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3.8 124
by Cherry Adair

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Teal Williams is content with her career as a ship's master mechanic—until Zane Cutter, the "Casanova of the Caribbean," makes her an offer she can't refuse: to climb on board with him for a real-life treasure hunt. Teal must help him dredge up a shipwrecked vessel containing an abundance of gold, silver, and



Teal Williams is content with her career as a ship's master mechanic—until Zane Cutter, the "Casanova of the Caribbean," makes her an offer she can't refuse: to climb on board with him for a real-life treasure hunt. Teal must help him dredge up a shipwrecked vessel containing an abundance of gold, silver, and emeralds—and she'll claim part of the prize.


Zane needs a mechanic—not a lover—and Teal, who can also dive, is perfect for the job. So it suits him just fine that Teal is completely immune to his charms…or so he tells himself. But with a deadly enemy in their midst—one who's silently edging closer—Zane and Teal sink into troubled waters. Trapped in the middle of a perilous sea, they have no one to turn to but each other as they face down a danger that runs unfathomably deep—and a passion that runs even deeper…

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Adair leaves readers eager to dive into the next novel in her Cutter Cay series.” —Booklist

“UNDERTOW is the beginning of an exciting and witty new series enriched with fun characters and action-packed drama. I literally could not put it down!” —Fresh Fiction

“Adair returns to her romantic suspense roots with an underwater treasure hunt that is thrilling and hazardous! Nonstop action plays off the treachery and danger. When you add in the sensuous sizzle you have the full Adair package.” —Romantic Times (4 ½ stars)

“Grips readers and never slows down as the protagonists struggle with perils including to their hearts with every nautical mile they sail. Fast-paced, Cherry Adair opens her Cutter Salvage series with a strong sea saga.” —Genre Go Round Reviews

“Flirty, sexy and fun…I really enjoyed this book being set out in the ocean, with sexy men and stubborn heroines, diving for treasure. I am really looking forward to the next book.” —Smexy Books Romance Reviews

“I really am looking forward to the next books in this series. Tthe suspense is great, as I am used to with Cherry Adair. I want to know who can tame the other Cutter brothers.” —Boeklogboek Blog

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Cutter Cay , #1
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Read an Excerpt


By Cherry Adair

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2011 Cherry Adair
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-2871-7


Teal Williams looked like an unmade bed, and not one Zane Cutter wanted to sleep in. She'd been foisted off on him by her father, so he was pretty much stuck with her. But seeing her again made him realize she couldn't have been more tailor-made for his needs if she'd been special ordered.

Tall, skinny, and nondescript, Teal slouched, half hidden behind his brother Nick, at the other end of the long antique table. She chewed on her thumbnail as she glared at him from beneath shaggy, dark brown bangs.

He bit back a grin. Oh, man. Not only did she have the sex appeal of a mop, she didn't like him at all. A novelty he only appreciated today.

He wasn't attracted to her. At all. Not a spark. Not an ember of desire. Not a scintilla of interest. Nada.

A master marine mechanic and a woman he wasn't attracted to? Unprecedented. But exactly what he needed.

"No," she repeated, enunciating clearly, meeting him eyeball to eyeball without a blink. "I will not go with you."

"You won't?" Zane — known as Ace to the ladies — looked at the new Cutter Cay mechanic. It had been a long time since a woman had told him no. Probably before he hit puberty.

Her look said "Are you a deaf moron?" but she answered politely enough. "Would you like me to repeat that in another language? I know three."

Ah, pure Williams smart-ass, too. She was a real chip off the paternal block. Her short hair looked as though she'd cut it herself with a pair of blunt scissors, and it clearly hadn't seen a comb in a week. She'd obviously slept in the baggy, crumpled khaki pants and faded blue chambray man's shirt, and her nails were bitten to the quick. And if he wasn't mistaken — and Zane rarely was where women were concerned — she was wearing men's work boots on her size large feet, which were tucked out of sight under the table.

