Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Genre: Romantic Suspense
POV: Third Person, Dual
Series: Survival Instincts, #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Hero: Dr. Ford Cooper
Heroine: Angel Smith
Published On: January 28, 2020
Started On: February 18, 2022
Finished On: February 26, 2022
On the ice, in the antarctic cold, in the middle of freaking nowhere, his tongue showed her how dirty sex could be, his body made her take it, and that dark, raspy husk of a voice broke in to turn the whole thing up a million degrees.
Whiteout by Adriana Anders is the first book in the Survival Instincts series. I have come across this book multiple times since it was published in 2020. I am glad that I finally gave this book a chance because this tale was all consuming on so many levels, be it the suspense factor, the romance, or the breathtaking landscape upon which the story unfolds.
Whiteout takes place in the South Pole where a scientific expedition is ongoing and 31 year old Angel Smith comes in as a cook as part of summer crew. When the story begins, her period of stay is almost over, with her return journey just a day or two away. Angel had needed the remoteness of the location to heal from the wounds that she guards closely and even though she might yearn for a certain someone to look her way, she is done running after emotionally unavailable men. Her sunny disposition and vibrancy might fool everyone, but inside she is a woman who has lost a lot, but has not given up on the potential that life has to offer.
38 year old Dr. Ford Cooper is a scientist on the expedition, who does not like crowds nor too much interaction with the outside world. From the start, Angel rubs him the wrong way, his perception of her being that she is too loud, too enthusiastic, too everything, which annoys him to no end. He is a loner, which means the job at hand suits him perfectly. The fact that Cooper is looking forward to Angel’s departure from the station is indicative of just how aware he is of her presence even if he gives nothing away, even if he might never have exchanged more than a few syllables with her.
When things go awry on the day of the departure, and Angel witnesses the horrific barbarity of a group of individuals who are working towards their own goal which might end up putting the whole world at risk, it is only Cooper and Angel who are left to put piece it together and identify how to best thwart their attempts from coming to fruition.
And so begins their trek through the unforgiving, icy, and harsh terrain of the South Pole in winter, with. As these two fight for their survival and try to outsmart those in pursuit, the circumstances that brings them together forging a bond that is difficult to overlook. Hearts are thawed and healed, desire blooms, and love emerges into the light, willing to brave it out and provide warmth in the cold and hostile environment that seems all encompassing.
Whiteout was a truly phenomenal read in my opinion, up till its end, when the story ended on a weird cliffhanger that paves the way for the second installment in the series, with two different main protagonists, which is why I found it a tad odd. Ms, Anders could have given a more well rounded ending to Whiteout and still ensured that our interest in the series remained intact without giving us such an unexpected ending.
Even if the ending did get in the way of my enjoyment factor, I still loved a lot of things about this story. I loved the breathtaking landscape upon which the story unfolds, that was so vividly brought to light by Ms. Anders. The prose is as such that I felt like I was transported to the setting, where I was witness and party to all that was taking place.
The suspense factor was also well done, reminding me of movies of the same nature, where through large chunks of what unfolds you are left holding your breath, the wait and see factor not an easy one to get through, but definitely why such thrilling movies are so addictive. Whiteout was similar in many ways, and I loved every exhilarating bit of it.
That brings me to Dr. Cooper who demanded nothing less but total surrender of my heart, body, and soul. He is the kind of hero that many romance readers may not find affinity with, but I adored. He is the true definition of a hero who is a loner, who prefers his own company to everyone else’s, who grew up without much affection in his life, who is practical in his approach to life, and who believes that love has no place in his life under any set of conditions. He is as reluctant a hero you will find in a romance, and that is how I often like them.
I loved how sexy and commanding Cooper was, how readers could see and witness his “downfall” when it came to Angel, and how he tried so valiantly even towards the very end to put up a fight and resist what was inevitable. Cooper does not understand his worth, nor his appeal, and I think that was the charm to his character which might not be so obvious to most.
I also fell wholeheartedly for Angel – the things that she had gone through were harrowing not to say the least, and the damage that it had done to her self confidence as a woman is one that can be felt by the readers. But through it all there shines a light from within, where she the beauty of her soul is evident, and that is the ultimate reason why Cooper fell so hard as he did. Angel knows Cooper well, understands the nuances to his character, and yearns for him with every fiber of her existence. But the respect she shows to her own self by walking away from something destructive made me approve of her wholeheartedly, which also led to the ultimate scene of groveling which was satisfying on many levels.
Recommended for fans of romantic suspense. The push and pull factor between the main protagonists alone was enough to keep me hooked!
Final Verdict: Whiteout is the kind of novel that brings out the adventurer in you that you never knew existed. The excitement of the romance and suspense definitely keeps the pages turning!
He went mindless the second his mouth met hers. No cognitive abilities, all nerves and need, this unbearable tightness in his chest, this raging fire in his limbs. He couldn’t slow down to save himself. His mouth wasn’t just on her; he was devouring, prying open, taking everything he could. As wild and out of control as this storm that was trying to end them.
