Chloe Underwood comes from a family of doctors. Mother, father, siblings. They wish to pressure her into going to medical school, but at twenty-three, Chloe knows this is not the life for her - especially since she faints at the sight of blood. This is a theme common to Stuart's writings, apparent if you are a long time fan - which I happen to be. That feeling out of sync with one's family heroine is generally at the core of all Stuart's females. They drum to their own drumbeat, which makes the perfect target for the perfect Stuart badder-than-bad-boy, Gamma rogue, anti-hero hero. A pure case of opposites attracts to the power of ten.
In this Stuart tale, Chloe is an American in Paris. She is living on her shoestring salary of translating children's books, refusing to ask for money from her parents to get by. The parents refuse to accept one of their blood cannot be a doctor so they are keep the purse string tight hoping to bring Chloe to heel. Chloe's roommate wants to dash off with her latest boyfriend for the weekend. Only problem, she has accept a job to be translator for a group of businessmen for the weekend. She hits on the idea of sending Chloe in her place.
We quickly learn this was a bad idea. That is the one sticking point of the whole tale. Chloe is spirited to a secluded Chateau, and upon arrival the man hosting it want to send Chloe back. Chloe is getting bad vibes about the whole situation, but instead of accepting him sending her back she convinces him to let her stay. We are told Chloe can use the money and that she is restless looking for something to jazz up her life. Still, those reasons seem just a tad week when she is having misgivings about this set up.
These feelings of qualms continue to increase as she is introduced to the rest of the group, and they break into Italian. Supposedly Chloe speaks only English and French, but actually she speaks nearly a dozen languages. She thinks she covers well, listening to them discuss her and wanting her sent back to town. Okies. I would be out of there! But since this is the Resident Genius of Dark Romantic Suspense, I let Stuart run with the tale.
Chloe is immediately attracted to the sexy bad boy in the group. Bastien Toussaint is pure Stuart Gamma Rogue to the teeth. Sexy, dangerous as sticking your fingers in a fan, and just a bit weary of life in general. He's been so deep undercover for a mysterious group called The Committee, and figures he will have to kill or be killed before the weekend is over. Bastien is not thrilled to see Chloe, a lamb thrown in amongst the wolves. And with good reasons. These are illegal arms dealers. Murder and Mayhem is their stock in trade. It didn't take him two minutes to figure out Chloe understood everything being said - in every language. Worse, that talent will cost Chloe her life as one of them is ordered to kill her because they fear she now knows too much.
The next thing Chloe knows, she is off, running for her life with sexy Bastien. It a taught, edgy, sexy tale with Stuart at her best. Black Ice is ice so clear that it's deceptive. You don't see it till it's too late. Stuart's book come sat you're the same way! Echoes of her brilliant work Moonrise.
If you like your tales dark and your heroes darker...then strap on your ice-skates and take on the black ice!