Her arms were folded in an "and that's final" gesture over her chest. A pair of double Ds could disappear under that voluminous shirt undetected, though her slim build suggested a more manageable size. Amused at her attitude and her complete lack of feminine wiles, Zane shot her his most charming, engaging smile, the one that had landed him in many a bed. It was met with stony indifference.

She was a fucking miracle! He wanted her on his payroll and refused to take no for an answer.

"How about a pay hike of ten percent to sweeten the pot?"


He would've paid twice that. "Okay. Fifteen."

"No thanks." Her lips tightened. "I have all the money I need."

Her father, the Cutters' lifelong friend and resident mechanic, had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Sam and Logan had put their heads together and offered Teal the job so she could spend some time with Sam while he was still around. No good deed went unpunished, Zane thought, wondering why the hell she'd accepted their offer only to refuse the first assignment. "Do you have a reason?" he asked easily, intrigued, in spite of himself, by her belligerence.

Logan and Nick, the best brothers a guy could ask for, maintained their neutral expressions, but Zane felt their surprise at her refusal to go with him on his salvage. Diego Zamora, one of their captains, studied the ceiling fan while Brian Donahue, Cutter Salvage's head marine archeologist, stared out the window at the water rather than give away their entertainment at his impasse. Zane appreciated their efforts as he fought to capture his stubborn prize.

"I'm a master marine mechanic with over ten years' experience," Teal informed him in a flat, emotionless voice. "I've worked on every make, model, and size of engine. Diesel or gas. I can get a job — on dry land — anywhere in the world."

"Dry land? You're aware you accepted a job on an island, right?"

"I was told I'd have my own bungalow. I like my privacy. There's no privacy on a boat."

The building where they were meeting had seen its share of business deals, and this wouldn't be the last. Nicknamed the Counting House for obvious reasons the two-story wood structure looked as though the next tropical hurricane would blow it away. But like Zane's boat, its looks were deceiving.

Here they compared notes at the end of a salvage operation, drank beer, told tall tales, and this was where the fifty or so permanent island residents gathered for birthday parties, hurricanes, and funerals. The sturdy building had been constructed by his father to store his priceless treasure when he'd bought the private island thirty-some years before. The Counting House was where the Cutters and their other salvors brought multimillions of dollars' worth of salvaged treasure to be cleaned, cataloged, and sorted by Brian and his team of highly experienced marine archeologists. The building had to be, and was, as secure as Fort Knox.

No privacy on the Decrepit was one of the things Zane enjoyed most. He knew his crew better than he knew some of his friends. Come to think of it, other than his brothers, his team were his best friends.

"What did you think you were hired for?" Zane asked mildly. "Cutter Salvage? Boats?"

"To fill in for Sam while he's ... out." The pause was infinitesimal. Her chin jutted out, daring him to knock that damned giant chip off her shoulder. "Here on the island."

His lips twitched. She was a real piece of work. "That's why I need you. To keep her going." Everyone said he was a lucky guy. He'd never struggled to fit in, he had a family he loved, good friends, and more money than he could spend in his lifetime. Women adored him. Hell, even little girls and old ladies gravitated toward him. He wore his good fortune slung around his shoulders like a magic cloak.

He took in the defiant jut of her jaw and the go-to-hell glint in her eyes. "I've got to have a top-notch mechanic," Zane told her cheerfully. She might not like him, but according to her father, she had a thing for sick engines. Perfect. "You were hired to be that mechanic. We leave in the morning." He looked at his oldest brother. "Didn't she sign a contract, Logan?"

Logan's eyes glinted with amusement, but his expression didn't change. "She did, Ace."

"You'll like the Decrepit," Zane assured her, his good mood rising exponentially the more tenacious and determined she became. God, he just loved a challenge. Got his blood pumping and put a fire in his belly. A great way to start a new salvage.

He felt alive. Invincible.

