I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now he is a defector, and his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins - cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna...
Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted - and had her mind violated - by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives...
Forgive me, but I’m going to come at this review a bit obliquely. When I was in middle school, my sisters and I used to get off the school bus and head to the living room to watch TV for a while. One of the must see programs was Star Trek (Original Series). We watched Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock adventure their way around the universe, always with Mr. Spock being the ultra-rational one and Nurse Chapel trying to convince him that perhaps he needed a woman in his life.
Reading this novel was like watching Nurse Chapel win the fight! Judd gets cast in the cold, unemotional role inhabited by Spock. He is from the Psy race, who have completely suppressed emotion—like the Vulcans, the emotion is still there but he has been conditioned since childhood to ignore it and shut it away. Unlike Spock, he has not necessarily been a nice guy and has been an assassin for his Psy Council.
In this aspect, this novel reminded me quite a bit of the old Zane Grey western romances—they often featured a “simple cowboy” who felt unworthy of a “delightful young woman” who has recently arrived on the frontier. The plot mainly consists of the young lady convincing said cowboy that she only has eyes for him. This is Brenna’s role in Caressed by Ice.
Why is this such a powerful fantasy trope for women? Why is it that we so want to wring emotion from the “strong silent type”? I’m guessing that we want to be special—the woman so wonderful that he is shaken out of his cool silence. I’m also guessing that it works much better in fiction that in real life.