Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Leaving behind the treasure hunter’s façade from Rarer Than Rubies, this time E.M. Lynley takes us on an adventure with Trent and Reed a’ la James Bond and, dare I say it, Burn Notice’s Michael Westen.

While on vacation in Rome, Reed Acton is called upon by his not-so-former boss at the FBI to search for Peter, a missing agent (and Reed’s first Bureau partner and ex-boyfriend), and to continue an investigation into a smuggling operation. In the six months he has been living in L.A. with his boyfriend, Trent Copeland, Reed led Trent to believe he had retired from the FBI. In reality, he was still taking small jobs here and there without telling Trent.

After spending the day alone touring museums, Trent returns to find Reed packed and ready to leave their hotel room. Discovering Reed had been lying about being retired from the FBI is only the first of many secrets Trent uncoveres. When he calms down and thinks things through, Trent realizes he may have overreacted by throwing Reed out of the hotel room they shared. Using his powers of deduction and spy skills he learned from television, Trent discovers Reed will be visiting an auction house in Rome. With plans to see Reed again and work things out, Trent unknowingly waltzes into the middle of Reed’s investigation and ends up in danger.

Still on shaky ground as far as their relationship is concerned, Reed leaves Trent at a safe house under agency protection while he continues his investigation and search for his former partner. After overhearing a conversation and discovering that Reed may be in danger too, Trent makes a daring escape and flees to the volcanic islands off the coast of Sicily to warn Reed before it’s too late.

Italian Ice is the second book in E.M. Lynley’s Precious Gems series and once again, Lynley uses Trent and Reed to take readers on an exciting and fun-filled journey. Only this time the journey is a spy adventure. With twists and turns, double-agents, secret codes, murder and mayhem, a simple vacation for the two lovers turns into a story right out of a spy movie only without the cool gadgets.

Italian Ice begins six months after Trent and Reed start living together in L.A. On the outside, and to Trent, the relationship seems to be going well. Reed  however is restless and at times feels like a kept man. Lies and secrets can’t be hidden forever and eventually threaten to tear their relationship apart. The progression of their relationship is visible throughout the entire book. The doubts and fears they each have are expressed by each character in different ways, but are resolved well by the end of the book. Even the clumsy way Trent tends to stumble into each aspect of Reed’s investigation eventually serves to strengthen their relationship.

The story is filled with originality and creativity. The questions I had throughout the story were all answered in the end. From the very beginning, the author kept me on the edge of my seat, so to speak, as one scene moved into another and more questions regarding the investigation, the MC’s relationship, and the possibly rogue missing agent were building up in my mind. In the end, Lynley tied things up with a nice big bow.

The storyline is filled with action and adventure but also gives readers the chance to get to know these two characters all over again if they’ve read the first book in the series, which I recommend. Since Thailand, Trent has become obsessed with spy novels, movies, and television – especially Burn Notice. Trent becomes a do-it-yourself spy. The way he uses Michael Westen’s advice from the television show throughout his own investigation and spy adventure is humorous. The characterizations of the MCs didn’t change much from the first book, which I appreciated, but we had the chance to discover more about each of them. Their vulnerabilities were highlighted and weaknesses were tested. I enjoyed not only the growth of their relationship, but their growth as individuals is also noteworthy.

The only quibble I had was a very minor hole and unanswered question. While searching through some bags looking for clues in the investigation and a murder, Reed pocketed a gift wrapped box, but the box is not mentioned again. I would have liked to know what was in the box. Reed gives Trent a gift at the end of the book, but there was no mention that it was the same box…at least I hope it wasn’t the same box.

I am really enjoying Trent and Reed’s adventures. The anticipation and excitement that is built up throughout their stories is so much fun to read and experience through their eyes. Of all the adventure novels out there, this series definitely ranks high on the list for me. I adore the characters and the plots, and I look forward to reading more of the Precious Gems series in the future.

Again, Anne Cain has created a beautiful cover for this series. Showing the volcano – which was part of the island adventure, the beauty of the coast and blue waters, as well as the handsome man – Trent, I believe. It’s a wonderful cover that draws in readers to the adventure that lies within.

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