A Perfect Coverby Maureen Tan
Lacie Reed was the best agent to send to the Big Easy to catch a serial killer. Not just because of her stellar track record, but because the undercover operative looked exactly like the kind of woman this murderer might go for.Lacie was more than ready to play the mouse, knowing she had a big cat to catch. But once she infiltrated the small New Orleans/p>… See more details below
Lacie Reed was the best agent to send to the Big Easy to catch a serial killer. Not just because of her stellar track record, but because the undercover operative looked exactly like the kind of woman this murderer might go for.Lacie was more than ready to play the mouse, knowing she had a big cat to catch. But once she infiltrated the small New Orleans community, befriending the very people she was trying to protect, the stakes got higher. Lacie began taking risks so big that Detective Anthony Beauprix wondered if he had hired the wrong girl for this gruesome case. Good thing Lacie always got her man. And if the sexy detective didn't watch himself, she'd get him, too.…
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A Perfect Cover
By Maureen Tan
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI never knew my mother. She was probably a prostitute. Or perhaps she was just a woman who loved the wrong man. In either event, she was most likely dead.
There was panic in the streets of Saigon when Ho Chi Minh's troops poured into the city. Barefoot, ragged soldiers carrying AK-47s streamed from hidden tunnels. The Cholon district was in flames. South Vietnamese soldiers were stripping off their uniforms, trying to blend in with the population. And the Americans - caught off guard by the swift fall of the city - were fleeing the embassy's rooftop by helicopter, abandoning their friends and allies.
Abandoning their children.
That day, an American soldier - a black man in a torn and charred Marine sergeant's uniform - burst into Grandma Qwan's home. He interrupted a dozen orphaned children and Grandma Qwan as they knelt in prayer, saying the Rosary out loud, petitioning the Virgin for her protection.
The soldier's hands were badly burned, Grandma Qwan told me later, but still he held a blanket-wrapped toddler tightly in his arms.
"Her name is Lai Sie," he said in Vietnamese as he put the child gently on her feet and placed a silk-wrapped bundle on the floor beside Grandma Qwan.
Stunned into silence, Grandma Qwan simply stared at the soldier. His hair was singed, his eyes were bloodshot, and tears streaked the gray soot that coated his dark face. Later that night, Grandma Qwan discovered enough money and jewelry among the little girl's clothing to support the orphanage for years.
"Please. Keep her safe for me," was the soldier's only request. "I'll come back for her."
Then he'd disappeared into the chaos of the smoke-filled streets.
I waited for years, but my American father never returned. And no young Vietnamese woman stepped forward to claim me.
Grandma Qwan loved and protected me as she did all of the children in her care. But my coloring and features, inherited from my parents, made me an outcast in my own country. I was bui doi. Throughout my childhood, I heard the curse shouted by pedicab drivers, spat out by old women in the marketplace, muttered when soldiers knocked me aside, used as a taunt by playmates.
Bui doi. Dust of life. Bui doi. Child of dust.
I was sitting in darkness, waiting to be rescued. Or to die. As were we all. More than fifty of us, trapped inside the long, battered trailer of an eighteen-wheeler. Men and women, young and old. A few adolescent children. But no infants. Yet.
All around us were splintery shipping crates, large and small. They filled the trailer top to bottom and front to back, with just enough room left between the rows to conceal a human cargo. Shipping labels, stenciled in black paint, said the crates contained an assortment of machine parts destined for America. We, too, had been destined for America. But the truck that pulled us was long gone, its trailer and its cargo - human and machine - stationary. We were locked in and abandoned. And the heat was becoming unbearable.
Beside me, Rosa groaned - a deep, harsh sound with surprisingly little volume to it. I leaned in closer to her, my hand brushing the sleeve of her light cotton dress, then moving to find a thick braid, a soft cheek and, finally, her forehead. It was damp with perspiration. From the heat. And from her labor. I stroked Rosa's hair back away from her face, murmured pleasant, soothing nonsense and tried to give comfort where none existed.
Rosa groaned and tensed again. My wristwatch was gone, stolen. But I had counted the seconds between her contractions, confirming what we both already knew. Soon, Rosa's child would arrive. And I wished I could stop the inevitable.
