Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane is the fourth book in a fantastic romantic suspense series, The Associates. It features a very different type of hero and one of the Associates Agents. It is raw and powerful and explosive all in one. I absolutely loved it! So Many Reads is excited about being a stop on the Behind The Mask blog tour and have an excerpt from the book as well as a giveaway!
Author: Carolyn Crane
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Category: Romantic Suspense
TO SAVE HER PROSTITUTE TWIN SISTER SHE HAS TO SWITCH PLACES WITH HER…
When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group–and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again.
Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…
Little by little, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?
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Hi!! Hey, thank you so much for having me over to your lovely blog! It’s so nice to be here. Hi readers! Okay, I’m here with an excerpt of my new book, Behind the Mask.
In Behind the Mask, my heroine, Zelda, masquerades as her sister, a prostitute, in order to save her when she is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel. Zelda gets shuttled around and yada yada yada my hero, a retired legendary killer, takes her captive at his home on a windswept mountaintop in South America. (To be a cook for him and a boy he cares for…at least…errr…that’s how it starts out. And he doesn’t know she used to be in the CIA and used to hunt him! Oops!)
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So things are a little tense between Zelda and Hugo for much of this book. In this scene, he’s just brought her to his home (in South America). She’s injured from the last scene where he saved her life. He wants to care for her. She is a little freaked that he might be this legendary killer. And she has all these guilt issues from an old case.
He raised his inky brows. “It was not a request. You will come over here. You will give me your arm. You will stand here quietly as I wash it properly.”
She felt her lips part in shock, felt heat invade her face.
“It is best.”
Suck it up, she told herself. He just wants to wash it. She forced herself to put one foot in front of the other, senses tingling.
When she got to him, he took her hand once again, held it gently. She was close to him now—close enough that she could feel his breath on her ear as he growled, low and slow, “Was that so hard?”
She had the weird sense that he was enjoying this.
He went to work, rather expertly irrigating the wound over the sink. She stood there, fully given over to his strange, rough brand of care.
“You’re delaying dinner,” she said.
“Then you’ll cook faster.”
She bit her lip, praying for him not to get it in his head to stitch her up, much as she needed it. Of course he’d be good at it. Medievally meticulous, the way he’d been with the knives on the field. He was a man into control and precision.
Hugo patted her skin dry.
“Thank you.” She pulled her arm, but he didn’t let go—he kept hold, studying the wound.
“This will require a stitch,” he said. “Perhaps two or three.”
“No,” she said.
“It is not a matter of debate. The cut is deep.”
“Please, Hugo,” she added softly, using his name, aware that she was pulling him, that she could pull him, affect him. It was a little bit of a thrill, like walking a bloodthirsty bear on the end of a fragile silken cord.
“Do you remember what I said? This is not a democracy.” He released her and grabbed an ice cube from the freezer. “You will hold this to the flesh.” He pressed the ice to her wound.
She complied, full of disbelief and awe at the way he was steamrolling her with his one-pointed confidence.
“Shhh,” he said.
Shhh? Nobody said shhh to her. Treated her like this. Ordered her. She was the co-leader of the fucking Associates.
He torched the needle with a lighter, then rubbed it down with alcohol and threaded it with green fishing line. His technique was good; he was even doing the sterile area. He sterilized his forceps, then he took the ice from her and placed her arm down on the less sterile side of the setup, holding it in place, angled just so. And she found herself thinking about those black leather gloves.
“You can look away if you like.”
Right. You couldn’t pay her enough to look away from his hand and his beautiful confidence and his utter commitment.
She watched him position the needle at the end of the forceps, felt the pierce when it broke the skin, felt it sink. He worked with steady force, pushing and then pulling with the forceps. His technique was excellent, and little by little she let herself relax into his hold, even into the pain. She found she trusted him. This was a man who committed fully on the battlefield and here, now, he was utterly invested in caring for her.
No—it was more than that. His touch nourished her. And with a lurch in her heart she realized that, aside from the occasional handshake, she’d barely been touched since the Friar Hovde case. And she certainly hadn’t been handled like this. Cared for.
Her eyes felt warm. Tearing up.
What the fuck?
She blinked. She would not let him see her crying.
His grip tightened on her arm as he drew the needle through. Gentle. Efficient. Ruthless.
He made a quick, professional knot and then straightened up and looked into her eyes. He was silent for a long time. “It will be all right, señorita.”
She nodded, flooded with feeling.
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I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin).
My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route.
I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats.
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(1) $75.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice & open internationally)
(32) Digital Copies of either Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows (winner’s choice & open internationally)
Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
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Read other interviews, guest posts, reviews and excerpts along the tour!
Monday, May 18, 2015
Straight Shooting Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.straightshootinbookreviews.com
Romance Junkies (Excerpt): http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog
Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post): http://ramblingsfromthischick.com
Under the Covers Book Blog (Guest Post): http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com
Lush Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com
Badass Book Reviews (Review): http://www.badassbookreviews.com
Urban Girl Reader (Excerpt): http://www.urbangirlreader.com
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Happiness is a book (Review): https://happinessbook.wordpress.com
Reading by the Book (Excerpt): http://www.readingbythebook.com
That’s What I’m Talking About (Review): http://twimom227.com
Cricket’s Chirps (Review): http://www.cricketschirps.com/
The Romance Dish (Review): http://theromancedish.com
The Book Review (Review): http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Em & M Books (Excerpt): http://www.emandmbooks.com
Ex Libris (Guest Post): http://www.stella-exlibris.com
Herding Cats & Burning Soup (Interview): http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com
The Book Nympho (Review): http://thebooknympho.com/
Long and Short Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.longandshortreviews.com
Love Affair with an E-Reader (Review): www.loveaffairwithanereader.blogspot.com
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Paranormal Haven (Interview): http://paranormalhaven.com/
Becky on Books (Review): http://beckymmoe.com
Amy’s Blog (Excerpt): http://www.amymanemann.blogspot.com
So Many Reads (Excerpt): http://www.somanyreads.com
Angela Quarles Blog (Excerpt): http://www.angelaquarles.com/blog
Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review): http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com
Friday, May 22, 2015
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell (Review): http://books-forlife.blogspot.com
Blogging by Liza (Excerpt): http://lizasblog-liza.blogspot.com/
Bring Your Own Book Club (BYOB) (Review): https://www.facebook.com/byobclub1.0
Peaces of Me (Interview): http://www.suespeaces.blogspot.ca/
Ariesgrl Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.ariesgrlreview.com
C.K. Crouch (Review): http://ckcrouch.com/