So much softness, but he needed more. He wrapped his arms around her, drew her flush to him, pressed and pulled and lifted, while his mouth ate her up.
When he finally moved, it was a gentle dip, his nose to hers in an achingly slow exploration that shouldn’t have been provocative. She strained for his mouth, but he denied her.
Like a big cat toying with its prey, he stroked his cheek along hers, scruff to soft skin. Just that move made her choke back a moan. How would it be if they could take their clothes off? If skin touched all over?
Deliberately, gently, he ran his nose beneath her ear and a sound escaped him. A tiny, tight-lipped hiss that she’d never have caught if he weren’t so near.
And then, oh God, then he kept her pinned with his mouth, stilling her, while he finally stroked his hand, lazy as a lion basking in the sun, from her head to her neck, then down her side, bypassing the obvious draw of her breasts, to clamp her hip, holding it still when she hadn’t even realized she was fidgeting.
Slowly, as if he had all the time in the world, he shifted above her until she could feel every hard bit of him, put his mouth to hers, and took the kiss from her.
Recklessness edged under his skin. He pressed harder, more desperately, slid his fingers through her hair, tightened his hold.
The deep, consuming kiss, tongues tangling, pushed noises out of his mouth. Painful against his ruined trachea. There was so much to do. He needed to take stock and figure out how they’d live for over two weeks on less than one week of food, but hell, maybe he could live off of this. Off of her.
He barely noticed his erection at first. Then, like his body’d taken over his brain, he moved against her—a slow, rhythmic press of his pelvis to hers.
He lay behind her, utterly still. No arm around her. Just breathing, a little lighter than his usual deep, steady rhythm—faster, too, maybe.
Was he nervous? Or was she imagining it? Projecting, probably.
Her neck grew warm from his exhalations. Was he drawing closer? Was that…
Angel shuddered at the feel of his lips on her nape, and though she wanted to press back into him, she forced herself to wait instead. Let him give without pushing too hard in return. He liked giving, her lone wolf, needed to take the first step in his own good time.
“Can’t stop wanting you.”
“Why would you want to?” She swallowed, for the first time worried about what kind of terrible answer he might come up with.
Instead of something dire, he puffed out a laugh and rubbed his nose gently against her temple. “You mess with my self-control.” A pause and a shift and then his hand was on her hip, just resting there. Slowly, he stroked under her shirt, then up her waist, to where she was braless and more than ready. She gasped, he inhaled, the sounds harsh. “Afraid I’ll lose it.”
He frowned. Was she kidding? “What are you—”
“You were always such a detached jerk. On the outside.” When he opened his mouth to interrupt, she put a hand to his lips and stopped him. “But it was an act. I get that now.” Straining up, she put her lips to his and kissed him so tenderly he couldn’t hold himself up anymore. He sifted his fingers through her thick, soft hair and gave in. Gently at first, then deeper, their tongues playing, exploring, they finally learned each other’s faces in the murky light of this place. Their bodies did the same, shifting, sliding, pressing together. Skin to skin. Bliss.
Something snapped inside Ford. She watched him go from calculating, to a little lost, then finally a bit…feral.
The thing was, she really liked this animal part. Pounding into her, twisting her body, turning it, bending, pushing, all so he could get closer, deeper. Thrusting into her like he’d die if he didn’t.
And she felt it, too. She needed this thing. Passion, she’d call it, if it hadn’t felt more primal than that.
Each of his hard thrusts scooted the cot toward the metal wall, where it banged like thunder, causing cans and boxes to crash to the floor.
It was hilarious on one level. On another, when she looked him in the eye and he hit that high, bright place just right… No hilarity. Just frightening intensity and a deadly seriousness.
She let out a sound—weak and a little frantic.
He leaned down in response and kissed her again, slowed his movements, twisting his hips, so he got the spot every time and, rather than getting screams now, he forced her into one long, low moan of pleasure.
Around them lay the destruction of a room fucked to pieces, their stuff everywhere. Like a storm had come through.
Above her, Ford’s body heaved. Exhausted and probably overcome.
She wrapped around him and held on to him—this big, tender loner of a man. The man who’d saved her life more than once. Funny how somehow, suddenly, right this moment, she felt like he’d torn it all apart.
“Come here,” he mouthed, as he nudged her up and over him, so perfectly aligned that when she dropped her pelvis, she found him ready, right where she wanted.
Her eyes captured by his, she lowered her body as slowly as she could, needing to feel every second, every millimeter of this coming together. To hold on to, to remember, to unpack it later when she was gone and this man was just a memory carved out of the ice.
When he bent to meet her lush lips with a frantic kiss, it occurred to him that he’d sunk back into her siren’s pull. She was so precious beneath him, her eyes full of life and affection and a good dose of challenge.
I can take you on, the look said. I can turn you inside out and make you like it.
And it was true. The problem was that he didn’t know how he’d find himself again when this was all over.