Jul 11, 2014

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Early Review: Into the Shadows by Carolyn Crane (The Associates #3)

intotheshadows4 star

Romantic Suspense
July 16 2014
274 pages
Received from author

Yummy Man – Thorne McKelvey
Kick Ass Chick – Nadia Volkov

From Goodreads –
He’s working undercover for the good guys. That doesn’t mean he’s one of them.

Thorne McKelvey knows exactly how Nadia sees him—as a brute and a killer just kinky enough to play her sexy games. And that’s how it has to stay. Leaving her was the hardest thing he ever did, but his undercover mission could blow up at any second. No way will he drag Nadia down with him.

Maybe it was foolish to fall in love with her late father’s deadliest henchman, but Nadia Volkov’s not sorry; without Thorne she wouldn’t have their beautiful little boy. There’s nothing she won’t do to protect Benny, which means she must hide his identity—especially from his father.

Now Thorne has burst back into her home, searching for clues to a gangland mystery…and stirring a hunger Nadia hasn’t felt in two years. But Benny’s identity isn’t the only secret she’s keeping, and things are turning deadly. Can Thorne and Nadia trust each other long enough to stay alive and have a chance at happiness?


Into the Shadows is the third book in Carolyn Crane’s The Associates series. So far the series has featured smart and sexy geek-type heroes. This book’s hero is not quite the same. This one is tortured and messed up… You know, one of our favorite kinds of romantic heroes *grin*.

This time around we follow Thorne, who we saw in the last book. Then, we found out that he is deep undercover in a money laundering gang. He is one of the good guys posing as one of the absolute bad guys. He was intriguing then and he is intriguing now. He has lost everything in his life, hence the tortured part. He has trouble trusting anyone and opening up to anyone. He is the kind of character you want to bring home so you can sit him down at your kitchen table and offer him some milk and warm cookies. You feel he needs and deserves tenderness and kindness and love because he has not experience much of that in his life. I was actually surprised that I didn’t feel like smacking Thorne once in this book. Usually, tortured heroes have a few moments at least where the reader is asking ‘really now?!’ but I felt Thorne was a well written and a well rounded character.

I loved his struggle with trust. Okay, that came out wrong. What I mean is that I found his struggle very well written. It suited his character and his personal growth quite well. And Thorne’s constant referrals to Bruce Lee and his ‘teachings’ were cute. They helped him survive the worst of situations and helped him help others do the same.

Nadia is his love. Her father actually ran one of the ‘evil gangs’ until he died a few years prior to this book. She and Thorne were somewhat of an item a couple of years back but thanks to his job, Thorne had to leave her. He was off to bigger and deeper undercover things and being around Nadia was just too dangerous for her. Even though, by that time, his feelings had evolved from love-love to a love-hate sort of thing. I don’t blame him for it…but of course, it was all thanks to a big misunderstanding. Thanks to the level of secrecy revolving around both Thorne’s and Nadia’s most recent activities, there are a few misunderstandings that get worked out in this book.

I did enjoy reading Nadia. I liked how she didn’t see Thorne as the lowlife he thought he was. She saw what he was underneath and loved him. I also liked reading about her search for her mother. That was an interesting plot point.

The search for Nadia’s mother was one part of the story as well and Thorne and Nadia’s finding each other again but that was not all there was to this book. The opening scenes were great, full of ‘hold your breath’ moments and they really started the story out strong. We also learn what Thorne’s ultimate mission is and the meaning of friendship among ‘brothers’. We also meet many villains along the way.

Let’s talk about the villains. In this series Carolyn is very good at surprising you with her villains. What I mean by that is she will shine some insight and actually make you show concern or even care for somebody who, up until that moment, you were calling a total douchebag in your mind. It’s brilliant! But what she also does is write villains that stay evil and even get worst through the book and may even make you crack open a bottle of champagne when they reach their well deserved demise. Great job there.

We see Cole, the hero from book one, quickly in this book and we get a quick update about Macmillan, the hero (loved him!) from book two. We also see Dax (can’t wait for his book!) and Zelda. Zelda is actually next in line for getting her own book. We see her in each book without ever finding out much about her. I’m sure her story will be awesome and I can’t wait to read it.

All in all, I really enjoyed Into the Shadows. I find Carolyn is writing a smart series here and I always look forward to reading a new installment. There is research behind her characters and real personality. I feel if you enjoy romantic suspense, you will truly enjoy these books.

4 stars

Books in The Associates series –
Against the Dark
Off the Edge
Into the Shadows


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