St. Martin’s Press / May 22, 2012 / $7.99 print, $7.99 digital
Searching for a sunken ship off the coast of Peru, treasure hunter Logan Cutter manages to pull a very different kind of prize from the sea—beautiful gallery owner Daniela Rosada. Dani claims she was thrown overboard by ruthless pirates and begs for his protection. But Logan is no stranger to a woman’s lies, and something about her story doesn’t add up.
IN TOO DEEP
With her knowledge of Peruvian artifacts, Dani offers to help Logan translate an ancient map that will lead them to a shipwrecked treasure—and into a carefully laid trap. But the closer they get, the deeper she falls for him, not realizing that Logan is hiding a secret of his own. By the time she learns the truth about his boat, his brothers—and his blood feud with pirates—it’s too late. By falling in love, they’ve set a course for disaster…
I’ve always been a fan of the ocean. The ebb and flow of the tide, the mesmerizing sound of the surf crashing against the shore. It’s what led me to study marine biology in college. I fancied myself a future Jaques Cousteau and worldly National Geographic journalist. For years, I kept the science and technology slant in writing, but maintained my love of the ocean as a traveler. Some years later my husband and I watched the classic Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bissett movie, The Deep, about a pair of vacationers who get tangled up with deadly treasure hunters in Bermuda, and now we watch it every summer to get us in the beach-trip vacation mood.
Adair’s Cutter Cay series calls to my inner water nymph. Vortex is a spectacular mix of all of the things I love in romantic adventures: sexy treasure hunter Logan Cutter...smart, savvy Peruvian artifact expert Dani Rosada...exotic locales...pirates...a ship called the Sea Wolf.
Sigh. When first we meet Dani and Logan, he’s saving her from drowning, having fished her out of the Pacific like a mermaid. Her story is that pirates threw her overboard; the truth is somewhat, well, different because on the Sea Wolf is exactly where she wants to be. But all’s fair in love and war since Logan has his own backstory simmering. Besides, what would a story about pirates and treasure be without intrigue and distrust?
Peru is a brilliant setting for adventure because on its own it is a treasure trove of architectural, cultural and natural history. I think that’s one of Adair’s hallmarks: on top of exciting plots and sexy characters, she’s just a downright good storyteller. Her adventures across this big blue marble have taken us from Alaska and Egypt, to South America and Venezuela, and speak to my endless sense of wanderlust.
I love how she describes Logan in the first scene where he and Dani actually talk to one another. She’s got a bump on the noggin, and he wants to check it out. Dani’s escalating panic reaches out from the page.
Eyes closed, Daniela suppressed a shudder, turning her face up toward him. Willing herself not to flinch, she started as he placed the edge of his hand under her chin to turn her head so he could see her injury. Little sparks of electricity zinged between his fingers and her skin. His touch made her skin heat, and was far too intimate.
“Honey, you need to breathe or you’ll pass out. Just relax. I won’t hurt you.”
The whole story’s like that. Pulse-pounding. Both Dani and Logan are wary, but Adair does a good job of balancing that wariness with forging ahead and developing trust. I’m not a big fan of romances where one character is so hesitant to give love a chance that they’re whiny and miserable. That makes me whiny and miserable. Being cautious is another story.
Caution can be a good thing, whether it’s your approach to love, or to treasure hunting. If I were on the trail of Peruvian treasures, I would want Logan helping me search. Because despite the danger that Dani lays out, he’s still confident.
Logan couldn’t help but grin. Exactly what did she think he’d been doing as a treasure hunter and salvage operator, paperwork? Danger didn’t scare him. “Thanks for the heads up.” “No, seriously. My side of the family hasn’t spoken to their side of the family in over thirty years. I’d never even met these guys until a week ago. If there’s an easy way for them to do something, believe me, they’ll take the low road. These are not nice people.” Logan pinned her with an unwavering gaze. “And you think I am?”
By definition, a vortex is a whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool. It’s a great metaphor for the attraction Dani and Logan feel for each other, and for the thrilling situation in which they find themselves.
Vortex is the perfect summer romance to get you in the mood for traveling and lightening your mood. Whether you’re an armchair adventurer, or a treasure hunting pirate, there’s something in here for you.
Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and in the spring of 2012, her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.