Black Ice

Black Ice

by Anne Stuart

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Overview

They will stop at nothing to silence her

The job was a killer.

Living pay cheque to pay cheque in Paris, book translator Chloe Underwood would give anything for some excitement and passion–even a little danger. So when the young American is offered a lucrative weekend's work translating at a business conference in a remote chateau, she jumps at the chance to shake things up a bit.

Then, by chance, Chloe discovers her employers are anything but the business entrepreneurs they appear to be Suddenly she knows far too much, and one of them is ordered to kill her. 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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488050800
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 12/17/2018
Series: The Ice Series , #1
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 173,556
File size: 489 KB

About the Author

Anne Stuart loves Japanese rock and roll, wearable art, Spike, her two kids, Clairefontaine paper, quilting, her delicious husband of thirty-four years, fellow writers, her three cats, telling stories and living in Vermont. She’s not too crazy about politics and diets and a winter that never ends, but then, life’s always a trade-off. Visit her at www.Anne-Stuart.com.

Read an Excerpt

Black Ice


By Anne Stuart

MIRA

Copyright © 2005 Anne Stuart
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0778321711

People might go on and on about springtime in Paris, Chloe Underwood thought as she walked down the street huddled in her coat, but there was really nothing to compare to winter in the City of Lights. By early December the leaves were gone, the air was crisp and cool and enough of the tourists had left to make life bearable. In August she always wondered why on earth she'd chosen to pull up stakes and move three thousand miles away from her family. But then winter came, and she remembered all too well.

It might have helped if she could have abandoned the city to the tourists every August, as all the French did, but she'd yet to find a job that included such luxuries as vacations, health care or a living wage. She was lucky she'd managed to find work at all. As it was, her presence in France was quasi-legal, and most days she decided just being there was blessing enough, even if she shared a tiny walk-up flat with a fellow expatriate who seemed to have very little sense of responsibility. Sylvia barely remembered to pay her half of the rent, she'd never swept a floor in her life and she considered any piece of furniture or flat surface a place to leave her astonishingly large wardrobe. On the other hand, she wore the same size eight that Chloe did, and she was not averse to sharing. She was also single-mindedly determined to marry a wealthy Frenchman, and in pursuit of that goal she spent most nights away from their cramped quarters, leaving Chloe with a little more breathing room.

In fact, it was Sylvia who'd found Chloe her current job translating children's books. Sylvia had worked at Les Freres Laurent for two years, and she'd slept with all three of the middle-aged freres, ensuring job tenure and a decent salary for translating spy novels and thrillers for the small publisher. Children's books were less of a moneymaker, and Chloe was paid accordingly, but at least she didn't have to ask her family for money or touch the trust fund her grandparents had left her. Not that her parents would encourage her. That money was earmarked for her education, and working a menial job in Paris hardly constituted advanced learning.

If she weren't hamstrung by job requirements she could have found something a bit more challenging. While her French was excellent, she was also fluent in Italian, Spanish and German, with a healthy smattering of Swedish and Russian, and even a few bits of Arabic and Japanese. She loved words, almost as much as she loved cooking, but she seemed to have a greater talent out of the kitchen. At least, that's what she'd been told when she was dismissed from the famous Cordon Bleu halfway into the program. Too much imagination for a beginner, they'd said. Not enough respect for tradition.

Chloe had never been particularly respectful of tradition, including her family tradition of medicine. She'd left all five of the Underwoods back in the mountains of North Carolina. Her parents were internists, her two older brothers were surgeons, and her older sister was an anesthesiologist. And they still couldn't believe Chloe wasn't dying to enter medical school, ignoring the fact that there was no one in this world more squeamish at the sight of blood than the youngest member of the Underwood family.

No, Chloe wasn't going to get to touch that nice little chunk of money until she gave in and went to medical school. And it was going to be a cold day in hell before she did.

In the meantime, she could do amazing things with pasta and fresh vegetables, and all the walking she did kept the carbohydrates from gathering in force, though they seemed to have developed a fondness for her rear. At twenty-three she couldn't still be built like a coltish teenager, and she was never going to look like a French-woman. She just lacked the style even her roommate Sylvia, an Englishwoman, had in abundance. She could wear Sylvia's clothes, but she never could master that faintly arrogant, slightly amused mien that she longed for. She might as well have a big butt, too.

