One minute I'm out with my sorority sisters; the next there's a terrible accident (beyond my friend Stacey's outfit) and I'm waking up in some weird clinic transformed into a human cyborg--with a mission: to stop evil and stuff. Uh, hello? I've got a beauty salon to run.
Granted, it is cool to run faster than a Ford Mustang when I need to, even if it's totally hard on my shoes. But then I have to bring in another human cyborg on the run? One who happens to be male, totally gorgeous, smart, funny--and, um, his "enhancements"?--as if!
"Davidson's over-the-top humor and raunchily funny sex scenes will delight her fast-growing cadre of fans, while Janet Evanovich fans will also enjoy Davidson's rough-talking heroine." --Booklist
About the Author
Date of Birth:1969
Place of Birth:Minot, North Dakota
Read an Excerpt
— Original Message —
Subject was acquired at 0110 hours today via one of our private ambulances. Subject is a Caucasian female in apparent good health, except for being clinically dead, with an alcohol blood level of .20. Subject is seventy inches tall and weighs one hundred seventy pounds. No birthmarks or apparent scars; however, subject has a tattoo on her lower back in dark blue ink that reads CAVEAT EMPTOR. Subject has shoulder-length dark blue hair (presumably dyed) and light blue eyes (Dr. Miller likens them to the color of the deep end of a swimming pool, but then, he's always been a poetic freak). Subject was in a car accident at 0105 hours with five other females of roughly the same age. Subject got the worst of it because another car hit the side of the limousine in which she was riding. Three of the other five have been released with minor injuries; two have broken bones and are currently recovering at Miami General Hospital.
Subject has no immediate family; parents were killed (irony here, Boss) in a car crash when Subject was thirteen. Subject's last known relative, a paternal aunt, died eighteen months ago.
Basically, Boss, she's legally dead and we can do whatever we like with her.
— Dr. Don
— Original Message —
Sounds promising. What about her friends?
— Original Message —
They think she's still in Florida and are unlikely to discover otherwise — a bunch of former sorority girls. Not exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer ... plus, they all went to a state school. No problems there. We can tell them she died (which is the truth, frankly) or we can tell them she's going to be in the hospital for a few more weeks or we can tell them she turned into a bird and flew away.
Come on, Boss. Give me a green light. This one's perfect.
— Original Message —
Go. Update me hourly.
Two months later St. Paul, Minnesota
"Jimmy! Dude! I heard you were dead!"
Caitlyn set down her daiquiri and looked over her shoulder. My, my. Look what the cat coughed up. Her old college roommate, Stacy Gwen, had just walked into the bar. Although Caitlyn normally distrusted people with two first names, she made an exception in Stacy's case.
"For the zillionth time," she said, patting the empty barstool beside her, "don't call me Jimmy." She paused, not sure what else to say. She hadn't seen Stacy since the fateful limo ride in October. "What's up?"
"What's up, she says!"
"Also for the millionth time, it's so disturbing when you talk about people in the third person."
"Oh my God, I totally cannot believe you're here!" Stacy seized her and pulled her into a hug, nearly yanking Caitlyn off her barstool. Surprised, and touched, she hugged her friend back. "So bizarre! You, like, pulled a Houdini after the limo crashed. I mean, we were going crazy! I was going crazy! I mean, hello, what is up with that?"
Caitlyn settled herself back on the stool, bit into her strawberry garnish, and considered what to say.
Well, Stace old girl, I'll tell you how it was. You'll like this one. Seems that the limo driver had been helping himself to cocaine, which he chased with tequila shots. And the six of us in the back were so blitzed, we didn't notice.
Wait, it gets better. So the moron crashed into the First National Bank of Miami, setting off about a zillion alarms, and, since none of us was wearing seat belts, cracking the shit out of the rest of us. Pretty dumb about the seat belts, I know, so don't start.
Then another car came by and hit my side of the limo, further cracking the shit out of yours truly. I mean, up until then it had been a reasonably cool evening.
Then this lame government service, who'd been watching and listening to police bands all over the country for a month or so, heard and came to the hospital where we were being worked on. And they picked me, because I was the most banged up. And they flew me to their secret government installation. I know how it sounds. I died a couple of times on the way, but they brought me back.
