Hunter's Woman

A Man Alone

Protecting His Own

Untamed Hunter

Enemy Mine by Lindsay McKenna
(HQN Books, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-77079-0
This new installment of McKenna’s “Morgan’s Mercenaries” involves Morgan’s oldest daughter Kathy.  Kathy does not work for her father at Persus, a covert group contracted by the United States government. Instead Kathy is a US Marine helicopter pilot. 

When Kathy Treyhern was a small child, her older brother and parents were kidnapped by Morgan’s enemy Guillermo Garcia, a South American drug lord.  (In the uncorrected proof, Kathy’s younger twin siblings were also kidnapped.  But according to the chronology of births, the twins weren’t born until after the kidnapping.  Hopefully this was corrected in the final release.)  After the kidnapping, abuse, and rape, Kathy’s family was never the same.

Growing up, Kathy wanted revenge for her families’ suffering.  Now she’s put together a secret op to punish Carlos Garcia, who took over the drug operation after his father Guillermo died.  Her plan is to work for Carlos as an au pair and then kidnap his beloved seven-year-old daughter Tiki.  Where is the logic here?  She’s going to kidnap a child. Isn’t this exactly what she’s trying to avenge being done to her family? 

The SEALs send Kathy in to kidnap Tiki and to rescue Sophie, a seven-year-old American girl Carlos kidnapped to be Tiki’s playmate.  Kathy realizes the danger means death if she’s found out.  Knowing that her family wouldn’t approve of the undercover op, Kathy keeps it off the books to hide it from her father who has access to records with high security clearance. 

Due to the… shall we say… volatile nature of drug running, Carlos is concerned for his daughter’s safety and decides this time he wants a nanny with military background.  Which makes Kathy’s fictional background perfect – Kathy Lincoln, ex-Canadian military police and graduate of British Nanny Institute in Toronto.  Mac Coulter, an undercover ATF agent, working as Carlos’ pilot picks up Kathy to bring her to the compound.  Mac and Kathy are immediately attracted to each other.  Neither knows the other is undercover for the US government.

Like all the other nanny applicants, Kathy must pass Carlos’ tests.  For reasons Mac can’t decide, he gives Kathy a heads up on the tests.  Test 1: Fight off three attackers all at once thus showing the ability to defend Tiki.  Test 2: Demonstrate weapons capability by firing multiple types of guns and then beat an attacker in a knife fight.  Test 3: A 50 mile survival trek with only the clothes on her back through jaguar infested jungle in case they ever have to run from Carlos’ compound to escape attackers.  Sounds nuts, huh?  Hard to believe a lot of nannies didn’t make it through these tests. 

With Mac’s warnings and his secretly supplied survival pack, Kathy completes the tests.  After which, Kathy gets to meet Tiki.  If Tiki doesn’t like her, than she’s gone and passing those test is moot.  Fortunately for Kathy, she is blond with blue eyes. Tiki is enamored of blonds with blue eyes just like all her Barbies. 

Now that she has the job, Kathy has to find a way to get her revenge, take down Carlos’ operation, resist Mac, and maybe live through it all.

Somewhere in this unbelievable story, there is an even more unbelievable romance.  Over the months Kathy works for Carlos she and Mac only get looks at each other as they pass in the compound.  But those looks only fuel their desire and caring for each other.   Come on.  We’re supposed to believe that looking at someone leads to feelings of caring?  Just call it what it is… lust.  At least McKenna is smart enough to have Kathy remind herself several times that Mac is a drug dealer.  There just isn’t enough story to make a loving relationship convincing.

Kathy’s character throughout the book isn’t consistent.  She starts out a Marine with the nickname “Amazon.”  She has the nickname due to her height, her independence, and her ability to take care of herself.  However, once she meets Mac she turns into a woman who just wants to be protected by him.  She thinks he’s a drug dealer but she feels safe with him anyway.  Hello?  Shouldn’t she know not to trust a man just because he makes her drool?

The best part of the Enemy Mine is the air fight between Blackhawks, Black Sharks, and Apache helicopters.  But that doesn’t make up for the weak romance.

--Terry Lawrence

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