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Against the Dark

(The Associates #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,726 ratings  ·  279 reviews
She's an ex-safecracker forced into one last heist.

Angel Ramirez left the safecracking game five years ago, and she’s worked hard to make amends and build an honest life. But when a beloved aunt is kidnapped, she must reunite with her girl gang to acquire the unique ransom: Walter Borgola’s prized diamonds. It’s a simple job that turns into a nightmare, thanks to a surpris
ebook, 202 pages
Published April 17th 2013 by Smashwords
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,726 ratings  ·  279 reviews

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Robin (Bridge Four)
This is what happens when I don’t have a reading plan or actually I was just killing time before my next few buddy reads and this was on my ipod. I picked this one up right after I finished the Disillusionist series and it isn’t bad but it isn’t great either. Part of that is just me because I just finished 5 other books similar to this so I’m over it for a minute.

I enjoyed the premise of a reformed safe cracker coming out of retirement to help out her old crew for one last job and getting caught
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonetta by: Jennifer
Angel Ramirez is a retired jewel thief now interior designer. It's been five years and she's called by her friends to do one more job to save someone close to them. Cole Hawkins is working undercover for an organization called the Associates trying to takedown one of the most despicable crime bosses who just happens to be the mark of Angel and her friends.

What works in this story is the crippling suspense and sleek skills of Angel and Cole. Both of them are highly skilled and their points of vi
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Contemporary & Romantic Suspense Fans

4 stars - A Romantic Suspense with Brains, Brawn, and Skillful Hands! (Includes clever use of a condom packet!!!)

”Everything was different. His…heart was open wide—dangerously wide, vulnerable to everything. It was okay. His open heart was a good wound.

Pulled out of ‘retirement’ by her old team of thieves, Angel Ramirez’s skills are needed to crack the safe of sadistic organized criminal, Walter Borgola. The men holding a beloved aunt captive demand Borgola’s prized diamonds as ransom. To be c
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it

I first discovered this author with her Disillusionists trilogy, which blew me away. Till this day I can't understand why it doesn't have higher ratings. I really liked this but it didn't have the same bang of intelligence as the trilogy. It was however full of great pacing, perfectly written steam and sharp banter. I love this author's style, she keeps me turning the pages and biting my nails with her action sequences.
I loved Cole, he was a geek...a hot and built geek and we don't see
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read for the October prompt in the TBR Challenge.

I haven’t read anything by Carolyn Crane before, but her romantic suspense novels come highly recommended, so I picked up this first book in her four-book series The Associates for this months’ prompt.  It’s fast-moving and well-written with some nicely steamy scenes – plus the hero is a hot, dangerously sexy maths-nerd who wears glasses.  Um.  Yeah, that right there was enough to get me interested! (Think Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters – I di
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of romantic suspense (think Karen Rose only better)
After going straight for five years, Angel finds herself pulled back into the life of crime when her aunt is kidnapped and held for ransom. The price for her aunt's freedom is that she and her friends get into Walter Borgola's mansion, open a safe that is all but impossible to open and steal a fortune worth of diamonds.

After she succeeded in cracking the un-crackable safe, Cole tracks down Angel and makes her an offer she can't refuse. Either she goes back into Walter Borgola's mansion and crack
Against the Dark
3.5 Stars

Angel Ramirez thought she had left her life of crime behind her. But when her friend's aunt is kidnapped for ransom, she agrees to one more job. Unfortunately, the simple heist becomes more complex when Angel is caught by undercover agent, Cole Hawkins, and he blackmails her into helping him stop a vicious killer involved in the production of snuff films.

The suspense plot is rather unrealistic and very predictable. Nevertheless, the romance is intense as Cole and Angel
The first book in The Associates series by Carolyn Crane. Angel Ramirez was part of a group of women jewel thieves but is now working as an interior decorator. She is forced to do one more job to save her aunt who has been kidnapped. She and the gang are attending a party in the home of Walter Borgola and waiting for the right moment when she encounters Cole Hawkins, one of Borgola's security guards. Later, it's Cole's job to find and hand over the thieves and to find the stolen goods. But Cole ...more
I went into this book expecting it be more of a romance novel than it actually was, which is weird because the romance was such a central point of it. I think part of that was because Cole, the H, spends something like two-thirds or three-fourths of the novel telling the reader that, if it came down to it, he would sacrifice Angel, the h, for the cause. I completely understand that the life of one person (who he believes is a career criminal) isn't at all comparable to that of a bunch of innocen ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Well, here's one romantic suspense that is entertaining. Being short and fast is both good and bad. Good because it's fun, bad because too little time is spent on the character development. Still, now I know which series to read when I am in a mood for this type of story. And I want to read more about Macmillan.

