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Black Ice (2005)

Black Ice (2005)
2.87 of 5 Votes: 2
0778321711 (ISBN13: 9780778321712)
mira books
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Black Ice (2005)
Black Ice (2005)

About book: There is something to be said for rereads. I read this one more slowly this time, savoring the language and the scenes. I love dessert. It's my favorite meal. And I always eat my dessert very slowly. Sadly, I read this so fast the first time, since Ms. Stuart hadn't put out a book a while before this one, too fast to truly take in and appreciate all the nuances. This time, I tried to treat Black Ice as if it was a dessert to be savored. And indeed, it was like the most seductive, decadent kind of desserts. And, I love it even more this time around. Can you fall in love with a ruthless killer? A man who cares nothing for life and has absolutely no sense of right or wrong? A man who will use violence, sex, or lies, in whatever way is necessary to get the job done? In real life, I hope never to find that out. But, in this book, I could totally believe that Chloe would fall in love with the covert operative who goes by the name of Bastien, among many.Can love change the bleakest, darkest heart? I do believe it can. As she often does, Ms. Stuart did a great job of showing me exactly that.Black Ice won't be for everyone. Not every reader will fall in love with a hero who is as ruthless as Bastien. I couldn't help but fall for him. Ms. Stuart knows how to write this kind of hero--like no other author that I've read. There are so many layers to the man who goes by Bastien Toussaint. I love how each layer is peeled away to reveal the man that Chloe (and I could love). He's a physically beautiful man, one of sinuous grace. He's completely elegant, even when he's doing unspeakable things. He's absolute, complete seduction. And then there's the way he risks life and limb, and wreaks all sort of havoc to protect Chloe. Like the woman in his past, and Chloe, I could not resist him. Funny to think I felt he was a bit too hard the first time I read this. Silly me. Now I realize that he's just what this Doctor ordered. Maybe I've come to appreciate this kind of hero more as I've aged. I'm glad for that.Dark romance it might be, but Anne Stuart writes luscious, sensual romance like no other author for me. The love scenes--fantastic. Worth rereading again and again. So much to savor here.The suspense and action elements were awesome. Nothing like a little danger with my romance to get my heart pumping. I am a sucker for a sophisticated setting-something about European locales for spy/suspense stories for me. I felt as though I was there in Paris on a wintery night. Seeing the dark, twisted deeds that the Committee did to keep the world safe, even if they had to sacrifice a few innocents along the way, looking so stylish and elegant in their black designer wear all the while. Watching the shadowy games and the more shadowy players. I could see this as a movie, and a great one, in the right hands. Maybe Luc Besson?At the beginning of this story, Bastien seemed like he could very well watch a defenseless woman like Chloe, in the wrong place at the wrong time, die, and not shed a tear. But, something changes in him after he meets Chloe. By the end of the story, it's clear that he'd do just about anything to keep her alive and safe, even if he can't be with her. How could I not see his love for her? I found I didn't need the words. He's not a man to wear his heart on his sleeve, and by his own words, he normally feels nothing for no one; so when he tells her he loves her, it is that much more poignant. I could feel the ice break, and my heart with it. I could go on. I get like that about Anne Stuart. But I won't this time. I'll end by saying this:I think this book is going to be like fine wine. It will get even better with age; it will go down so smooth and then hit you with the fiery reminder of its potency after the fact--better and better each time I read it.The visuals:In my later reviews of this series, I used edged weapons analogies. I think of Bastien as a Bowie Knife. Brutal, deadly, beautiful.Bowie KnifeKeeley Hawes as Chloe UnderwoodGuillaume Canet as Bastien Touissaint

