding.  Already my eyes are rolling because, yeah, I can see where this is going.  As I progress through the story my eyes just keep rolling until I think they’re gonna detach from their sockets from the strain.  Really?  Secret passageways?  Come on!  It was like watching the movie Clue or seeing really bad mystery dinner theatre.  Then someone is murdered, all communication with the mainland is cut off and all the boats float away in a storm.  Yep, I’m watching Clue.  

Oh, and this book is funny.  I’m telling you it is.  See, right here in the book it tells you that this book is funny.  Why aren’t you laughing?  You should be laughing because this shit is funny dammit!  The book says so for crying out loud!

I’m so freaking disappointed by this time that I consider DNFing the book.

But then I read one sentence, just five little words strung together by Nick and my entire perspective changes.

She did this shit on purpose y’all.

Suddenly my eyes are open and I’m seeing this not as a serious book (or a book trying to be serious) but for what it truly is.


Now it’s gone from horrible, rant worthy mystery dinner theatre to entertaining blockbuster movie.  Because that’s what it really is.  Just pure entertainment.  So much more enjoyable that way!  I started flying through the book with glee.  Here are the shenanigans I wanted.  Oh, this is gonna be good!

As I continued reading though, I couldn’t help but notice that I was getting less and less Ty & Zane and more and more Ty & Nick and Kelly & Nick until it became just Nick.  Nick, Nick, Nick, Nickety Nick.  All Nick, all the time.  I was now watching the Nick channel.  Why is that?  I thought this was book 8 in the Cut & Run series, not book 2 of the Sidewinders novellas.  Did i buy the wrong book?  What the hell is going on around here?!?

And I’m back to being disappointed.  

But!  I persevered because, hey, it’s Ty & Zane!  Well, kinda.  I think I was hoping Nick would fade into the background so we could get back to the MAIN CHARACTERS of this story.  Sad to say, that never happened.

Then at 69% (heh) I was thrown into a big ole batch of WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?!? Chaos has ensued and I’m digging it.  I’m digging it hard.  I am just going to come right out and say this:  I love shenanigans.  I love over-the-top storylines.  I love chaos.  Needless to say I am back to loving it.

I’m not even going to touch on the ending because it was just more of Nick the Great and I don’t wanna get mad again.  I will tell you this though.  There was a scene in this book that just about gutted me.  I won’t tell you what it was and I won’t tell you where in the book it was.  Just know this:  it made me bleed.

So to sum up, I both loved and hated this book equally.  I will give it 3 stars and hope that Abi Roux gives the boys (Ty & Zane, NOT NICK) the face time and the HEA they deserve in the final book of this series.  ‘Cause they really do deserve it.


  1. F'it. A good fan-fiction production team needs to just take custody of Ty & Zane from that epic-disaster ganja-tokin-Ball-&-Chain-wrecking crew.

  2. You HAVE to tell us what the Nick sentence was!!!!! (and whisper to me the scene that gutted you...please!)

    1. I'll give you a hint on the sentence. It was at 36% and I was thinking that I was watching the movie Clue when the sentence confirmed it.

      *whispers* the scene was between Ty & Nick. :D

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed it for the most part. I know Iaughed from start to finish. The whole thing was too tongue in cheek for me to take seriously and the best part was the line "I'm gonna' die in Scotland" I didn't care who said it although it was usually Nick.

    1. I did enjoy it for the most part. :) I still have faith in this series. I'm thinking this book is more of a stepping stone to the Grande Finale.

  4. I have to defend the secret passageways, JL. EVERY self-respecting historical home should have them (and it's even more imperative if it's a castle). The historic home I volunteer at has a hidden staircase and hidden entrances to at least three of the rooms. Quite frankly, I would have been disappointed without them. lol.

    But as for everything else... DITTO your feelings. Is it possible for a person's eyes to ache from rolling too frequently!?

  5. Great review Jenni. This was a tough one, but I enjoyed it overall. You're right about the the entertainment value of them running around the castle though. To me it was background noise to Ty's struggles, but how convoluted did it really need to be.