The Cutting Edge

( 8 )

Overview

Leslie Rhoads may have grown up in a small town, but is on the verge of becoming a supermodel in the Big Apple, when the 24-year-old is chosen to grace the cover of Style magazine and star in the controversial Passion Nights’ perfume ads. But before she can step into the spotlight, Leslie is assaulted by a drug gang and disfigured with a broken scotch bottle. Without her perfect face, she is lost and no amount of surgery can ever make her what she once was.

Now trying to hide ...

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Overview

Leslie Rhoads may have grown up in a small town, but is on the verge of becoming a supermodel in the Big Apple, when the 24-year-old is chosen to grace the cover of Style magazine and star in the controversial Passion Nights’ perfume ads. But before she can step into the spotlight, Leslie is assaulted by a drug gang and disfigured with a broken scotch bottle. Without her perfect face, she is lost and no amount of surgery can ever make her what she once was.

Now trying to hide her face from the world, Leslie encounters more trouble as she seeks to rebuild her life: unrequited love, thoughts of suicide, and her assailant out to finish the job. Little does she know that a young girl named Angel will turn it all around, showing Leslie the joy and potential in life and the fact that love truly is blind.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426714665
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 630,217
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. Ace has authored more than sixty books for 25 different publishers that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, and children’s works, as well as books on history, culture, and faith. He also has been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special, and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace still resides in Arkansas and online at AceCollins.com.
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Read an Excerpt

The Cutting Edge


By Ace Collins

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2013 Ace Collins
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-1466-5


CHAPTER 1

Unbelievable," Leslie Rhoads sighed.

"Well, it shouldn't be," Carlee Middleton shot back, "you've worked long enough to get it."

"Still."

As Carlee smiled, the younger woman picked a magazine off the desk and walked over to the office's large window. As the sunlight hit the cover, she once again shook her head. Spotlighted in the golden haze of a New York afternoon, staring back at her from the cover was the vision of female perfection—natural honey blonde hair, a seductive smile framed with sensuous lips, a perfectly turned-up nose, deep, passionate blue eyes, and straight white teeth. The woman in the photograph was the definition of iconic beauty. She had the face women craved, men wanted, and cosmetic surgeons tried to duplicate. She was perfect—well, as perfect as anyone could be.

"I still can't believe it's me," Leslie exclaimed, the sun catching the excited sparkle in her eyes. Glancing across the city spread out below her agent's fifty-seventh floor office balcony she laughed, "Well, New York, this country girl has finally arrived!"

Carlee laughed with her, letting the twenty-four-year-old model soak in the excitement for a few moments and then, even while her visitor's heart was racing, she broke in, "A first-time national cover is always so exhilarating. I remember my first one. What a day that was!"

The older woman's words apparently landed on deaf ears. Leslie seemed far too consumed by the image staring back at her to even realize the agent had spoken. In fact, the world had stopped moving and time was standing still. Carlee knew the feeling; it was as if the best of every Christmas and birthday had all landed in one place at the same instant. And it was all because of one simple photograph.

She'd been one of a dozen models chosen to compete for this cover. None of them knew if they had the right look to get it. It was all in the hands of the CEO. The shoot had been three months ago, and when Leslie hadn't heard anything the model must have figured she hadn't made the grade. But now Carlee was giving her the proof that she was in the same league as the models she had idolized all her life!

Getting up from her desk, Carlee caught Leslie's eye, "Come on back down to earth, we have some new business to talk about." Motioning to a table in the corner of the huge office, she led her client over to a mass of clippings. Even as Leslie sat down, her eyes remained glued to the latest issue of Fashion Style.

"I just didn't realize how good it would feel," Leslie cooed. "I mean this is me! Carlee, I owe you so much for getting me this."

"Well, kid," Carlee's voice was now dry, but the smile still showed on her face, "It is a start. Tonight and tomorrow you'll be on newsstands coast to coast. Your face will be on street corners and in airports. Millions who didn't know you existed will now memorize this image. Women will try to duplicate your look and men will long to find you. That's the way this crazy business works. But it only works that way if we keep working. So now we need to move onto more important things. I've got something here that's much bigger than a single magazine cover."

Leslie stopped staring at her picture and studied her agent. "What could be bigger than this?"

