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The puck smashed into the goal like a grenade exploding.
Making a quarter turn with his stick, Michael deftly flipped a new puck onto the ice from the quickly emptying bucket at his feet. Moving like a low-flying plane, he approached the goal and crossed the bar. Before another second had passed, an orange puck had smashed almost through the nubbly gray net and joined the other pucks scattered at the bottom of the goal.
At least I can still aim, Michael thought, looking with satisfaction at the growing constellation of pucks that had shot back onto the ice after being pounded inside the bounds. Too bad I’m fifty thousand times too slow to be the next Wayne Gretzky.
In the cold air of the rink, Michael’s breath made plumes of smoke as he skated over to his bag to take a swig from his water bottle. Though at this point, I’d be happy to take a job cleaning the ice.
He surveyed the rows and rows of darkened seats that surrounded the rink. His loud, ragged breathing was the only sound in the place, that and the hum of the overhead fluorescents. Michael always snapped the lights on when he had these late-night practice sessions at Orca, an indoor ice rink with distinctive black-and-white patterning.
Michael took a long pull from his water bottle and placed the cap back on. A low, groaning sound suddenly seemed to rise from the benches around him, like a beast slowly waking. Michael tensed, snapping his head around to find the cause. Then his shoulders relaxed. The groan, he realized, had come directly from him.
Before Michael could stop it, another groan escaped, this one like the whoosh of air escaping a tire. He began to pound his chest as if he were having a choking fit. It seemed like the first real exhalation he had allowed himself in months, but for some reason, he was afraid. If he let himself feel anything right now, he might discover that he was filled with enough rage to smash up the whole arena.
Well, isn’t that what hockey players are supposed to do? he thought, surprised to find a small smile making its way across his features, like a hiker clambering over unfamiliar terrain. Maybe I’m cut out for a life on ice after all.
A life on ice was right. Ever since he’d reached the spring of his senior year at Georgetown University, that’s how he’d felt—shelved, on hold. Michael smiled again. This was easily his first real smile in months. Or at least his first real smile since he’d finally accepted the fact that no matter how hard he’d worked to fit the profile and prepare himself for his chosen career, no matter who his father was, the CIA just wasn’t going to respond to the application he’d sent them nearly a year ago.
They hadn’t even sent a form letter to acknowledge receipt.
Cursing and mumbling under his breath, Michael grabbed his bucket and skated back out onto the ice to begin the tedious task of rounding up all the pucks. Kneeling down to grasp one that had lodged under the skeleton of the goal, he slipped, then found himself sprawled out nearly full length under the battered hood, his ear smarting where he’d winged the side of the goal on his way down.
Michael looked up at the ceiling, the bulbs of the hanging orbs blinding him momentarily.
Now I’m really on ice, he thought. And the CIA’s sent my application to the penalty box.
* * *
It had been a long, hot summer in D.C. A long senior year, in fact. And it would have been even longer without Nora.
Except now Nora was gone.
Michael had spent the fall like most Georgetown seniors: hanging out with friends, getting recommendations from all his best professors lined up, and of course, attempting to dutifully attend all the classes that suddenly seemed a little more voluntary now that it was all coming to an end. Luckily, Michael was a natural grind—finished with most of his coursework, he had picked up advanced classes in French, Italian, and Spanish, then blown by his classmates. Raised bilingual, with a French mother and an American father, Michael had always found Romance languages a breeze.
Until the first semester of his senior year, when he’d met Nora, Michael had felt only a vague impatience for college to end so that his career with the CIA could begin. But after he met Nora, it was almost as if he had split in two: There was the Michael who loved hanging out with his pretty, smart, sophisticated girlfriend, and there was the Michael who was planning to work for the American government the minute they got their act together and came for him.
Needless to say, the two Michaels had never even been introduced.
From the Paperback edition.
Posted July 3, 2007
I read this book for a book report in school and I would reccomend it to anyone who likes James Bond novels. The book was ok, and I would read another one but there are other books that could be better than this. This is not a must read, but it is a book that is easy to read and great for a book report.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2005
I have read all the Alias books up to Father Figure. I'm reading it now. I love them all and fly through them, howevever, I wish I had skipped this one. It went on and on without any real excitement. I couldn't make it through a chapter without getting bored. I finally finished it when I was stranded on a 6 hour flight. I started reading Close Quaters immediately afterwards and was so relieved that it was much better. I realized, however, that it was pointless to have read Pursuit because they give you all the background info you need in Close Quaters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 28, 2005
Posted June 29, 2004
Posted April 17, 2004
I enjoyed reading this book since you get to understand and know more about Michael in this series. He is an excellent agent who does his job well. He definitely falls for every woman whom he gets close to at times. Each book gets better and better every time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2004
Posted September 6, 2003
This is one of the best books so far! i love how it is about Michael because in the show you dont really get any insite from him in the show. you find out how he really thinks and how he does on missions! i twist twords the end caught me! i loved this book! i am on my way to get the next one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 24, 2003
Vaughn makes Alias! Without him there would be no point in watching the show. I've got to get this book because it's about him. At the end of Alias series 1 what happend to Vaughn? I missed the first episode of the second series, What happend to him because the last thing I saw at the end of series 1 was him trapped and about to drown.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 8, 2003
Posted June 27, 2003
Claire, I couldn't agree with you more. The other Alias books were great but just having it be about Vaughn makes it even better. Even though it's not out yet and I haven't read it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2003
Posted July 6, 2003
Yummy. .. oh Michale is a hottie and a joy to have a book about his sexy character. I am just a teenage girl in love with him and with Alias, the hit TV show.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2003
Posted June 16, 2003
Looks like another great book!! Hope theres more of them!!! I've read all 4 of the books from the series, so far. They kept you on the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book to any reader who loves fiction. I can't wait to get my hands on another book because I couldn't put the others down!!!! Plus the t.v. series was awsome!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2011
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Posted January 27, 2010
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