Although better known for her historicals and her numinous Draycott Abbey series, Skye (The Ruby; 2000 Kisses) tests the waters of the contemporary scene once again with a crowd-pleasing romantic thriller. Photographer Carly Sullivan is shooting an ad on a cruise ship, and she needs to find a replacement for a less than satisfactory male model. A workaholic and perfectionist, Carly refuses to sleep until she snags the elusive Ford McKay, a self-proclaimed Wyoming rancher who is reluctant to be captured on film. However, when McKay discovers that his mission as a Navy SEAL is to protect Carly and her friend Daphne Brandon, the daughter of Santa Marina's governor-general, he realizes that the easiest way to be near Carly is to model. A sensational encounter with an all-too-sinister Russian terrorist draws McKay and Carly closer together despite the knowledge that their commitment to their careers forbids a more lasting relationship. But as Carly and McKay grow more intimate, they realize that their time-consuming professional lives have been lacking. Skye draws her characters largely through dialogue, keeping the narrative energy high and the pacing swift. Sweetly sensual and vibrant, this light read will make for delightful springtime entertainment. (Apr. 17) Forecast: Navy SEALS have become a staple of romantic thrillers, and Skye's newest is likely to attract readers who harbor a passion for the covert operations team. A generous cover quote by Joan Johnston combined with Skye's familiar name will ensure that this novel achieves exceptional sales.