Carlee didn't keep her waiting for long. "Les, I've shown the folks over at Drum Media some of your work and portfolio. They loved what they saw and they've convinced one of their clients that you might just make the perfect girl for their next national ad campaign. In fact, after talking to them this morning, I know I can get it for you. It could make your career! We're talking numbers in the six and seven figures. It could be bigger than a dozen magazine covers."

Carlee stopped for a moment to allow the young woman to grasp the magnitude of what she had just said. As she did, she looked down into a trusting face that still harbored a great deal of innocence. No artist could have created this woman. She was simply one of the most beautiful creatures she had ever seen. In a world full of plastic, she was the real thing, a vision of what every person thought the girl next door should look like. Carlee had a hundred different models, and most of them were incredibly attractive, but none of them had what this girl did. Leslie was touchable, a bit more human than all the others. There was something about her that indicated she was more than just a commodity. In four years of working in New York, she still came across as fresh, not cynical. This business hadn't hardened her.

Just three decades before, Carlee had been considered just as perfect. She was the hot model, the one that all the men were hung up on and the girl who made millions for the agency. But the business of surviving on looks and nothing else had broken her small town naïveté in a hurry. She quickly discovered her face and body were nothing more than a product without a soul. It was time to drive that lesson home to this girl as well.

"Your look is perfect right now," Carlee explained. "I know what it's like to have that moment. I had and held onto it for five years starting when I was your age. So while you might want to bathe in the spotlight right now, Leslie, you can't. You have to be cold and calculating to make it in this world. That's what I learned as a model and that's why I'm so good at peddling what you have right now. It might sound harsh but you are a piece of meat to me."

Leslie's eyes jumped from the cover to the woman. The model knew time was limited. After all, Carlee had been on scores of magazine covers. She'd been the toast of New York and Paris. But now, despite a couple of facelifts, the years of living hard and on the edge showed. Her eyes didn't glow, not even now when she was about to have one of her models hit the real big time. Yet, it might have been more than the years, it might have been all the sadness in her life.

Carlee had been married four times, all ending in bitter divorces. In between the marriages had been numerous affairs, so many that she had once told Leslie she didn't remember all the men and all the lines. There had been pills and booze, not to mention countless packs of cigarettes. And yet, she still boasted she was one of the lucky ones. She had survived.

Moving to an end table beside a leather couch, Carlee picked up a thirty-year-old fashion magazine. She briefly studied it before handing it to Leslie.

"You know who that is?" Carlee asked.

Leslie took the publication, studied the cover model's high cheekbones and deep eyes before shaking her head.

"That was Connie Creast," the agent explained. "We started together and for a while she made the big bucks. So did others who shared the stable with me way back then. How well I remember the names—Melody Reason, Fawn Telch, and Becca Woodcastle. Yet none of these girls are left in this business. When their looks played out, when age caught up with their bodies and faces, they were forced to look elsewhere. They were like you. This was their whole life and none of them ever went after higher educations. So all they had was a face and a body. The alternatives left to them when the camera saw their age were so degrading, they were rarely mentioned or seen in places other than cheap bars or motels. You need to know that, Leslie. You need to understand that you have to make it while you can and invest it. Even as we speak, the clock is ticking."

Carlee stared at the young woman whose career she guided. "You're different than I was when I was your age. You don't yet realize that in this business, you are not a person—you're a commodity. You have to grasp onto that fact! You have to understand that the person on that cover is not you, but rather it is just an image! It is nothing more! As long as you can separate what you sell from who you are, you will be fine."

Leslie nodded. "Does this have something to do with Drum Media?"

"This offer we just received," Carlee continued, "I can't begin to explain what it means to me to get this for you."

The agent sat down beside Leslie, grabbed the model's hands, and looked her squarely in the eyes. "For years, I've dreamed of landing a big-time gig. I wanted to place someone in a campaign that could and would catch the public's imagination—something that everyone would be talking about. This is it! Leslie, they want you!"

Carlee smiled. "This is going to be amazing! Mike Thomas over at Drum has convinced the marketing directors at H & B to use you as the central girl in the Passion Nights perfume ads. It means great big bucks and a huge amount of exposure. Probably every morning talk show in the country will want you, as will magazines and newspapers. You'll be all over the Internet. You'll be the biggest face in the business.

"Consider this. These people have been looking all over the world for over a year now, everybody has been after this job, everyone has been wondering which of the big names would get it, and they want you. You are going to get to replace Erica Budig."