Les Freres Laurent was on the third floor of an older building near Montmartre. Chloe was the first one in, as always, and she put on a pot of the strong coffee that she loved, cradling a cup in her chilled hands as she looked out into the busy street below. The brothers kept the heat off at night, and as a junior employee she wasn't allowed to touch the thermostat, so she'd learned to keep an extra sweater in the tiny cubicle she'd been allotted. She wasn't in the mood for working -- it was a gorgeous day, with the sky a bright azure above the old buildings that surrounded them, and for some reason the adventures of Flora the plucky little ferret didn't call to her. Not enough sex and violence, she thought wistfully. Just moral lessons in a heavy-handed lecture, given by a skinny rodent in a pink tutu and the smug values of an American Republican. Just once she wished Flora would yank off her tutu and jump the rascally weasel who'd been giving her the eye. But Flora would never stoop so low.

Chloe took a sip of her coffee. Strong as faith, sweet as love, black as sin. She wouldn't be a real Parisian until she started smoking, but even to annoy her parents she couldn't go that far. Besides, the farther away her parents were, the less annoying they became.

It was another hour before anyone else would arrive at the office, and she told herself that no one would know or care if she wasted a few precious minutes before turning to the boring Flora. It was no wonder she was so irritated with the fictional character. What she needed was a little more sex and violence in her own life.

Be careful what you wish for, a little voice murmured in her head, but Chloe shook it off, draining her coffee. Sex had been notable by its total absence for the past ten months, and her last affair was so lack-luster that she hadn't been energized enough to look for a replacement. It wasn't that Claude had been a bad lover. He prided himself on his skills, and expected the gauche Americain to be suitably dazzled. She wasn't.



Continues...

