Riptide - Cherry Adair I was a little nervous when I started Riptide because this is the first Cherry Adair novel I’ve read and noticed it was the second in the Cutter Cove series. As it turned out, my concern was unwarranted because I had no difficulty following the storyline and IMHO Nick Cutter and Bria Visconti’s exciting adventure / romance could be read as a standalone.

Nick Cutter...Treasure hunter, linguist, a larger than life adventurer who I think is described very aptly by the novel’s heroine during their first meeting aboard his spectacular multimillion dollar yacht the “Scorpion”:

“This man had his own gravitational field, complete with tractor-beam eyes. He had an almost visible aura of raw power kept on an incredibly tight leash.”

Riptide © Cherry Adair

If all of Cherry Adair’s heroes are as appealing as Nick I can understand why her novels are so popular. The man is not only brilliant and rich, he is tall, dark, ripped and handsome with incredible blue eyes that are a family trait. Bria nicknames him ‘Mr. Spock’ because of his stoic, controlled demeanor. The Scorpion is anchored at sea while Nick and his crew salvage a fortune in artifacts, gems and coins from a sunken galleon the El Puerto. Bria Visconti’s brother Draven invested an enormous sum of money in the salvage operation and Bria has tracked Cutter down half way across the globe to demand a refund. Marrezo, the tiny kingdom where she was born desperately needs the money to repay a debt owed by Draven (who is the King) or the country will default and Italy will take control. Cutter salvage has a no refund policy and Nick therefore flatly declines the Princess’ demand. Nick and Bria do not get off on a good foot.

Principessa Gabriella “Bria” Ilaria Elizabetta Visconti was a pampered Princess of Marrezo until she was 7 years old. Then terrorists came, slaughtered her parents and took control of the island. Bria’s bodyguard, Max spirited her away and raised her as his own, making sure she was taught skills to protect herself, and prepared her to some day return to Marrezo and help to restore the country to it’s former prosperity. Bria thought her brother was dead until a few years previous when the terrorists finally left and Draven returned to the kingdom and was crowned king. Draven and his horrible wife Dafne were not welcoming when Bria returned home for the coronation.

Bria is not what one would consider pampered, rich, Paparazzi loving royalty. She hides her heritage, is educated and has pursued a career in public relations making her home in Sacramento. I thought Bria was an awesome heroine. She loves and lives life to the fullest, has lethal defense skills, and is inherently kind. Her Achilles heel is an absolutely wicked temper that she tries to keep under tight control. Bria has endured childhood trauma and a legacy of loss but turned out to be an exceptional and courageous woman who Nick Cutter cannot resist.

Nick is exceptionally independent, he doesn’t allow people to get close easily and even as he and Bria’s relationship evolves from adversarial to fiery intimacy he suppresses the deep feelings he develops for her. Nick and Bria are passionate people and readers are treated to a number of sizzling, sensual love scenes.

Riptide has an extremely fast paced action packed plot with surprising twists and revelations. Cherry Adair connects the storyline to this book loosely to her T-FLAC counterterrorism operatives in that as a favor Nick agreed to assist in flushing out a ring of brutal conflict diamond smugglers by storing a shipment on the Scorpion. The intricate sting operation goes awry when Bria is attacked and corpses start showing up on his ship. Readers are treated to a suspense subplot laced with danger, betrayal, subterfuge and high seas adventure.

I found Ms. Adair’s descriptive prose to be excellent providing and exceptional visual of each scene during Nick and Bria’s travels. There are a number of well developed supporting characters introduced in Riptide. Most notable is Jonah Santiago, the captain of the Scorpion and Nick’s closest friend. Jonah plays a pivotal role in the plot of the story.

The climax and conclusion of Riptide is absolutely riveting with loads of action and startling revelations I didn’t see coming at all. Ms. Adair skillfully links all the pieces of a complex puzzle together concerning the dangerous, cruel leader of the smuggling ring. As for Bria and Nick? Well, following a number a near death experiences they do get their HEA but to say their path to trust and happiness is rocky would be an understatement. I thoroughly enjoyed Riptide and look forward to reading more of Cherry Adair’s work. :)

4.5/5 stars