The time has finally come to review Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh. I must confess I'm a little nervous; I've never written a review before and I'm afraid it might turn out more like all-out hero worship of Nalini's writing than a professional-sounding review. But I am neither a professional reviewer nor do I hero-worship Nalini's writing (okay, I do worship it a little because she's just that damn good), so hopefully I can manage to find a happy medium
The third installment of the Psy-Changeling series, Caressed By Ice, was everything that I wanted it to be and more. I read Slave to Sensation and wondered how Nalini could top that. She did top it, though, when she wrote Visions of Heat and I was certain that CBI would be just as wonderful as VOH.
I was wrong. It was better. It was so good that I was sincerely disappointed when I was done with it because that meant it was over.
*insert hero-worship of Nalini's writing here*
CBI takes us along the rocky, passionate, and often tender ride as Judd Lauren, a Psy telekinetic (Tk) who is no longer connected to the PsyNet, and Brenna Shane Kincaid, a wolf changeling who was brutalized by the serial killer Tk-Psy taken out in Slave to Sensation, work to be together. We meet both of them for the first time in STS, so I highly recommend starting from the beginning with this series so you get the most out of it.
Judd was an Arrow, an elite and highly deadly assassin, while he was in the PsyNet. As a dangerous subdesignation of Tk, he has very valid reasons for not wanting to break Silence. He is drawn to Brenna, helped with her recovery from her psychic torture, but he values her safety over his need to engage more fully in a relationship with her, a relationship he grows to want and need more and more as Brenna refuses to take no for an answer.
As a wolf changeling, Brenna is a sensual creature with a need for touch, for physical contact and affection. She knows that the chances of Judd breaking his conditioning for her are slim, especially because her inner wolf doesn't recognize him as her mate. But fire melts ice and Brenna knows in her heart that Judd is capable of giving her what she needs despite his insistence that he can't.
Brenna and Judd face obstacles that are neither minor nor easy to overcome. A murder within the wolf den and glimpses into the mind of the killer make it apparent that Brenna is in danger, but not exactly why. During their quest to find out, through Judd's need to protect this woman, and in Brenna's need to return to a normal life after her horrendous ordeal with a serial killer, the Man of Ice and his relentless changeling grow closer and closer. Judd slowly realizes that it is impossible to ignore feeling what he does for Brenna despite his need to maintain Silence for the safety of everyone around him. On an intimate level, sparks fly whenever these two are around each other. Despite the icy Silence he tries to maintain, Judd is every inch the hot, sexy male to match Brenna's changeling sexiness.
There is this one scene where they barely touch, where they basically stay on opposite sides of the room, but the sexual tension between them made me need to stop and just breathe. Nalini is a master at communicating the hunger, the need, and the pure and raw sex that these two create. When Judd finally gets to the point where he no longer fights what he's feeling, be prepared to need either a cold drink or time alone with your significal other.
Their is revolution rumbling in the PsyNet. The Council is worried. We get to know the newest Councilor, Kaleb Krychek, who fascinates me to no end. Where do his loyalties lie? Why was he so determined to be on the Council? Who is the "Ghost" in the Net that Judd is affiliated with? Can Protocol I be defeated? The story arc of the changes in the PsyNet, in the Council's actions, and in the advancement or retreat of Silence is taking turns I never would have guessed but am irrevocablly intrigued by. I can honestly say that I have little in the way of speculation as to how all this will turn out. Nalini is keeping us guessing and I can't think of anything better than this lack of predictability.
Caressed by Ice will be available in stores on September 4th. Buy it at Amazon and discover more about the Psy-Changeling world at Nalini's website. If you enjoy masterful storytelling, touching lovestories, and flawless worldbuilding, run to your nearest bookstore and immerse yourself in this series. You will most definitely not be disappointed.