Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Against the Edge by Kat Martin




A child he's never met.
A danger he's never known. 
Deep in the humid, rank heart of the Louisiana bayou, a survivalist group has something that belongs to former navy SEAL Ben Slocum: his son. 
That he's a father is news Ben Slocum was not expecting. But once the initial shock wears off for the confirmed bachelor, he takes in the rest of what social worker Claire Chastain tells him: that Sam is in the custody of an abusive degenerate, that they've disappeared...and that Ben is now the child's only hope. 
As Ben and Claire band together to track the two down, their concern for the boy draws them closer, each fighting feelings there's no time to explore. Because when their search takes them too close to Sam's abductor and his cohorts, the danger hits home-the son he's desperate to save, the woman he's desperate to love... Ben's got one chance to take back what's his, and in one gunshot he could lose it all.


Publisher: MIRA

ISBN-10: 077831443X

ISBN-13: 978-0778314431

EAN: 9780778314431
Kindle: B00B0A5XME


Image of Kat MartinCurrently living near Missoula, Montana, Kat Martin is the bestselling author of over fifty-five Historical and Contemporary Romance novels, currently an NYT bestselling author of the romantic suspense AGAINST series. Before she started writing in 1985, Kat was a real estate broker. During that time, she met her husband, L. J. Martin, also an author with over 33 book length works. Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. "I love anything old," Kat says. "I love to travel and especially like to visit the places where my books are set. My husband and I often stay in out-of-the-way inns and houses built in times past. It's fun and it gives a wonderful sense of a by-gone era."
To date, Kat has over fifteen million copies of her books in print. She is published more than two dozen foreign countries, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Japan and Greece.

Connect with Kat Martin at : http://katbooks.com/index1.html

WRITING STRONG HEROINES
Guest Post  by Kat Martin

I love strong women.  I like meeting them.  I like knowing them.  I like writing about them.  What I particularly like are strong women who maintain their femininity. 

These are the women I like to write about.  In AGAINST THE EDGE, Claire Chastain is a social worker.  She moved to California to escape her over-protective parents, and though she loves them very much, she wants to find her own way. 

It isn’t until Claire meets wildly attractive ladies’  man, former Navy SEAL, Ben Slocum, that her independent nature is tested, along with her courage and strength. 

Ben is a detective at Atlas Security in Houston, where he works with Trace Rawlins, Jake Cantrell, and Alex Justice. 

I had already written Trace, Jake, and Alex’s stories:  AGAINST THE STORM, AGAINST THE SUN, and AGAINST THE ODDS.  It was Ben’s turn to find the right woman.  Since he’s one of the strongest characters I’ve written, I had to come up with a woman who could handle him.  One tough enough to stand up to him, but who is loving enough to break through the barriers Ben has erected around his heart.

Claire was a fun heroine to write because even she didn’t realize how strong she was until she was tested, first by Ben, then by the adventure they shared as they tracked down the son Ben didn’t know he had.

I’m not sure what the trick is to writing a soft, yet strong woman.  Perhaps just looking inside ourselves.  Life is full of challenges, tough problems women face every day with courage and determination.  As a writer, we learn to use the feelings that carried us through those challenges. 

And of course, Claire had the help of a very strong male--the perfect man for her.  If only Ben is smart enough to figure that out!

Claire was one of my favorite heroines.  I’d love to hear who some of your favorites are?

I hope you’ll watch for Ben and Claire in AGAINST THE EDGE, and at the end of August you’ll look for Ty Brodie and Haley Warren in AGAINST THE MARK.  Till then, all best wishes and happy reading. 

Kat

Oh, and who are some of your favorite heroines? 





Excerpt
 CHAPTER ONE
Houston, Texas

His head was pounding.  Too much Jack Daniels last night.  When Ben Slocum pulled his big black SUV into the driveway in front of his garage, the only thing on his mind was getting a couple hours of sleep. 

Reaching up to hit the garage door opener on his visor, he spotted a silver Buick with Hertz rental plates parked in front of the house.  His gaze swung to the porch where a woman in a conservative yellow business suit stood rapping on his door.

Ben groaned.  Last night two of his best friends, Alex Justice and Sabrina Eckhart, had gotten married.  Alex, one of the other private investigators in his Atlas Security office, had fallen hard for the pretty little redhead.  Ben had never seen a guy look happier about getting hitched. 

Their early October wedding had turned into good news for Ben, who’d gotten lucky with a slinky little blonde from Dallas he had met at the reception.  He’d spent the night in her bed at the Marriott, and neither of them had gotten much sleep. 

