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Code Name: Baby    by Christina Skye order for
Code Name: Baby
by Christina Skye
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Expert dog trainer Kit O'Halloran wins a plum government contract to turn a litter of four black lab puppies into the ultimate service dogs. Though she's unaware that the labs have been genetically enhanced, it's clear their intelligence exceeds anything she's ever encountered. Now rogue operative Gabriel Cruz (a former SEAL who's part of genetic experimentation gone awry) is coming for Kit and the dogs in hopes of selling the prize canines to foreign interests. It's up to his former teammate Wolfe Houston to make sure that Kit and her canines remain safe and out of Cruz's clutches.

Wolfe is surprised to learn that his former Foxfire team leader is still alive; Cruz was supposedly killed on a mission. His PSI abilities were legendary, exceeding all expectations and overshadowing the talents of the rest of the Foxfire team, including Wolfe's own psychic enhancements. But when Cruz makes a mental connection with Wolfe, he realizes the truth. Cruz's maniacal determination forces Wolfe to break cover and move in with Kit and her dogs. He hopes to keep her in the dark about why he's come back (they'd known each other since childhood and she still has a crush on him) but she's no pushover. Once she understands the real danger she, her dogs, and Wolfe are facing, she vows to keep them safe at any cost.

Despite the confusing title (I was expecting human babies not dogs and almost passed the book over) Skye does a nice job with Code Name: Baby, a loosely connected sequel to her other Code Name stories. Many of her past historicals included a winning paranormal element, and she incorporates the same tone in this contemporary story, but with more sinister overtones. Cruz operates without a conscience in his quest to acquire the dogs but Skye presents his character with enough insight and compassion to elicit sympathy over the way he was victimized by the government he once trusted.

Wolfe and Kit are also two very likeable characters and their previous history is involving and a good lead-in to the culmination of a long and mutual attraction. The puppies steal the show however, especially Baby, the alpha female of the litter and the most talented and intelligent of the genetically enhanced service dogs. More books are on the way in this very readable romantic adventure series. Look for Code Name: Blondie next.

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