If Carlee had expected to be greeted with a hug and a shout, she was disappointed. All she received was a blank, stunned stare. Rather than respond, Leslie slowly got up from the table and once again looked out into the New York afternoon. The room was deathly still as one woman buried herself in her thoughts and the other waited for an answer that she knew must come.

Carlee knew that for four long years, Leslie had struggled just to make ends meet. She had eaten cheaply, worked hard, lived in run-down apartments and almost given up a hundred times, and then, just in the last few months, things had begun to click. First, she had gotten a spot as the girl on the Buffalo Scotch ads and then the cover of Fashion and Style. The first two she had taken, one with some reservations just to get a shot at something big and the other as a way of living a dream. Now that it had happened, one of the biggest companies in the industry wanted her, she acted as if she didn't know if she really wanted it. Why she was so troubled by what looked like the biggest break of her life?
(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Cutting Edge by Ace Collins. Copyright © 2013 Ace Collins. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is a very interesting story that really makes you think abo

    This is a very interesting story that really makes you think about the importance put on appearances rather than on character. Leslie was used to depending on her looks, so when she lost them, she felt like she lost her worth. It's a good reminder that it's more important that we're beautiful inside than out. I like who Leslie became by the end of the book and the supportive people in her life who showed her unconditional love. It's amazing what people can survive with a support system, especially when they turn to God. It seemed Leslie grew up going to church, but had shed her faith as she pursued her career. There's talk of faith throughout the book, but there's not really a defining moment where she turns back to God, which I would have liked to see. This is a sequel to Darkness Before Dawn, which I didn't realize until after I'd read the book, but I don't think it had much impact on this story as it was about her cousin. There's some romance and suspense, which I enjoyed. I really liked the unique plot, too. Check out this unique story!

    I received a free ARC of this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted November 14, 2013

    11/14/2013 REVIEW




    THE CUTTING EDGE
    By:
    Ace Collins


    Grab a chair in your favorite spot and get comfortable and a cold drink. Get on the plane with Leslie because you are in for one of the best rides of a life time, hang on!!!!!

    As the pages unfold for Leslie's journey of being a beautiful woman, with a face no plastic surgeon could even master or duplicate no matter how hard they tried why, because Leslie was given that perfect face by the best surgeon of all GOD---so you know it was the prettiest of all.

    You'll find Leslie is a model but her biggest job that will give her millions was yet to come. You'll find Leslie isn't a model like all the others, she doesn't drink, do drugs or go to those parties they all attend, she is different!!!!!!!!! She does love her job until the one comes along that demands something she is not sure she can give. She wants to talk to someone that means the world to her and get his opinion on this. Carlee her manager not only wants it for Leslie but most of all for herself.
    Leslie needs time away from Carlee and her influence, to find out what she really wants to do.

    So Leslie decides to hop on a plane and head to the person she knows loves her and will help her with her heart saying one thing and her head saying another. She loves to talk to her Dad. What girl doesn't want a Father that is there for her when doubts arise and help is needed?

    But Leslie's real journey is now going to star-- she is attack violently worse then anyone can imagine--her trails and God's plan are now in motion, they are laid before her and will be a hard journey. It doesn't stop with the first attack when she finally gets her life back on track the man is out to finish the job he started. How will Leslie handle yet another attempt on her life?

    There's a young girl who breaks through the pain and hurt and show Leslie love truly is blind. Remember God loves you no matter the imperfections we have some show, some are hidden beneath layers and layers of pain. No one is perfect but God's love is.

    This is a page turner from page one you will have a hard time putting it down once you start. It's a must have if you enjoy a good page turner--pick one up you won't be disappointed believe me!!!!

    HAPPY READING!!!!!!!!!!!! Some times love is found in the places God had made special for you!!

    I received this book free from Abingdon Press for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review just an honest one. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.
    Thanks Cat for believing in me.
    5 Star
    ISBN 978-1-4267-1466-5

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  • Posted October 31, 2013

    Leslie Rhoads was an interesting person. I know that it can be

    Leslie Rhoads was an interesting person. I know that it can be hard to stick with what you believe in when you desire to be a supermodel, and she was doing pretty well. I am glad she went home to ask her family their opinions before she took her latest assignment. She did concentrate on her looks a lot though, thanks to her mother and that was harming her self-worth.

