Here’s how my brain works: I was still swooning over Giulio and Zahra’s Italian lessons in The Hitman and I suddenly flashed to Jerusha and Karl’s sex lessons in Daddy Crush, so obviously I had to reread that. I realized on rereading that I hadn’t given Adriana Anders enough credit for the joyful way Jerusha discovers her own body and sharing experiences with Karl. I also hadn’t realized that the forehead press could be as sexy as a doorway lean.
I bend down, tangle my fingers in the hair at her nape, and press my forehead to hers, imprinting myself on her, though I’m the one who’ll come out of this burned. She snares my gaze and doesn’t let it go, proving how firmly I’m already hooked. “I’ll do it.”
– Daddy Crush, p. 45
All of this made me remember that I had started Anders’ romantic suspense thriller, Whiteout, a while ago but hadn’t gotten far. Some people deal with their anxiety by reading (or watching) thrillers and horror. I am not one of those people. I thought I’d give it another chance, and if I couldn’t let myself sink into it, I’d try again in the post pandemic times. No worries though. I had a hard time putting it down.
Angel Smith is getting ready to leave the research station in Antarctica where she’s been the cook for the Summer season. Ford Cooper is the grumpy, taciturn scientist who has avoided Angel as best he can all Summer. The reader knows from the very first page that there has been a murder and more evil is afoot. Waiting for Angel and Ford to discover it was very stressful. The two are forced to flee into an approaching Antarctic winter with only the barest of supplies and a thin chance of success.
Angel and Ford quickly recognize they need to work together and do so without fighting or whining on either side. Angel is committed to making sure the bad guys don’t get what they were after (even though that means the bad guys will pursue them), and Ford is committed to keeping Angel alive. The danger and forced proximity strip away the emotional armor Ford was using to keep from falling in love with Angel. It does, in fact, get hot on the ice. They have to share body heat to stay alive. The sharing body heat to stay alive seems a lot like sex on the beach -much better on the page than in real life. There are a couple of good forehead presses, though not a whole lot of sexy doorway leaning. I haven’t read enough Adriana Anders to know if this is a signature move, but if it is, I am ok with it.
Characters do die on and off page. While Ford and Angel get their happily ever after, the nefarious plan is only delayed, not thwarted. The objective of the bad guys centers around a virus that Ford found in his ice core samples. There is clearly a plan for the virus to be released at some point. This might be a deal breaker for some readers, and that’s ok.
I’m looking forward to Uncharted, coming out late this Summer. I expect there will be more sharing warmth to stay alive and possible some forehead pressing.