Excerpted from Black Ice by Anne Stuart Copyright © 2005 by Anne Stuart. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Black Ice 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was bored with College text...reading what I had to, and didn't care for. I picked up Anne Stuarts: Black Ice, and then I didn't put it down until I had read the last words!! I loved it! The sexual tension, the twists in the plots, the characters...all were amazing!! I plan on reading alot more of Anne Stuart!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ive had my friends and co workers hooked on this book I love Anne Stewart. Its a great read- just grabs you by the throat and dosnt let go till the end!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black ice i s a good story. I liked the plot. There was a lot more action in this novel than in other novels by stuart. I thought that the main character, Chloe, was okay, I'm not sure if i liked her too much. I thought that Bastien was great. Overall there was enough action and romance to make the story interesting. I like Stuarts novels but they all seem alike. The female characters are always slim with long legs and perfect bodies. The male charcters are always tall dark handsome.After the climax in each story, the men always have to go away for a while to sort out their issues. Theres nothing wrong with that, but it does get kinda boring after a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jac2848- did not like nook sample
harstan More than 1 year ago
Chloe Underwood left the North Carolina Mountains to live in Paris. She scored work as a translator of children¿s books at Les Frere Laurent due to her promiscuous roommate Sylvia Whickham. When Sylvia has a chance to spend the weekend with wealthy sixty-seven years old Henry, she coaxes Chloe to replace her in translating English to and from French...................... Chloe arrives at Mirabel, which has security tighter than Fort Knox has. At the locale, Mr. Hakim leans towards sending Chloe home and several participants object to her presence speaking in Italian to hide what they say about her from her; the translator understands perfectly what they communicate, but pretends otherwise. When her clients learn that Chloe has found out that they are arms dealers, they must kill her. Her only hope of survival is one of the attendees, Bastien Toussaint, a man with at least a dozen identities. Compromising his undercover mission that he has played at for eleven months, he flees with Chloe, but she wonders if she is safe with him as she knows her heart is not........................... Though why Chloe insisted on staying when her employer stated he did not need her seems off, readers will obtain plenty of pleasure from this taut romantic suspense thriller. The story line moves quickly once Chloe chooses to hide her ability to speak and comprehend Italian and never slows down until the climatic battle between Mr. Hakim¿s thugs and the heroine and her antiheroic champion. BLACK ICE is a tremendous thriller that showcases the skills of an author worth reading..................... Harriet Klausner
rainrunner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't usually read romantic suspense so this was different. I had heard qite a bit about Bastien and went for the read simply because of that.I really enjoyed this book but the ending came kind of quick. Like everything was crap and then BAM! all better now. Very good read though. Recommend.
reneebooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bastien Toussaint is an operative for the Committee, a covert anti-terrorist organization. He kills people and doesn't seem too concerned whether they're the good guys or the bad guys. The bad guys he has killed are members of an international arms cartels. And he has killed the innocent when it's expedient for the Committee to hide their activities from witnesses. He has also killed fellow Committee agents when assigned to do so as necessary to protect their organization. Kind of sounds like the CIA run amok.Chloe Underwood is an American living in Paris working as a translator for children's books wishing for a little passion and excitement in her life. Unfortunately, she gets her wish when she gets pressured into taking a translating assignment at a country chateau for a group ofinternational importers. Fairly quickly, she realizes this group is not what she first thought. They are a dangerous bunch of illegal arms dealers squabbling over who gets to be in charge after their leader is assassinated. Bastien has infiltrated the group and is there posing as a womanizing businessman and eventually learns that Chloe is out of her league. When Chloe discovers the group members' identities one of them wants to kill her and Bastien barely manages to drag her away to safety.The rest of the book is very fast paced and I finished it in a day. The emotional bond that develops between them is very satisfying and there are a couple of very sensual love scenes that were believable. Even though I knew it must have a HEA I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout the book wondering if Bastien was actually going to kill her or not since this idea seemed to always be present in his internal dialogue. It was absolutely gripping and I loved it. Be warned though it has a very abrupt ending. (Grade: A)
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow. I'm a fan of Anne Stuart, but a fairly new one, and I'd been trying to get her backlist before reading the newer books, so the most recent book I'd read was from 1999, and it was a novella. Still, I had faith enough in her older work and in the recommendations of friends who've been raving about her to have bought Black Ice when it first came out. I could have used this book for last month's TBR challenge, too.Chloe Underwood is a young American woman living her dream--sort of--in Paris. Her job translating children's books doesn't pay much, but it's keeping her in Paris, as long as she has a roommate, so it's enough for now.When that roommate begs Chloe to take her place as a translator at a meeting of food industry executives (unknown to them both, they're actually arms dealers) at an estate in the French countryside, she's reluctant, but agrees, thinking that if nothing else, she'll get a weekend in the country out of it.Unfortunately, things don't quite work out that way. Almost immediately, she overhears a suspicious conversation in... German, I think it was, or Russian--anyway, it wasn't French or English, and realizing it would be imprudent at the least to admit she overheard and understood, she pretends to be limited to French and English rather than the several languages she actually knows.This backfires, however, for undercover assassin Bastien, who sees through her clumsy attempt at hiding her knowledge, so he immediately suspects she's a fellow operative. The only question is, whose side is she on?From then on, it's nonstop tension with Bastien working on several