Scooting Up in Value

Nothing like an indictment to drum up book sales. Former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's book, "The Apprentice: A Novel," is a hot commodity these days.

A hardback copy of the 55-year-old Libby's sex-laden work of fiction is being offered for $2,400 on Amazon.com. And we're guessing it's not the writing that's driving up the price. Or even the inscription: "To Bob. I hope you enjoy it." Looking for a more economical version? EBay has one for as low as $55, but the auction on that book won't wrap up for six more days, leaving plenty of time for the price to skyrocket.

Washingtonians looking for a copy in the city might be out of luck. Libby's novel isn't on the shelves at any Barnes & Noble or Borders across the nation's capital, according to salesmen for the popular chains.

But be patient: Dori Weintraub of St. Martin's Press said the book publisher is reissuing the out-of-print novel. The reason? "There's interest because of the news value."

His Card Gets All the Credit

Huh. People really do win those contests where just a swipe of your credit card could bring a bonanza. Sterling resident Greg Gould was handed the keys to 12 cars Tuesday after winning the "MasterCard Win 12 Cars Sweepstakes."

Gould, 45, who works at the Interior Department, said he first learned of his prize via a FedEx envelope that he initially ignored. When a MasterCard rep finally got on the phone to try to convince Gould that he wasn't being scammed, his wife told him to hang up.

"I thought it could have been credit card fraud," Gould recalled. "The people at MasterCard were trying to put me in touch with their vice president to show me it was real."

After receiving the keys to his cars from baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, Gould is a believer -- and is busy deciding on his "upgraded new fleet." He gets to pick and is looking at Cadillacs, while his 17-year-old son is eyeing a Hummer H3, and his 20-year-old daughter and wife are thinking twin Saab convertibles. Two of the cars will go to his mother and mother-in-law and another will probably be donated to charity.

But with his winnings come heavy taxes. Gould said he hired a tax accountant and plans to sell five of the cars to pay levies of nearly $150,000. "The taxes are incredible," he said. "We're trying to be smart about it."

And where do you store all those cars? "I have a two-car garage," he said. "My son's will be out front and my daughter is in college." He figured out all of that fast enough.

Nicole's Hearty Party

Nicole Kidman, party animal? The 38-year-old Aussie actress was spotted dining with 10 friends at Georgetown's Bangkok Joe's on Thursday night -- and stayed until the restaurant closed 21/2 hours later.

A spokeswoman for the restaurant said three of Nic's pals were celebrating their birthdays that night and shared candle-decked desserts of banana flambe, flourless chocolate cake and three specially made orders of mixed berries. Hey -- a girl's got to watch her figure.

The casually dressed Kidman drank wine and dined on sesame-crusted ahi tuna and a salad of mixed greens, while her tablemates enjoyed squash pot stickers, lobster and shrimp.

Rumored boyfriend Keith Urban wasn't spotted with the actress that night; the restaurant's patrons gawked anyway but mostly left the group alone.

End Note

Lynne Cheney was spotted adopting a black-and-white bobtail cat, 5 months old, from a Falls Church PetSmart yesterday with her Secret Service detail in tow. No word yet on what the kitty will be named, but we're guessing Scooter is out.

-- Compiled by Korin Miller

from staff reports

Jenna Bush's boyfriend Henry Hager looks less than amused at Wednesday's White House dinner for the royals. Maybe it was the moment in his toast when Prince Charles alluded to tabloid speculations about a Bush twin and one of his sons.