The right blend of romance and pulse-pounding thrills makes this a riveting story. Rice creates strong characters that develop and grow. In particular, the subplot about the villain, who becomes a psychopath after being tortured by the KGB, is effective. Sensual sex scenes, action, suspense and some unpredictable twists keep the pages turning.
Charity Prewitt gives up her plans for life, love and travel when she comes back to Parker's Ridge, Vt., to care for her aging aunt and uncle. Then Nick Ames comes to town. Handsome, charming, sexy, he's everything a woman could ask for.
She's starting to fall hard, but the real Nick is a completely different person -- an undercover agent known as
"The Iceman." Charity has unknowingly befriended a dangerous man, and Nick is hot on his trail. He'll do whatever it takes to catch his prey, even if it means seducing Charity. (AVON RED, Jul., 320 pp., $13.95)