"An action-packed advenure to keep you on the edge of your seat..."
Reviewed by Mandy Burns
Posted February 25, 2011
Lucas Ramsey is no longer in the armed forces due to an
injury. Lucas was deemed unfit for battle, and now finds
himself with an uncertain future. When Lucas's former
commanding officer and a General ask Lucas for a favor, he
jumps at the chance. Lucas finds out quickly that the
General's instructions to keep his daughter, Sloane Gideon,
from boarding a plane to Colombi aare missing some major
information; such as Sloane's ability to ignore orders and
engage in subterfuge. Lucas' soldier instincts refuse to
allow failure, the only option is to do his best to keep
Sloan out of trouble and return her to the General. Sloane
evades Lucas in the States so he has no choice but to track
her to Columbia where danger is following her at every
Sloane Gideon, a member of the Edge, a group of mercenaries
for hire, receives a distressing call from her best friend
stating she is being held hostage by a possible drug lord in
Columbia. Sloane immediately takes off to Colombia, evading
the muscle Sloane's hated father sends to stop her.
Unfortunately, the muscle (i.e. Lucas) catches up with
her and refuses to leave her side as she works to rescue
her childhood friend. As the danger intensifies, and the
hunters become the hunted, Sloane comes to rely on Lucas and
his specific skills set to survive. As the
details of the man involved with kidnapping Sloane's friend
are revealed, secrets from the past spark treacherous
memories best left alone making Sloane's situation even more
dangerous than before.
LIVING ON THE EDGE is the first book in an exciting new
series by Shannon K Butcher. This first Edge novel is full
of action packed adventure, secrets, betrayal, and
powerful love refusing to be denied. Pure genius!
After a devastating injury, Lucas Ramsay knows he's
finished as a soldier.But when the general who saved his
life asks him for a favor, he says yes. All Lucas has to
do is keep the general's daughter from getting on a plane
to Colombia -- which is easier said than done...
Independent to the core, Sloane Gideon is a member of the
Edge-a group of mercenaries for hire. But she's not on the
clock for this mission. Her best friend is being held by a
vicious drug lord, and Sloane must rescue her -- no matter
how many handsome ex-soldiers her father sends to dissuade
With little choice, Lucas tracks Sloane to Colombia-where
she reluctantly allows him to aid her in her search. But
as they grow closer to the target, they grow closer to
each other. And before the battle is over, both will have
to decide just what they are willing to fight for...
Lucas Ramsey's target stood out from the swirling masses
of perfumed, sequined gold diggers on the ballroom floor.
There was something different about her -- a watchful,
focused quality that none of the other women at this fancy
shindig possessed. Then again, there were three other women
flirting with the flabby, older man she was hanging on.
Maybe she was worried she'd lose her sugar daddy.
Too bad Lucas wasn't a rich man, 'cause he'd love to sign
up for that job, even if for only one night.
The weapon in his shoulder holster felt odd through the
thin cotton of his tuxedo shirt, and the shiny leather shoes
didn't have the same gripping traction of his combat boots.
He was as far out of place here as a man could get, but
Sloane Gideon was here, so he was, too.
She was his last chance to repay a man he owed everything
to. And the job was simple. All he had to do was keep her
from catching her flight on a private jet in ninety-eight
No sweat. Even a washed-up soldier like him could handle
that. In fact, Lucas could think of more than one way to
make her miss that flight. The Old Man had said to use any
means necessary to keep her in Texas, and as the list of the
more interesting possibilities formed in Lucas's head, his
body temperature kicked up a couple of degrees.
There were hundreds of people here, all as well dressed
as the room itself. Silk draped the walls, and fine linen
cloths covered the tables. No polyester there.
A tidy crew of unobtrusive waiters weaved among the
guests, offering an endless supply of champagne in crystal
flutes. Live music swelled from the raised platform where a
small orchestra played. Elegant harmonies wove their way
through the room, and on the far left, couples danced to a
waltz Lucas recognized but could not name.
He was more of a beer and rock-and-roll kind of guy, but
that didn't mean he couldn't appreciate the finer things in
Like Sloane Gideon. She was definitely fine.
Sloane was lovely in an untouchable sort of way. Perfect
hair, perfect makeup, perfect dress flowing over perfect
curves. She was walking perfection, and he'd bet his last
dollar that she knew it. Decked out in diamonds and a dress
that probably cost more than his car, she was way out of his
league. Of course, if a man managed to strip her of all that
flash and sparkle, the playing field would be a lot more
even. And a lot more interesting.
