Ace, 309 pgs.
On the Edge is Another “Bad Ass Babe Fantasy Romance. (I may have to change the name of the blog to Rena’s House of Ass-Kicking or something if the trend continues–and given a glance at my reading list, it probably will.) This one uses what at first looks like a white trash/hill billy version of the (eternal and immortal) romance trope where the Hero Must Tame/Woo the Tempestuous Wildcat Heroine. Only that’s not what it is at all. It’s something much different; it’s Lawman Uses Wildcat As Bait to Catch the Bad Guy and then Kind of Falls for Her, which makes it more interesting.
Our Heroine is Rose Drayton, a young woman who is quite justified in being extremely paranoid of both her neighbors and strangers. She has an unusually strong talent for magic, which tends to make her a target for families that would like to have strongly magic-talented children. (And her community doesn’t have a problem with committing kidnapping and assault in order to get what they want.)Unfortunately, since Our Heroine doesn’t have any legal records, she can’t exactly move to a more congenial area. She is forced to work menial jobs off-the-books to make ends meet and put her brothers through school so they can have a somewhat more normal life. Into this precarious and unpleasant situation comes one Declan Camarine, a man with a mission who ends up boarding at Rose’s house. And things happen.
This was an interesting take on the urban fantasy romance genre and made good use of several romantic tropes while giving us believable characters you could grow to like and sympathize with. It’s also a somewhat dark book, since the community Rose comes from is extremely dysfunctional and unhealthy. (Several scenes may actually be somewhat “triggering” for people who can’t handle abusive situations.) Despite the caveats, it isn’t full of angst, there are many moments of humor, and the dialog/banter is very entertaining.