Assigned to shore duty for his final tour before retirement and without Ryan to anchor him, Cliff’s restlessness leads him to a local club and hands-on research that leaves him in a compromising position and a witness to murder—signaling the abrupt end of his Navy career. Needing a place to lay low and lick his wounds, Cliff visits his old friends at the Willow Springs Ranch while he considers making cowboy his new job title. After six long months on deployment, Rhino returns to San Diego—only to discover Cliff’s gone dark and the unlikely words ‘poor judgment’ hanging in the air. Despite the offer of a prestigious assignment, Ryan opts to track down his best friend first and finds him at the WSR…along with more questions than he ever expected. With the most coveted orders for a SEAL dangling, twenty years of service under his belt, and Cliff determined to move on without him, decisions must be made. Ryan is certain he has the perfect solution going forward, but Cliff knows he must face the fallout of his actions alone—and the one thing he’s determined to do is protect Ryan from making the biggest mistake of his career—even if it costs Cliff everything. You know what they say—the only easy day was yesterday.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
After reading the entire Willow Springs Ranch series twice, I can safely say that both times through, Cliff’s Edge was and still is my favorite read. From beginning to end, Cliff’s Edge satisfied me on every level but the real highlight of the read are Cliff and Ryan.
For twenty years, Cliff and Ryan have been partners in crime, so to speak. They have gone through military training together, they have gone on dark ops missions together, survived at least one marriage and divorce together, and put up with the constant teasing of their teammates about being an old married couple. In so many ways, the teasing is beyond accurate but it isn’t until Ryan thinks he may lose Cliff forever that he begins to really assess what that designation might mean.
After a misstep that has cost Cliff his career in the military, he escapes to the Willow Springs Ranch to sort out his thoughts and decide what it is he wants for his future. When he left, Cliff had no way to contact Ryan and really had no intention of doing so. If Cliff’s career is over, he certainly isn’t going to bring his best friend down with him so leaving was really the best for both of them. After twenty years, Cliff should have known better. When one seriously pissed off Ryan literally swings down from the rafters at the WSR, Cliff is in for an ass-chewing like he has never experienced.
Once Ryan calms down and is ready to listen to Cliff’s story, he understands his old friend’s reasoning but warns Cliff there won’t be a repeat of the running away incident. Furthermore, there won’t be any going at it alone and whatever consequences Cliff is facing, Ryan will be by his side. Outwardly, Cliff agrees to Ryan conditions but he still has no intention of dragging Ryan through the mud with him. Because of Cliff’s actions, he is a part of an ongoing investigation that, if involved, could bring Ryan’s career to an end as well. Until he is called back into the investigation, Cliff is content to spend his time at WSR with Ryan.
After twenty years, Ryan is more convinced than ever that his one and only has been by his side for the last twenty years and if he can convince Cliff of the rightness of them as a couple then they can deal with everything as they always have, together. Cliff is straight-up, totally gay but Ryan has always leaned a bit more toward women than men. Make no mistake, Ryan has considered what it would be like to be with Cliff in that way but has never acted on his thoughts until now. Cliff certainly enjoys the action he’s getting from and giving to Ryan but he is also beyond worried that what they are doing physically will ruin twenty years of friendship. But, for the time being, Cliff will find a way to suffer through the phenomenal sex with Ryan.
As you may well expect, the road to the HEA isn’t easy and, in fact it gets quite dangerous. What two better men to send into the fray than two deadly Navy SEALs who have spent the bulk of their lives fighting side by side?? That’s right, there aren’t two better men 🙂 Yet again, Cliff and Ryan face and nullify the danger but what they discover is that the immediate danger is just that, immediate and there is something even more sinister lurking in the shadows.
The Bottom Line: I’ve read it twice and I’m going to read it again!! Cliff’s Edge has everything I love in a book!! There’s hot men, hot sex, just the right amount of danger and drama, and the promise of more to come. Cliff and Ryan are strong, sexy, courageous, honorable, and did I mention, sexy?? In so many ways, they remind me of Cass and Ty, two men who are partners in every way. Though their path will eventually lead them away from the WSR, Cliff and Ryan’s story isn’t over and Harner clearly isn’t done with this particular genre. YAY FOR ME!!!!