All he had to do was pry her off the arm of Money Bags.
Lucas made his way across the ballroom, through the
glittering, upper-crust socialites. He ignored the women who
glanced his way, and the men who sized him up, staring at
him as if trying to calculate his net worth. Not much, he
knew, but he'd played enough roles in his life that this one
wasn't much of a stretch. At least here no one was shooting
at him, which made this a walk in the park by comparison.
He mimicked the rigid posture of the other men here,
donned an air of casual indifference to the ridiculous
amounts of wealth being displayed, and moved toward his target.
His knee throbbed as he forced it to accept his weight
without limping. He wasn't sure how he was going to hit the
dance floor with Sloane without giving away his weakness,
but he'd think of something. Maybe a nice, long slow dance
would come their way.
Even with a busted knee, Lucas could still come up with
at least a dozen ways he could make her forget about her
flight. Hell, if he wasn't too rusty, he might even be able
to make her forget what day of the week it was. That would
be a nice change of pace from his recent, unwelcome, lengthy
Any means necessary held a cargo ship load of possibilities.
Lucas had a hotel room upstairs all ready and waiting,
stocked with enough wine to knock a man his size
unconscious. Come morning when his debt to the Old Man was
repaid, he'd leave Sloane satisfied and sleeping while he
walked away from his old life with a clean slate and a clean
His new life held little appeal, but that, thankfully,
was a problem for another day.
A movement in his peripheral vision stopped him dead in
his tracks. He wasn't yet sure what he'd seen, but his
instincts were: trouble. The urge to duck and cover screamed
inside him, making his pulse skyrocket.
He turned his head, just enough to see the threat.
On a raised platform behind the orchestra was a thick
arrangement of huge potted trees and plants. Sticking out of
those plants was the last six inches of a rifle's barrel.
And it was aimed right at Sloane.
* * *
The man crossing the ballroom toward Sloane had been born
to wear a tux.
She let her gaze slide up and down his body, appreciating
the way the fabric hugged his broad shoulders and
accentuated his trim waist. The fit was so good it almost
hid the bulge of the weapon beneath his jacket. Almost.
She tightened her grip on the arm of her client,
signaling to him there was trouble.
"Time to go," she whispered into his ear, smiling as
though she'd just said something seductive.
Edward Henning looked at the three cosmetically
engineered gold diggers fawning at him and giggling, then
back at her like she was crazy. "I don't think so."
Sloane squeezed his arm harder. "Move. Now."
She'd scoped out the place earlier, and her best bet was
the eastern stairwell exit. She gave her client a
not-so-gentle tug, but the man refused to budge. He stayed
glued to the spot, hanging on whatever bimbette number three
Mr. Tuxedo and his concealed weapon were still fifty feet
away, but he was making progress through the crowds easily.
Men parted from his path, pulling their wives and dates out
of his way. Not that she could blame them. Any woman in that
man's path was a target -- whether for sex or violence,
Sloane wasn't sure, but it was definitely one of the two.
The bimbo trio giggled at something her client said, and
she felt his chest puff up. At sixty-three, Edward Henning
was turning to flab, spending too much time at a boardroom
table and not enough in a gym. Then again, if he'd been in
better shape, maybe he wouldn't have needed to hire her to
watch his back. Out-of-shape flab with deep pockets was her
job security. And Sloane loved her job -- loved the danger
and adrenaline rush. If it hadn't been for her friend Gina,
she never would have even considered taking vacation time.
But Gina needed her. Now. Another half hour of guard duty
and Sloane was officially off the clock. Her private flight
left in ninety minutes, and it couldn't happen soon enough.
It had taken all day and she'd called in a lot of favors,
but she'd managed to make arrangements for a whole lot of
firepower to be waiting for her in Colombia. No matter how
deep a mess Gina had gotten herself into this time, one way
or another, Sloane was going to get her out of that
godforsaken country in one piece.
Mr. Tuxedo stopped for a split second, then fixed his
gaze on her and picked up speed with more than a hint of
desperation hurrying his pace.
Now it was really time to go.
Sloane plastered a vapid smile on her face and stomped
over whatever bimbette number two was saying. "It's time to
go, Edward. I have twin twenty-somethings back in our room
waiting for us, and the girls won't wait naked all night."
