Friday, September 24, 2010

Naked Edge (I-Team #4) by Pamela Clare

Another 5+ Star read from Pamela Clare!

     There are just some authors who know their stuff, and Pamela Clare is one of them. Honestly, her stories never cease to amaze me! They are action packed and believable, addressing topics close to home that we only hear or read little bits about in the news.  Regardless of the subject matter, I love how she imparts information, giving us more insight into what the characters are dealing with while keeping us fully engrossed in the story and invested in them as people. And how she always does this without bogging the story down in lectur-esque details is beyond me, but one thing all of her stories have in common is that much of what she writes about she’s experienced firsthand. There’s no guessing, no filling in details and hoping she got it right – her books comes straight from the pages of her life, and you can feel it in the characters, in their words and actions, in the way they live their lives – because Ms. Clare has lived it also.

     And, Sweet Mary! Does this woman know how to write alpha males!  They are the perfect combination of rugged, honorable, sexy, determined, intelligent, sexy, and devoted to their causes and to those they love. And wow, have I mentioned sexy?!? The heroines are people you can relate to, believe in and even though I’d rather have the heroes – any one of them – for myself, I’m wanting to see the females get their happily ever after so badly, that I’m willing to share! Yes, yes… so very selfless of me, but that’s just the kind of person I am. 

So let’s talk about Naked Edge:

     Katherine James is a Navajo environmental journalist on the I-Team, the Denver Independent newspapers's elite group of investigative reporters. Her background in Native American traditions, beliefs and ways of life give her a unique perspective when covering stories relating to the people. Kat has a very deep love and respect for the earth, and enjoys spending time at Mesa Butte with her friends, but one afternoon while sitting and enjoying the scenery alone, she hears a loud crack and feels the ground give way beneath her. Unable to find anything to grab hold of, she finds herself at the mercy of a rockslide. As darkness envelopes her, Kat’s last thoughts are, 'I don’t want to die today.' Lucky for her, it wasn’t her time to go.

     Gabe Rossiter, Boulder Mountain Park Ranger, was enjoying his day off, getting in some rock climbing, when he hears a woman scream, glances over in time to see rocks sliding down the side of a slope and caught sight of the woman falling with them.  Moving quickly, he made his way to where he knew the rocks would have come to a standstill and looked for the woman he was positive he had seen. Finding only her backpack, he was certain she was dead, having been buried under the debris. Only when he hears her cry out in pain does he realize that she’s managed to crawl away from the rock slide, despite her broken leg, and was making her way toward the trail in search of help. Doing what he could to stabilize her and calm her down, Gabe calls in their position and a rescue team gets there in no time, whisking Kat away from the accident and the man who saved her life.

     A few months later, Gabe and Kat are brought together again in another unfortunate event when a sacred religious ceremony Kat is attending is violently disrupted by law enforcement personnel. Gabe arrives just in time to see Kat being dragged by the hair from the sweat lodge where the inipi ceremony was taking place, by an overzealous, with an exaggerated view of his own self importance – who, having no jurisdiction, shouldn’t have been there in the first place. One thing leads to another, reports are filed, threats are made, and Kat and Gabe find themselves in a fight for their lives.

     The sexual tension in this book is through the roof! Gabe is carrying tons of baggage from his previous relationship with his fiancée who died three years earlier. Now, he’s all about sex, getting off, a real f*ck ‘em and leave ‘em style Don Juan. No more relationships for him – love doesn’t really exist. The only thing there might be between a man and a woman is sexual chemistry, nothing more. Kat, on the other hand, does believe in true love, and won’t give herself sexually to any man. She’s holding out for her true “half-side,” the one man who will complete her – much to Gabe’s dismay.  But as I said, the sexual tension is high and the non-sex sex scenes are some of the hottest I’ve ever read. Wow… have a cold drink and a fan nearby – I’m just sayin’…

     Kat is very different from any other female lead I’ve ever read. She has this amazing ability to love unconditionally, and such a calm, gentle spirit, that while I admired her, I wasn’t sure I could come to believe in her as a heroine who would be able to hold her own. I should have known better than to doubt. While she might come across and meek and mild, when the chips were down it was her quiet confidence, her inner strength, and her faith that kept her going. As the story is reaching its suspenseful climax, Kat has fought with everything she has in her to escape. When she realizes that struggling anymore at this particular moment won’t do her any good and that she needs to save her strength for when the opportunity arises and she really can fight back, she becomes so focused. So calm.  She begins singing Native American songs from her childhood, and I loved that!!  Throughout the book we see how important her heritage is to her, and in a time when she most needed a calm strength, she had that to draw from. For Kat, in my opinion, this is what made the difference between life and death.

     I’m not going to go into anymore of the story itself, but I just have to say that toward the end of the book while performing an act of absolute selflessness that had me sobbing so hard I had to put the book down to compose myself, Gabe went from being a hero I really liked, to one I not only love, but adore, one who has earned a spot on my Top Heroes shelf. While the stories and the players change, one thing is a given - Anytime I pick up one of Pamela Clare’s books, I know exactly what to expect – a fabulous read that will have me thinking about the characters and their lives long after I’ve finished the story.

     As an aside - If you choose to read Naked Edge, and I truly hope you do, once you get past Kat’s accident  on Mesa Butte,  go to Ms. Clare’s website and read about how she came up with this part of the story. You’ll be amazed.  In fact, even if you choose not to read this book, at least read the author’s notes:

     And now I’ll leave you with this parting word of caution—I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon attached to Pamela Clare’s books. Whenever I’m reading her stories, I find that my furniture gets dusty, trash piles up and I run out of clean clothes, so be prepared because this is likely to happen to you, too.

The I-Team reading order, so far:

1. Extreme Exposure
1.5 Heaven Can't Wait - a novella found in the out of print anthology Catch of the Day and on ebook
2. Hard Evidence
3. Unlawful Contact
4. Naked Edge
5. Breaking Point
5.5. Skin Deep
5.9. First Strike
6. Striking Distance
6.5. Soul Deep
7. Seduction Game
7.5 Dead by Midnight

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