"The Decrepit." Teal glanced disdainfully out the window to the marina, and his beloved boat, showing her surprisingly delicate profile. Snooty little nose, pugnacious jaw, crazy hair. She turned back to give him an unfriendly look from beneath that mop of hair half obscuring her face. "Should be scrapped. Buy yourself a nice shiny new boat like your brothers. Then you wouldn't need a round-the-clock mechanic."

"Maybe I will." He followed her gaze to look beyond the large windows and prow-shaped, cantilevered deck, to the marina. A dozen sailboats and four large dive boats bobbed gently on aquamarine water. The rust-streaked hull of his Decrepit stood out like a sore thumb against the gleaming white of the other boats. He smiled.

He liked the well-worn look of her, including the battered yellow crane perched like a praying mantis on her bow. Oh yeah. Inside the Decrepit was a different story. It amused the hell out of him that his shitty-looking boat was a sore spot with his brothers. He enjoyed people underestimating him. He loved his boat, and had no intention of replacing her. Ever. Beauty was in the eye of the beholder. Zane loved every screw, nut, and rust spot.

Still smiling, he turned his gaze back to his problem, and added easily, "But not until after this season. Besides, you might be surprised. Looks can be deceiving."

She gave him the evil eye. "I've found that looks can be confirming. The answer is still no."

He wisely suppressed a smile. She was a hard nut, but he remained confident. She had all the skills he required and none of the distractions. Just a month of her working on the current engine. Sam had known how to keep the old girl running and had assured Zane that Teal could do the same.

He read the tension along Teal's tough jawline. Everybody wanted something. He just had to figure out what it was she wanted. "The pay is more than fair. What more do you want?"

"A Shetland pony."

Her unexpected, dry sense of humor, done with a perfectly straight face, was a bonus. "Seriously. What do you want?"

"Not to go with you."

Zane gritted his teeth. "Besides that."

She glared at Logan, who sat across from her. "Have someone take me to Tortola. I never agreed to work on that piece of floating crap out there. Keep me on the island or send me home."

"You haven't even seen your father yet," his middle brother Nick pointed out, trying to keep a straight face.

"I'll wave to him on my way out to the helipad."

Jesus. Insulting his precious boat was bad enough, but that was cold. Sam was terminally ill. Zane suspected Teal's father, a taciturn man, was looking forward to spending some quality time with his only child — not that Sam had said the words. The hop, skip, and jump distance to the wreck site would make their reunion possible. "Listen," he said reasonably. "It won't be a full month away. You can come and check on your dad whenever you like."

Zane remembered Teal as a child. Vaguely. He'd seen her around the island now and then when she'd come for her annual two-week school vacations. She'd been a shy little thing, always darting off when he went to see Sam. Skinny and plain even back then.

"I'm not going." She'd gotten over the shy, though. In spades.

"Chopper's already gone back to Tortola," Zane told her. "I'll be stopping by there tomorrow for supplies."

Teal tossed her bangs back and he got a good look at her large, dark eyes. Pretty. Too bad her hair covered everything but the angry glitter. "And you'll drop me off?"

"No. You'll be continuing on to St. Maarten with the rest of the team."

"Hasn't anyone ever told you no?" Teal scowled at him, then turned the scowl on his oldest brother. "You hired me as a mechanic for Cutter Cay; you didn't say anything about going out to sea. He can't force me to go with him."

"No, he can't," Logan assured her. "You can leave of your own free will; you're not an indentured servant. I'll tear up your contract right now if you really don't want the job. But I think your father deserves to know why you're changing your mind. He's the one who recommended you to fill his position."

Her shoulders tensed under the baggy shirt. "He di —" She gripped the edge of the table. "I want the job. Mechanic. Here. On Cutter Cay, where I can see Sam whenever he wants to be seen. I do not want to go to sea in a boat that will more than likely need salvaging before the season's over."

