Behind her mask is a deadly secret. The powerful head of the covert mercenary organization The Committee, Isobel Lambert is a sleek, sophisticated professional who comes into contact with some of the most dangerous people in the world. But beneath Isobel's cool exterior a ghost exists, haunting her with memories of another life, a life that ended long ago.
But Isobel's past and present are about to collide when Serafin, mercenary, assassin and the most dangerous man in the world, makes a deal with The Committee. Seventeen years ago Isobel shot him and left him for dead. Now it looks as if he's tracked her down for revenge. But Isobel knows all too well that looks can be deceiving, and that's what she's counting on to keep her cover in this international masquerade of murder.
Another entry in Anne Stuart's Ice series this book has another of her dark heroes that leave us in doubt if he has what it takes to make a good hero.
Isobel Lambert is the head of "The Committee" that we have met in the previous books. To be totally honest I didn't remember much about her except that she sounded like a cold, middle aged woman. I probably shouldn't have taken so long to get to her books but the least that can be said is that Stuart had a few surprises in store for me.
The story opens with a scene from the past! I love how Stuart is so good with words and we can get into the character's head. Move forward and it is obvious that Mme Lambert is going to meet someone from her past. Someone she thought long dead and by her own hand. The Committee is short staffed (it seems to happen more with every book) and she has to travel to Africa to bring a notorious bad guy under the organization's protection. Just before she goes she discovers who he really is... Although Isobel tries to stay calm and focused the fact is that Killian's return from the dead shakes her to the core. And while there are plenty of clues that he may not be exactly who she thinks he is she never sees past the image he presents to her.
I love the idea of a strong female heroine! All the heroines of these books have to be strong to deal with these heroes but the man are usually the focus of the story while Isobel was definitely the main character here. Unfortunately she wasn't as strong as I was expecting her to be. Instead she is feeling the strain of the job and is left badly shaken by what she has to do. This leaves her more vulnerable to Killian and while I liked being in her head, I felt I needed to know more about Killian to completely buy his feelings towards her.
I did love to see Bastien again. I loved his book and while I have enjoyed the others in the series they all fell short of my expectation when measured against his book. It's been so long though that I'll have to reread it one of these days.
The action is fast paced and this is a very easy read. So entertaining that I grabbed the next book immediately after finishing this one!