2000 Kisses

Bride of the Mist

Christmas Knight

Key to Forever

The Perfect Gift

Season of Wishes

Going Overboard by Christina Skye
(Island, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-440-23575-8
Christina Skye’s latest, Going Overboard, is my idea of the perfect beach read: fast-paced, light and romantic. I was grabbed from the start by the cutest first encounter between a hero and heroine that I've read in a long time.

Photographer Carly Sullivan is sailing the Caribbean filming a commercial for the cruise line. Unfortunately, the supposedly drop dead gorgeous male model who had been booked for the shoot was anything but. As Carly notes, “his portfolio photos had been touched up by blow torch”. Desperate to find a replacement, Carly and her assistant Daphne, who’s also Carly’s adoptive sister, scour the decks to find the perfect male body to feature in the ad.

And find him they did. Ford McKay has HAA...heart attack abs. Carly knew he’d be perfect for the shoot and loses no time in offering him $750 for an easy hour’s work. Needless to say, Ford misinterprets Carly’s request in typical testosterone style and a furious Carly stalks off, refusing to consider “Mr. Mesozoic” as a possible model.

But Navy SEAL Ford McKay is already working aboard ship. An assignment that a frustrated Ford refers to as, “high society baby-sitting”. His task is to protect the adopted daughter of Nigel Brandon, the governor-general of the Caribbean island of Santa Marina. Over the past six months Brandon has been receiving death threats. Threats that now extend to his family.

When Ford discovers the daughter in question is none other than Carly Sullivan, he’s less than thrilled with the thought of tagging behind the touchy workaholic who “probably sleeps with a Palm Pilot.” But Carly’s need for a male model makes the perfect excuse for Ford to keep an eye on her, so he reluctantly agrees to let her “capture him on camera like a champion steer.”

Carly thinks Ford is merely a rancher from Wyoming, but when she is wounded in what appears to be an attempted robbery while on a off-ship photo shoot, Ford is forced to reveal his identity and arranges for Carly to recuperate in a safe house until the cruise ship returns to port and she can safely slip away.

While the pair is attracted to one another, Ford knows his job as a Navy SEAL makes him a bad candidate for a long-term relationship. And Carly, whose mother was a professional photographer married to her career, knows from personal experience that her career choice leaves no room for home and family.

But this reader was sure they were perfect for one another. Carly, in particular, would benefit for having Ford in her life. He’s rugged, pragmatic and always seems a bit overwhelmed by Carly. Ford’s the first one to realize he’s in love (and I love that about a hero).

Carly was a bit more of a problem for me. There were several places in the book when I groaned and thought “don’t tell me she’s going to do THAT,” and sure enough she does. I have a real problem with a heroine who’s warned by the people whose business it is to diffuse a dangerous situation, to stay out of the way. Yet she patently ignores their advice and blithely wanders into the midst of things with the misguided notion that only she can save the day. For those of you who have a low tolerance for a heroine that leans heavily towards “too stupid to live,” consider yourselves forewarned.

Normally, that type of behavior would make me nuts, but I was willing to overlook it because the author had reeled me, hook, line and sinker into the fast moving plot. There’s a secondary plot concerning Carly’s sister Daphne that is left hanging a bit. I’d love to see Daphne in a book of her own; she’d make a fantastic heroine.

For those of you who haven’t filled your quota of Navy SEAL stories yet, I recommend slipping Going Overboard into your beach bag this summer.

--Karen Lynch

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