About the Book
Title: Behind The Mask (Associates, #4)
Author: Carolyn Crane
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Category: Romantic Suspense
Barnes & Noble: Coming Soon!
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…
Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?
In Behind The Mask, Carolyn Crane takes us to South America with a unique plot.
Behind The Mask is a fast moving, captivating book with powerful characters. Despite the past that haunts her and riddles her with guilt, I felt that Zelda was a strong character and remarkably fearless. It was interesting how she was able to push emotion out of the equation when her work required her to do things a lot of people would not be able to do. She is able to separate clearly, and her mind set around this is pretty fascinating, because I felt like hidden inside is actually a very passionate woman. Zelda's character is very dynamic! When she is captured by Hugo, she used it as an opportunity to further her cause...at first anyway, because the attraction between them is as unexpected as it is undeniable. Will she use it or embrace it though? I was very interested to watch the relationship between Zelda and Hugo unfold.
Hugo is a great hero!! A legend, known as the dangerous and lethal Kabakas, he now lives quietly and unknown with a boy he's taken in in small town Beuna Vista. He doesn't know relationships or love...but when he 'captures' Zelda, she brings out more in him than he thought he had inside to give to anyone. But when danger threatens his town, the mask he'd put away for good might have to make another appearance to save good. He can't hide what's behind the mask to Zelda though, for she sees the heart hidden underneath his many layers. For two people who don't trust and with so much at stake, will they be able to trust each other? The connection they have is intense and the chemistry steaming, but will they take the chance?
I really liked what Hugo and Zelda brought out in each other, and I felt that these characters were very deep, with so many issues impacting their lives. I liked reading from both Hugo and Zelda's POV's, I felt that this helped me understand and feel the characters well.
The suspense part of the plot is woven in relevantly with the romance, they are all significant parts of the plot. This part of the book was somewhat vague and mystifying at times, in a way that kept me intrigued and wanting to know more.
Behind The Mask is part of Carolyn Crane's Associates series, and I feel that while it can be read as a stand alone the reader will have a better understanding of The Associates if the whole series is read. The secondary characters are mostly new to Behind The Mask, and they are not always pleasant people to be around which made Behind The Mask more thrilling!
Behind The Mask is well written and easy to follow, and I'd recommend it to romantic suspense readers looking for a unique plot line and steamy main characters!
Thanks for being here, Carolyn!!
Hey, Sue!! Thank you so much for having me. It’s so good to be here!
What made you decide to write about the Associates?
I like a lot of variety—lots of different sorts of stories and characters. So I was attracted to romantic suspense because I felt like it was a hugely flexible genre that could accommodate that. And, as a lover of all things James Bond and Anne Stuart, going for tales of hot, tortured, dirty-talking spies was just natural!
The Associates series takes us to some unique places, and there is always a tone of danger and darkness...what kind of research do you do for your books?
I actually do quite a bit of research, because of the way every book has a different ‘thing’ that the mystery turns on. For example, AGAINST THE DARK (currently FREE!) has a safecracking heroine and a spy who’s into logistics, so I had to research the hell out of those things. Off the Edge features a secret agent linguistics expert (I read books and got a consultant for that. ) And so on.
I love books that take me to faraway or otherwise unique settings, so I tend to take my own spies to new places. My upcoming book, BEHIND THE MASK, takes place in South America, near Ecuador. And thank goodness for Google street view, because I’ve never been to South America but through the magic of Google, I can go.
As far as the danger and darkness, I just love that gritty feel, you know? It’s just how I imagine things.
How do you get into the minds of your characters? Do you find this difficult? (I would guess it varies on the character!)
You are exactly right, it varies with the character. The heroines tend to be easier than the heroes. Sometimes I’ll catch myself slipping into a too-female mindset with my heroes and I have to pull back. Some heroes are easier than others, too.
In behind the Mask, my hero is a real alpha-caveman, and I had to constantly work to look at the world through his eyes. I’d think, okay, I’m powerful and socially awkward with really strong emotions I don’t know how to express…what would I do here? What would I say?
It felt a little like putting new furniture in my mind. Sometimes I would have to literally close my eyes and just work myself into the Hugo mindset. I think anybody can work themselves into another mindset if they just try.
What was your favorite part of Behind The Mask to write? Why?
There’s this part where the hero, Hugo, has taken the heroine captive to make her be his cook, etc, so it’s this total caveman thing to do, but he’s also intent on being kind to her and caring for her.
So there’s this scene early on where she’s injured from the fight (he saved her from some really bad killers) and he makes her let him stitch up the wound. He holds her still and cares for her; he sort of dominates her with this caring force, but it’s also kind of hot. I liked the complexity of that. The mix of hard and tender, and the heroines mix of outrage and gratitude.
Tell us about what's next!
Book #5 will probably be about Dax, the leader. Just because he’s the side character who I felt most excited about within this book and that’s how I pick who is next. Also, as Annika Martin, I’ll be doing another book in the Criminals and Captives series, which I co-write with Skye Warren, and also as Annika, another in the “Taken Hostage by Kinky Bank Robbers” series. (book #4!) So, I have my work cut out for me.
About the Author
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.
(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)
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