The Associates is an international organization trying to fight crime. Their operative Cole blackmails Angel to help him break into a place Walter Borgola keeps the documents the Associat
I’m just – I don’t – what – I can’t – what – what even just happened here?

When I picked up this book I thought I had some idea of what awaited me. But it was far crazier than I anticipated.

Carolyn Crane has gone All In on the batshit mental action/adventure story and she has no fucks to give. Less is more? Think again: more is freaking more is basically the motto of this book.

Our hero is part of a shady, probably not Government-acknowledged secret spies, crime-fighting society of damaged misfi
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
He couldn’t believe it, just the miracle of her, inexplicably, unknowably perfect.

Against the Dark is the first book in the new series, The Associates by Carolyn Crane. We meet Angel Ramirez and safe cracker gone straight who's being pulled back into the game to save someone she cares about. Angel has spent the last 5 years putting an honest life together for herself, this job could put that all in jeopardy. Tall, dangerous, smart and handsome, Cole Hawkins is not what Angel needs when she see
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I give this book zero stars and recommend this to no one because I got no work done while I was reading this! LOL. If a heist film, a romance, and an undercover had a baby, Against the Dark would come pealing out of the garage. Thief Angel Ramirez is targeting a mark, depraved billionaire Walter Borgola, when she encounters Cole Hawkins, Borgola's security- and boy, do they make sparks. This is a scorcher! I'm a huge action/adventure fan, and the glamorous mansion and party were nice touches. I ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This has got to be one of the best RS I have read in a while. I mean I used to be a crazy fan of RS until I got burned out on the genre but this one got me back in. The heroine is a interior designer and a reformed thief but she is pulled back into the life she left behind five years back because of someone she loves and she meets with her old girl gang again. However, things don't go as planned and she is caught by the hero who thinks she is a criminal and pulls her in to help him crack a safe ...more
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to -ya by: Amanda (.---.--.-...-)
My first book by this author. Good chemistry between the two LCs. The banter is a big plus in this book. The hero is a geek and the heroine is a thief. The plotline is predictable, but I have no eye rolls whatsoever. What about their romance? Well, it goes something like this:

"Let me love you," he said
She pulled away and looked him clear in the face. The word, so loaded, wasn't so much a declaration as a signal balloon sent up through the darkness.
"Yes," she said.

1-800-direct :)

#short-length boo
Alexis Hall
Tl;dr: LOVED IT.

Talked about it with Elisabeth and Dabney over at AAR (warning, this is basically just three people squeeing):

AJH: Omg, how good was this book!

Elisabeth: OMG SO GOOD.

Dabney: I read it when it came out and honestly jumped back. Romantic suspense is a tough genre to do well. One part almost always suffers. She rocks both in this book.

AJH: I literally read this book in a sitting. I can’t remember the last time I did that with anything, but I absolutely could not put it down. I have
Mandi Schreiner
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rom-suspense
I was a big fan of Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionist trilogy and I’m happy to say Against the Dark starts a new series and I’m excited about it. Unlike her first series, this doesn’t have any paranormal aspects, and there is a HEA at the end (future books are planned with supporting characters).

Angel Ramirez used to get a rush every time she stole jewels with her two best friends. But eventually the shame of what she was doing to the people she stole from and how her family viewed her outweighed th
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars I enjoyed this book, and they introduced a few other Association guys that I'm sure I'll check out the next book in this series (which will likely feature on of them). It started out well with the girl gang pulling a heist, they had good interactions and a few funny moments, and the action started out well also. The girls worked well together and I knew she was gonna somehow end up having a run-in with Cole but I couldn't figure out where or how. I absolutely loved Carolyn Cranes Disil ...more
This is about an undercover operative agent who blackmailed a safecracker to bust his boss' safe open. Never came across that one before.

"Do we get to keep them after? The diamonds?" Angel asked.

"You get to keep your life. You don't get your intestines pulled out while you're hanging by your ankles. How does that sound?"

That was Cole. His undercover persona was very obnoxious and crude. So to keep up appearance, he was full of himself with Angel. It was hilarious.

