Ice Blue

Ice Blue - Anne Stuart 3 STARSGetting into a romantic suspense series, I can only imagine how tough it is for the author to keep the material fresh and cracking. I mean, how many ways can you really make the cold, distant and hot alpha male hero fall for the innocent yet "independent" heroine while he repeatedly attempts and fails to kill her before it goes stale?Thus far, with this series, I'm getting a bit frustrated. The thing with this genre is, I have to believe the circumstances are dire. The tension and suspense should be palpable as the story unfolds. It's tough for the 3rd book in a series because you've somehow seen the cards up the author's sleeve and one starts to compare the tricks in this book with the previous installments. Sadly, there's very little variation: crazy megalomaniac villain wants to wreak havoc in the world and the Committee's operatives have to stop them on time. Pshh.I have no issues with the characters, save for their near threadbare backgrounds (which is also an on-going motif of Anne Stuart's I've noticed). I even like Taka better than the other heroes, mostly because he's a little bit more whipped than the others and doesn't throw a sh*t fit (much) over it, taking it out on the heroine:"She'd managed to braid her long hair again, but it was coming loose, tangling on her shoulders. He wanted to untie her hair and bury his face in it, breathe in the smell of it. Hell, it probably smelled of smoke and ashes from the explosion they'd just barely managed to outrun. Her skin would smell of fear. But he wanted to drown in it anyway."Neither Peter nor Bastien were ever that eloquent with how much they want the girl. Mostly their thoughts are bothered and bewildered that translates to beastly actions towards the heroine in the early stages of their borderline abusive courtships (that's a lot of B-words right there). Taka's no softy but he's leaning towards a more conventional romantic hero. Summer, as the heroine, did an okay job at not being annoying. "She stepped out of the shower, glancing at the reflection in the mirror, and for a moment she was shocked by what she saw. She looked different. Healthy and glowing despite the trauma of the last few days. She looked like someone who'd found what she'd been missing all her life."Okay maybe she may have taken a bit of that magic sex juice (removes eye bags, weight issues and first-degree burns apparently) but she was mostly tolerable throughout the book. The Committee on the other hand just glugged an entire barrel of pfffts. You're a bad-ass, international, super secret organization, with a cellphone that can probably fly a plane at the press of a button and you can't keep track of who among your people are dead and who's alive?! The goodreads app do a better job at giving notifications, and that's saying something.I loved when the story was taken to Japan and would've wished for a bit more of Reno and Taka's yakuza connections in the story. Unfortunately, this book further highlighted the author's continuing fail at delivering a good climactic end. I fell asleep in the middle of the pivotal scene between Shirosama, Taka and Summer, mostly because everything was bogged down by predictability and a messy narrative of what the eff is going on.I'm going to put some distance between me and these extreme alphas for a while. I can only suspend disbelief for so long.