Cold As Ice
I’ve been glomming Anne Stuart’s books the old-fashioned way for years. There are not a lot of romance writers who have such a distinctive voice and style as she does and I often dip into my stash of her books for some good edgy reading. I have multiple copies of some of my favorite titles and as for this series – I’m quite hooked on it and plan to follow it for as long as it lasts.
The hero of Cold As Ice is Peter Jensen, who made a small appearance in Black Ice as the lover of a Mafia Don. Peter is actually an operative for The Committee, an ultra-secret organization that makes the NSA seem open and friendly. Peter is not gay or even bisexual – he posed as the Mafia don’s lover as part of his job. Peter has total control over his mind and body and has picked up the nickname The Iceman for his cold, forbidding ways. Right now, he is the posing as billionaire Harry Van Dorn’s personal assistant. Harry is a rich with a capital R business superstar who appears in People magazine and all the good gossip sites. Everyone thinks Harry is wonderful since he cultivates the image of charitable do-gooder who is kind to children and all suffering people. Actually, Harry is a soulless sociopath who is planning to unleash The Rule of Seven on the world. The Rule of Seven is a series of seven terrorist attacks that will bring about utter chaos and, in some unexplained way, make Harry richer. The Committtee has found out about this, and Peter is supposed to kill Harry and stop the plan.
Into this mix steps Genevieve Spenser, a junior partner in a law firm that represents some of Harry’s business interests. She’s about to go on a much needed vacation and isn’t all too happy about having to run to Harry’s yacht to get his signature on some papers, but business is business and she figures this ought not to take too long.
Harry is obsessed with Genevieve from his first glimpse of her since he’s been looking for a new sexual thrill. He’s had old women, young children, models and ugly women, and has become quite jaded, but when he sees Genevieve – who is pretty in a wholesome way – he figures he will keep her on his yacht and have his way with her. Peter isn’t happy with Genevieve’s appearance on Harry’s yacht since she’s introduced a wild card into his carefully laid plans. Madame Lambert, the head of the Committee, wants Peter to kill Genevieve, and Peter has killed before, but he can’t bring himself to kill Genevieve, nor can he trust her with his plans. To find out more you will have to read the book, since I don’t want to spoil the story by going any further.
Cold As Ice has its share of problems. The biggest one is that once Peter determines that Genevieve is an innocent, he never lets her know just what a sociopath Harry is. She ends up in deadly danger when just a word from Peter would have given her the information to allow her the choice to stay or flee. Also, the book never tells how the Committee foils Harry’s Rule of Seven attacks. All the Committee’s work in this aspect happens totally off stage and the reader is informed that the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament has been foiled. And the plot to dynamite the dam in India has been foiled. And the plot to detonate the oil fields in Saudi Arabia has….well you get the point. I couldn’t help but think that had the book had been longer and we saw how the Committee put their counter-attacks into motion, it would have been more interesting. However this is not a techno-thriller, so if I want to read a story about how the good guys foil the bad ones, I’ll pick up the newest by Vince Flynn.
Peter is the main focus of the book, and he is by far the best thing in the book. He is as cold and icy as his nickname and in a wonderful scene, demonstrates why he’s called the Iceman by having sex with Genevieve and bringing her to a climax – something very rare for her. While she is limp with satiation, he brings her hand to his chest to show his heart rate is still as slow and steady as that of a man at rest. However, Peter’s attitude changes over the course of the book and he thaws quite satisfactorily. Stuart uses the love scenes between Peter and Genevieve to show how his cold heart warms toward Genevieve and he begins to care for and love her – something totally new to him.
Harry is a wonderfully hissable over the top villain. Outwardly he is a golden prince among men, but inwardly he is rotten and diseased. He comes to an over the top, but very satisfactory end. Yes, he’s cartoony but I really didn’t care. I just waited to see how he’d be foiled and I was very pleased at the results.
Genevieve is not as weak as some of Anne Stuart’s heroines have been in the past. She actually has spunk and a spine and is not inclined to let others walk all over her. Yet, for all her spunkiness, I couldn’t quite see what this fairly ordinary woman had that would cause the Iceman to melt for her.
Well, no matter what the small problems I had with Cold As Ice were – they remained small problems and didn’t mar my overall enjoyment of the book. The hero of the next book in the series is introduced in this one and you can be sure I will be at the bookstore as soon as it’s released.