I'd met Rosa weeks earlier. As the sun rose over the lush green of the jungle, a group of desperate and excited strangers had gathered on a hill, close enough to the Actuncan Cave to feel the cool, damp air flowing from its mouth. We had each paid a life's savings to smugglers called polleros - chicken herders - for a few forged papers, the promise of a minimum-wage job and legal citizenship for any of our children born on U.S. soil.
"Me llamo Rosa Maria Martinez," Rosa had said. "I go to America. To New York City."
"I am Lupe Cordero," I replied in Spanish that was touched by the distinctive accents of rural Guatemala. "From Chichicastenango. I am fifteen and go to live with my sister in Houston."
Lies. All of it. My real name was Lacie Reed. I was twenty-seven, an American citizen, and I had no sister. But there was nothing about my appearance to make her doubt me. My hair was dark and curly, my skin unwrinkled and golden-brown, my almond-shaped eyes dark. And I was tiny - small-boned and just a breath over five feet tall. Like Rosa and the others, I was dressed to travel in nondescript clothing that would draw little attention.
This wasn't the first time I'd lied for my Uncle Duran. I was Special Assistant to the Right Honorable Senator Duran Reed, a position that covered an amazing variety of activities. This time, it meant being part of an interagency task force that included Mexico's National Immigration Institute and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. The INS.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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enjoyed the book fairly well. plotline was well thought out, giving the reader both romance, action, and drama. however the author could have developed the story line a little better. lacie sometimes didn't seem to be the great detective or agent reader is led to believe at some points in the story. another thing that was a bit disappointing that for a silhouette series the relationship between lacie and anthony wasn't really developed as one would hope. all in all, the story was good but could have been better.
Half Vietnamese and Half American, Lacie Reed has become a master of disguise that her ¿Uncle¿ Duran Reed, a US Senator with presidential ambitions, has employed in the past. However, he becomes upset with his favorite ¿niece when Lacie tells him she is going to New Orleans as a favor to her other ¿uncle¿ Tinh Vu who says her people need her. Duran insists that Tinh is an illegal ¿breeder¿ documenter.--- New Orleans Police Detective Anthony Beuprix needs someone to provide him insider information in the Little Saigon section of town where a serial killer has been at work. Anthony objects to Lacie as she is a northern outsider and too small for the job. Still Anthony has little choice and Lacie is willing to play the bait in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. However, As Anthony becomes acquainted with Lacie over blue M&Ms and foot massages, he falls in love and detests using her as his lure to catch a killer, who seems to have insider information on what the cops will do next.--- A PERFECT COVER is a pleasurable ¿Bombshell¿ romantic thriller starring a solid male protagonist and a fantastic female heroine. The story line starts slowly to establish the credentials of the cast, but once the game is afoot it accelerates into hyperspeed. Though the final twist seems overkill, fans will treasure this serial killer romance as Anthony realizes how horribly personal the case has become especially since his beloved refuses to get off the hook of catching the killer.--- Harriet Klausner
Lacie Reed owes more than she can ever say to her 'uncle', Senator Duran Reed, the man who rescued the half Vietnamese child from the squalid life in post war Asia. Her secret agent work for him has dented the debt, but he is not her only benefactor. Uncle Tinh is perhaps a bit shadier, but still beloved. So when he needs her help, Lacie risks losing Duran's favor to go to the Big Easy. Her first task once there is to break into Anthony Beauprix's home and steal a gun, which she does with ease. Learning that all she accomplished was to win a bet is initially infuriating, but that no longer matters when she learns the rest. Someone is killing young Vietnamese men and terrorizing Little Vietnam. Detective Beauprix needs an insider to infiltrate the community, and Lacie is it. Donning the role of a sixteen year old 'punkish' waitress, Lacie is able to see and hear all that goes on. So perfectly does she play the part that she even wins the teen aged heart of a youth, but the only one she wants in Anthony's. Mafia wars and secrets are all around her, and one thing is certain, if Lacie survives, there is going to be a bit of heartache ahead of her; someone she cares for is heading for doom. .................. *** Fascinating details bring this quick paced thriller to life. Although there is a pleasant romance, it is not the main focus. Lacie is a vibrant, complex heroine who could easily lead a series of adventure. ***