Undertow

Undertow

by Cherry Adair

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Overview

SHE TAKES THE PLUNGE.

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.

HE'S BLOWN OFF COURSE.

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…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312371920
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/28/2010
Series: Cutter Cay Series , #1
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About 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 She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on two new series – CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

 

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?”

“Ten?”

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.

“No.”

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. “Fine.”

“Fine?”

“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.”

Brian rushed in, clearly eager to get to his report. “Prelim being the operative word. Two such enormous finds coming in at the same time—We’ve had less than twelve hours, but—”

Outnumbered by all the testosterone in the room, Teal quietly gave in to exhaustion. Sam had wanted her here? She couldn’t even wrap her tired brain around the concept. She was physically, emotionally wrung dry. In no way had she been prepared to meet with Zane and the Cutter crew the moment she arrived.

Emeralds as big as her fist? That would cover Sam’s medical costs, which were bound to be high, not that he’d discussed it with her. Nope, she’d had to pry the truth of his illness from him after Logan called to ask her if she wanted to fill in for Sam while he recuperated. Teal rubbed at her eyes.

This meeting with Zane hadn’t been the cool, professional encounter she’d rehearsed in her mirror for the last few weeks. He pressed all her buttons and then some. He’d always been good at that.

Zane. Ace. Or better yet, Casanova of the Caribbean. She gave a mental snort. He’d probably given himself the nicknames. She wished she were in China right now. She’d made a huge freaking mistake coming here.

Brian waved a paper around as he talked, which took Zane’s focus away from her and gave her some thinking time. Logan, damn him too, hadn’t even given her a chance to take a shower and drag a brush through her hair before he’d brought her to the Counting House an hour ago. None of them was familiar with the word no.

Fighting the lure of sleep, she studied Brian Donahue. Skinny. About forty. He was the resident archeologist who cataloged and sorted the found treasure. He talked as if words were about to be rationed at any second. He had thinning red hair, thick black-rimmed glasses, and waved his hands excitedly to describe the haul they’d just brought in. She’d give anything for some of his energy.

To Teal’s right sat a hot guy who looked like Antonio Banderas in his day. Diego Zamora apparently worked for, or was partner with, the brothers in their vast salvage operations around the world. She knew from various vacations on the island that the Cutters owned a dozen or more salvage boats.

This guy had apparently returned to the island the night before from a successful salvage near Greece. Same as Nick, who’d been gone for a year, Logan had told her. He’d just returned from a salvage in the waters off Vietnam, the Scorpion, his magnificent megayacht, loaded with a fortune in ceramics and china from a wreck in Ca Mau province.

Brian discussed Nick’s treasure, his voice rising and falling with enthusiasm. It was all “amazing examples of eighteenth-century china” and the “definitive ceramic find of the century.”

“Saw it earlier,” Zane told his brother as Brian paused to drink from his soda can. “It’s great. And of course, Brian called the investors the second he got a look at what you brought in. Gave them just a taste, so they’re already going ape-shit.”

Zane had the kind of smile people responded to without realizing they were smiling back. A shark’s smile. Teal bit her lower lip as Zane broke into one of his trademark lazy, cocky grins and caught her eye by accident as he was looking at Nick.

Spectacular pottery and chinaware,” he toasted his brother with his Coke, his smile slipping a bit when she gave him a blank look in return.

“Yeah. Stunning.” Nick’s smile was white and self-satisfied. But it didn’t make her pulse skip like Zane’s did. “Made at the kilns in Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces in China during the Qing dynasty, around 1723 to 1735.” His blue eyes glittered with triumph. “Even after giving the Vietnam History Museum their share, our cut is estimated at—what did you guesstimate, Bri? Two point five mil?”

“Nice.” Everyone around the table grinned in perfect unison.

Teal thought the brothers all looked as dark, swarthy, and uncivilized as their Spanish ancestors, which made their startling blue eyes that much more of a shock. Modern-day pirates. I need a freaking nap.

Golden sunlight inched into the room as the sun moved toward a spectacular sunset. A couple of dark wood paddle fans turned lazily, high on the beamed ceiling. Teal could tell by the way one of them wobbled that the capacitor had drifted out of value and needed replacing.

