Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Club: Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

By Mary Grzesik

The first time a Roxanne St. Claire book crossed my path, it was Hunt Her Down facing out in Chapters. I was curious but she was an unknown (I know, where have I been LOL).   Fast forward to the end of 2010.  Edge Of Sight (EOS) appears on the shelves & I finally decide to check out this author’s web-site. I found Taken to the Edge, the free prequel to EOS.

This intro to Samantha & Zach was so incredible. Sam, a law student, and Vivi are friends & neighbors. One night, Vivi convinces Sam to party at her place. Sam almost begs off but Vivi won’t take no for an answer. Vivi’s twin brother Zach, an Army Ranger on leave from Kuwait, ushers Sam into the party and that was it for both of them. The chemistry between them was palpable and their banter was so fun & refreshing. No one but Zach could get away with being so alpha, irreverent and charming at the same time.
Zach to the men at the party: “Put your tongues away. She’s taken.”  When Sam calls him on it, Zach says with a smile, “You heard me.”  It was like they were screaming the word at each other, so loud everything in the room silenced while they connected with one simple thought. Sex.

Vivi admitted to Zach that she knew they would spark. Sam & Zach spent three idyllic weeks together, getting to know each other in & out of bed, both of them counting down the days until Zach shipped out again. During their last few hours together, Zach is awake watching the clock count down to his departure time. He dreads letting go of Sam’s hand that he’s holding to his chest. At this point, I’m in meltdown. It’s so poignant and romantic at the same time. While starting his shower, Zach hears Sam crying and admitting her love for him. He doesn’t want to return the words to her in case he doesn’t come home and pretends he doesn’t hear her. To tell her that he loves her is a “contract” and he doesn’t want her to be lonely. Zach thinks to himself that he will make it right when he gets back. If he gets back.

I know I’m using up some of my post for the prequel. While Edge of Sight will stand on its own, the prequel adds such a rich layer to the book.

EOS picks up 3 years later. Zach did not keep in touch with Sam. Sam is bound for Harvard Law School. At her waitressing job, she witnesses a murder in the wine cellar & goes on the run. She hits her place for her laptop, phone and a wig. Though they grew apart after Zach left, Sam texts Vivi for help. Vivi texts back, telling Sam to go to her place.  Zach shows up in the dark to meet her instead. Zach comes up behind her and says, “I’d recognize that ass anywhere.” Sam says, “I guess this means you’re not dead.” Just like that they slip into the banter again.

Sam turns to look at Zach and is surprised by his scarred cheek & eye patch. She assumes that’s the reason he didn’t keep in touch.  Zach & Vivi, who is starting her own security company, protect Sam until the murderer is caught. Their days on the run are harrowing. I know this is a romantic suspense book and Roxanne writes suspense so well but what got to me was the bond between Zach & Sam.

CHAPTER 15 really shows this. I realized that even if you took away the great sex, I loved what they said & what they felt. Here are a few passages that illustrate this. You’ll have to read the book for the “good” stuff.

“You deserve better.”  And that, he knew, was the real reason he couldn’t write that fucking post card.  Even when he was whole.

 “Zach.”  She cupped his face like she had in her apartment, her warm, dry palm closing over his scar.  “I don’t want better.”

He just looked at her. 

“I want you,” she said.  “Just like you are.  You.”  She grazed the scar, threatening to slide her finger under the patch.  He tried not to flinch.  “I want that man who left me crying.  The man who talked all night and made me laugh and drove me crazy.  I want that man, no matter how he looks.  Because that man, that man you used to be and that man I know you still are, that man looks…” She lifted the patch, inched it over his forehead, slid it off his head.  “Exactly the way he’s supposed to look.”


She looked up at him, the playfulness in her eyes gone .  “I haven’t been with anyone since you left.”
His fingers stilled.  “No one?”
She shook her head. 
“What were you waiting for?”
“I was waiting for you. Even though you didn't want me to, I waited and worried and wondered.”  


He kissed her as gently as he could, trying to use his mouth against hers to say all the words she deserved to hear.  Appreciation.  Adoration.  Affection.  Love.


He fell on her, strangled for air, dripping with sweat, helpless and shameless and lost.
His face smashed against hers, his scars pressed against her creamy complexion, their joining skin soaked.

There are only a handful of books that stay in my head, my heart and still on my desk (because I can't bear to put them away). Edge of Sight is one of them. Roxanne will be visiting with us today and giving away a full set of the Guardian Angelinos trilogy - Edge of Sight, Shiver of Fear and Face of Danger. 

Here is one of Roxanne’s fave recipes:

Uncle Nino’s Comforting Chicken Cacciatore
“It’ll cure a heartache.” 
- Vivi Angelino, FACE OF DANGER, p. 372

2 cups all-purpose flour for coating
1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 or 4  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
14 oz can of Italian peeled tomatoes or equivalent amount of fresh ripe Roma tomatoes.
4 or 5 Fresh Thyme sprigs with leaves stripped off
Pinch of dried oregano
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups fresh white or Crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut chicken into 8 pieces. Salt and pepper chicken pieces and dredge in flour and sauté in well heated olive oil. (Nino says dredge immediately before sautéing... one piece at a time)  
When chicken is well browned remove from pan and set aside.
Add onions (sprinkle of salt) and a couple of minutes later add the garlic.

Sauté for a few minutes, then add pepper, tomatoes and chicken pieces, wine, thyme leaves, and oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes and add mushrooms. Cook another 10 minutes or so and serve over pasta or with crusty bread.