Anne Stuart is such an "instant buy" author for me. Even the books she writes that I don't adore are solid 3 or 3.5 stars. That's pretty amazing.
Her "Fire" series is a spin-off from her "Ice" series. While the Ice Series is set in the UK as a home-base, the Fire series is based in America. Specifically in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is the third book in the series and introduces two new characters, both tangentially related to the infamous Committee, the shadow spy agency.
Title: Wildfire (Fire #3)
Author: Anne Stuart
Page Number: 290 pages
Genre: romance, contemporary, fiction, thriller, suspense
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Her power-hungry husband takes pleasure in her pain, but she’s done playing the victim.
Three years ago, ex-operative Sophie Jordan made the mistake of falling in love—and marrying—her target. Now she’s paying for it tenfold. Her husband might be one of the sexiest men alive, but he’s also a psychopath. She’s been a virtual prisoner, and the time has come for retribution—and escape.
Undercover agent Malcolm Gunnison has his orders: get intel from Sophie’s arms-dealer husband, then kill him. He plans to get rid of her, too, if she gets in his way, but he’s unprepared when she gets under his skin instead. Whose side is she on? And what is she hiding behind those mesmerizing eyes?
Sophie vowed to never fall for another man again, but this sexy undercover agent is different. With danger mounting, can Malcolm and Sophie trust each other—and their growing passion—enough to get out of this operation alive?
The first character is Sophie Jordan. She was a new, inexperienced Committee agent. Three years ago she was sent on a mission to meet Archer MacDonald, billionaire playboy. Sophie fell in love with Archer and left the Committee to marry him. This is my only (minor) issue with the story. Sophie is supposed to be this career agent, with tons of information on how Archer isn't that great of a person...but she falls in love anyways. I can only assume he has a magic ding-dong. It's a minor gripe.
Sophie has only been married to Archer for a year when the shine wears off and she realizes she's made a horrible mistake. Before she manages to leave, she's gravely injured in an assassination attempt on her husband. She's shot in the back and has been confined to a wheelchair since. Her husband leaves her on his private island off Florida, Isla Mordita. She's a prisoner to his whims and abuses.
The second main character we meet is Malcolm Gunnison, a British agent with the Committee. Malcolm (Mal) is suave but ruthless, a typical Anne Stuart anti-hero. He's been sent by the head to stop Archer MacDonald from his evil ways and make a decision on Sophie's fate once he gets there. In the two years since Sophie's accident, Archer has gotten into arms dealing and chemical warfare. Mal is posing as a middle man for Archer.
I wasn't sure at first because we know that Mal and Sophie are meant to be together but Sophie is married. I dislike cheating and wasn't sure how Stuart was going to pull this off (she does, which is pretty interesting).
Archer is absolutely an evil billionaire. His whole point is to be evil.
So Sophie is hiding something from Mal, who she is attracted to but believes to be as evil as her husband. Mal is trying to determine if Sophie can be trusted and what the chemical weapon (RU45) is and who is making it. Mal also has to gain Archer's trust and then kill him (after gathering all this information). PLUS there's a hurricane coming to the Island.
Needless to say, there's a lot of twists-and-turns in the story. The tension (sexual between Mal and Sophie; one-upmanship between Mal and Archer) is very steamy and quick.
I have the audiobook, physical, and e-book of Wildfire. I really do like Stuart! Ha! So, while the book can be read as a stand alone, I'd read the first two in the Fire series for sure. If you like them, than the Ice Series is right there as well.
I hope Stuart writes more in the Ice Series but so far I haven't seen that she's doing that. I do have her newest book but I'm saving it for when I reach my reading goal.