For Her Eyes Only
by Tori Carrington
(Harl. Tempt. #789, $3.99, R) ISBN 0-373-25889-5
****
There is a real challenge to writing a successful, sexy short romance. The abbreviated length means that the hero and hero often find themselves in bed together shortly after they meet. For a reader like yours truly, who really likes to see a relationship develop before the characters hop into the sack, this can be a problem. When an author (or in this case a pair of authors) succeeds in convincing me that the speedy transition from strangers to lovers is eminently appropriate, I am impressed. I was impressed with For Her Eyes Only.

Jake McCoy, one of the “Magnificent McCoy Men,” is an agent for the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service.) His job is to find and deport illegal aliens and he is very good at it. Jake is a precise, well organized, uptight man. He goes by the book; indeed, he worships the book. So no one is more surprised than Jake himself to find him aiding and abetting a woman whose visa has run out.

Jake first meets Michelle Lambert when he rescues her from a mugging in the INS parking lot. To his astonishment, he finds himself asking the sexy Frenchwoman out for a cup of coffee. Realizing that she had been visiting the INS offices, he checks out Michelle’s case. Her six-week visa has run out and she has been denied an extension despite her claim to be in the USA to find her four year old daughter, kidnapped by her American father. There is something in her past that led to the denial.

Although it’s not his case and although he is supposed to be off on a hiking trek with one of his brothers, Jake is intrigued. He takes it upon himself to track Michelle down and to follow her when she heads, not for the airport and France, but rather to Ohio where she believes her daughter might be. When the two are stranded in a single motel room and when the uninhibited Michelle suggests that they act on the undoubted attraction that sizzles between them, Jake at first balks. But not for long.

I have always enjoyed “opposites attract” romances, and this is a good one. Jake’s need to be always in control founders in the face of Michelle’s exuberance. Before he quite knows what is happening, Jake finds himself before a judge marrying a woman he has known for less than two days to avoid the immigration laws he has spent years enforcing. But he simply must help Michelle find her daughter, even if it costs him his career. For her part, Michelle can’t help but tumble in love with this man whose controlled exterior hides surprising passion and who is willing to risk so much to help her find her Lilli.

Those familiar with the series will enjoy meeting the characters from Carrington’s previous books and will appreciate the interplay amongst the McCoy men. The pursuit of Lilli seemed a little sketchy and underdeveloped, but added an element of excitement. But the best thing about the story is the sexual tension between Jake and Michelle and the discovery by these two seemingly mismatched people that they are just right for each other.

For Her Eyes Only is a most entertaining love story.

--Jean Mason


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