HOT ICE - Cherry Adair
T-Flac series, Book 7
 Ballantine books
 ISBN: 978-0-345-47643-3
 July 2007 (paperback)
 Romantic Suspense
 
 San Cristóbal, South America ~ Africa ~ Present Day
 
 T-FLAC Operative Huntington St. John needs someone with a special talent for breaking into safes and what-nots. Yes, he needs a thief, and it must be the best.  Huntington is after Jose Morales, a terrorist of the worst kind -- he believes God wants him to kill innocent people. Jose has a missile buried deep in God knows where, with all kinds of traps and pitfalls to prevent anyone from tampering with it. However, Morales also has five little black disks with all the information that could guide St. John and his team through without a mishap. For months, Hunt has been on the trail of the illusive and highly capable thief, Taylor Kinkaid. Even though she's led him on a merry chase, Hunt has finally found her...in prison. Since he needs her for his Ops mission, the only solution is to break her out of jail, get the disks that she snatched from Morales's safe, and then get the heck out of Dodge. Well, that's easier said than done because once he's got a load of Taylor and touched her, that's all she wrote. Never before has a woman gotten under his skin so fast and so deep that it interferes with his concentration.
 
 Breaking into Jose Morale's' safe is a piece of cake for jewel thief Taylor Kinkaid. Except the Blue diamonds that she's specifically looking for aren't there. Oh well! She pockets everything else in the safe, stuffs it all in an envelope and mails it to herself. Easy as pie, right? Wrong! Taylor ends up in jail, and though she tries to escape, she's caught each time. Maybe the fifth time will be the charm. Of course, when the back wall to her cell blows out and a man in black enters, Taylor wonders if the woman who wanted her to rob Morales's safe sent him. The man claims to be a T-FLAC operative -- one of the good guys -- and if Taylor would kindly hand over the five disks she confiscated from the safe, he will gladly get out of her hair. Hmm...interesting turn of events. Is Huntington St. John really who and what he claims, or does he work for the Black Rose, another terrorist group? All Taylor knows is that after one kiss she's hooked on St. John , and that's not a good thing.
 
 Ladies, get ready to drool, sigh, and simply melt when you open Cherry Adair's latest novel, HOT ICE. If you've been reading her other stories, HIDE AND SEEK and KISS AND TELL, then you will remember Huntington St. John. This reviewer has been waiting with bated breath for his story to be told. And the heroine chosen for him, a man who lives and breathes the law? Why, a thief of course. Isn't it funny how fate can sometimes throw one a curve? Taylor and Hunt are a lot alike. Both of them enjoy the adrenaline rush when a job comes together, and neither has had an easy life. In fact, Taylor has been taking care of her sister, Amanda, since she was an infant. After their mother abandoned them, Taylor , at age nine, took up the slack and cared for the one-month-old baby. Learning to break into safes started out as a game between Taylor, her father, and uncle. But the more she did it, the better she got until finally she's simply become the best at it. The developing romance between Taylor and Huntington is the main theme of the story, and readers are privy to each of the protagonists' thoughts. Taylor's antics put Huntington and his men through the wringer and are funny to say the least. Disguises, handcuffs -- oh, didn't I mention the handcuff scene? -- I think I'll let you discover that one on your own. <g>
 
 There are several secondary characters, including Hunt's team members, Max, Daklan, Fisk, Tate, and Savage, who add depth and insight to the story, especially about Hunt. More like a family than simply a team, these men and women protect each other's backs, and that extends to Taylor as well. Let's not forget our villain shall we? Jose Morales is a man who prays to God and whips himself bloody, seeking an answer from God about killing innocent people. Just hearing the man's name gives me shivers even now. He is one sick, messed up fool.
 
 Fascinating characters, danger, passion, intense emotions, and a rush like a rollercoaster ride gone crazy are all the components that Ms. Adair weaves into HOT ICE, making it one for the keeper shelf.
 
 Sinclair Reid