Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane (The Associates #2)
Released: December 30, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi
Last year Carolyn Crane published Against the Dark, the first in this Associates series and I remember how much I liked it – but I think Off the Edge is even better. And just to note, these can be read as total stand alones.
Peter Macmillan works for The Associates, a spy-type organization that works on its own bringing down the bad guys – sometimes for the government, sometimes for their own reasons. Peter specializes in linguistics. When he hears someone speak, he analyzes every single little sound that comes out of their mouth.
He could see a universe in a single word choice. He used his expertise to understand people, and by extension, humanity itself.
These days, he used his ability to ferret out scum. Fugitives who’s used plastic surgery to change their appearance. Killers.
To try to make a long set-up of this book short – Peter is hunting a weapon called TZ for the Associates. But it is also personal, as his entire family was killed in a terrorist attack years ago. He got his revenge for that, but this weapon reminds him of that devastation. He will do anything to stop it.
Laney Lancaster married a very mean, wanted man (oopsie!), and even after she helped the FBI get him in prison, she is still being hunted by his men. She fled to Bangkok with the help of a friend, and is currently a lounge singer at a hotel – a hotel where Peter is waiting for the supposed transaction of this weapon. He hears Laney singing one night while scoping out some people, and can’t get her out of his mind. They meet (there is some verra hot smexy times) and then they get mushed together (that’s a very technical term) in this high-action suspense story.
This is such a well crafted story. I felt like such care was taken with the details and weaving the romance and action and backstory all together so delicately. And all the while these characters are so reflective of Carolyn Crane’s style. She makes Peter this brilliant , glasses-wearing, undershirt-wearing guy who you trust immediately as the good guy – yet he will use Laney for sex to get access to her computer records that may bring him one step closer to the weapon. That contrast worked so well for me. And he is just so cool and calm in the face of danger. He wants revenge on all types of terrorist weapons so badly, that he puts aside his conscience sometimes to get at it. Laney brings that bit of humanity back to him.
Laney is used to being on the run from her baddie husband but is by no means an expert at evading bad guys like Peter is. Laney may have made a poor choice in a husband, but it doesn’t mean she is dumb. She realizes quick that people in her life may not be trustworthy and she uses her gut a lot in this book to make decisions. She is frightened, rightfully so, but doesn’t let that fear drive her to do stupid things. I liked her spirit so much.
And while these two race around Bangkok trying to survive, they have sexy times too. When Peter first sees Laney singing, she is wearing knee-high stockings and this makes Peter think dirty thoughts. So when he gets her alone, he must explore this area thoroughly.
“The nylon socks? Are ruthless?”
He gave her a devilish smile. “Ruthless.” He stroked his heavy hand from bare thigh to nylon. She loved the way the sensation changed when he did that. Bare skin to nylon. Nylon to bare skin. Heat built between her legs. She clenched the muscles between her thighs to stop the feeling overload.
It didn’t stop the feeling overload.
“The elastic,” he said, tracing a finger over the brown band just below her right knee. “These tight elastic bands. Hot and a little bit evil.”
She could barely breathe. “The elastic? That’s your favorite place?”
“Not exactly.” He hooked a finger over the elastic band and pulled it out. Angry pink lines furrowed her skin where the elastic had grabbed tight to her calf for hours. She got the crazy sense that he was exposing a tender secret.
Then he blew. The sudden puff of air was cool bliss on the tortured little band of skin. “Oh, my God,” she panted, clutching his hair way too hard. He’d found and invaded the tenderest part of her.
Then he kissed it, lips like silk.
It was such a forbidden place to kiss. And unexpected, too—that made it way dirtier.
“Do it again,” she begged, startled to hear her own voice say that.
He smiled up at her, just a little bit evil.
He wouldn’t do it again.
Such a quirky thing to make sexy – and it works so well for these two.
We are introduced to some of Peter’s err – co-workers who each intrigue me so much – I can’t wait to get books for all of them!
Highly recommend this one.