Five years ago, Angel Ramirez gave up safe-cracking and stealing and swore to mend her ways, sick of hurting and using people. She’s been working hard to stay on the straight and narrow, making a living as an interior decorator, trying to earn the forgiveness of her disappointed family members. When the woman Angel considers as close as a real aunt is kidnapped, and the ransom demanded is the hoard of diamonds belonging to notorious gangster Walter Borgola, Angel has no choice but to reunite with her girl gang for one last heist. With the amount of planning and research Angel and her friends put in, it should have been a quick and easy job, if it hadn’t been for the presence of Cole Hawkins.
A highly trained operative in a secret intelligence organisation, having established himself over the course of months deep undercover in Borgola’s crew, Cole Hawkins knows he is running out of time. He needs to figure out the location of Borgola’s private safe and get his hands on some encrypted shipping documents, in order to save a boatload of teenagers on their way to sexual slavery and most likely grisly death in Borgola’s torture porn and snuff films. Having slowly worked himself up in the ranks, he only has a matter of days left before the ship docks. When Borgola’s diamonds are stolen from his bedroom safe, believed to be nearly impossible to crack, Cole sees an opportunity to finally reach his goal. He blackmails Angel. In return for her posing as his lover at Borgola’s compound, aiding him in tracking down and breaking into the private safe, he won’t turn her and her partners in to the authorities and in addition he’ll make sure that Angel’s aunt is rescued from her kidnappers.
Drawn to Cole, despite her disgust that he is blackmailing her (he can’t tell her why he needs to break into Borgola’s private safe, as that information is classified), Angel soon discovers that pretending to be his girlfriend won’t require much faking, as the chemistry between them is sizzling. Of course, whether they have a future together as a real couple very much depends on whether they survive breaking into a ruthless sociopath’s high security vaults and getting away without him catching them…
In November last year, I fairly quickly devoured Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionists trilogy, after the first book was the monthly pick in Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy book club. So when I discovered the first three books in her new romantic suspense series, the Associates, in an e-book sale earlier this year, I figured they were worth checking out, and then, as far too often happens, I forgot all about them for a while. Then I read a blog discussion about this book over on All About Romance, where all three participants were highly complimentary, which spurred me to pick it up.
So what did I think? Read here.