And they made some ... um ... changes.
And now I'm supposed to work for them, do you believe that shit? They did things to me and I'm supposed to thank them and become a government employee. Except I don't want to, because I didn't ask for any of this.
And they don't like that. Not at all.
So here I am.
"It's been kind of a weird fall," she said, sad and mad at the same time — as early as three months ago, she could have told Stacy anything.
Those days were done. Thanks tons, United States government.
"Well, are you free?"
"According to some," she said gloomily, "no."
"Uh-huh. Let's go grab some sushi."
"A fine plan," she agreed.
Stacy laughed as Caitlyn hopped off the barstool. "You still slay me, girlfriend. I love the way you talk. You were totally the brains behind Tau Delta Nu."
"A heroic achievement."
Stacy cracked up again. "And don't even pretend like I don't know you're slamming me, Jimmy. Because you totally are."
"Don't call me Jimmy, you evil whore. They have sake at this sushi place?" she asked, linking arms with Stacy. "Because I could use a couple."
"An even dozen," she agreed, and they laughed and left.
"The thing about sushi," Caitlyn sighed, walking Stacy to her car, "is that it's so completely delicious while you're eating it, but then when you're full —"
"You're like, ewww, I just ate a ton of raw fish!"
"Exactly. I could barf right now. In fact ..." Stacy looked anxiously over my shoulder. "Does my butt look fat in suede? Maybe I'll barf anyway."
"Don't you dare. Bulimia is so twentieth century." Caitlyn rolled her eyes. Stacy was one of those marvelous idiots who had no idea how fabulous they looked. She was five foot seven, just about the perfect height for everything except professional basketball, with out-of-control black hair and skin the color of café au lait. She wore green contacts, truly striking in her high-cheekboned face. Caitlyn usually felt like the village frump when she was out with her. "Plus, we just dropped two hundred bucks on all that fish. Don't waste it."
"I suppose. I'm doing an extra half hour on the treadmill tomorrow though. What about you?"
I can't. I've burned out the last three treadmills I tried. Apparently, I can move faster than a Ford Mustang when I set my mind to it. "Um ... I've been lifting weights lately."
"Well, you look awesomely buff."
"Seriously, Jimmy, what's up? You're not like yourself at all. I know the accident was a horror show, but you seem totally fine now. I guess we both lucked out." Stacy looked her over critically. "Better than fine, actually. I don't think you've ever looked awesomer."
Caitlyn chose her words carefully. "Physically, there isn't anything wrong with me."
"Then, what's up? I haven't seen you at a party since the crash. The girls were talking about having, like, a reunion party, now that Shelly's off her crutches and all —"
"It's a miracle we weren't all killed," she muttered. "Fucking miracle."
"Yup. Although it was tough work shaving my legs when I got home — what is it with those hospital razors? You'd think a hospital would have, like, sharp things. You shoulda seen my legs by the time I was done. Total gross-out."
"What happened to you in the crash?"
Stacy smacked the top of her head. "Concussion, whiplash. The usual. Nothing you could see from the outside, and I had to wear this massively bogus neck brace for eight weeks, but I'm a lot better now. We all are, and like I said, we wanted to have, like, a reunion party, but we haven't been able to reach you and, like I said, there were all those totally lame rumors about you being dead."
"I've just been really busy with work." A lie. "I miss you guys though." The truth.
"I didn't say anything."
"Alpha team, move in. Extreme caution."
"Are you okay, Caitlyn? You look kind of weird."
"Can't you hear that?" Caitlyn asked, then realized instantly, of course Stacy couldn't hear it. She wasn't really hearing it either ...it was like the mop-up team was talking in her head. That chip. That damn chip must be able to pick up their frequencies. And then broadcast it — uck! — into her brain.
Caitlyn felt a moment of panic. Sure, she was faster and stronger than regular people now, but she didn't have any training. Except in giving highlights and manicures. Unless the guys on the prowl needed haircuts, she was in deep shit.
She was simultaneously shocked and unsurprised. She'd been blowing off psychoboy for weeks and now it was time to dance. Those assfaces at O.S.F. had sent a whole team after her!
