Olympic silver medallist, Sasha Miller, is the darling of the figure skating world. Even the drug scandal associated with her former partner, Lon Morrison, hasn't diluted her popularity or prevented her star from rising to fabled, glorious heights. Oh, her professional reputation has been tarnished by the whispers and innuendos, but Sasha has managed to rise above it all to embrace her childhood dream. Her provocative routines heat up the ice, and defy the conventional expectations of a figure skater: Sasha has a passion for skating, and it shows -- in every shimmy, shake and gracefully executed jump.
No one would suspect the saintly Sasha of trafficking in drugs, however. No one, that is, except Special Agent Mick Vinicor of the DEA. Someone in "Follies on Ice," the touring show Sasha is a star attraction of, is selling high grade cocaine to junkies (and killing them with the drug's potency), and it's Mick's job to find out who's doin' the selling and then bust their sorry hump. This isn't his idea of an ideal undercover operation, though. Infiltrating the namby-pamby world of figure skaters is giving him the chills, in fact, and thoroughly testing his patience. Miller has gotta be as guilty as sin, but Mick is beginning to question his own judgment.
Sure, lusting after his number one suspect is stone-cold stupid, but his gut is trying to tell him that Sasha is innocent...and the intended target of a would-be killer on the prowl.
Conflicting loyalties and misplaced trust put Sasha and Mick on the warpath (once Mick's not-so-tiny white lies are exposed for what they are). On Thin Ice has reams and reams of thick, sexual tension to entertain a reader, however, and to compensate for this frustrating failure to communicate. Susan Andersen's Avon romances are by and large lighter, fluffier fare than this dark, somewhat plodding plot of romantic suspense. Night and day style wise, there are still certain commonalities to be found in this middling-to-high octane story: mainly, the spectacular chemistry percolating between Ms. Andersen's hero and heroine.
Why, the sensuality level is pea soup thick, and steamy enough to fog melted glass! There's no questioning Mick and Sasha's compatibility as a couple, but there are a few lamentations to be uttered regarding the lack of honesty in their relationship (and the high-handed, alpha male posturing of a vulnerable hero striking out in a knee-jerk reactionary manner). I really can't deny my infatuation with Mick, however, or the appeal of his politically incorrect take-charge attitude. Sasha has plenty of spunk and spirit to combat Mick's free-roaming egotism -- or should that be despotism? -- at any rate. Strain will test the strength of her emotional reserves, however, and create an illusion of fragility, further inciting Mick's protective instincts.
On Thin Ice has a thinly stretched suspense subplot that will easily crack under pressure, though, so it's best not to test or tamper with Ms. Andersen's premise. Nimble pacing of the storyline, spectacular sexual sparks, and complex, likeable characterizations make this novel a showstopper, if not an out and out heart stopper.
Reviewed by C.L. Jeffries