She was dead serious. Zane acknowledged a millisecond of panic. He'd spent four long, painstaking years searching for the Dutch frigate, Vrijheid. He'd finally found her. A hundred miles off the coast of St. Maarten. Right in his own backyard — right under his nose for God's sake! Would have found it sooner if it hadn't been hiding in some bizarre navigational dead zone, a stretch of sea where his navigational and detecting equipment tended to go on the fritz, if they worked at all.

Fortunately, Zane had decided to explore the area anyway, and it ended up being one of the best decisions of his life. Now he wanted no distractions for the duration of the salvage. There was a fortune in gold, silver, and emeralds a hundred feet under, and he was determined to return home with the Decrepit groaning under the weight of his treasures.

With her. Teal Williams. Mechanic. Certified diver. Undesirable female.

It was crucial to his focus that she didn't turn him on, although he usually did like them long and lean. Hell, he liked them short and round, and everything in between. He liked women. A lot. He liked the way they smelled. He liked the way they walked. He liked how their convoluted brains worked. He fell in love frequently, but never for longer than two weeks.

Now all he wanted from this particular woman was a month. One stinking damned month. Was that too much to ask? With the hurricane season fast approaching, and forecast to be a bad one, he couldn't afford to spend weeks searching for a different mechanic, not one with her level of experience and qualifications.

She was a woman. He'd dazzle her with wit and charm if necessary. "Can you cook?" That would be a bonus.


On second thought, that was probably a good thing. The way she was looking at him made Zane decide to make her sample everything before he ate it anyway. "I know you're a certified diver." Which was an enormous plus. "I just hope you can at least make decent coffee."

"Are you kid —"

He held up a hand. "I'll pay you a percentage of the profits from the Vrijheid salvage. It's got emeralds as big as this." He made a fist.

She stared at him for several beats. It seemed to Zane that everyone else at the table held their collective breath as they waited to see who blinked first. She chewed her lower lip, giving her thumbnail a break. "Over and above my salary?"

Which was more than generous already. "Sure." It was SOP to share the profits with one's crew.

She leaned forward, resting her forearms on the scarred table so she could see around Nick. The shirt swallowed her hands, and Zane was tempted to go over there and roll them up for her, but then he'd want to straighten her collar and hand her a damned comb. However, he suspected if he so much as came close, let alone touched her, he'd find himself with a broken hand.

Something mysterious flashed in her eyes before she asked, "How much of a percentage?"

Bingo. He bit back a smile. So, she did have a price, it was just a matter of negotiation. "We can draw up a new contract right after the meeting."

"No thanks."

She was just jerking his chain. He raised a brow. She was perfect — perfectly annoying. If they didn't kill each other before the salvage was through, it would be a miracle. If he killed her beforehand, there was the entire Caribbean ocean to dispose of the body. "You don't trust me?"

"Guilty until proven innocent." She gave him an unfriendly look that just piqued his curiosity. He'd interacted with her maybe four or five times over the years. He didn't remember her ever being this openly hostile before.

"Wow, you're cynical. Look," he said reasonably. "Cutter Salvage pays damn well. We had our pick of a hundred excellent mechanics —"

"There you go, then. Have at it."

"But it was Sam who asked us to hire you." Zane turned the screw. "If you're serious about not coming with me, your call. But you have to go explain to a dying man why you're throwing his good name back in his face."

"Zane —" Logan cautioned as Teal's cheeks drained of color.

"Wanna tell your father that you have better things to do?" It was a low blow and he felt like a shit for doing it. But Sam hadn't asked. He'd begged them to bring his daughter to the island. The plea had been unnecessary. She was good and she was experienced. And Sam had been an integral part of the Cutter brothers' lives for as long as Zane could remember. If her father wanted Teal nearby, then that's where she'd be. End of story.

She glared belligerently, her eyes so hot he was surprised his hair wasn't on fire.



"I'll go with you. Happy now?"

"Yeah, as a matter of fact," he said cheerfully. "I am."

Pleased to have gotten his way, he wondered what she'd do if he up and kissed her with gratitude. Probably bite. Then there'd be rabies shots ...

