Sunday, July 4, 2010

Naked Edge by Pamela Clare ****

wow - I think this might be the first time I started and finished 2 books in one day! (ok, I'm 30 minutes into the next day, but if I'd started reading earlier...)

This is actually the 4th book in the I-Team series and - gasp! - I haven't read books 1-3 yet. I wanted to - but I had a Barnes & Noble gift card, and they only had this one, so... I'd been meaning to do a Pamela Clare glom after reading 2 others (different series) so I figured I would just go ahead.

This is a contemporary, and it didn't take long for me to pick up that the I-Team of the series is a journalistic team, not a Navy SEAL or similar. The heroine, Kat, is one of the journalists, and her background is Navajo. She grew up on the rez in Arizona, but has left to make a living in Denver. As it turns out, her father was not Navajo and was not married to her mother, something that shamed her mother so much she never accepted her, and she was raised by her grandmother.

The hero is Gabe, who apparently appeared in earlier books. Gabe is a Mountain Parks ranger, and a "rock climbing god". After the prologue, we meet Gabe doing what he figures he does best - boinking and leaving a woman. He's not the marrying kind. (well, what contemporary hero is?) Kat and Gabe first meet when she falls into his life - literally, because she fell off a cliff he was climbing. They meet again when he is called to the scene of what appears to be a crime, only to see her being dragged out of a sweat lodge by her hair. Some local cop has decided the religious ceremony is breaking some local law.

Kat decides to follow up on the issue, writing a story about the Indian protest that follows, and pointing out the various laws already in place to protect Native Americans and their religious freedom. But that move gets her some death threats, and is soon followed by the suspicious death of one of the Indian elders. Clearly, something is rotten in Denver...

Kat has already told Gabe that she is a virgin and plans to wait until she meets her Other Half (aka soulmate) and gets married. She is not going to be one of his conquests. He lets her know right off the bat, though, that he's interested but not the marrying kind. (oh yeah, and as I said, what contemporary hero is?) But the two of them are thrown together in the mystery of who is behind the death of the elder when someone takes shots at them while they investigate.

We follow the 2 of them (with their buddies from earlier stories) through the investigation and mystery until they are forced to hide out in the mountains near Vail in a small cabin, while their buddies and the police try to find the killer.

I enjoyed the story very much, and at one point I was close to tears, thinking the author might have actually gone too far and killed one of the characters... And I gasped with shock near the end at what did happen. But at the end, I confess the epilogue just went on and on and made this particular happily ever after too sweet for even my taste. OK, everyone who needed being saved was saved, and the only character who dies was a bad guy - alright? (sorry, spoilerish) And they each confessed to loving the other. I didn't need another couple of dozen pages of the next year, as cloyingly cute as it was. Really.

It wasn't going to be a 5-star anyway, even as much as I liked the story and the characters. But it almost slipped to a 3... (oh, and my copy had about 4 almost blank pages! sheesh! I ended up reading them from the Look Inside page at Amazon!)

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