The very best romance I have read in a long, long time.
And the reason is. Peter Madsen. Just thinking his name sends warm shivers running up my spine.
The persona of Peter completely pervades this novel. When the story isn't being told from his pov he still dominates totally the thoughts of the heroine. I can't blame her. Peter is divine. Not least because, despite his self-assurance, the mission crumbles around him and the reader gets a real feeling of doomed love. Although what he sees in the blonde, cultured, successful Genevieve Spencer (who at 30 years of age could only be described as 'young' by a truely ancient author) is anyone's guess.
It's very similar to Diamond Bay by Linda Howard, although the morals which characterize Cold As Ice are a lot more dubious.
The thriller part of the novel is pretty pathetic though. The evil chief baddie, van Dorn is an incompetent nit-wit. But I don't care. It just gives more opportunity for the main couple to spend lots of time on verbally sounding each other out.
Gross scenes; absolutely none.
Best scenes; when Genevieve thinks she's in 'some third-world bog' and it turns out she's in a millionaires hideaway in California; when the ugly orphans backchat van Dorn.
But best of all; some lovely, lovely prose; mainly focused on a man who is in the process of falling deeply in love and he doesn't understand the why's or the wherefore's of it all.
Plus; strictly speaking, only two consumation scenes...all the rest is foreplay.
Be warned though. Anne Stuart is a hit and miss author. Years ago I tried to read some of her books and they were desperately uninvolving. Don't bother to buy her novels without reading reader reviews first and having a good think.
And don't think I'm blind to the flaws in the novel either. But they all add to the enjoyment of reading it. For instance; Peter gets shot and seriously injured, not because Genny is TSTL, but because he's killed, prostituted himself to men and women and lied in the course of his duties for the Committee. Also Genny had seriously considered sleeping with clients for career advancement. So they both know about making adult decisions. (Just for the record. I have no trouble in liking heroines with 'magic vaginas.' If that keeps the hero happy.)
Basically. This is the story of a captive who gets her captor to fall in love with her. And then she in turn falls in love with him for no other reason than that he makes her happy. (Something that she hasn't been for a long time.) So, lots of emotional risk taking...just my kind of story. He in turn rescues her when he doesn't have to. And she shows her gratitude by accidentally getting him shot and almost killed...twice. Poor Peter. Not that he doesn't thoroughly deserve all the bad things that happen to him. It was a total pleasure to read as Genevieve inexorably reels him in despite all his tough talk.
I had absolutely no trouble believing in their HEA.
(Happily no stupid personal issues to deal with. Or miracle cancer cures or other deux et machina crap to deal with.)
I read this novel in the course of 2 working days. On the commutes and in the evenings after work. And for the next 5 days I kept re-reading parts of it. My favorite kind of book.
Genre; Romantic suspense. Movie rating 15; murder. (there's a lot of talk about depraved deeds done in the past but not much happens in the story itself), profanities, sex scenes.