"Great," Logan inserted. "You two stay after class and iron out the details so we can get to business before midnight. Brian has prelim info after checking out some of Nick's haul ... Sorry, Diego." Logan's lips quirked. "We have an embarrassment of riches today, you'll have to wait your turn."

"No hay problema, amigo. I'm happy to sit here with the sun on my face, and a pretty girl by my side."


Excerpted from Undertow by Cherry Adair. Copyright © 2011 Cherry Adair. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on two new series – CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE

New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike.  She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on two new series – CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE.

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Undertow 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Zane "Casanova of the Caribbean" Cutter believes he knows where a Dutch frigate filled with precious metals and gems sunk in 1622. He needs a master mechanic to accompany him when he begins the latest Cutter Salvage operation. He asks Teal Williams, who recently joined his family firm to be closer to her dying father, to accompany him to sea. She agrees as he offers her a cut of the booty as long as he also understands no sex. He accepts the stipulation though he admits to himself her is turned on by his shipmate who he knew when she was a skinny child. Their trip turns harrowing when a storm blows them off course. Adding to their plight are deadly sea thieves willing to kill to steal the treasure. However, neither is quite as dangerous as their attraction as he needs to prove his worthiness on treasure hunts and she was burned by a philandering hunk. This under and on the surface watery romantic suspense thriller grips readers from the moment the storm blows the ship off course and never slows down as the protagonists struggle with perils including to their hearts with every nautical mile they sail. Fast-paced, Cherry Adair opens her Cutter Salvage series with a strong sea saga. Harriet Klausner
AAR More than 1 year ago
UNDERTOW by Cherry Adair is an amazing romantic suspense thriller set in present day Cutter Cay,an island in the Caribbean. It is the first in the new "Cutter Key" series.It is written with details,depth,twists and turns. It has adventure,romance, sweet sensuality, danger,passion, love,secrets,sea saga,salvages,struggles of the heart,treachery,divers,female mechanic,sunken treasure,modern day pirates,suspense,adventure,mystery,super secret underwater spy stuff,snappy dialog,trust, finding the truth,coming to terms with the past and moving on toward the future.The characters are charming,engaging,witty,handsome,sexy,have powerful personalities,will charm and capture your heart.This is a fast paced,action packed,adventure full story of second chances,finding true love,and trying not to get killed.It is full of danger at every turn,with things from modern day pirates,to underworld spies,to the female mechanic trying not to fall in love with the captain of the boat,(which she has known and loved since childhood), and sensual tension.If you enjoy a fast paced story with subplots,adventure and suspense this is the story for you. I would recommend this book.It is full of sunken treasures,a fortune not only in gold but also in the matters of the heart. This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at St.Martin's Paperbacks, published by St.Martin's Press. and My Book Addiction and More. **Coming Summer 2011 "Riptide"**
LindaBr1 More than 1 year ago
I just want to say that the first book in the Cutter Cay series is the beginning of a great series. Zane and Teal end up a great couple. Teal comes to see her father when he asks her to come to the island. She finds out that he has cancer and isn't going to take any treatments. She's never been able to be close to her father and she thinks this is the last chance she'll have with him. Then she ends up taking the mechanic's job that her father would have had on Zane's salvage boat. The only problem is that she gets sea ick. Zane is a hottie and she has always loved him. He unfortunately doesn't realize this. There is adventure, suspense and romance all in one book taking place on one boat. You will be caught up in this great story in no time.
bookluver40 More than 1 year ago
Undertow is a romantic adventurous action book that is focused around deep sea treasure hunting and is the first book in Cherry Adair's Cutter Cay series. Cherry does a wonderful job of painting the picture of what it feels, sounds and looks like to be deep sea diving and what you could only imagine what a hundreds year old ship wreck would look like at the bottom of the ocean. Zane Cutter and Teal Williams are both very likable characters who she puts through the ringer, first with someone stealing treasure right under their noses. Then something else happens that causes even more trouble than they could imagine and has them both fighting for their lives and relying on each other for survival and falling in love.
