Sunday, September 02, 2007

Anne Stuart's ICE Series

Synopsis: Living paycheck to paycheck in Paris, American book translator Chloe Underwood would give anything for some excitement and passion--even a little danger. So when she's offered a lucrative weekend gig translating at a business conference in a remote chateau, she jumps at the chance to shake things up.

Then by chance Chloe discovers her employers are anything but the entrepreneurs they appear, and suddenly she knows far too much. Her clients are illegal arms dealers, and one them is ordered to kill her. But instead, Bastien Toussaint drags Chloe away, and the next thing she knows she's on the run with the most terrifying and seductive man she's ever met. What were his motives--and would she live long enough to find out?

Synopsis: The job was supposed to be dead easy--hand-deliver some legal papers to billionaire philanthropist Harry Van Dorn's extravagant yacht, get his signature and be done. But Manhattan lawyer Genevieve Spenser soon realizes she's in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that the publicly benevolent playboy has a sick, vicious side. As he tries to make her his plaything for the evening, eager to use and abuse her until he discards her with the rest of his victims, Genevieve must keep her wits if she intends to survive the night.

But there's someone else on the ship who knows the true depths of Van Dorn's evil. Peter Jensen is far more than the unassuming personal assistant he pretends to be--he's a secret operative who will stop at nothing to ensure Harry's deadly Rule of Seven terror campaign dies with him. But Genevieve's presence has thrown a wrench into his plans, and now he must decide whether to risk his mission to keep her alive, or allow her to be collateral damage....

Synopsis: Museum curator Summer Hawthorne considered the exquisite ice-blue ceramic bowl given to her by her beloved Japanese nanny a treasure of sentimental value--until somebody tried to kill her for it.

The priceless relic is about to ignite a global power struggle that must be stopped at all costs. It's a desperate situation, and international operative Takashi O'Brien has received his directive: everybody is expendable. Everybody. Especially the woman who is getting dangerously under his skin as the lethal game crosses the Pacific to the remote and beautiful mountains of Japan, where the truth can be as seductive as it is deadly....

I have enjoyed reading all the three books in the series, all at one go: Black Ice, Cold As Ice, and Ice Blue. I did this in three continuous days and completed the last one on August 31. I think Anne Stuart did a great job with the characters and all three stories are well plotted. The heroes are utterly sexy and the heroines are smart and although ordinary, they are special in their very own ways. One thing though, if you read the stories in succession, you'll notice how similar they are to each other even though the situations are different.

Chloe Underwood (Black Ice), Genevieve Spenser (Cold As Ice) and Summer Hawthorne (Ice Blue) are considered as collateral damage, casualties of war - they happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and got themselves entangled in a series of unfortunate (and deadly) events. Coincidentally, all three women are Americans. The super sexy secret operatives Bastien Toussaint, Peter Jensen and Takashi O'Brien receive orders to terminate the women who got themselves in the way of the heroes' respective missions. In the past, there weren't any problem with executing such instructions. After all, they're trained to be cold and emotionless, not letting feelings get in the way. However, this time things are different. These women stir their (the heroes) beings evoking feelings they do not think they are capable of, or even exist.

I notice in all the three books, they work in this particular order: All three heroines try to run away from their protectors who at the same time, are their potential killers (I would too, especially when I do not know what the heck is happening and got myself in that deep shit); all three heroes 'melted' and have doubts about killing the heroines; lots of sexy, steamy and hot action (go figure! *blush*); change mind about killing the heroines but instead feelings developed and things take an unexpected turn.

"Quickly, painlessly before she even know what is happening." That's what the heroes are always thinking when they are about to finish off their 'liability' (the women). But later when they change their minds about terminating them, it will be this: "She was going to live. She was going to grow old and fat and have children and live happily ever after, whether she like it or not, as far away, from him as possible. He had every intention of seeing to it." The modus operandi is more or less the same in all the three books. I do feel like I'm reading one SAME book eventhough they're three individual ones.

Having said all of that, I still like what I read and all three books get a 4-star. Maybe if you read them individually over a separate time frame, the similarities may not be so obvious. My favourite secret operative would be Bastien Toussaint (before I got to Ice Blue), maybe because I read about him first in Black Ice and he's given an unforgetable first impression and I'm hooked. But Black Ice is not my favourite story though. That'll be the second book in the series, Cold As Ice. As a matter of personal preference, I like Asian guys more than others, so Takashi O'Brien (in Ice Blue) is best! In summary:

Favourite Story: Cold As Ice
Favourite Secret Operative: Takashi O'Brien
(his name alone is enough to make me go ga-ga)

The ICE series remind me of the spy-fi Alias (starring Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan and more) which then reminds me that I still have the box-sets waiting for me to watch....