John Gardner, in his James Bond novels, introduced the character of Ann Reilly, a young female assistant to Q whose co-workers as well as Bond nicknamed Q'ute. Major Boothroyd himself was only mentioned a couple of times. During Licence Renewed and For Special Services, Q'ute and Bond maintained a brief romantic relationship. Afterwards, it was revealed a number of times that Bond and Q'ute were involved in a casual relationship. By the time Gardner left the book series, Q'ute had taken over the running of Q Branch, but when Raymond Benson took over the literary series, he ignored much of Gardner's continuum and gave Q Branch back to Major Boothroyd with no explanation and no further references to Ann Reilly.
After a year of field work, Ann took a two-year technical course, which earned her the promotion to Q-Branch executive. After only a week in this position, Ann was given the nickname "Q'ute", a name that Ann found "Damn Silly".
A year in to her service, in 1981, It was Q'ute's task to equip agent 007 with the necessary equipment to infiltrate Dr. Anton Murik's Castle. She equipped him with a steel-strengthened briefcase and suitcase, both with hidden sound capturing equipment, sabotage tools, and survival items. She also gave him a pen with a distress beacon built in, a high-intensity flashlight, a replica of his Dunhill lighter that released a painful gas, as well as a set of Nitefinder goggles. Later, in an attempt to sharpen her handgun knowledge, she watches as Bond disassembles and reassembles a gun. She then asked about the mark on his hand (the surgical scar from removing the III left over from Casino Royale). The two went to dinner, and Ann took Bond to her apartment where she showed him her extensive hologram array that used mirrors to change a room's appearance.
Ann and Bond are established as "close friends and occasional lovers", and Bond is staying at her apartment when Bond is summoned by M to the Regent Park building for a briefing.