Still dressed in the black tuxedo he’d been wearing last night, Ben glanced at the porch, shoved the Denali into park and turned off the engine, cracked open the door and slid out from behind the wheel.  His slacks were wrinkled, his white pleated shirt haphazardly buttoned and opened halfway down the front.  His black bow-tie hung loose around his collar. 

Company this morning was the last thing he wanted.

He took a long look at the woman whose attention was now fixed on him as he crossed the front lawn.  She was tall and slender, with dark brown hair clipped back at the nape of her neck, and a very pretty face.  High cheek bones, a heart-shaped face, and full lips.  Too bad they were currently thinned in a disapproving line.

He wondered what she was selling.  Whatever it was, he wasn’t buying.  He just wanted to hit the sheets.  

Ben strode up on the porch.  “’Fraid nobody’s home,” he said, hoping she would just go away.  He wasn’t in the mood for another female, no matter how good she looked.

“I can see that,” she said.  “I’m looking for Benjamin Slocum.  I presume that’s you.”

He lifted a black eyebrow.  “And you would be?”

“My name is Claire Chastain.  I need to speak to you, Mr. Slocum, on a matter of extreme importance.”

“I’ll be in my office this afternoon.  Why don’t you stop by...say three o’clock?  We can talk about anything you like.”

“This can’t wait.” 

Of course not.  She was a woman.  Everything was a matter of critical meltdown.  “Is this business or personal?”

“Personal.”

He let his gaze drift over her, taking in the soft curves.  Slender and elegant, but there was plenty of female wrapped up in the pretty package. 

“Do we know each other, Ms. Chastain?”  As in have we spent the night together, maybe I drank too much and don’t recall?  

But he hadn’t done that since he’d left the SEALs.  Since then he had pretty much behaved himself.  Well, more or less.

“No, we’ve never met.  Please, Mr. Slocum.  This is important and I would rather not discuss it out on your front porch.”

Irritation filtered through him.  “Angel, this had better be good.”  Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his house key, stuck it in the lock and opened the door.  He went in and turned off the alarm, stepped back to allow Claire Chastain into his living room.

Ben closed the door.  “Look, lady, I just got home from a wedding and I need a shower.  There’s a coffee pot on the counter in the kitchen.  Coffee’s in the cupboard overhead.  If you want to have a sensible conversation, I suggest you make us a pot.” 

The woman’s dark eyebrows shot up.

“And don’t be afraid to actually put some coffee in the pot.” 

Her mouth dropped open.  Ben chuckled to himself as he turned and headed for the bedroom.

Of all the nerve!  Everything she had heard about Ben Slocum appeared to be exactly correct.  The man was arrogant and overbearing, down right rude.  In his rumpled tuxedo and smelling of sex and perfume, it didn’t take much imagination to know he had spent the night in a woman’s bed. 

Clearly he’d been out carousing, doing God only knew what. 

He was a navy SEAL, she reminded herself.  That had to count for something.  They had a reputation for being tough, brave, and honorable.  Still, from the information she had, he had been out of the military for the last five years, a medical discharge at twenty-eight after a combat wound in some godawful jungle in the Philippines

She had no idea the sort of man Ben Slocum had become.  One thing she knew.  He looked even better than the photo she had seen of him when he was twenty years old.  At least six-two, maybe a hundred ninety-five pounds of pure masculinity. 

Beneath his black tuxedo jacket, a set of ridiculously wide shoulders tapered down to a narrow waist and a pair of long legs.  Jet black hair cut short enough to hide a faint curl, and the stubble of a night’s growth of beard just made him more handsome.  She tried not to think of the glimpse of chest hair she’d seen beneath his unbuttoned shirt.

And those eyes.  So pale a blue they looked otherworldly.  She had seen a pair like them, but on a nine year-old, the effect just wasn’t the same.

Thinking of the little boy and the help he so desperately needed set her feet in motion.  Making the arrogant jerk a pot of coffee tweaked her ego, but that was hardly important.  She took down the can of Folgers and began the steps necessary to get a pot brewing.  Once the coffee was on its way, she took a moment to check out the house.

Neat was her first impression.  The dishes clean and put away, no crumbs on the round oak table in the kitchen.  No messy stacks of papers on the white ceramic tile counters.  Decidedly male was her second thought.  Brown leather sofa and chairs in the living room, oak end tables and pottery lamps.  A big flat screen TV on the wall, and a stack of hunting and fishing magazines sitting on the antique oak table in front of the sofa.

She felt something soft brush against her and looked down to see a big gray tomcat winding between her legs.  His golden eyes looked up at her as she bent down to scratch his ears. 

