Readers of the Intimate Moments series met Lt. Karin Scott in For His Eyes Only, the debut novel of Candace Irvin. Karin was a strong secondary character in that novel, and In Close Quarters chronicles the results of meeting T.J. Vasquez, the hero’s partner in the prior story.
Karin was half in love with T. J. after she met him, but in the ensuing months while helping to plan her friend’s wedding, she became all too familiar with his reputation with women. His conquests were legion and his playboy attitude and looks caused her to terminate any relationship before it could start…for her own protection.
Serving as a ship’s doctor, her sea duty tour is over and she has a shore billet starting. She will begin a residency in anesthesiology at the base hospital. After checking in, she discovers a note left for her that merely says: “Class Twos are walking.” That is street talk - which translates to “prescription narcotics are being stolen from the hospital pharmacy.”
Since her friend’s husband is with the DEA, Karin panics and calls him. Since they just left for their honeymoon, the message falls in T.J.’s hands. Grabbing this message as the only chance he seems to have to see Karin, he shows up on her doorstep.
Karin is very reluctant to become involved with T.J. in any manner, but finally appeals to him for help. She doesn’t know if the note is true, or if an enemy is setting her up, or if it is a test of her integrity to see what she will do with the information.
In reality, T. J. has been celibate for six years and had merely been passing the time until he meets someone who really matters. Karin is that someone, but he has several abandonment issues that threaten his psyche, as well as his shredded reputation for honesty with women that he must overcome.
It is a pleasure to read a book as well researched as this one. Candace Irvin has totally integrated her characters into the fast moving suspense part of the story. These characters are multi-dimensional, and mature before your eyes. The crisp dialogue further demonstrates her gifted writing ability.
There are various sub-plots within In Close Quarters which make the story richer and contribute greatly to the ending. Irvin is knowledgeable in showcasing Navy life. And lastly, but most important, Irvin writes romance with a steamy pen…the highest tribute being that one does not have to reread the scenes to remember them.