kt153 More than 1 year ago
It was light reading. Fluffy. I liked the characters.
Tiffany Durham More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this a lot. The story kept it's pace and the romance and thrills were side by side the entire time! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was slow to get into, but ended up to be a good mystery.The heroine was over reactive. The type a guy would take one nasty rebuff and find another girl, not stick it out with a girl who is not only nasty, but insults him again and again. Besides she dresses so no guy will look at her. Not much faith in herself even though the guy is complimentary and persistant. The archeology was good.
LovesAllThingsBooks More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book! The story was fabulous and the characters were spot on. Undertow is definitely one of my favorite books! Zane is all around sexy. I fell in love with him right from the beginning. He hires Teal, an old family friend, to be the mechanic on his ship. Their relationship is rocky to say the lest, she can't stand him and this baffles him. Great story. I definitely recommend it. For 18+
debmac79 More than 1 year ago
Undertow by Cherry Adair Treasure hunting, unexpected passion and enemies! Teal Williams is filling in for her father who is sick for the Cutter Family as a top-notched ship’s master mechanic. She has no problems staying in the background while Zane Cutter the “Casanova of the Caribbean” takes care of salvaging the treasure. This trip was supposed to be all about bringing the treasure to the surface, but it did more than that. Teal who is recovering from an abusive marriage and Zane who doesn’t want to be caught by a woman are finding themselves treasuring each other amidst a deadly enemy. This story has it all, mystery, action, and passion. Cherry Adair keeps the story a fast paced and intriguing read-you don’t want to put the book down until you’re finished.
KahlanMercy More than 1 year ago
Cutter Cay Book One. An intriguing adventure. There is so much information about treasure hunting and diving included with this story. It lends the book credibility. Granted, I don't know the first thing about diving. Zane and Teal are both great characters who have to find their own way through some tough situations.  A great read if you're looking for both light and dark moments.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read otger books by this author and liked them. I could not get into this book at all. Very slow going and got tired of trying to read. Characters are frustrating and had to put this book down without finishing.
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StephanieLynn78 More than 1 year ago
Zane hires Teal for her mechanic abilities and is happy when she appears to be immune to his charms. But before long, they are fighting their attraction to each other along with an unknown enemy who is out to destroy their salvage recovery mission. Passion, kidnapping, explosions and sunken treasure, Undertow has it all. You will not be disappointed. Cherry Adair does a great job of drawing you into the lives of the Cutter men and will leave you wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They were a fun couple--enjoyed watching them move from pointing out each others worst traits to finding those things endearing. If you like the author's other work, this series won't disappoint you (at least so far--I'm only halfway through the second one!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THEMANDIB More than 1 year ago
Great opening for the series! Zane couldnt be any hotter and Teal is just bad-ass! I loved all the twist and turns of the book and the treasure hunting itself was wicked exciting! This book was definitely a great hook for the rest of the books in the Cutter Cay series. I am eager to meet every single one of them after reading Zanes story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RoxannP More than 1 year ago
Do you love it when an over confident man gets taken down a step by strong woman? Than you need to read this book! Zane has always had it easy and it took almost no effort on his part to get any woman he wants, until Teal is convinced to be his mechanic. She has been in deep crush with Zane for most of her childhood but has learned that too gorgeous men aren't all that they seem. She avoids Zane's charms by using her caustic wit until he proves that he is more than he seems. Lots of heat and action make the pages turn quickly that you will be done before you know it!
HollieR1 More than 1 year ago
Undertow is the exciting start to the Cutter Cay series! Zane Cutter is a hot treasure hunter, Teal Williams is a boat owners dream mechanic! Cherry Adair is the Queen of Romantic Suspense! This story is so good I couldn't put it down!
Lorna59 More than 1 year ago
As usual Cherry hooks you quickly and you can't put the book down, I have read all of Cherry books I can find and can't wait for the next one to come out.
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