The surf lapping with a soft rhythmic shush at the piling of the marina just a few yards from the building soothed her jagged emotions. She blinked her heavy lids. The men focused on Brian, and as she was practically hidden by Nick’s broad shoulders, she slid a little lower in her seat, discreetly resting her head on the back of the chair. It was a struggle to keep her eyes open, but since no one was paying any attention to her, she let her lids stay closed to ease the dry burn of too many sleepless nights.

Brian’s voice rose and fell. She jerked when she realized she couldn’t keep track of what he was saying. Sitting up a bit, she rubbed a finger over one eye and tried to look engaged.

On her left, Nick slouched in his chair, twisting a pen between long, elegant fingers as he listened. He wore jeans and a wrinkled red T-shirt. His bare feet were crossed at the ankles and propped on the chair beside him so that Teal saw him in profile. He was a nice solid wall between Zane’s line of sight and her own.

They called Nick “Spock” for some reason she didn’t much care about. His dark hair hung well below his shoulders, and his handsome features were all but indistinguishable due to his thick black beard. The middle Cutter looked like a blue-eyed caveman. He’d given her a hug when she’d walked in and said he was happy to see her again. Teal doubted he remembered her at all, but it was a kind gesture.

Logan sat across the table. He’d called her out of the blue two weeks ago and hired her over the phone. He hadn’t bothered to ask for references, said that Sam’s referral was good enough for him. While the reasons for accepting the job sucked, Logan’s timing couldn’t have been better.

Unlike Nick, Logan was well groomed, his hair barbered, his face clean-shaven, his jeans and dark T-shirt immaculate. His brothers referred to him as Wolf. Controlled. Intent. He listened to Brian, holding up a hand now and then to ask questions, or jotting notes into a black notebook.

Which brought Teal’s gaze back to the head of the table and Zane. Their eyes met in a shocking clash that caused her breath to snag in her lungs. A small smile played on his lips, but there was zero recognition in his eyes. Good. Excellent. Fantastic. If he thought that smile would charm her, he was sadly mistaken. She was charm-proof. Especially Zane charm-proof. She gave him a cool look back. This time she didn’t turn away, just stared him down until he had to return his attention to Logan.

He wore jeans and his aqua blue T-shirt matched his eyes. A move, she was sure, calculated to enhance the color. Vain bastard. His deeply tanned, muscular forearms were stacked on the scarred wood table in front of him, a big-faced, multifunctional dive watch strapped to his strong wrist. His father had given him that watch for his sixteenth birthday. Teal had a faint scar on her inner arm where the band had scratched her.

She repressed a shiver looking at his large hands, which were surprisingly elegant for such an outdoorsy guy. The calluses at the base of his fingers had felt as abrasive as cat tongues on her skin when he’d shaken her hand earlier.

Everything about him irritated her. She resisted fidgeting. This would be over soon enough. Until then, she’d stick to her guns and try her damnedest not to leap down the length of table, grab him by his ears, and shout, “Remember me?”

If Nick’s hair was too long, and Logan’s too neat, Zane’s dark hair was in between. Thick and glossy, the strands brushed his jaw and had a bit of a wave, which softened the hard planes of his face. In one ear, he wore a small gold hoop earring, just like a freaking pirate. Teal bet his women just loved the stupid earring. She’d once thought it the sexiest, most romantic thing she’d ever seen. His skin was very tanned, which made the shocking blue of his eyes that much more startling. As usual, he needed a shave.

And she needed to get a grip. The only positive thing to come out of this meeting was that she was over the crush she’d had on him for years. The only reason her heart was pounding so hard was pure aggravation.

Looking at the glittering sheet of water beyond the windows, she blanked out the drone of conversation as the archeologist rattled off facts and dates and superlatives.

She chewed the jagged edge off her thumbnail. Sam had asked them to hire her. Stunning. Zane Cutter was like a tap resetting the grooves to fit himself, then expecting everyone else to fall into line. She refused to allow him to deter her. She had her own agenda for accepting the job.

