Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Living on the Edge - Susan Mallery (SIM #1383 - Sept 2005)


With his taut muscles and powerful gaze, bodyguard Tanner Keane was Madison Hilliard's only source of safety. Hired to rescue her, he kept her safe from a corrupt ex-husband who wanted her dead. So after days in close proximity -- fear and desire escalating -- who would save them from their wildest fantasies?

Tanner liked his women easy, and Madison was a fighter. And as her presence brightened his house, he began to want her around all the time. For a man who was tough to the world, Tanner let the tender protector in him guide his actions. Yes, he would save her again. But of course, he was the one who was really in danger....

Really good book. Tanner and his security firm are hired to rescue Madison from those that have kidnapped her. Tanner just wants to get her out, return her to her family, and move on. To him, she's just another useless rich woman. That all changes once the rescue happens. Madison was actually kidnapped by her ex-husband, who needs the ransom money for his own nefarious purposes. She knows he was behind it, and that if she is sent back she will end up dead. However, convincing the cynical Tanner isn't easy.

I really liked Madison a lot. She freely admits that she used to be the spoiled and useless rich girl that Tanner accuses her of being. However, her marriage opened her eyes and she made the conscious decision to make changes in her life. She also had an uphill battle with her father and husband, both of whom believed that she was weak and likely to suffer the same mental illness as her mother. She was much stronger than even she believed, and I loved seeing her stand up for herself against Tanner's prejudices.

Tanner was a bit harder to like at the beginning. His refusal to look beyond his own beliefs about Madison was really irritating. Even when she told him the truth about her kidnapping he didn't want to believe her. He earned some points back when he checked out some of what she told him and found out she was telling the truth, so he promised to protect her until he was certain of everything. 

I enjoyed seeing the relationship develop between them. The sparks were there from the beginning, though they were antagonistic at the start. I loved seeing Madison push back against Tanner's attitude instead of just taking it. In spite of his attitude toward her, she felt safe with him. Tanner was fighting his own attraction to her, which caused him to overreact to something he found on her computer. What he did then was wrong on so many levels, and I really liked that she told him so when she recovered. He did redeem himself when he admitted that he was wrong, and his attitude toward her started to changed at that point. His protectiveness became personal rather than professional, and that scared him. When everything was over, he told her that her feelings were because of the danger they had been in, not for real. That if she still felt that way in six months, they'd talk. It was hilarious to see the way that she didn't sit back and take that, but kept trying to reach him. The ending was great as he finally faced his fears. I loved their big moment at the end.

The suspense of the story was great, with Tanner and Madison working together to bring down her ex-husband Christopher. What he was doing was definitely scary, as it had a touch of realism to it. I will admit to some frustration with Madison toward the end, as Christopher pulled some really underhanded tricks to get what he wanted. Unfortunately, he knew Madison well enough to know what buttons to push, which caused her to do something really stupid. Of course, Tanner comes through to save her yet again.

I absolutely loved one of the secondary characters in the book. Tanner's friend and coworker, Angel, is the team sniper. He also seems to be the second in command, and is Madison's point of contact at the end when she's trying to get to Tanner. I loved the friendship they built and Angel's part in bringing them back together. Angel gets his very own story in When We Met, a Fool's Gold book that takes place years later.

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