"You were helpless under my
Jane Stewart
I wanted to buy the audiobook but I did not, because I could hear the narrator’s BREATHS. The narrator Romy Nordlinger needs to use a different microphone, or do something in the editing process to remove her breathing.

This was ok for suspense, but it just didn’t excite me. Things felt superficial.

The main weakness was not enough showing how things got done or how knowledge was obtained. I didn’t know enough about the bad guys - why they kidnapped, how
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Originally posted at The Book NymphoQuick Summary

Angel Ramirez is an interior designer with a past. She’s been a retired safecracker and jewel theft for about five years now but her old friends from her gang days needs her help so she is sucked back into the life for one last job. Cole Hawkins has been working undercover for The Associates, a kind of black ops group that uses any means to take down the bad guys. Cole and Angel meet while working the same party and their passion starts w
Jun 07, 2015 marked it as dnf
Shelves: freebies, romance
Sorry, really not the book for me. I've been the victim of a thief who stole my family heirloom, which were the only things left from my mom. Let's say I didn't find the heroine sympathetic, poor girl with a late conscience. Nope.
I didn't find particularly sympathetic the hero either, who so easily trade one's life for the many. Life is life, and the moment you talk like a market seller...I'm not saying it isn't the way things go, I even say it's right, if not fair. But that single life is prec
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
Very enjoyable book with a nerd (a very physically fit nerd *wink, wink*) and a sinfully sexy thief!
I like their interaction and banter!
Francesca the Fierce (Under the Covers Book Blog)
3.5 stars
Good start to the series! A bit lighter romantic suspense than I expected.
My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at

I read the rest of this series a while ago. I started with book three, Into the Shadows, because that was the review that really peaked my interest in this author and series. I can’t for the life of me remember who it was that recommended this series to me. I finished the series off, bet for some reason, never got back to book one in the series. So, I picked up this book when it was a free Kindle purchase and then add
Michelle [Helen Geek]
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone ... a little something for everyone
Recommended to Michelle by: Ian's 5 star review
01/05/2014 --

Overall Rating = 4 Stars
Book Cover / Book Blurb / Book Title = 3 / 3 / 4 = 3.5 Stars
Writer’s Voice = 4 Stars
Character Development = 3 Stars
Story Appreciation = 4.5 Stars
Worth the Chili = 5 Stars -- [$3.99 on Amazon]
Smexy [HEAT] Rating = Mild to Moderate
202 pages

The first time I'm reading this author and I enjoyed myself. A little something for everyone. Just what I needed. A bit different from what I've been reading lately.

The Good about this one:
1 -- Like I said, it is a bit differ
Cat Russell  (Addicted2Heroines)
The debut in Crane's new Associates series is a smokin' hot romance that had me hooked from the very first page. I was intrigued by the characters and the slow development of their relationship and I easily devoured this novel in less than two days.

Angel Ramirez and her former gang of thieves infiltrate the home of a very dangerous man named Walter Borgola. Although she had left her life as a safecracker behind many years ago, she's convinced to rejoin the team for one more heist.

This is how she
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ok, be warned: swimming upstream here.

Did I like this book? Let's just say I didn't dislike it. But I won't put my stamp-of-approval on it, either.

This should have been a "romantic suspense", but I haven't seen a suspenseful moment in all of it. To the contrary, the plot is predictable and stale, formulaic and boring as only romance books can get.

Am I going to go on with this series? Yes. I've loved the first books of The Illusionists Trilogy by Carolyn Crane, and so I have faith in the author.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Pull my hair," she said.
"This isn't that kind of fuck, Angel."
"I want you to, though."

Sexy and wonderful, loved it. And don't worry, he does pull her hair. LOTS :)
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Tall, Dark & Deadly: Buddy Read - Against the Dark by Carolyn Crane 80 35 Aug 27, 2015 04:17PM  

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After spending her youth thoroughly obsessed with Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy and convinced that her suburban neighborhood was awash in dangerous secrets, Carolyn Crane grew up to become a RITA-nominated author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of adventure and love; she also writes erotic romance about bank robbers as Annika Martin.

Her books have been published by Random Ho

Other books in the series

The Associates (4 books)
  • Off the Edge (The Associates, #2)
  • Into the Shadows (The Associates, #3)
  • Behind the Mask (The Associates #4)