But, oh God. She did not want to go with him out to sea. First, she didn’t want to be anywhere near him, day in and day out. That was just asking for trouble.

Second, she really, really didn’t want to go on his piece of crap it’s-a-miracle-it’s-still-afloat boat. The thing looked like a moth-eaten junk heap and about a rust hole in the hull away from sinking.

Third, right up there with the number one and two reasons to avoid Zane Cutter at all costs, was the humiliating fact that being on the ocean waves made her horribly and embarrassingly seasick.

And while the mere thought of throwing up on Zane’s shoes held some appeal, she’d then have to fling herself overboard with mortification. Clearly, his Decrepit—and wasn’t that the perfect name for it—needed an engine whisperer. Zane spent so much time wining, dining, and sleeping with all the women who fell at his feet, she doubted he took proper care of his boat.

She was an excellent mechanic, but she didn’t own a freaking magic wand, for God’s sake.

Good-looking, charming men with Peter Pan complexes gave her hives on her hives. Her ex’s good looks had hidden a multitude of sins, and now—unfortunately for any gorgeous, self-aware male—guilty until proven innocent was her new motto. She’d never do vulnerable again. Been there, done that.

Not that she was bitter or anything, Teal thought with a little mental snort of self-deprecation. Denny’s lesson had really stuck, that was all. Like Zane, her ex came from family wealth and had a playboy reputation.

She’d naively thought she was woman enough to settle him down, that her love made the difference, but he’d taught her better. Live and learn.

It wasn’t diplomatic or politically correct to have refused the first assignment the Cutters gave her. So much for holding her ground. She’d folded like a wet tissue. Strong-armed by Zane’s gorgeous blue eyes and easy charm. There’d been the chance that instead of giving her the option of being close to Sam or going with Zane, he could’ve said, “Go on the Decrepit or don’t bother unpacking your bag. Thanks for coming, good-bye.”

Of course, if Logan had bothered to mention that she was required to go to sea, with Zane, she would have refused his generous offer in the first freaking place.

Then she remembered how Sam had sounded when he’d gotten on the phone after Logan had made his offer. He said, offhandedly, “Come if you want. There’s room for two good mechanics on Cutter Cay.” He hadn’t asked her, but apparently he’d asked the Cutters. Sam had never asked her for anything. How could she refuse him this?

Pros: working on an engine that really needed her. She loved to dive. Being in the water was wonderful and didn’t make her seasick. She’d be closer to Sam.

Cons: Zane. Being on board his rattletrap of a boat for weeks on end. Fighting the urge to hurl over each wave.

Logan was speaking now, but Teal’s gaze kept accidentally slipping to Zane at the other end of the table. His hair fell over his forehead, and he raked it back with one large, tanned hand. The Cutters were all tall, well over six feet three or four inches. But Zane, so much larger than life, seemed to suck all the air out of the room with his presence. He always had.

She tried to concentrate on the actually very interesting questions everyone was asking Brian, but the heat of the setting sun streaming through the ceiling-to-floor windows, and the low drone of Logan’s deep voice were soporific. She longed for a cold shower and a soft bed. Not necessarily in that order.

She tried to unkink her back without being obvious and swallowed a yawn. The flight from Alabama, the unexpected overnight layover in Miami while they searched for her luggage, the rapid turnaround in Tortola to catch the helicopter to Cutter Cay—all followed by walking into a meeting totally unprepared—had left Teal feeling drained when she most needed her wits about her.

Zane didn’t remember her. She swallowed something bitter at the back of her throat. What if the enforced close proximity in a confined space triggered his memory? She chewed what was left of the top of her thumbnail. Remaining on the island presented a whole other set of complications and pitfalls. After this meeting, she’d have to go and see Sam. Another difficult man. While her father battled his illness, she’d pick up the slack for him. It provided her with a job, albeit temporary. And a safe place to stay. Temporarily. And some time with her only living relative—also temporary.

She turned her body to get more comfortable, the chair fabric scratchy on her left cheek, the sun warming her right. Nick was talking about the value of priceless blue-and-white china, and Diego chimed in about gold. They wouldn’t even notice if she kept her eyes closed for just a few minutes.

