Release Date: Out now
The job was supposed to be dead easy–hand-deliver some legal papers to billionaire philanthropist Harry Van Dorn’s extravagant yacht, get his signature and be done. But Manhattan lawyer Genevieve Spenser soon realizes she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that the publicly benevolent playboy has a sick, vicious side. As he tries to make her his plaything for the evening, eager to use and abuse her until he discards her with the rest of his victims, Genevieve must keep her wits if she intends to survive the night. But there’s someone else on the ship who knows the true depths of Van Dorn’s evil. Peter Jensen is far more than the unassuming personal assistant he pretends to be–he’s a secret operative who will stop at nothing to ensure Harry’s deadly Rule of Seven terror campaign dies with him. But Genevieve’s presence has thrown a wrench into his plans, and now he must decide whether to risk his mission to keep her alive, or allow her to become collateral damage….
*Blurb taken from Goodreads*
I found myself in the mood to reread one of Anne Stuart’s books because I wantedd to read a romance with an anti-hero and she is my go to author for Gamma type heroes. COLD AS ICE is one of my favourite Stuart’s titles because not only it delivers one of the best hero who is a capital G in Gamma hero, I also loved the romance between Peter and Genevieve which really worked for me.
Genevieve is looking forward to a hiking holiday break in Costa Rica but has a last minute simple task to get some papers signed to billionaire Harry Van Dorn for her prestigious New York law-firm. However, what turned out to be a routine assignment becomes a fight for her life when she finds herself being an innocent bystander in a trap that is laid out by Peter Jenson, the enigmatic and cool assistant for Van Dorn who is really a double agent for a secret organisation called The Committee. Peter’s mission is to stop Van Dorn’s crazy quest to thrust the world into chaos and destruction via series of disasters and terrorist attacks although his plans are in disarray since Genevieve’s arrival which cracks his cool facade.
Anne Stuart has a real gift with creating anti-heroes like Peter Jenson, he is cool, calm and collected and even though he never loses his perspective with the mission, there were vulnerable layers with his character that was slowly unveiled. I also found it refreshing that he was bisexual and was pretty much a chameleon in the roles he would play for his missions. But I especially enjoyed the subtle cracks in his shield which becomes more apparent as the story develops about his feelings towards Genevieve who gets under his skin. I also enjoyed the banter between Peter and Genevieve who stands up for herself against his cool mask and I liked that he manages to crack her walls and facade that she has built up to hide her true self.
It made the romance between them feel like equals as well as multi-layered and even though Peter was stone cold, and would use any kind of weapon he had in hand whether it was sex or hand to hand combat to fulfill his agenda. I liked that he had hidden vulnerabilities which made him human even though he was deemed to be a ruthless killer and agent.
I would have liked more expansion on Genevieve’s character because while I liked the glimpses we got of her past and the reasons why she had built a shield around her masking her true self. This was not really explored more fully in the book with how her relationship developed with Peter who was aware of every nuance of her past and life and I would have liked more exploration on this especially since they both had similar perspectives about the world around them. I also never got the sense on what she wanted to do next after the events in the book and would have liked to see how that panned out although I found the ending pretty abrupt and I would have liked more time on their HEA. I also found the villain to be a bit one dimensional for me, although I liked the subplot with his quest to create chaos and mayhem which was chilling. I did find that the climactic ending did have a TSTL moment with Genevieve’s character which made my eyes roll, although she does admit she made a huge mistake in doing something stupid and it was something she had to live with but that was a minor niggle.
Nonetheless, COLD AS ICE is classic Anne Stuart and I would highly recommend this book or its predecessor BLACK ICE as a good introduction to her books. Because she does fantastic Gamma heroes and in COLD AS ICE, Peter is a wonderful hero who despite being as aloof and cool, has a vulnerable layer especially towards the heroine despite their prickly toned romance. I wished that the ending had more time delving with their HEA but Anne Stuart sure knows how to write an dark themed romance and heroes and make them believable and engrossing.
I give COLD AS ICE a B+