USA TODAY bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths series and Burying Water—which Kirkus Reviews called “a sexy, romantic, gangster-tinged page-turner”—returns with a new novel packed with romance, plot twists, and psychological suspense.
Ivy Lee, a talented tattoo artist who spent the early part of her twenties on the move, is looking for a place to call home. She thinks she might have finally found it working in her uncle’s tattoo shop in San Francisco. But all that changes when a robbery turns deadly, compelling her to pack up her things yet again.
When they need the best, they call him. That’s why Sebastian Riker is back in California, cleaning up the mess made after a tattoo shop owner with a penchant for blackmail got himself shot. But it’s impossible to get the answers he needs from a dead body, leaving him to look elsewhere. Namely, to the twenty-something-year-old niece who believes this was a random attack. Who needs to keep believing that until Sebastian finds what he’s searching for.
Ivy has one foot out of San Francisco when a chance encounter with a stranger stalls her departure. She’s always been drawn to intense men, so it’s no wonder that she now finds a reason to stay after all, quickly intoxicated by his dark smile, his intimidating strength, and his quiet control.
That is, until Ivy discovers that their encounter was no accident—and that their attraction could be her undoing.
I have to start off by saying that although I read K. A. Tucker’s previous series, I hadn’t yet started the Burying Water series before I read Surviving Ice, but I was in no way let wondering what happened before this time frame – I was only left wanting to start this series from the beginning and read more books in this gritty and twisted universe.
This is Ivy’s story. She’s always had a thing for not settling down, for moving from place to place, never staying longer than a few months in only one city or even on a single continent. This time Ivy’s considering postponing her leave – she enjoys her current situation -she’s living in San Francisco and working in her uncle’s tattoo parlor, the Black Rabbit. She feels safe here, loved and appreciate. But when all this is taken away from her in a horrific event, she’s once again ready to leave everything behind and run away just like’s she’s always been doing it.
Enter Sebastian, a former Navy SEAL, who’s currently employed for a security company, but at times he’s also paid to do more than guard people. This is one of those times – he’s paid to clean up the mess left behind by two other employees of the same company, and Ivy is part of that mess. Sebastian needs to figure out how much she knows and if can walk away without having to hurt her. What he doesn’t consider is that she’ll soon become more than a nuisance.
Both Ivy and Sebastian didn’t think that falling in love is possible, that staying put for more than a few months at the time is in the cards for them, but they soon enough learn that this is actually something they’ve been craving all their lives. Their stand offish attitudes, lack of friendships, is just a mask they wear in order to protect themselves from feeling abandoned. Both of them never felt accepted by their families, were more on the outside looking in, trying to do anything just to feel wanted.
But once they grow close, the secret that Sebastian is hiding might tear them apart forever, and this gives him a sense of panic. It’s interesting to see this once closed of man, trying to do anything he can to protect the woman he cares for, even if that means he has to let her go.
I adored this book. I’m a huge fan of K. A. Tucker but this isn’t why. I’m a sucker for a romance story where the romance takes a back seat to the suspense and mystery aspect. Surviving Ice is one of those instances. There was nothing predictable about this story. I would have never guessed the villain was who it was and where the author took the plot of this novel. It’s action packed with some dark and gritty scenes, that left me wondering if this is the same author as the Ten Tiny Breathes one.
Her writing is spectacular – her descriptions are so vivid that I don’t need to look at pictures to see the characters or places in my head – I don’t need muses for them as they’re original and have a life of their own. She combined perfectly the romance and the mystery aspect, giving me enough of both that I was left satisfied. Ivy’s and Sebastian’s development was felt – you could tell the exact moment when the game changed for both of them without being told that by the author.
All in all, Surviving Ice is a 5 star incredible suspenseful romance, that can satisfy any romance lover who prefers their stories with a side of ‘nail biting’ angst.
***ARC provided by NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review
THE BURYING WATER SERIES
Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.