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Strings of small lights drooped in catenaries above them, but if she tilted her head back she could see the real stars twinkling in the black night sky above, barely dimmed by the low-voltage streetlamps of the city. Her group ate and drank at a table on a wide balcony, looking down over the crowd of Western tourists in the open-air portion of the restaurant.She had an advanced degree in history, and was a teacher, but the economy of Nepal forced her to earn extra money as a local city guide. Maoist rebels routinely killed members of the police and army. I left my supplies back at the hotel." "No, no, it is not so urgent as that." Beti's smile was small, and she nervously pushed her glasses higher up the bridge of her nose. Rachel had been here many times, and considered seeing Rajendra as big a lure as the food. She knew better than to say she could find her own way: Rajendra was nothing if not courteous, and would insist upon escorting her. It was late in the evening, and only a few tables yet had customers. He looked like he should be driving a convertible down a seacoast highway with a long-haired blonde in the seat beside him. Glossy black hair, light brown skin, Caucasian features, tall, lithe, graceful ...Rachel had often hired her to lead walking tours of Kathmandu. Everyone will be so happy to see you again." "Forgive me if I do not go to say 'Hello.' It was you I came to see," she said, unsmiling. " Rachel asked, a flutter of worry starting in her chest. Bombs went off in the city, organized strikes and marches sometimes led to violence in the streets. "No one is bleeding, no broken bones." Rachel hesitated, and glanced up the stairs towards her group. Rajendra led her to the far corner, his broad back blocking her view until she was standing right in front of the table where Beti sat ... He was even wearing a tuxedo, for God's sake, the bow tie undone and hanging round his open collar. and he had a British accent, indecently seductive when spoken in such a deep voice.He winked at her, a big, slow wink that he had learned from his foreign customers, and that was as obvious as a drunk elephant sitting on the table singing Madonna tunes. "Please, sit down," Wiles said, genial and at ease, and gestured to the cushion across from where he had been sitting. Men like him shouldn't leave that hollow at the base of the throat exposed. Rachel glanced at Beti, looking for clues to what this was all about, but the Nepalese woman was looking even more nervous than before, refusing to meet Rachel's gaze and playing with the edge of her glass of mineral water. She sat down with a conscious effort at grace, folding her legs neatly to the side, and arranging the long skirt of her silk tunic in a smooth drape over her legs. "Beti tells me you had to abandon your tour group to do so." "They'll manage to get toasted just fine without me," she said, with a quick smile. I doubt that more than two or three of the most drunken ones will sleep on the streets tonight." "Are you sure it is safe to leave them alone? And he not only knows that the drug is real, but he has the knowledge and resources to synthesize it, and bring it to the world marketplace. " "It's an acronym for an international secret service organization comprised almost entirely of women," Wiles explained, without cracking a smile. When dashing Harrison Wiles asks Rachel to lead an expedition into the Himalayas to help stamp out a doctor determined to find a lost city and manufacture a drug that will make women submit to his will, Rachel scoffs at the offer. Cach paints both the vibrant beauty and blemishes of Nepal with a fine hand, but the exotic locale never outshines her charismatic characters.He went around to take his own place again, failing to look silly without his shoes on. This past year she had taken to wearing shalwar kameez, the long tunic and loose trouser outfit that was as popular in Nepal as the sari. You've probably heard of Rohypnol and GHB, the date-rape drugs? "Victims of Rohypnol have no memory of what has happened to them. How much worse, do you think, to be fully conscious, lucid, and an active participant in one's own abuse? Uneven pacing makes the novel feel jumpy at times, but there's enough humor and suspense here to keep readers from dwelling on these minor flaws.
With a stun gun, infrared goggles, and other less conventional forms of nighttime protection, Rachel was a regular Jane Bond, ready to face danger wherever it lurked.
Who would ever expect to find Cajun food on the edge of the Himalaya?
The restaurant served jambalaya and blackened catfish, a fact that never failed to amuse her.
Her novel Dating Without Novocaine was named one of Waldenbooks' "Best Books of 2002," and she is a two-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America -- for her novella in the 2003 A Mother's Way anthology and for her paranormal novel Come to Me. "It always is," Rachel said, affecting her best Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca stance.
Lisa Cach is the national bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen books, including Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel (available from Pocket Books). Kathmandu, Nepal "It's going to be hard to say good-bye," Fritz said in his German accent, holding her hand and stroking its back.
"Yes, please, the usual." The amusement in Rajendra's eyes and the bare hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth told her what he thought: that Beti had brought this man as a prospective husband for Rachel. "Before I begin, may I have your promise to keep what is about to be said in confidence? "Of course." She hoped she wasn't about to hear about something illegal. " She turned her gaze to Wiles, who appeared as serious as Beti. " The man must be some species of rich idiot, fancying himself a real-life Indiana Jones, chasing after fairy tales. Rachel looked back at Beti, disbelief and confusion muddling her brain. A chauvinist's paradise, I should say." She glared at Wiles. Shouldn't he be smirking about what a wonderful world that would be? " "Then I should think that it was a very good thing that the city was lost," Rachel said. Those who like James Bond but admire his gutsy female counterparts even more will savor this smart, humorous send-up from Cash (George & the Virgin, etc.). The situation gets stickier, however, when Rachel learns that the dastardly doc is her first lover, gawky Alan Archer.