Jess Mulcahey's life gets complicated in a hurray when she finds herself babysitting a top-secret koala bear. As Jess's world gets tossed into the whirlwind of Navy SEALS and ransom deadlines, her best hope may be to hang on for the ride.
This slim but action-packed sequel to Skye's previous romance, Code Name: Nanny, stars navy SEAL Hawk MacKenzie and hotel investigator Jess Mulcahey (sister to FBI agent Summer Mulcahey, the heroine from Nanny). The pair come together under tumultuous circumstances when Jess, pretending to be minor royalty, bribes a hotel manager into upgrading her to a nicer room, which turns out to be Hawk's digs. Although the hotel has changed locks, it doesn't deter Hawk, who gains entry with a "highly illicit piece of technology" and catches her in the shower-a plot twist used in Skye's last book. Hawk is hot on the trail of a stolen government lab animal, and Jess is afraid the hotel staff will seek revenge on her for a bad review. Neither has the time or patience for the other's drama, but they are thrown together time and again in the genre's usual fashion-chasing the bad guys through the fog and rain of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, easing sexual tension in a stalled hotel elevator and tracking down the lab animal, an adorable koala bear. The pace is frenzied at times, and the characters lack depth (all of Skye's navy SEALS are "poster boys for commando work," and her heroine is a typical beauty with tough-girl feistiness). But the story's snappy dialogue and between-the-sheets sizzle will please Skye's numerous fans. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 27, 2004
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Excerpt from Code Name: Princess by Christina Skye
Ten hours later
Washington State, near the Canadian border
The wind hit him like an ice pick from hell.
It was a nasty night in a week of nasty nights, but Hawk Mackenzie barely noticed. After twelve years as a Navy SEAL, bad nights were his specialty.
He studied the rugged terrain around him. Layered tracks led across the cliffs and then turned sharply, looping back to the road.
They'd stopped here for a break.
As Hawk maneuvered his powerful off-road motorcycle through ankle-high mud, his encrypted cell phone began to beep.
"This is Teague. What have you got "
"Motorcycle tracks. Probably a dozen or so, but only three sets look fresh. Hold on." Hawk smiled grimly. "Someone's been through here recently, Izzy. Thanks to the rain, most of the detail is gone, but I'd say we're talking three dirt bikes." He ran a flashlight over the wet, freshly gouged earth. "The tracks heading back to the road appear to be deeper, too. Before they turned around, they picked up more weight."
Since the man on the other end of the line was one of the government's finest security operatives, Hawk knew every word between them was being recorded. After the call was complete, every detail would be tracked and analyzed.
"You're sure they had more weight when they left "
"No doubt about it." Hawk pulled out a digital camera and powered up the flash. "I'm running some shots for you now. Maybe you can pull details from the tire tracks. Off the cuff I'd say there are three or four usable footprints here, too, probably from boots."
Ishmael Teague was silent for a long moment. "I need a field assessment, Mackenzie. Where are they headed "
The Navy SEAL squinted into the icy rain sheeting down the cliff face. "They know the terrain, Izzy. If I hadn't been right on top of these tracks, I never would have found them. The tracks appear to be running north, so the obvious answer would be Canada."
Keys tapped quickly at a computer. "But-- "
"But I don't buy it. I think they'll stay local." Hawk studied the mud, frowning. "They'll go to ground and try to wait us out."
Hawk had been teamed with Izzy Teague before, involved in covert missions that required brains, guts and seat-of-the-pants planning, and Hawk trusted the man without reservation.
And trust was something Hawk didn't give easily.
"So you advise that we scratch our surveillance team in Portland "
"Roger that." The SEAL hunched his shoulders against the driving rain, reading the terrain for subtle clues he might have missed. "Put a skeleton force in place for insurance. Meanwhile, I'll stay up here. Call it a bad ache in my bones, but I think something's out here."
Izzy bit back a curse. "I don't need to remind you that careers--and a hell of a lot of lives--are riding on this mission."
"No, you don't have to remind me." As he spoke, Hawk left his bike and walked in a careful circle, trying to piece together what had happened here.
Three off-road bikes, traveling fast.
Men with heavy boots, staying close to the granite edge so they'd leave few prints.
As his flashlight swept the ground, Hawk frowned. There were no dropped cigarette butts, no water bottles, no candy wrappers. All he found were three partial footprints and several indistinct tire tracks.
Phone in hand, the SEAL squinted out at the gunmetal water below him. "They're pros, Izzy. This place is clean. If they go to ground and try to wait us out, the weather is on their side. There have to be a thousand coves and inlets where they can hide along the Sound or across the Strait."