Thursday, September 01, 2011

RIPTIDE by Cherry Adair

RIPTIDE – Cherry Adair
Cutter Cay Series – Book 2
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-37198-2
September 2011
Romantic Suspense

In the Ocean outside Morocco – Present Day

Nick Cutter owns the Scorpion, a dive ship he designed and had built especially for him. Nick and his crew, including his captain, Jonah, are using the Scorpion to treasure hunt—specifically wrecked ships on the ocean floor—and bring up some very expensive booty. But Nick is also involved in what was to be an easy task, to help find men who are selling conflict diamonds to the world. Posing as Asim Nabi El Malamah, he has contacted the men who want to ship the diamonds and says he can hide them on the Scorpion. Nick has a beard and, most important of all, brown contacts to hide what is known as his Cutter Blue eyes. When the Scorpion delivers the diamonds at Cutter Cay, his home base, hopefully the principals will be captured and end this despicable practice. One of Nick’s extraordinary talents is his ear for dialects and ability to speak eleven languages. He can tell by the way you talk where you were born, went to school, and every part of the world you’ve lived in. As he’s talking and making arrangements to deliver the diamonds on his own ship in a café in Morocco, a beautiful woman approaches. One word from her and he knows she is Princess Gabriella Visconti, and she’s about to mess up a deal that’s taken months to set up. Once Nick is back on board his ship with the diamonds safely stored and back to his old self, who should arrive by helicopter but Princess Gabriella. This woman is going to mess things up for sure, and maybe even make him lose his vaunted cool, hence his nickname, Spock, for his emotionless character.

Gabriella wants only one thing from Nick Cutter, and she is determined to get it: the five million dollars her brother Draven invested in Nick’s treasure hunt. The country of Marrezo, where she and her brother grew up before it was overthrown and her parents were killed, desperately needs the money to bring it back to prosperity after the twenty years they were both in hiding. Two years ago, Draven was made king, and now he seems determined to drive the country into debt. A thirty-fold return on his money would have to wait a year, and Gabriella has come from Sacramento to beg, badger, or seduce Nick into returning the money. Once she meets Nick, all she can think of is fire; he is one hot man, and keeping their hands to themselves is soon impossible to do. Nick is cold as ice on the outside, but the blue fire of his eyes says there’s a totally different man inside just waiting to be set free. Is she the one who can crack open Spock and release the floodgates of his emotions?

When Gabriella sees the Scorpion, it's obvious Nick has plenty of money to repay the loan, even if the treasure hunt isn’t over. But on her first night on the ship, a worker attacks and almost kills her, and ends up dead himself after escaping from where they were keeping him under guard. Now Nick is afraid of who and why someone is after her, and whether it has anything to do with his hidden cache. Gabriella is certainly nothing like he’s used to, and his rigid control melts under their passion. Fallen boulders, pirates, and two different groups of mercenaries keep Nick on his toes and determined to keep Gabriella safe.

Cherry Adair has combined royalty, diamond smuggling, and treasure hunting into a mile-a-minute ride of excitement as the reader wonders whether Nick and Gabriella will end up alive or murdered. Told from each of their points of view, they really are polar opposites in temperament. Nick keeps his emotions on a tight rein and is proud of controlling himself; nothing gets through to him, except Gabriella as she chips away at his control. Gabriella was born a princess, saw her parents murdered in front of her, and spent many years in hiding with only her bodyguard, Marvin, to raise her. Her biggest problem is her total lack of control of her temper, and the more she loses it, the more Nick eggs her on and makes fun of her. Kind of like oil and water, as they say. The adventure of treasure hunting adds a different touch to the story, something we don’t often read about, but love to hear how so many exciting things from hundreds of years ago can be brought up from the depths.

Secondary characters are more an ensemble that fills in the story to perfection. There’s Jonah, the captain of the Scorpion; what Nick finds out about him will finally throw him over the edge of his emotions. Gabriella’s brother, Draven Visconti, is the new king of Marrezo, and it’s his country's money that was invested in the dive that started Gabriella on her journey.

RIPTIDE is the second book in the Cutter Cay series, the first of which (UNDERTOW) followed the story of Nick’s brother Zane (December 2010). If you enjoy lusty, hunky men, treasure hunting, and the thrills, exhilaration and anticipation of which way a suspenseful relationship will go, grab up a copy of RIPTIDE. The best thing is, there is another Cutter brother left to read about, and Ms. Adair is sure to lead us on a journey that is just as thrilling as Nick’s. The third book in the series is brother Logan’s story (VORTEX) which will be released in the spring of 2012. Don’t let yourself miss out on RIPTIDE or the rest of the Cutter brothers.

Carolyn Crisher

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