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Hot Pursuit    by Christina Skye order for
Hot Pursuit
by Christina Skye
Order:  USA  Can
Dell, 2003 (2003)

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Christina Skye electrifies readers yet again with Hot Pursuit, her newest addition to a series featuring tough Navy SEAL heroes and the modern women they fall for. This time around, she pulls out all stops with wonderful female lead Taylor O'Toole, a character introduced last year in My Spy.

Taylor is a popular mystery novelist whose books are the toast of the town. She believes in doing hands-on research and as the book opens she's dangling precariously from a rock wall while her climbing expert friend, Candace, expounds on her current boyfriend troubles with a research scientist who, Candace says, has been acting very weird lately. When she admits that Harris 'knocked her around', Taylor is livid and tells Candace to dump 'the miserable scum-sucking bastard'. But Candace ignores her advice, certain there's a good explanation for Harris's misdeeds. That's when Taylor decides to do a little after-hours snooping of her own to see exactly what's up with Candace's boyfriend.

The moment Taylor meets Jack Broussard, her new next door neighbour, she knows that there's something a little off about this guy too -- something about the man's aura that suggests he's into much more than just carpentry, cooking mouth-watering meals including to-die-for desserts, and looking fabulous in T-shirt and worn jeans. When Broussard begins grilling her about the stitches she's sporting due to a bolt pulling free while climbing, her suspicions go into hyper-drive. She plans to do a little serious snooping into the background of her new neighbour as well -- but not until she's had a nice hot bath.

Jack's instincts go on high alert the moment Taylor closes her door and he's even more uncertain about the woman's connections to Navy scientist Harris Rains, suspected of trying to pass a new nerve gas formula to terrorists. Ordered to keep close tabs on his unpredictable and stubborn neighbour and find out if she and Rains are somehow in cahoots, Jack manages to avert one disaster after another - disasters that seem to occur every time Taylor steps out of her apartment. Worse, he finds himself more and more attracted to the dynamic and crazy writer who's somehow wiggled her way past his tough-guy exterior. But when Rains disappears and the terrorists' full attention turns to Taylor in their desperate and deadly mission to locate the missing nerve toxin, Taylor and Jack are forced on the run with no one to trust but each other.

Hot Pursuit is another marvellous entry in a series that's only getting better. Taylor and Jack are likeable and dynamic characters, especially Taylor, who often charges into a situation without thinking it through, as a frustrated Jack too often discovers. Great secondaries add another dimension to the story, especially the mysterious operative Izzy, Taylor's good friend Sunny and her irrepressible grandfather, retired mob boss Uncle Vinnie. Characters from past books also make short return appearances. Readers who like plenty of action, intrigue and scorching romance shouldn't miss Hot Pursuit!

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