I really really liked this book a lot but i was sooooo afraid to read it! I kept putting it off and here are the reasons why....1. The hero in this book is too gamma.This seemed to be a big issue with some readers. Now i'll admit, i didn't really have a clue what a gamma hero was so i went on the hunt for a definition and this is what i found...-the gamma hero is one who is indifferent and is never possessive of the heroine. -a gamma hero is a “combo of the alpha and beta. He’s got all the mad, bad alpha characteristics like being super strong and aggressive and being the guy you turn to if hell is at your door, but he’s not super arrogant.My take on whether Bastian was a gamma hero or not?...YEP!! He is TOTALLY a gamma hero! He was cold, ruthless, calculating, manipulative, seductive, and felt no guilt or remorse over his actions but i was actually ok with that! He was a spy/assassin...i would liken him to a character similar to James Bond or Jason Bourne, they often have to assume different identities and go deep under cover to infiltrate terrorist cells and take them down. They're supposed to be working for the "good guys" but because of some of the awful things they do and how they don't often care about innocent casualties, in the grand scheme of things, the lines are kind of blurred between them actually being good guys or not.2. It was lacking in the romance department.My take...I am a HUGE romance lover!! It can be contemporary romance, paranormal romance or romantic suspense..i'm not really picky in that long as there's a good romance, i'm good! This was one of my biggest fears...that the romance was going to be lacking, but i was good with what was here! No, i would never categorize this as a romance novel, it certainly doesn't have a HUGE romantic plot line like the majority of romances we all read, but there's plenty of sexual tension, Bastian is sexy as hell and he's certainly well "skilled" -teehee. There WERE some sweet moments, i thought!...with how Bastian took care of and protected he CAME BACK for her on a couple of occasions! ~sigh~..even just knowing that this woman was slowly melting that frozen heart of his was very sweet! There were also a few sex scenes that were steamy and satisfying. It was definitely enough "romance" to keep this romance girl happy..and that's sayin' somethin'!3. Lack of a HEA or it ending too abruptly.My take...Hhhhmmmm, well i will be the first to admit that i (we ALL actually) have been very spoiled by authors such as Pamela Clare or Kristen Ashley who write FANTASTIC epilogues!! I DO like a book to have them because it just gives you that "something extra" so that you know for fact that things are good and complete! Shockingly though, i was alright with the ending of this may very well be because i DID know going into this that people had complained about things ending that way...i was prepared. SO, let me lay things to rest for all you people who might have put this book aside because of this reason. I'm a HEA kind of gal, anyone who knows me knows this! I like "happy happy joy joy"..i don't want to read an entire book, only to be disappointed in the end..or depressed! This book, because of the content and storyline, being somewhat darker, doesn't end with "happy happy joy joy"..but it DOES end with "happy!" ;) I was definitely satisfied!!In the end, i'm sooo glad that i decided to take the plunge and give this book a shot! I WAS one of those people who was intrigued but put it off because of some of the negatives remarks made about it. If you are a lover of romantic suspense? Read it! The storyline is solid and exciting and there IS enough romance to satisfy! I will most definitely be reading the rest of the books in this series!
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3 Stars! Some good, some bad, an average read/listen! Okay I'm just going to spit it out...I was not a big fan of this book, it was just okay. I had two issues, one which might be the version of the book I read, or rather listened too, and the other is with one of the characters. I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator exaggerated on the French accent to the point where it was annoying. A French accent is very distinct and quite lovely, but when the narrator sounds like Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther...not good. Don't get me wrong, it fits the movie, it's a comedy and that was part of the character and his comedic charm, but it didn't work here. I tried to listen past it, but it got in the way of the story. I had trouble focusing on the plot. I love my audio books, but in this case the written version would have been more enjoyable. OMG...Chloe. She was dumber than a friggin' stone!! I get it, in the beginning she was confused about what was happening, she was young and naïve, but how c'mon, she was still clueless at the end of the book. I'm not a heroine basher, but this one took the cake for me and ruined the book. Bastien, yeah he was a bad-ass alright, a gamma's gamma and I thought he was DELICIOUS!! How he ended up with a half-wit like Chloe is beyond me! In my opinion he should have just 'offed' her! Okay, maybe that's a little harsh...he should of tossed her to the wolves and let them do it! I just didn't get the attraction that Bastien had for Chloe. Oh, and the ending, I felt like I was left hanging. This book needed an epilogue. So, my first Anne Stuart, Risk the Night, was great, this one, not so much. However, I will continue with the series, and maybe someday do a re-read of Black Ice with my eyes, instead of my ears!
