Cinderman by Anne Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I reread this out of the Anne Stuart's Out-of-Print Gems, which I've been working my way through for many months (almost a year, actually). I think this is definitely a gem. I mean, who doesn't like the idea of a superhero romance? I'm a comic book geek, and Dr. Daniel Crompton could be right out of the comic book school of superhero origin stories. A lab accident grants him some crazy abilities that he has to learn to master. Add in a love interest with whom he shares an adversarial relationship and crazy chemistry, and that romance story actually writes itself.
One of the many things I loved about this is that both Daniel and Suzanna are highly intelligent. Suzanna has a PhD in physics, although she doesn't lord it over. Instead, she uses her snark and her sarcastic t-shirts as her offensive and defensive weapons. Daniel is one of those genius guys that rightfully you will find slightly obnoxious because he's not a people person, and he doesn't even try to be a friendly person. He actually starts this book as a jerk, but their experiences melt that icy shell around him and his heart. and all along, even if he wasn't a nice guy, he had good morals (for the most part). And he doesn't take crap from people. Personally, I really like a cold hero who melts for the heroine. In real life, I've met some smart guys who were pretty annoying. I've never met a super-duper hot smart guy who was annoying. I'd actually look forward to that.
I like that Stuart doesn't try to explain his powers. All we know is that he got doused in goo created by a lab explosion. It's vague enough that I can go with it. I liked the description of his abilities and how he learns to control them. It makes for a fun story. I like all the subtle references to his heat and how it seems to attract Suzanna, who seems to always be cold. Even though that is a factor of his abilities, you know it's also a metaphor of their attraction to each other.
But the best thing about this book was the chemistry between Daniel and Suzanna. The kind of chemistry you don't have to go to college to appreciate. Although they start out as mental adversaries, their journey to happy ever after makes sense and is believable. Stuart knows how to write chemistry. The love scenes are great, sexy and emotional, even though this is a category romance, so it doesn't get descriptive. I don't care what anyone says, Anne Stuart is a master writer, and this little gem of a category romance proves it.
Daniel's got the allure that makes a woman want to dive in, once he stops freezing Suzanna out with this facade of arrogance. It feels organic to see Suzanna's perception change of him as she gets to know him. And it's apparent that Daniel was probably mean and freezing Suzanna out because he never was indifferent to her in the first place. To think he remembers what shirt she was wearing when they first met at a press conference. Aww, how sweet!
If I could make a list of Anne Stuart books I would love to see as movies, this would be near the top of my list. It would be just plain fun and it's really an awesome romance story.
I'm really glad I got to reread this! I hope it gets rereleased again, even though I have a print copy already. :)
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