    I really liked Angel and Hunter. The three of them helped each other out and God was able to be important in their lives.

    I would recommend this book to people who like suspense, but I think everyone would like to read it.

    Disclosure of Material Connection- I received The Cutting Edge, by Ace Collins, for free from Abingdon Press and the Early Reader Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted October 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ace Collins in his new book, ¿The Cutting Edge¿ published by Abi

    Ace Collins in his new book, “The Cutting Edge” published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Leslie Rhoads.




    From the back cover:  When your entire future is destroyed, why would you bother to rebuild?




    Leslie Rhoads may have grown up in a small town, but is on the verge of becoming a supermodel in the Big Apple, when the 24-year-old is chosen to grace the cover of Style magazine and star in the controversial Passion Nights perfume ads. But before she can step into the spotlight, Leslie is assaulted by a drug gang and disfigured with a broken scotch bottle. Without her perfect face, she is lost and no amount of surgery can ever make her what she once was.




    Now trying to hide her face from the world, Leslie encounters more trouble as she seeks to rebuild her life: unrequited love, thoughts of suicide, and her assailant out to finish the job. Little does she know that a young girl named Angel will turn it all around, showing Leslie the joy and potential in life and the fact that love truly is blind.




    Ace Collins understands that what we judge others by is the face.  If the face looks good then we say the person is good, whether that is the case or not.  Leslie is about to take over a prime perfume account and become what she always dreamed about:  a supermodel.  That dream is shattered by a gang attack and a beer bottle.  Her face is badly scarred and irreparable.  Now what does she do?  And on top of everything her attacker wants to finish the job he started.  I think this is a brilliant character study with the focus on beauty.  Mr. Collins throws in all kinds of sub-plots that keep the story moving briskly As Leslie begins to move on with her life.  Through Mr. Collins’ excellent writing skills we come to understand Leslie and want her to be healed from her almost crushing pain.  Mr. Collins has given us themes of devastating loss, and forgiveness and how we can deal with them.  This is a fun read that gives us a lot to think about.




    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Posted October 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    'The Cutting Edge' is a great story of a model who finally "

    'The Cutting Edge' is a great story of a model who finally "hit the Big Time", but at what cost? Was it really worth the sacrifices she would be making? She decided to go back home where she would discuss it with her father, realizing it was not only her life this decision would be affecting.

    She arrived late at night, deciding to spend the night in a motel rather than awaken her parents...a hotel she never made it to. The ensuing events changed her life forever!

    This is a dynamic story concerning vanity, self worth, unconditional love, cruelty, violence, spiritual healing, dysfunctional families,

    The cover is very profound and reflects much of the story. It succeeds in getting one's attention.

    The characters were very defined and the reader easily connected to them. However, the scene's surrounding events could have been better described. There were a few grammatical errors, as well.

    There were times when the "flow" of the story didn't go well and there was some repetition. The story, itself, was good and "clean" enough for YA audiences. There were also many good points made...ideal for Book Club discussions.

    I fluctuated between giving a three or four stars book review rating and decided on a weak Four Stars rating.

    I was sent this book by a publisher to read and give an honest review, of which I have given.

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  • Posted October 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Cutting Edge is a story about a woman who learns that true b

    The Cutting Edge is a story about a woman who learns that true beauty comes from within. Following a horrible attack, Leslie, a model who relied on her looks for everything, is left with a disfigured face and a life she never expected. As she struggles through her new reality, she begins to realize that inner beauty is far more important than outer beauty.

    I really enjoyed parts of The Cutting Edge. The suspense thread was great; while I spent most of the book thinking I had it all figured out, as I approached the end of the novel, I learned that I didn't. The twists in The Cutting Edge definitely kept me on my toes! I also appreciated the impact Leslie had on Angel, and vice versa.

    What I didn't enjoy so much was the Leslie character. I understand that she was a self-absorbed model, making her transformation as she learned the truth about beauty much more marked than if she had been an average girl ... but I just didn't care for her. She did grow on me by the end, but I spent so much time not caring about her that it was hard to be truly invested when her life was at stake.

