Cold As Ice by Anne Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If Bastien Toussaint is like a bowie knife, brutally destructive, sharp and vicious, then Peter is a stilletto. They are both dangerous men, efficient weapons for the Committee. It's amazing how they could be so different, but still embody the ice cold, ruthless hero.
Peter starts out as a bland, gray ghost (as Genevieve calls him). He is deceptively mild-mannered in his role as assistant to billionaire philantropist Harry Van Dorn. Genevieve doesn't think much of him, except that he's annoyingly perceptive. However, that is an important tool in his arsenal: to be anywhere and everywhere, to blend in and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
On the second reread, it still took me a while to get a fix on Peter. He is so in the bland character that I underestimated him. Before I knew it, he had slipped under my skin. I can see why he drives Genevieve crazy. He is designed to be a woman's fatal flaw. I had to wonder how someone so bland could use sex as a weapon, but that was before he showed who he really was. The real man could probably seduce the panties off the most virtuous of nuns. The real man, well he's someone that is not to be underestimated.
Genevieve is a frustrating heroine. For a smart girl, she can make some stupid decisions. It's like she's almost all id. Her emotions seem to govern her intellect, which makes her an interesting counterpart to Peter, who analyzes and calculates every decision, until his well-buried heart makes its desires known. Still, his sharp mind maintains admirable control of the man.
Frankly, Black Ice is a hard act to follow. Bastien is so striking a ruthless hero, Peter throws you for a loop. However, that's good that he is so different. I found that although he didn't have that blatantly sexy edge of Bastien, I still loved him. He was the insidious kind of seduction that winds its way into your senses. If Bastien is a fine, potent wine, then Peter is like a tart, subtle dessert that you think you aren't impressed with at first, but the more you sample it, the more heady its taste becomes. Kind of like sherbet. I am an ice cream girl. Love its richness. But sherbet is something I always enjoy immensely when I eat it. And then I end up craving more.I read this book when I was tired out of my skull, and that's probably not a good time to evaluate a book, so it took me a while to feel his effects. However, I found that I enjoyed the sharp mind of his, the sensuality that he uses so effectively as a tool. I was very intrigued with how fast he fell for Genevieve, and once I thought about it, it made sense. Genevieve was not a woman easily dismissed, like the women in his past. He couldn't kill her or let her be killed. She meant too much to him. Although she was a very annoying woman, he had a way of getting her to do what he wanted, eventually. He kept her on her toes, made her alive with feeling, and killed her with his powerful, heady seduction.
Please forgive me if this review is incoherent. I am highly sleep-deprived right now. Although Cold as Ice just doesn't have the bite of Black Ice, I find that I still loved this book. Peter is in his own way just as irresistible as Bastien. His difference has an appeal of its own. Genevieve keeps things lively, and the plot moving, with her tendency to make stupid moves, and her complete inability to resist Peter. But who can blame her for the tendency to succumb to Peter?
Anne Stuart is an author who manages to keep me reading and never fails to lure me into her seductive web of dark romance and passion. Her tart humor is always appreciated. And no one writes a hero like this woman. It's rare that I don't enjoy her writing, and this story can't get less than five stars because what I love about her is here on offer. And Peter makes up for any shortcomings I might have seen as far as a villain that was more petulant child than anything else, and too quick a resolution on the suspense. Plus, the reappearance of Bastien and the advent of sexy Takashi O'Brien can definitely sway this reader's positive opinion.
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