Read this romantic suspense thriller on the flight back from Tokyo in one sitting, with time left to start on another. Cold As Ice was a page-turner for me because of the badass hero (with a heart of gold) that Anne Stuart has created in Peter Jensen.
I’ve read Black Ice and liked it, and had already made up my mind to get this book as well. However, Bam’s and Karen’s reviews almost gave me pause, but just to be perverse (as I told Karen) I went ahead and bought it anyhow.
I said almost, because soon as I learnt and understood the heroine, Genevieve’s anguished past, I began to understand her insecurities and why in her naivette she acted so foolishly. Don’t get me wrong, I still haven’t forgiven her for her stupid fatalistic death wish of trying to rescue the real baddie, Harry van Dorn, and her failure to recognize that Peter was trying to save her. Okay, for the benefit of those who haven’t read this book, please read the excerpt at the author’s website. I will simply plunge straight into what worked and what didn’t for me.
As you would’ve already guessed, what didn’t quite work for me was Genevieve’s blind ignorance and rash foolishness that made me wonder how she obtained her law degree. However, when you’ve been battered in your line of work for some rat b***ard of a woman abuser, you learnt to put everyone else at arm’s length and view every man with a bit of suspicion. In her case, I think her heart overrode her brain and her powers of deduction because she was reacting to the obvious but not catching the subtle hints of Peter’s integrity and honour that was plain screaming in the face.
Granted, he didn’t make it easy for her. He taunted her, toyed with her, laughed at her feeble attempts at self-defence (his cover for trying to help her escape) and broke down her last defence – by getting through to her emotions and breaching the last wall she’s built around herself. Yes, she was so ridiculously blinded by her fears that she reacted impulsively and recklessly, wasting much time and Peter’s efforts. But then, if she had acted intelligently, used her brain instead of her heart, we would have a less convoluted plot, and the story would have fallen a little flat cos there was no melodrama. So in the end I forgave that stupidity, just shook my head and carried on reading because I want to know what Peter’s next move would be.
Ahh … Peter. He appears like a cold fish to the casual observer, but I just knew there were hidden passions in him, emotions that he held in check because that would have hindered him from performing at his best. And he cares about being the best closer the committee’s got … and this is where the paradox comes in. For if you have a strong sense of pride in taking minimal or no collateral in all the jobs entrusted, chances are you are a person with strong feelings. So the expression “cold as ice” and the nickname “ice man” being applied to Peter over and over in the novel doesn’t quite ring true.
I felt vindicated when his icy veneer slipped a little when he saw how badly shaken Genny was after their sexual dare had evolved into an earth shattering revelation for her. You just knew, at that moment, that he has fallen for her, and that no way is his heart made of stone. That’s what made me decide to keep the book.
Another hidden gem in this book is the reader’s first glimpse of Takashi. I’m already charmed by his wry sense of humour and stolid presence, not to mention his intriguing background and connection to the yakuza. Anne Stuart is at last fleshing out her fascination with Japanese punk rock, and I get my wish to have an Asian romantic hero. So of course I’m looking forward to the next story in the series.
Cindy has already declared this a KEEPER, and Cold As Ice has just been voted 2006 Best Romantic Suspense at AAR’s Annual Reader Poll. Oh, Dee and the iBOAS (imaginary Buddies of Anne Stuart) love the book too. I’m in good company.