    I also had trouble getting into the story in the first chapter. After that, though, I flew through the pages. The Cutting Edge is a quick and enjoyable read, and I think romantic suspense fans will enjoy it.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance reading copy of this book for review from Abingdon Press.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted October 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    They say beauty is only skin deep, but is it really? Does anyone

    They say beauty is only skin deep, but is it really? Does anyone ever really bother to get beneath the skin and find the real person inside? Perfection was a look and that was it. So many "beautiful" girls look in the mirror and suddenly become dissatisfied with the way they looked. Many begin to dwell on one feature or another as the reason they hadn't become the latest cover girl. The end result is usually an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon and an attempt to improve on what most people would have thought of was perfection. Of course, rather did these fixes lead to bigger jobs, only bigger disappointments and lower self esteem. The fact was, a "look" couldn't be manufactured; it had to be a gift of birth.

    That is just what Leslie Rhoads had, the looks that most would die to have. No cosmetic surgery was necessary and a true moment of opportunity sat literally right in front of her. The opportunity most models wait a lifetime to get and only rarely do few ever find. Now on the cusp of making a decision that might change her career, Leslie begins to count just what the cost is for great beauty and looks. Passion Nights, a perfume company wants her to be their spokesmodel but the photographs and ads leave very little left to the imagination. Raised as the proverbial girl next door, she wonders just what kind of message would she be sending taking on this project and signing a multi-million dollar contract. Her agent Carlee Middleton, reminds her that this doesn't come around too often and it is a guarantee to launch her career as a model to heights she had never dreamed before. No more struggling to make rent or live in less than desirable areas, this would literally be a life changing. But she can't accept without talking to her parents, the voice of reason in her life. What would God tell her to do?

    When she arrives home from a late night flight from New York into Springfield, Illinois, the airport is mostly closed. Without wanting to wake her parents, she opts to call for a cab but since it's so late the cab will take awhile to get there since the driver is out on another call. When twenty minutes pass, Leslie sees an approaching unmarked car and believes that such a small town company has opted to send whatever they have left. Without thinking she opens the car door, only to be abducted from the airport by men she can't see. The only people who even know she is arriving home is her agent and it seems like that might be the last person who will ever know just where she went.

    The men who have abducted Leslie have no idea who she is, and had hoped merely to gain whatever money and items of worth from her before abandoning her at the side of a dark road. But when a search of her baggage reveals her face on the cover of a magazine, the men realize Leslie might be worth a whole lot more. When she fails to give them what they want, they decide to take it out on her in a dark alley, cutting her beautiful face with a broken bottle and leaving her for dead. What will her beauty be worth now?

    In the latest novel by best selling author Ace Collins, The Cutting Edge is one of those novels that once you pick up will embed its way into your soul. I literally inhaled this one and didn't realize that this novel is the sequel from Darkness Before Dawn. I remember reading a similar story that happened many years ago about a model who had her face viciously damaged and she was left for dead as well. I can't imagine the horrors she had to deal with much like Leslie's character whose whole life has been defined by her looks. Now she is left with nothing more but scars but it's the ones inside that may never heal. Can she find the beauty that lies within all of us before it's too late?

    I received The Cutting Edge by Ace Collins compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are mine. I easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars because I believe it delivers more than just a great suspense filled story. There is a great message behind this story that is revealed by the time you get to the end, the one of what the true definition of beauty really is. Once again I feel that Ace Collins is definitely a "one to watch" author because everything he seems to do, turns to gold. He is utilizing his true God given gift of writing to transport us inside the story. It's compelling, believable and one that will stay with you long after you turn the final page. I simply can't wait to see what masterpiece he will create next.

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  • Posted October 15, 2013

    Ace Collins has created a compelling read with his latest novel.

    Ace Collins has created a compelling read with his latest novel. The Cutting Edge cuts deep indeed as it rips away the layers and portrays what can happen when beauty is only skin deep. Collins weaves a suspenseful plot into this issue-driven and character-focused tale. In spite of her lack of inner strength, Leslie Rhoads is a likeable character, and the horrific attack she experiences makes it easy to sympathize with her as she must confront the physical and emotional challenges that result from her attack. This is not a simplistic novel. Leslie grapples with difficult issues such as suicide, the purpose of life, betrayal and the foundations of attraction and love. Collins expertly weaves threads of faith, hope, and love among the suspense and despair in this story that is alternately chilling, poignant, and heartwarming. While this is a standalone, readers of Darkness Before Dawn will enjoy appearances of that novel's main character, Meg Richards. Don't miss this important book.




    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Ace Collins and Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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