|Tanner Keene runs a rather vague organization that has been employed to
rescue Madison Hilliard, daughter of a billionaire inventor and wife of a millionaire company owner. The ransom has been set at twenty million dollars.
Tanner finds Madison, rescues her, and because one of his men has been badly injured in the escape, he takes time to seek medical attention for the injured man before returning her to her family. He has however intercepted the ransom being paid and is returning it to her father who paid it.
He is surprised and extremely doubtful when Madison offers him money not to return her. Tanner was married briefly to a wealthy, idle woman and dislikes the type passionately. By explaining that she is divorced from her husband, Christian Hilliard, she buys herself enough time for him to move her to a safe house so he can investigate her claim further.
Immediately from the reaction of Christian, he begins to suspect that some of Madison’s story may be true. The safe house is, of course,
his home, where he is surrounded by high-tech, par excellence.
The author uses the time while Tanner is investigating as a “getting to know you” period, and Tanner gradually begins to soften his hard stand as he finds she is not quite as useless as he once imagined. Madison, as an abused spouse, is just as reluctant to trust.
Her father, on the other hand, trusts Christian implicitly and views him as the son he never had. Her father’s relationship with Madison is almost non-existent as he fears she is truly her mother’s daughter and will eventually end up in a mental institution and committing suicide, as she had.
Christian is as evil as Madison believes, and in fact had Madison kidnapped because he was badly in need of the twenty million dollars. Ph.D that he is, still he is buying technology from the Russian Mafia, and reconstructing it in his lab to make it his own work product. He is behind on his payments.
Mallery deserves kudos on this book for departing from overly used, tired plot lines. She brings freshness and originality to this story, which makes it a very enjoyable read. Her characters are well developed and their interactions are fun and not always predictable.
She balances the suspense plot fairly evenly with the growing romance
between Madison and Tanner. And rarely seen, her dialogue subtly changes in tone the longer they know each other.
The pacing is good and tensions and conflicts are artfully
sustained. These very positive ingredients make Living on the Edge one of Susan Mallery’s best Intimate Moments books yet.