Fire and Ice - Julie Garwood I don’t know if I’ve read a Garwood novel before but this one probably wasn’t the best place to start. I had heard she was a humorous writer which is probably what tempted me to borrow this audio copy from the library but either my sense of humor has gone on an extended vacation or I missed out on the funny because I didn’t smile once during the reading of this. And, as usual, I came into yet another book mid-series. According to Goodreads this book is #7 in the series. If I had it to do over again I probably would’ve skipped #7. Maybe the funny resides in the earlier books?

This is going to be a bit ranty and possibly spoilery so you may want to skip reading further if this in your to be read pile. The heroine is Sophie, a beautiful reporter who grew up with loads of money and the best of everything that cash could buy. She has decided to take the hard road to life by getting a job, giving up her car and refusing to accept daddy’s money because she’s been guilted into it by her friends. Her dad is on the run from the IRS, the FBI, and hoards of folks who claim he’s stolen their life savings (hey, wouldn’t the IRS have cut off the funds anyway? She ain’t fooling me!). Sophie is a confusing character, one I never could connect to on any level. She whines over not being able to buy “stuff”, weeps over the demise of a Dolce & Gabbana blouse and her “one of kind” Gucci bag but yet gives her money away to the homeless shelter because she says its something she has to do. Her materialism is supposedly an act but I don’t get it. Why would anyone purposely want people to think they’re so shallow? I found all of the whining about her “stuff” obnoxious. The only time she perks up in the entire story and shows emotion is when her designer things are damaged. Then she goes into a screechy rage but other than that she’s a generically flat character.

This book is supposed to be a romantic suspense but it was nearly halfway over before I figured out who the freaking hero was supposed to be. FBI agent Jack MacAlister loses a bet and is assigned to watch over her after the dimwit gets herself shot by answering an anonymous phone call. It goes something like this: ominous, unknown voice says, “Go stand in the window so I can see you better, move a little to the left, wait now move a bit to the right, now stand still” and . . . Powie! Have no fear, however, because the buckle on her Gucci purse saves her life! Now I see why so many women are obsessed with the brand. Sophie’s obviously a super tough chick because after nearly getting shot in the chest she goes about her life like nothing happened and doesn’t seem at all afraid of dying. Maybe I’m just whimpy but if some stranger called me, attempted to shoot me dead and was still on the loose I’d be hiding under my bed while peeing my pantaloons. But then again, I don’t own a Gucci anything.

Adding some mystery to this is a weird subplot about an insufferable man with a fetish for running and red socks who gets eaten by a polar bear in Alaska and another subplot about a bunch of money grubbing mad scientists experimenting on wolves and people. Sophie, of course, gets messed up in this but sadly does not get munched on by the polar bear. WTF does all this have to do with the romance, you ask? If you must know more, you’ll have to read the book because I’m not sure.

Overall it was just strange, boring and unfunny. The romance lacked chemistry and there was no emotion between them. She dubs him the “hubba hubba hunk” (honestly, I did not make that up), they have sex because they’re both so hot and all and can’t help themselves and it’s all so tepid that I’m asleep before they are. After they escape danger and solve the X-Files mystery they declare themselves in love. None of these storylines meshed well together. I may not have everything correct because I admittedly dozed off a time or two during the listening. If you pick this up, may your experience be a better one than mine.