Edward's eyes rounded with shock, and her absurd
distraction worked well enough that when she tugged on his
arm this time, he went.
"What is going on?" he asked under his breath as they
hurried toward the exit.
"A man with a gun is headed right this way. I thought now
would be a really good time to leave."
Edward cast an apologetic look over his shoulder at the
girls. "Why didn't you say so?"
"I did," said Sloane, refusing to allow her frustration
to enter her tone.
"No, you said it was time to go. You didn't say anything
about a gun."
"You hired me to protect you, rather than one of the big,
beefy men I work with. That tells me that you really didn't
want a lot of people knowing you needed a bodyguard. I was
trying to be discreet."
"By telling everyone I'm going to have sex with twin girls?"
Sloane shrugged, urging Edward to hurry the hell up. The
exit was only twenty feet away. "Would you have preferred guys?"
He sputtered in outrage, but at least she'd gotten his
blood moving enough that he had picked up speed.
Just not enough.
Hot, strong fingers closed around her bare arm, jerking
her to the side. Her grip on Edward failed, and she stumbled
toward Mr. Tuxedo.
"Run," she shouted at Edward.
"Get down," barked Mr. Tuxedo.
He tried to push her to the floor, but Sloane had other
plans. She had a perfect track record at the Edge, and she
wasn't about to ruin that now by leaving her principal
She spun her arm, breaking Mr. Tuxedo's grip. She needed
to reach Edward and get him out of harm's way. Running in
heels was an art all its own -- one she'd spent hours
working on -- but the laws of physics hadn't changed because
of that training, and she found herself slipping on the
glossy ballroom floor.
Edward hadn't moved. He stood staring at her in shock,
his mouth hanging open, his flabby body trembling with
"Go!" yelled Sloane. She'd catch up with him on the
stairwell once she'd disarmed Mr. Tuxedo.
Behind Edward, only inches from his head, a glass wall
sconce exploded into shrapnel. A large gaping hole opened up
in the drywall where a bullet had shredded it.
"Gun!" shouted Mr. Tuxedo, an instant before he tackled
her to the floor, covering her with his bulk.
Screams filled the ballroom. Confused panic skittered
through her system.
Mr. Tuxedo's heavy body crushed the air from her lungs,
and black spots formed in her vision. Through them, she saw
Edward turn tail and run, pushing open the heavy stairwell door.
Now all she had to do was get out from under Mr. Tuxedo
and join Edward. Not that she was going anywhere until she
got a little oxygen.
Another shot went off, fracturing a section of the exit
door, and people started stampeding.
"We're going to get trampled." Mr. Tuxedo's mouth was
right next to her ear, allowing her to hear him over the
panicked screams of the partygoers.
His weight disappeared, and in the next instant, she felt
weightless as he lifted her to her feet and pulled her
toward the exit. She jerked away, dodging him in the crowd.
The doorway was already clogged with people, pushing and
shoving as if that would help them escape faster.
For one split second, she thought about going back to
find the shooter and take out the threat to her principal.
She knew better; she knew her job was to keep Edward safe,
not hunt down scum, but the urge was still there, and she
had to fight it every step of the way. There were at least
two gunmen here so far. Who knew how many more there might
be flooding out the doors toward her unprotected client?
Someone stepped on her foot, hard, but she didn't dare
look down to figure out who it was. Beside her, an old woman
gasped and slipped beneath the shoving bodies.
Sloane reached for her, but was too late, and the frail
woman went down beneath a herd of lethal spiked heels.
Sloane tried to turn around to face the mob, hoping to
stop them before they killed the woman. She was swept along
in their wake, forced to move with them or fall herself. The
crush of shoving limbs was unrelenting, and it took her too
long to face the oncoming crowd. She pulled in a breath to
scream for them to stop when she saw Mr. Tuxedo behind her
with the frail woman in his arms.
He gave her a grim, determined nod. "Go," he told Sloane.
"I've got her."
Seeing him protect the old lady gave Sloane pause. He was
supposed to be the bad guy. Wasn't he?
Okay, so clearly he wasn't the shooter -- that shot had
come from across the room. But if he wasn't here to hurt
Edward, why had he been heading their way with a gun under
There wasn't a whole lot of time to contemplate that
question before Sloane squeezed through the door, down the
steps, and found Edward waiting for her on the ground floor.
She didn't even slow, but grabbed his arm and headed for
the rear exit of the hotel, where the armored limo was
supposed to be ready and waiting to pick them up.
