A few months ago I read Ice Storm by Anne Stuart, the first novel of hers that I had ever encountered. After reading it I had declared myself a life-long fan and went out to buy a copy of Black Ice, the first in her Ice series about dangerous love affairs and even deadlier spies.
Chloe Underwood is a 23-year-old American living in Paris to escape the expectations of her overachieving family, mainly the fact that they can’t understand her lack of desire to become a doctor. Chloe loves languages though, and is fluent in several. She spends her time in Paris translating children’s books. She comes to work one morning wishing for violence and sex, just a bit of excitement to liven up her seemingly boring life.
Though she loves her job it doesn’t pay very well. So when Chloe’s best friend and roommate begs her to cover for her translating for a group of business men in the French countryside Chloe can’t say no. The money is too good and the idea of getting out of town for a weekend seems to be heaven-sent after her wish for some excitement.
But once in the beautiful old house in the middle of nowhere Chloe realizes that these international traders are more than what they seem. Hiding being the guise of fruit and sheep are military weapons and terrorists. In the middle of all this is Bastian Touissant, an extremely handsome and deadly man who takes an interest in Chloe.
Unsure if she is an innocent or an operative sent into the vipers' nest, Bastian is determined to discover who Chloe is and who she is working for. A member of a secret organization called the Committee, Bastian has access to only the best information. Soon he realizes that Chloe, even with her head for languages, is exactly what she proclaims herself to be; an innocent stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But innocent or not, Chloe is surrounded by men and women who have no qualms when it comes to the girl's death. Bastian, at the last moment, decides to put everything on the line for this foolish American girl and rescues her. The more time the two of them spend together running for their lives and narrowly escaping death the closer the two become.
Anne Stuart’s romantic suspense novels remind me in some ways of Mary Stewart’s, a favorite author of mine since childhood. Not that the later had hot sex scenes but the tempo and the edge of your sit action combined with a leading characters that pull you in and just demand that you turn pages put me in mind of Stewart’s classic style.
Black Ice is fantastic; I can understand why Stuart fans claim this is one of the best. But I can’t wait to pick up the next one. I’m dying to see which character will be introduced and what life or death situation they will find themselves in. Not to mention who will melt the ice that surrounds a cold killer’s heart.