Cold as Ice [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Anne Stuart
eBook Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: 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 become collateral damage....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/MIRA
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2006
39 Reader Ratings:
"In Anne Stuart's strong follow-up to 2005's spectacular Black Ice, supporting player Peter Jensen moves into the leading role in a romantic suspense story pitting him against Texas billionaire Harry Van Dorn and his diabolical plan to create seven worldwide tragedies for fun and profit. Unfortunately, the arrival of lawyer Genevieve Spencer on Van Dorn's yacht throws a wrench in Jensen's assassination scheme. While he could easily dispose of her as 'collateral damage,' Genevieve breaks through his icy veneer and he gives her the means to fight her way out of danger. The brilliant Van Dorn is wildly over the top in his depravity, easily outdoing the most shameless James Bond baddie, but Stuart's spare writing keeps the gripping story focused ... Stuart courts controversy with Jensen's lack of emotion and total body control, allowing him to use sex as a tool for disarming both women and men; her hero's sexual flexibility is bound to turn off some readers, just as it's bound to entice others. Those who take the plunge shouldn't be disappointed: Stuart knows how to take chances, and this edgy thriller shows how well they can pay off."--Publishers Weekly
"Four Stars!"--Romantic Times
Genevieve Spenser adjusted her four-hundred-dollar sunglasses, smoothed her sleek, perfect chignon and stepped aboard the powerboat beneath the bright Caribbean sun. It was early April, and after a long, cold, wet winter in New York City she should have been ready for the brilliant sunshine dancing off the greeny blue waters. Unfortunately she wasn't in the mood to appreciate it. For one thing, she didn't want to be there. She had a six-week sabbatical from her job as junior partner in the law firm of Roper, Hyde, Camui and Fredericks, and she'd been looking forward to something a great deal different. In two days' time she'd be in the rain forests of Costa Rica with no makeup, no contact lenses, no high heels and no expectations to live up to. She'd been so ready to shed her protective skin that this final task seemed like an enormous burden instead of the simple thing it was.
The Grand Cayman Islands were on her way to Central America. Sort of. And one extra day wouldn't make any difference, Walter Fredericks had told her. Besides, what red-blooded, single, thirty-year-old female would object to spending even a short amount of time with People magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year, billionaire division? Harry Van Dorn was gorgeous, charming and currently between wives, and the law firm that represented the Van Dorn Foundation needed some papers signed. This was perfect for everyone. Serendipity.
Genevieve didn't exactly think so, but she kept her mouth shut. She'd learned diplomacy and tact in the last few years since Walt Fredericks had taken her under his wing.
She pulled out her pale gray Armani suit, put on the seven-hundred-dollar Manolo Blahnik shoes she hadn't even blinked at buying—the shoes that hurt her feet, made her tower over most men and matched the Armani and nothing else. When she first brought them home she'd emerged from her corporate daze long enough to look at the price tag and burst into tears. What had happened to the idealistic young woman who was determined to spend her life helping people? The rescuer, who spent her money on the oppressed, not on designer clothing?
Unfortunately she knew the answer, and she didn't want to dwell on it. In her tightly controlled life she'd learned to look forward rather than back. The shoes were beautiful and she told herself she deserved them. And she'd brought them to see Harry Van Dorn, as part of her protective armor.
They didn't make climbing down into the launch any easier, but she managed with a modicum of grace. Genevieve hated boats. She rarely got seasick, but she always felt vaguely trapped. She could see the massive white shape of the Van Dorn yacht against the brilliant horizon; it looked more like a mansion than a boat, and maybe she could simply ignore the sea surrounding them and pretend they were in a fancy restaurant. She was good at ignoring unpleasant facts—she'd learned the hard way that that was what you had to do to survive.
And her job should only take a few hours. She'd let Harry Van Dorn feed her, get him to sign the papers she'd brought with her in her slim leather briefcase, and once she'd arranged to have them couriered back to New York she'd be free. Only a matter of hours—she was silly to feel so edgy. It was far too beautiful a day to have this sense of impending doom. There could be no doom under the bright Caribbean sun.
Her tranquilizers were in her tiny purse. Harry Van Dorn's crew had gotten her comfortably seated with a glass of iced tea in one hand. It was a simple enough matter to sneak one yellow pill out and take it. She'd almost planned to leave them behind in New York—she didn't expect to need tranquilizers in the rain forest, but fortunately she changed her mind at the last minute. The pill was going to take a few minutes to kick in, but she could get by on sheer determination until then.
Genevieve had been on yachts before—Roper and company specialized in handling the legal concerns for myriad charitable foundations, and money was no object. She'd gone from her job as public defender to private law practice, and she'd hoped specializing in charitable foundations was still close enough to honorable work to assuage the remnants of her liberal conscience. She'd been quickly disillusioned—the foundations set up as tax shelters by the wealthy tended to spend as much money glorifying the donors' names and providing cushy jobs for their friends as they did on the actual charity, but by then it was too late, and Genevieve was committed.
Harry Van Dorn's floating palace, SS Seven Sins, was on a grander scale than she'd seen so far, and she knew for a fact it was owned by the Van Dorn Trust Foundation, not Harry himself—a nice little tax write-off. She stepped aboard, her three-and-a-half-inch heels balanced perfectly beneath her, and surveyed the deck, keeping her expression impassive. With any luck Harry Van Dorn would be too busy on the putting green she could see up at the front of the ship to want to waste much time on a lawyer who was nothing more than Roper, Hyde, Camui and Fredericks's perfectly groomed messenger. Damn, she wasn't in the mood for this.
She plastered her practiced, professional smile on her Chanel-tinted lips and stepped inside the cool confines of a massive room beautifully furnished in black and white, with mirrors everywhere to make it appear even larger. She could see her reflection in at least three different directions. She'd already checked her appearance before she'd left that morning. A young woman, just past thirty, with her long blond hair neatly arranged, her pale gray suit hanging perfectly on her shoulders and disguising the fifteen pounds that she knew Roper et al didn't approve of. Genevieve didn't approve of it either, but all the dieting and exercise in the world couldn't seem to budge it.
Copyright © 2006 by Anne Kristine Stuart Ohlrogge.