fronts, trying to complete his mission, trying to figure out who Chloe is and what she's there for, and, to his chagrin, saving her life when the others decide she's too great a risk, at which point his goal becomes to get her out of the country and then complete his mission.Black Ice is gritty and dark, and mostly lacking in romance genre conventions. The action scenes are reminiscent of those in the better (read: less silly) James Bond movies, and Stuart doesn't hold her punches. Bastien isn't a sweet, gentle man, kind to children and puppies, who just happens to have an unusual job. He's cold and ruthless and deadly. Since it is a romance novel, after all, Chloe does crack his hard shell, but it's not easy or typical.Despite how harsh the story can be, or maybe because of that, there are some sweet, amusing moments. Like when Chloe, trying to shrug off her growing feelings for Bastien, tells him she has Stockholm Syndrome, and he tells her that Stockholm Syndrome is a myth.I almost forgot Chloe. Understandable, I suppose, with such a vivid character as Bastien around. Chloe is young, and in way over her head, but she's not stupid. She realizes from the start that things are not as she was led to believe, so she does what she can to confirm her suspicions, then tries to leave. She keeps her head, for the most part, and is realistic as someone of her age and background--not perfect, but not TSTL, either. What impressed me most about Chloe is that she doesn't blindly trust Bastien, either.The ending caps off the story perfectly. Both Chloe and Bastien have changed because of their experiences together, but they're still recognizable, still the same people.Black Ice is not your typical romantic suspense novel. There were several places in the book that made me blink and realize just how common those romance or romantic suspense genre conventions are, because I'd fully expected the cliche and didn't get it. Which, of course, made me love it even more.I'm not going to stop collecting Anne Stuart's backlist, but I think I'll start putting her newest books in my Barnes & Noble shopping cart, too.
Catherine331 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Something was missing for me in this story. I read it quickly, but it left me unmoved. It had elements that I usually like: initial antagonistic relationship, a morally gray character, unwillingly falling in love, etc. Very few of those elements felt like they actually worked in the story though. None of it clicked for me and I was left feeling cynical and disbelieving of the main character's ability to stay together for the long term.Chloe's character didn't do the story any favors. She blew past naïve and ran straight into too stupid to live territory. She starts getting uncomfortable with the people she's supposed to be translating for but instead of bowing out and going back home she won't leave until she has to because of Bastien. This is after she tells herself that he's married, a womanizer, and that there's no way they could be together because she has personal rules against being with married men. It seemed inconsistent.When they have sex for the first time, Chloe realizes that he used and degraded her and criticizes herself because she still wants more. I thought we'd get some deeper personal struggle with her fascination with Bastien and her willingness to be used. I was really looking forward to it! It never happened though... She just seemed to get over it and be willing to jump on him if he showed the smallest sign that he might be interested in doing it again. Everything Chloe did seemed to illustrate how idiotic she was. It did not endear her to me. After Hakim tortures her she still doesn't think she's in that much danger! It didn't seem possible that she could be so stupid. I guess I was supposed to attribute it to her age? That's rather hard to accept though. I don't think I've ever met a 23 year old that stupid before. The fact that she had lived on her own for 2 years in a foreign country makes it hard to believe that she hadn't acquired even the barest smidgen of street smarts.Bastien had the potential to be very interesting. Unfortunately I never got more detail into his characterization. I was eager to see a character who was on the "good guy" side but who had been killing people for so long that he accepted the very real truth that in the end there's no real difference between the good guys and the bad guys. Unfortunately he was just... there. I wanted insight into what made him tick. I didn't really need an unhappy childhood with a crappy mom, but I wanted to see more of his journey down the road he chose. Does he regret what he lost? Would he do everything the same? I just wanted more of what made him who he was. Everything about him seemed to be told, not shown. We're told that Chloe fascinates him; we're told that he loves her. I didn't feel that I was shown any of that.The whole story felt like it skimmed the surface of everything. I thought that the "bad guys" felt like caricatures. I thought Chloe would have to face some inner realization that in the end there's no real difference between Bastien and the "bad guys". She would just have to decide if it's something she can accept or not. No such thing here though. I was amused by Bastien's refusal to lie to Chloe. When she kept thinking that underneath it all he's just a good guy who doesn't really want to kill a woman and he kept telling her she was an idiot to believe that he'd only kill in self defense I had to laugh. I appreciated his cold honesty but I think that despite his repeated assurances that he could kill anyone Chloe still had a romanticized vision of him. I don't think she ever saw who he really was. That was disappointing.Despite my problems with this book I still read it quickly. I was hooked on it even as I was deeply unhappy with the story being told. How confusing. I ended up giving it a higher grade than I originally planned because of the story's readability.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this series!! The story line was interesting and was the right mix of adventure, suspense and romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
REAL READER. Didn't finish it. That much drama. And it was just boring. And chole was just tstl ( to stupid to live)
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EWnd More than 1 year ago
OMG LOVED IT TOTALLY WORTH IT.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not expect the plot to go in that directions. Interesting novel, I do recommend reading them in order.
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Ekashara More than 1 year ago
This is actually the third book I read in the series because I had to go online and find it. I had gotten Cold as Ice through my subscription to Harlequin and was hooked. I loved Sebastian in this book. So enigmatic yet so hot!!! Would recommend the whole ice series to anyone who loves a good suspenceful love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago