Wednesday again, how about that?
This morning, the Romance Writers of America announced finalists for the annual Golden Heart and RITA awards, for unpublished and published romance of distinction, respectively. I’m honored to have received two nominations this year, one in the single-title contemporary category for Along Came Trouble and another in the romance novella category for How To Misbehave.
But I’m also excited to see so many of my friends and favorite writers on this year’s list, including the wonderful Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane, who is fabulous fabulous fabulous. So I decided to do today’s recommendation and reading from Carolyn’s book, because if you’re not reading her yet, you really really should be.
Here’s the blurb—
SHE MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY…
For deadly secret agent Peter Macmillan, language is a weapon—one he uses to hunt criminals, destroy plots, and charm enemies. Seducing information out of a beautiful singer in Bangkok hotel should be easy…except this particular singer has the power to destroy his cool façade, and with it, his last defense against a dark past.
HE MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE…
He tricked her. He helped himself to her body and her secrets. He has enemies everywhere. Laney Lancaster should hate Peter, but when she discovers him shirtless, sweaty, and chained up in the hotel’s dungeon, all she can think about is freeing him. Because she knows what it’s like to be trapped and alone. And she could use a dangerous friend.
They may be wrong for each other, but the instant they join forces, Laney and Peter are plunged into an odyssey of hot sex and dark danger. To survive, they must trust each other with their lives—and their hearts.
The first book I read by Carolyn Crane was one of an erotica title under her pen name Annika Martin — the hilarious, surprising, tender first book in the Taken Hostage By Hunky Bank Robbers series, The Hostage Bargain. I immediately needed to know WHO THIS PERSON WAS, and DID SHE HAVE AN AGENT, and WHAT COULD I DO TO MAKE SURE SHE GOT ALL THE THINGS? Because, for me, the intelligence and wit and all-around wonderfulness of whoever this woman was who’d written The Hostage Bargain just leapt off the pages right at my face.
It turns out that everything Carolyn writes is like that. Everything. Because she is like that. I met her last year at RWA, and she came along for karaoke, and she wore this skirt with deer on it? And sang this Led Zeppelin song about … blood? bones? in a low, growly voice, with a face like a hot Wisconsin kindergarten teacher.
I don’t know. It was the most awesome thing that ever happened.
Then, later, she joined me and Mary Ann Rivers for drinks and made me laugh so hard I almost puked.
So partly I want you to understand, here, that Carolyn is good people. But also, I want you to understand that when you read Off the Edge — which you should, immediately — you’re going to get what the cover looks like, which is sexy dark romantic suspense with guns and danger — and what the blurb promises, which is Bangkok and action and betrayal and sex and a linguist and a woman on the run — but you’re also going to get Carolyn Crane, who is smart and insightful and hilarious, quirky, a little bit bent, but in the best possible way.
I’m so happy she’s being acknowledged for her talent with a RITA final. I hope she wins, because she deserves to.
Here’s me, reading my favorite scene from Off the Edge.
Off the Edge is the second book in The Associates series, but it’s fine to read them out of order.