Spies, Lies And Lovers
by Sally Tyler Hayes, contemporary (1999)
Silhouette Intimate Moments, $4.25, ISBN 0-373-07940-0
Cynthia told me that this book is something like La Femme Nikita. Oh goody, I thought, deadly female spies. Only that in the usual misguided effort to make the heroine likable and romantic (read: Stand by your ma-aa-aaaan...), the author somehow manages to make Geri Sinclair one of those CIA charity cases, where she is admitted to the agency only to fill a quota, real ability and spying skills only considered as an afterthought. For, after all, Geri is one of the most bungling, overly-emotional, and totally unlikely spy I've ever read.
Jane Bond Geri certainly ain't. She is assigned to nab Alex Hathaway, a scientist who is (of course) framed by bad guys. Alex is said to have killed Geri's good friends, run off with some secret bomb-thingie formula, and is probably holed up in some Mad Scientist castle plotting world dominion. Of course, Alex turns out to be a sensitive, caring SNAG guy who has successful mastered Sex On A Motorbike 101.
Geri is obviously suffering from mental trauma, so why on earth would her superiors assign her to a case where she clearly has personal stakes? Geri's first step in getting Alex's attention is walking into a macho bar in very short skirt and sucking ice cubes and performing other Porn Star antics. Predictably she gets assaulted. All this to get Alex's attention? Why not just strip naked and do a 1990s Lady Godiva on a Harley? I bet that would make a bigger impact on everyone.
I must say Alex is a wonderful hero who shows surprising survival skills beneath his Doctor Nerd exterior. His attraction to Geri is palpable and so sexually charged that it is unfortunate that Geri can't match his intensity in terms of character and strength. Geri is simply too emotional for a spy, and she hesitates too long before telling a lie, and she definitely should know better than to succumb to her attraction to a suspect, especially when she is not in the right mind to do a Jane Bond No strings attached stint.
It would be nice though if the heroine of this story is that evil Xenia Onatopp, the one who crushes men to death between her thighs in Goldeneye. Maybe that would make this story tad more interesting. After all, Geri is disappointingly stock wimpy heroine material, and sometimes it takes more than a great hero to carry a romance story successfully.
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