“Well, aren’t you a big fellow.”

The cat began to purr.  Ben Slocum was a cat person?  She was more a dog lover herself--not that she actually had one--but she liked all animals.  From the look of the cat’s glossy gray fur, he was definitely well cared for. 

The sound of a door opening caught her attention.  Claire looked up to see Ben Slocum striding down the hall, towel-drying his not quite wavy black hair.  In jeans and a black T-shirt that stretched over the muscles on a very impressive chest, Ben was a formidable presence.  Claire had to force herself not to take a step back as he walked into the living room.

“Smells good.”  He paused long enough to lean down and run his hand over the big cat’s thick fur.  “I see you’ve met Hercules.”

“You like cats?” she blurted out before she could stop herself.

“Herc’s a great guy.  I like animals in general.  I tend to prefer them to people.”  He continued on to the kitchen.  “Coffee looks good.  You want a cup?”

She definitely needed something to bolster her courage.  “Yes, I think I do.”

Ben took down a pair of mugs and poured them full, handed one to her.  He didn’t offer her cream or sugar.  He took a drink, seemed to approve. 

“What’s so important it couldn’t wait till this afternoon?”

“Why don’t we sit down?”  She started for the oak table in the kitchen, but Ben caught her arm.

“Why don’t you just tell me what the hell is going on?”

Her patience was thinning.  “Why don’t I just show you?”  Ignoring his request, she marched into the kitchen, set her coffee mug down on the table and sat down in one of the oak captain’s chairs.  Pulling the strap of her purse off her shoulder, she reached inside to retrieve Sam Thompson’s fifth grade class picture. 

Slocum walked over, crossed his arms over his impressive chest and stood eyeing her from a few feet away.

Claire looked up at him.  “I’m here, Mr. Slocum, because of your son.  His name is Sam, he’s nine years old, and he needs your help.”  

Kat Martin is giving away an autographed copy of Against the Edge to one blog commenter HERE. If you would like to win, just leave a comment with your name and EMAIL and answer the following question. "What other books, if any, have you read of Kat Martin's?"

My Review:

Kat Martin has definitely raised the bar as series go with 'Against the Edge'.  The third book in the Against series has all the romance and intrigue as the Book 1 and Book 2, while keeping the readers sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of each next event as the pages are turned. 

"I'm going to find my son. It doesn't matter if he's run away or if this guy Bridger took him. The minute I saw that picture, I had no other choice."

Set in the bayous and swamps of Northern Louisiana, Kat Martin has done her homework in describing the alligator and snake infested waters surrounding the compounds where Claire and Sam have been kidnapped and sequestered. 


"He wanted to review each twist and turn along the route, memorize each meandering tributary that led to a dead end. It was like a maze in there, with only a single, nearly unnavigable route of entry and escape  It was the reason the Bragg brothers didn't worry about guarding that side of the compound ..The channel continued to narrow, clogged with lily pads and downed trees. Jagged, moss-draped branches thrust viciously into the air. They passed wild eyed egrets and a haughty blue heron standing on one foot in the boggy water a few feet off to the right...tangle of cypress, the water dark and muddy...big, pattern backed brown snake draped over a branch...snakes and gators.


The suspense is great, and as in all romance novels, the hero is one special hunk. Ben, AKA Iceman, an ex-Navy SEAL, is determined to rescue his son and the woman he loves, at all costs. 

"Claire's mouth went dry. She couldn't take her eyes off the thick pectoral muscles, flat stomach and sixpack abs. A patch of curly black hair spread over his chest and arrowed down his stomach to disappear beneath the towel. She couldn't seem to breathe. "

"Under different circumstances, it would be fun to discover what lay beneath her cool reserve. To find out if she would be a red-car woman in bed."

As with all of Kat Martin's books, the story is well written  and the characters well developed. The plot will keep the reader guessing until the end. This is definitely a five star book.  

"I found something while you were gone. A picture. I think it's Troy and his brothers." "Where'd you find it?" "I went through Laura's things, took another look at the album where I'd found Troy's photo. I thought I might have missed something, and I had."


Kat is also sponsoring a contest on her blog. Follow the link  below to enter on her blog to win Crystal earrings from One Eleven and an autographed copy of 'Against the Edge'.  

 Contest link:



Purchase Links:




Amazon.com (click the book icon below)



Indiebound.org

Powell's Books:



Disclaimer/Disclosure. I received a complimentary copy of this book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art, book description, and any excerpts are courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of My Life. One Story at a Time.
My Life. One Story at a Time. is an advertising affiliate with Amazon, a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

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