Talk about not taking no for an answer! She knew the unemployment rate was high for the state, but this was ridiculous.
She could hear them coming, moving quickly and quietly — but not quietly enough, ha! — and wondered if it was better to just give up than risk getting some teeth knocked out. After suffering through junior high with braces, she wasn't about to risk the integrity of her mouth, thank you very —
* * *
Targets: 45° 72° 33°
Armed: .33 Beretta, full clip, none in the chamber
Armed: Mini UZI SMG, full clip, safety on
Armed: Semi-automatic Jericho pistol, full load, holstered. SAFETY IS OFF.
REPEAT, SAFETY IS OFF.
* * *
"What the hell?" she said out loud. This had happened to her so infrequently, she had succeeded in forgetting about it. Tough to do at the moment, since there were things in her left eye again. Not really in her eye ... more like reading a page from a book ... except the page was being projected inside her head. It was like those Terminator movies, when the audience could see through Arnold's eyes, kind of weird and cool at the same time, but how was she supposed to —
* * *
Targets: closing in. Engage. Engage. Engage.
* * *
"All right, all right. Don't nag." She kicked Stacy's feet out from under her, ignoring the woman's surprised squawk, and turned. She crossed the fourteen feet six inches between herself and Goon #1 in two point two seconds —
You can stop doing that now, computer chip. I'm on it.
Alas, stuck in her brain where it was, the thing wouldn't shut up.
It was good for one thing anyway. They weren't here to take her hard. Just take her.
She grinned — for the first time in days.
Too bad for them.
Later, Stacy was never quite sure what had happened on that side street. Her brainy, funky pal — God, Caitlyn had always been the coolest — had started talking to herself, then knocked her down. And before she could get up — heck, before she could roll over — Caitlyn was on the bad guys. She Sydney-Bristowed all over their asses and wasn't even out of breath when she finished!
And the funny thing — the extremely weird-but-cool thing — was that the bad guys were moving in slow motion compared to Caitlyn. It was like being an extra on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Which kind of sucked, now that she thought about it, because she never pictured herself as the extra type, more like the supporting actress. Not the star, but important to the star, like Willow on Buffy or Elaine on Seinfeld.
Anyway, one of them flew almost all the way down the street and ended up flat on his back, right next to her. She got up in a hurry when she saw blood trickling out of his ear, and by then the other ones were down too.
And they looked bad. Like Colin Farrell in that too-cool S.W.A.T. movie. They were all scruffy and muscular and dressed in dark clothing and heavily armed — she counted three holsters on one of them. Empty holsters. Eh?
She turned and saw Jimmy walking toward her, her arms full of guns. "Sorry about that," she said, not sounding even a tiny bit sorry. "I wanted you down in case they got to their guns. I'll buy you a new skirt, okay?"
"Okay," she said automatically. "Um, this guy's bleeding. Out his ear."
Caitlyn peered down at him, then blinked and — weird! — it almost looked like she was reading something. Except there wasn't anything to read. "It's okay," she said after a few moments. "He's got a concussion, but nothing's broken. He'll be out for a while, that's all. Serves them right anyway," she added defiantly. Almost — weird! — tearfully. Jimmy never cried. Not even that time when she got a Bon her trig final. Boy, that had been a tough day. "Besides, no means no, right? I mean, I don't have to work for anyone."
Caitlyn threw the guns down in a temper. They clattered to the street like ugly maracas. "I mean, jeez! I didn't ask them to fix me, did I?"
Stacy shook her head. "Nuh-uh."
"So they saved my life — big deal! What, now I'm a — an — an indentured servant for the rest of my life?"
"Doesn't seem like a great idea."
"Damn right! Shit! Shit on toast!"
"Yuck," Stacy said, which (whew!) made Caitlyn laugh. And thank God, because for a moment — a teensy moment, but still — she had been almost ... what? Scared? Of Caitlyn? Not too stupid, because Jimmy was just about the nicest, coolest, sweetest —
Her friend stopped laughing and looked at her in a new way. And new, Stacy was starting to think, was bad. Very, very bad. "Look, Stace, you get home, okay?"
