Author: Carolyn Crane
Release Date: April 17, 2013
The Associates #1
Genre: Military/Suspense Romance
Book Source: Author
About the book:
SHE’S AN EX-SAFECRACKER FORCED INTO ONE LAST HEIST
Angel Ramirez left the safecracking game five years ago, and she’s worked hard to make amends and build an honest life. But when a beloved aunt is kidnapped, she must reunite with her girl gang to acquire the unique ransom: Walter Borgola’s prized diamonds. It’s a simple job that turns into a nightmare, thanks to a surprisingly clever—and searingly sexy—security guard named Cole Hawkins.
HE’S AN UNDERCOVER AGENT WITH BIG PLANS FOR HIS GORGEOUS THIEF
Cole is one of the Association’s most brilliant agents, under deep cover investigating a ruthless killer. He’s also running out of time: hundreds will die if he doesn’t stop the plan Borgola’s set into motion. Catching Angel is the break he needed–he promises not to turn her in if she poses as his lover and uses her unique talents to unlock the sociopath’s dungeon vaults.
But as pretend passions turn real, Cole regrets drawing Angel into his deadly game…and danger is closer than either of them could ever imagine.
What I’m talking about:
Angel Ramirez lead life of crime from the time she was a young woman. However, the life of a thief didn’t sit right with her, so she went on the straight and narrow path as an interior designer five years ago. That is until her old gang and friends pull her out of retirement to steal gems from a nasty bad guy to save one of her friend’s aunt. Posing as a prostitute to work at Borgola’s party, Angel is immediately drawn to security guard, Cole.
Cole Hawkins is a secrets man… He can crack any puzzle. He’s a super genius and great with logistics – but he’s also a dangerous killer. Posing as an inside security man, Cole is desperately trying to stop Borgola, who has kidnapped and is smuggling in a group of foreign teens to make sex films and then kill them on camera. Cole works for The Association–an undercover anti-crime unit without ties to any government. They pose as help-for-hire bad guys so that they can infiltrate and do good.
Right from the get go, Against the Dark is exciting and sexy. Angel and her friends risk everything to steal some gems from Borgola. The atmosphere is intense, but fun for the three women who are longtime friends. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Angel’s excitement of being back with her friends and the thrill of the heist side-by-side with the magnitude of the moment and danger if they are caught. They are attempting something near impossible, but their confidence ensures that they will not get caught… hopefully. The jewel heist was fun, and the idea that Angel may have left DNA on the scene is thrilling… Leaving just enough doubt in the reader’s mind that something could happen, and they could track her down. But it was the women’s camaraderie and Angel’s sense of loss at being away from her gang that made the entire scene all the more outstanding.
Of course Cole puts two and two together and finds Angel. She has a skill set that he needs in order to save those children headed to Borgola – she can crack safes that are impossible to crack. Assuming she’s just a lowly thief, he blackmails her into helping him return to the scene of the crime, posing as his girlfriend, so that she can help him bring down Borgola. I really enjoyed the banter between Cole and Angel as they set their stories of how they first met. It was like they were already are that “cute couple.” And Cole… wow! Let’s just say he gets into the details of their first time, and it isn’t just Angel that is left turned on by his words *fans self*.
Both Angel and Cole have histories. She lead a life of crime, but came from a good home. He had absentee parents that died from a drug overdose when he was a teen, and then he was recruited by the Association. They portray their characters of a jewel thief and a brutal security man so well, neither can see past the exterior into who the other person truly is inside. Yet, they fall for each other immediately. It’s almost comical how Cole has to constantly remind himself “she’s just a common thief” to prevent himself from falling too deep. It tugged at my heartstrings because I knew the truth of who each was inside. Cole and Angel needed the chance to be honest about who they are, and they needed to fall for the real person inside and not the perceived stereotype.
With that, Angel and Cole make a great team, as Cole points out when they are forced by situation to work together. Each brings their own personality and experiences to the table, and together their individual histories blend together like pieces in a puzzle. Their physical attraction is undeniable and extremely steamy as well. What I adore about the pair is that they are also attracted on a mental level, which is equality as sexy. They just click and it works.
The storyline intensifies and Cole must decide if Angel is still an acceptable loss in order to save the children. With as much emotion as there is action, Against the Dark is a thrill to read. There are twists and turns, some of which I didn’t expect. The story kept me on my toes.
Against the Dark is an exciting first story in what promises to be a wonderful new series from Ms. Crane. The story is filled intense, nail-biting action that isn’t over-the-top crazy. The characters aren’t perfect, which makes them all the more likable. Angel and Cole make a great pair, with their romance sweet as often as it is steamy. Overall, Against the Dark is an entertaining romantic suspense that I suggest you pick up for some enjoyable summer reading.
Liked it – recommend (B+)