She dreamed she was lying on a cool, white-sheet-draped bed as a tanned, naked man rained gold coins down on her nude body while he served her tea in a blue-and-white china cup.

 

Copyright © 2011 by Cherry Adair

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Undertow 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 131 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.
Kr15tina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I LovedCharactersTeal: She is a pretty awesome character, she may have some social interaction issues but I love how witty and quick she is. Teal is a female mechanic and since there are so few of those in the romance world I just loved that about her. Teal's willingness to confide and open up about her hard life is memorable. Her name is odd and unique, but it completely fits her.Zane: At first I was not completely in love with him, I personally don't care much for the Casanovas types and his nickname is "Casanova of the Caribbean". As more of his personality was revealed I really did come to love him.RomanceI LOVE their type of courtship. I love it when the woman does not instantly fall for his charms and will keep pushing back and he lays the sex appeal on thick. The tug of war relationships are always so entertaining and especially with a man who is use to getting every girl he wants and the one girl he can't have is the one he wants the most. LOVE IT! Yes the romance is steamy.At Sea ActionI'm not much of a sea person, I'm not a strong swimmer and I don't think I am capable of scuba diving at all, but with all the beauty and awesome treasure they were finding I really wish I was able to do both of those things. The story has love, lust, treasure seeking, pirates, guns blazing and all the action you would expect to come from Cherry's books.My Only Qualm I thought bullets didn't go very far when shooting into the water, nor do they shoot well underwater? I'm not a gun expert and I don't really care how accurate this really is since the book is a creation of fiction. It did however make for some exciting underwater action scenes. Recommendation Like romantic suspense, got to read this series.
bookluver40 on LibraryThing 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'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.
ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Holy cow! Cherry Adair has just become my all time favorite female romantic suspense author. She is phenomenally talented and knows what her readers will want! I have never read a Cherry Adair novel, but had heard lots of great stuff about her, so I decided to give her books a try. WOW! I was SO pleased with what I read!Undertow is fantastic. And, luckily, it's the first in a series called Cutter Cay, and I got to start it off right. Teal Williams and Zane Cutter. Wow. Now THERE are two characters who you'll fall in love with. Ms. Adair created them with flair and passion and it overflows onto the reader as they learn all about Teal and Zane.Teal Williams, a marine mechanic, was sent to keep Zane's falling down, rusting, and old boat, The Decrepit's engines cleaned and up to date. Little did she know that she would be spending a month on the water in that said run-down looking boat, with Zane, a man she butts heads with like crazy yet they send the sparks flying every time they're near each other, looking for his treasure from a boat wreck long ago. That's the only incentive that she'll take.Zane Cutter. O.M.G. I want one. He was yummy from the start and wow! Yea, that's all I can say about him( I mean, just look at his yummy picture on the cover...oh la la la!). He's got a way with women and when Teal doesn't fall victim to his charms, he's determined to win her over.But, while Teal, Zane and the rest of the crew are looking for the treasure, someone is out to get their hands on Zane's fortune. Who? And why? As they search together for clues, and set the scene for passion, they realize it's about more than stolen treasure.....someone is out to sabotage. It's a race against time for Zane as he has to search for a microchip that will blow up, save his friends, and find Teal....I think I'll stop there because I will definitely give the plot away if I keep going. I definitely, hands down, recommend this book to all the romance lovers out there. It's got the perfect amount of passion, an awesome amount of suspense that keeps the reader hungry for more, and a fantastic amount of humor....just some advice: don't eat or drink while reading this, because the humor that flows through the pages, well, let's just say you'll choke or spew the drink through the nose as you laugh at the quirky wit of these fantabulous characters. I can't wait to dive into the next Cutter Cay novel, Riptide. Grab a copy of this 5 Book worthy novel and see for yourself why Cherry Adair is my all time favorite author now.
mschweer432 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Cherry Adair. Not my favorite of hers, but it was still very good. Hopefully the following books are edited better. There were a lot of mistakes which was sort of distracting! Can't wait to start reading the next in the series!!
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!