"Okay." Impulsively, she added, "You come with me, okay? Stay over for a while. We can stay up late and watch Ocean's Eleven — the George Clooney one, not the icky old one — and I'll call in sick tomorrow and we can hang out. It looks like you — like you could use a break. What do you say, Jimmy?"
"I say, don't call me Jimmy. It sounds like the best deal I've heard all damned month actually. But I can't."
"Why can't you?"
"I have to go see somebody first," she replied, sounding pissed all over again as she nudged the closest S.W.A.T. guy with the toe of her boot. "You go on. I'll get rid of the guns."
"Are you sure ...?"
"Well ... okay. I — I'm glad you're better anyway."
"Oh, I'm better all right," she said morosely, bending to pick up the scary guns. "Better than ever. Too bad for me. But too bad for them, so that works out okay. You know?"
"Okay. I — g'night."
Stacy went home and took two Ambien, but it was hard to drop off just the same. She wished Caitlyn had come home with her, but a tiny part of her — this was so lame it was hard to admit to herself, and she could never have said it out loud — was glad she hadn't.CHAPTER 3
Caitlyn drove up on the lawn, plowed through the snow, parked on the freshly shoveled sidewalk, got out of her Intrepid, and marched over to the glass doors. She slammed her palm down on the touch plate and, big surprise, the doors unlocked.
There was nothing on the outside of the big glass building to indicate what it was — just the address, 2118, in four-foot-high numbers — on the inside. The security guards stood behind their granite desk when she entered, but neither came near her. Good for them.
"Evening, Miss James," one of them said.
"Is he in?" she asked.
"Uh, yeah. Top floor. He's —"
"Don't say he's expecting me."
"Well," the other guard said apologetically, "he kind of is. Did you really take out an entire extractment team by yourself? Because that's —"
She had already stomped across the black marble floor and was in the stairwell, and didn't hear the rest. Damned if she was going to be trapped in one of their stupid elevators. She'd seen enough TV movies to know that was a bad idea, thanks very much!
Instead, she took the fifteen flights in about sixty seconds and popped out in the hallway, not even out of breath.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Hello, Gorgeous!"
Copyright © 2005 MaryJanice Davidson.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although it's not her usual story it has a great story line. Easy read. Wish she would do more in this story as I love the main characters.
Oh to be young, gorgeous, in love with a rich sexy guy, and able to outrun a porsche. What more could a girl wish for?
Caitlyn James wakes one day to find herself cyberised and the government want her to do their business. She fights this in the best way that only a MaryJanice Davidson heroine can. She only has an ambition to make her beauty salon the best it can. She also finds romance with another agent.It's pretty typical MaryJanice Davidson stuff and sometimes I did want to slap the heroine but it's compulsive reading.
Very funny, very sexy and very entertaining.
Part romance, part science fiction, part mystery and loaded with silly humor Hello, Gorgeous! is the story of twenty-four year old former sorority sister, party girl, hairdresser Caitlyn James who is transformed into a government agent cyborg after dying in a car accident. Caitlyn keeps her personality - and her fashion sense - but due to her infusion of "nanobytes" she gains superhuman strength, speed, and memory recall. The downside is that she has no desire to work as a secret assassin for The Boss, who is responsible for saving her life. Wanting only to highlight her hair - and possibly beat up her supervisor - Caitlyn is reluctantly persuaded to use her talents to track down a serial killer but her main motivation to join the hunt comes from meeting Dimitri Novakov - a handsome rogue agent with a few secrets of his own. He's everything Caitlyn could want in a boyfriend, but he also might be the killer she's after. MaryJanice Davidson crafts a delightful, fun adventure in this lighthearted and sexy novel. Similar to Davidson's Alaskan Royal Family series, the characters are witty and likable. Though the cyborg plot is certainly ridiculous, the unbelievability factor only adds to its humorous charm as a fast-paced summer read.
Contemporary romance is what it says on the spine, but it's more chick lit/paranormal. Heroine is in an accident & would have died, except she's picked up by a shadowy government agency and transformed into the Bionic Woman. There are actually two romances in the book, but they take a back seat to the humor and action.