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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Riptide by Cherry Adair

Riptide by Cherry Adair
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, mystery/suspense
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Princess Bria Visconti demands the return of the money her brother rashly invested in Cutter Salvage. Treasure hunter Nick Cutter is too reckless, too arrogant—and far too handsome—for his own good. But he can’t charm his way out of this one. Bria plans to make Nick pay up even if she has to board his boat, don a wet suit, and dive for the treasure herself…

Nick sees Bria as a beautiful but spoiled princess who’s never done a day’s work in her pampered life. But once they set sail for the dive site, and the legendary fortune in gold the wreck carries, Nick begins to see Bria in a new light. This princess may be out of her depth, but she’s ready to take on the hidden danger and excitement a treasure hunt stirs to the surface. Together they must fight unexpected enemies—and reveal their darkest secrets—before they’re pulled into a rip current of danger.

Seekers of adventure, treasure hunting, intrigue, double-crosses and high seas romances can’t go wrong with Riptide. This high impact tale is told at a speed that made me breathless. There is so much going on, so many nuances that taint a simple relationship with tension, mistrust and high stakes, it’s amazing the hero and hero had time to fall in love.

Nick and Bria, right from the very first chapter, were at odds with each other. Of course one of them didn’t know it at the time and when the other found out, it wasn’t a warm and fuzzy moment. That pretty much sums up this whole reading experience. It’s not cute or silly or lame. It’s hard edged, gritty, dramatic and suspenseful.

The only people I could trust in the story were the names Nick listed plus the heroine. He was never too sure about her. I’m pretty sure it’s not because she gave him ammunition to feel that way. I certainly didn’t pick up on any anything she did or said to give him that impression. It’s because the hero reacted so icily to Bria, so in control and arrogant to an almost inhuman degree that clued me in that when he eventually did succumb to Cupid’s arrow, Nick was going to go down hard. And he did, and I loved every wonderful and explosive moment of it. For a man whose nickname is Spock, he was more volatile than Kirk or Scotty at their most stressed.

Bria is quite the mixed bag of contradictions. She is polished, clever, sweet and sassy and has one heck of a raging temper when she lets fly. Of course the only person that inspires her to let it rip was Nick. He pushed her buttons big time. I was entertained at her temper tantrums because I never knew what she was going to do. I giggled at her decorating, laughed out loud at her verbal profanities and got a kick out of her penchant to throw things. Another aspect of her character I appreciated was her training. It was nice to see a regular woman being able to defend herself and not fall to pieces in a crisis without having to credit some super secret spy agency.

Oh, the super secret T-FLAC agency does give a cameo performance but they were not as impressive as they’ve been in the past. The goobers. For all of their access to fancy and sophisticated technology, they didn’t discover the very intricate and well thought out evil plot when it would have done the hero and heroine the most good. And, when Nick needed their help, something never seemed to go right. For this adventure, Nick Cutter has to rely on his own brains, wit and alpha tendencies and ended up partnering with the last person he’d ever expected to, Bria. What fun.

More amazing surprises were in store for me with the revelation of a secret identity. It was bittersweet and the timing couldn’t have been worse but Ms. Adair knew what she was doing. The introduction of this person means that a future book is going to be an auto-buy for me. There is no way that there won’t be a story about this, it’s awesome.

Another thing I liked was the dialogue. I loved seeing Nick’s paranoia rationalized. I enjoyed Bria’s determination and internal pep talks to out ice Nick’s Spock demeanor and fire him up. There is not one scene that didn’t work for me, not one chapter that was slow or weak. Everything that happens does so for a reason and the result is a masterful bit of mystery, treachery and grand storytelling.

Riptide is a pulse-pounding read that thoroughly entertains and provides a stunning and satisfying happily ever after. As soon as Bria steps foot aboard Nick’s boat, the Scorpion, the action never stops. Readers will be hard pressed to put down the book. Every chapter has a hook that won’t let go, compiled with revelations and suspicions that can keep a reader wide-eyed and riveted. This is the kind of story that can make time cease to exist. The adventure is that good. The romance is that wild and I had a grand time discovering the truth. Pick up a copy and see for yourself.