For His Eyes Only
by Candace Irvin
(Silh. Int. Mom. #936, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07936-2
****
Candace Irvin debuts in the Intimate Moments line with a story that describes life in the United States Surface Navy for an overachieving woman. Her own background insures that the depiction is accurate, and her stellar writing skills deliver a romance that is both passionate and memorable.

Lt. Jade Parker is the Damage Control Assistant on board a US repair ship. Her complex job is made harder because she has been assigned the additional duty of "babysitting" an actor who has pulled enough strings to land a six week tour on the ship. He is there to learn enough to be realistic in a seafaring role. Jade is definitely unprepared for the drop-dead gorgeous, yet oddly humble, Mack Reese.

Reese is actually a Special Agent working undercover. On a prior undercover assignment in Hollywood, he was forced to act in a Grade B flick. His investigation is initially hampered by Jade who is angered by his being there, but nonetheless drawn to him.

The mystery in For His Eyes Only plays a subordinate role to the facets of an officer's life while at sea. Interwoven into Jade's daily life is her attempt to quash her attraction to Reese. His plan, of course, is to seduce and use Jade to further his investigation, especially since she is one of the few suspects.

Candace Irvin does an unusually good job with the sexual tension, building it almost on a page by page basis. And she must sustain it, since sex on board a US Naval vessel is a courtsmartiable offense.

Both Jade and Reese come with predictable baggage. Reese is the son of a very important Admiral and has hated the Navy with a passion since his father chose the sea over family. Jade, on the other hand, had a choice of marriage or the navy and chose the navy, even before she discovered her fiancÚ's other female interests.

The secondary characters are developed gently and artistically and add greatly to the enjoyment of the story since they are there as integral parts of life on board a ship rather than obviously stuck in to move a plot along.

If you are a fan of the military books of either Suzanne Brockmann or Merline Lovelace, then I predict that you will be adding new author Irvin to your list of must-reads. Her clarity of expression, romantic tension and plot development certainly equal, if not surpass, their early works.

--Thea Davis


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