5 stars – Romantic SuspenseThis book is hard to rate/review because it’s so different from the typical romantic suspense novel and much darker, which isn’t a bad thing at all, but makes it more challenging to describe. I had read a lot of the reviews describing Bastien as the ultimate gamma hero, and boy is he ever! I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe a Jason Bourne type assassin, but Bastien makes Bourne look like the Easter bunny! He’s brutally cold, ruthless, calculating, manipulative, seductive, and feels no guilt or remorse over his actions, but yet he’s still surprisingly sexy as all get out.“Black Ice” is a very distinctive and well-written action-packed suspense thriller with a dark gamma hero, a naive heroine, and some romance to boot. I’ll definitely read the rest of the series...5 stars!
I was a little out of my element with this book. I like contemporaries to be straight-up romance - no espionage, organized crime, or terrorists. Or so I thought. Bastien, the French hero in Black Ice, is a smuggler, a spy, a trained killer, a practiced playboy and a master of character disguise. A man of few words, he is ruthless, cold, calculating and indifferent. He is a man with a death oxymoron complementing his impressive resume as it is the reason he is still alive. To care means losing control. And Bastien never loses control...that is, until he crosses paths with a feisty American translator.A "good ole girl" from North Carolina, Chloe embodies everything that Bastien is not. She is compassionate, caring and completely naive to the dark side of mankind. She has more than a mild curiosity about everything, a serious adversity to the word "obey" and a stubborn streak a mile long. She possesses the "gift" (that all men abhor) of chatting incessantly and the "curse" of being in all the wrong places at all the wrong times. The curse is what brings these two "polar opposite" protagonists together time and Bastien is repeatedly saving Chloe's life. Black Ice is by all rights a 5-star book. The story grabs you from the very start and it is a non-stop, wild ride to the very end. (Even though I'm not a big fan of romantic suspense and therefore have nothing to cite as a comparison, I'm betting this book is extremely popular with fans of this sub-genre.) I chose to give the book 4 stars, however, because I had serious doubts about the authenticity of Bastien's love for Chloe. ****SPOILER ALERT****We can rule out "love at first sight" since Bastien was out banging a married female partner-in-crime during the meeting where he met Chloe.And obviously this young man's fancies had not turned to thoughts of love after they had sex for the first time, because later that night, after he sold her out to the guy who got off on torturing women, Bastien was quite surprised to find Chloe still alive. (I really hated that whole scene!) He had to punch her lights out a few times to ensure she stayed quiet, but I guess that was in her best interests. Later, Bastien had another serious make-out session with aforementioned partner in front of a dozen onlookers which included Chloe. Yes, he wanted to humiliate her so she would hate him, but it was a pretty thoughtless idea as he only succeeded in hurting her. He had casual sex with a few women when Chloe wasn't around because he wanted to forget her (although I've yet to see that reasoning work). Finally, he went to Chloe only after he found out she was in danger; and when he haphazardly declared his love, Chloe was more shocked than anyone. At the very end he stated he had no particular interest keeping him there and was walking away when the great epiphany hit him that perhaps Chloe was a good enough interest & he came back. All in all, it wasn't a sigh-worthy HEA and I was not convinced he wouldn't cheat again and/or tire of Chloe and "normal" life.***************Even with that being said, overall I totally enjoyed this fast-paced, out-of-control, surprise-around-every-corner novel. This is the first book I've ever read by Anne Stuart, but I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and storytelling ability so it won't be my last. I'm looking forward to reading the remaining books in this series.[image error]
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