Mr. Tuxedo still had an elderly woman in his arms to deal
with, and Sloane hoped that by the time he did, she and
Edward would be long gone. She really would have liked to
know what his part in all of this was, but her job was to
get her principal out safely, and that's exactly what she
was going to do.
* * *
Lucas had lost her. One minute she was right in front of
him, and the next, she was gone.
He set the little old lady on a bench and checked to make
sure she was going to stay upright. Her white hair had come
free of its sparkling combs and was now a mess. The sleeve
of her silk gown was torn, but she looked healthy enough.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
She gave him a shaky nod.
"Are you hurt?"
"Just banged around a bit. I'll be fine. Thank you." She
sounded breathless, but Lucas figured she had a right to be.
That whole mess had probably scared the hell out of her.
She reached up to pull at her mangled sleeve, and her
hands were shaking so badly, they looked like they might fly
off her wrists. A dark bruise was forming on her forearm,
beneath pale, papery skin.
Shit. He couldn't leave her like this. What if she'd hit
"Sit tight. I'm going to find you some help."
Lucas flagged down one of the confused bellboys and
hauled his pimply ass over to the woman. "You stay with
her," he ordered the kid, jabbing a finger into his skinny
chest. "Do not let her out of your sight until a paramedic
has checked her out. Understand?"
"Yes, sir," said the kid.
Police and other emergency vehicles were swarming into
the parking lot. Lucas flagged down the first paramedic he
saw and dragged him bodily to the old woman. The wide-eyed
EMT went to work, glancing nervously over his shoulder every
few seconds. At least he seemed capable enough to handle the
It was going to have to be good enough. Lucas still had
to find Sloane and keep her off that flight to Colombia. His
best chance now was to intercept her at the small airport
where her plane would depart.
In eighty-eight minutes.
As he headed for his car, he dialed the Old Man.
"Is she with you?" he answered on the first ring.
"No, sir. There was a situation here. Shots fired. She
"Shots? Is she okay?"
"I swear to God, Ramsey, if so much as one hair on her
head is harmed, I'll hold you personally responsible."
Lucas slid behind the wheel of his car. "Yes, sir."
"Find her. Stop her. Do not let her step foot on that
jet. I don't care what it takes."
He eased out of the parking lot as more emergency
vehicles came into view down the street. "I'm on it, sir."
"I chose you for this because you're not a man who knows
how to fail. Was I wrong?"
"No, sir. This was just a minor setback."
"Any idea why there were shots fired at some charity ball?"
"None. But I can tell you that the shooter was aiming
right for her."
"Dear God," breathed the Old Man, sounding like he'd just
aged twenty years in a heartbeat. "Are you sure he wasn't
aiming at her principal?"
Lucas merged onto the highway, heading away from Dallas
toward the airstrip. "Principal, sir?"
"She's a bodyguard, of all things." He spoke like the
mere thought chapped his ass raw. "Are you sure the shooter
wasn't aiming for her client?"
A bodyguard? Seriously? Well, that would certainly
explain how she knew how to break his hold without so much
as batting an eye.
Lucas wondered why this little bit of info hadn't been
passed on to him earlier. Must've been need-to-know.
"No, sir. I guess he could have been the target. She was
hanging all over him, so it's hard to be sure exactly where
the gunman was aiming. I assumed that since she was my
target, she was also the shooter's."
"Anything's possible with that woman, but I hope you're
"Is there anything else about her I should know, sir?"
"Now that you've lost her, you mean?"
Lucas gritted his teeth and gunned the engine,
maneuvering around the late-night traffic. "Yes, sir."
"Like why it's so important that I stop her from getting
on that flight. What's so important about some chick bodyguard?"
"That chick bodyguard happens to be my daughter."
Daughter? No way. The Old Man couldn't have a child. He
wasn't human. He was frigid logic. He lived and breathed
strategy and tactics. He was walking death with any weapon
created by man, and had at his disposal some of the most
lethal men on the planet. All of whom feared and respected
him. He couldn't have a kid. That was just . . . spooky.
"Uh. Sorry, sir. I didn't realize you had a daughter."
"Not many people do. See that you keep it that way."
The Old Man hung up, leaving Lucas reeling. The stakes
had just been raised, big-time. If he failed to stop Sloane
and she ended up heading toward one of the most dangerous
countries on the planet, he wouldn't have to worry about a
new line of work. The Old Man would kill him.
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