Spence clinched World Cup bronze last year on home soil
Britain's Mhairi Spence won silver in the first event of this year's modern pentathlon World Cup in Palm Springs.
The Scot, 25, scored 5208 points to finish 76 behind the three-time world champion Amelie Caze of France.
Spence said: "Winning silver means a lot to me. I trained extra hard during the winter and it has paid off."
It was a good day in general for the British women with Katy Burke finishing fourth, Samantha Murray seventh and Heather Fell 10th.
Spence performed solidly throughout the day and ended with a strong run-and-shoot to hold off a late challenge from Germany's Olympic gold medallist Lena Schoneborn.
It was the first time the pentathletes had competed using the newly introduced laser guns instead of air pistols in the combined run-and-shot finale.
"In the combined event I had to focus on my running as I could hear the long legs of Schoneborn behind me," said Spence, who can now add the silver to the bronze she won at the World Cup event in Medway in April 2010.
"I was so tired, but luckily the end of the run was downhill and it gave me a bit of courage to just go for it.
"I missed out on the world championships team last year and that made me even more determined."
In the men's final, Britain's Nick Woodbridge finished seventh, with 19-year-old team-mate Jamie Cooke 21st.
Woodbridge, who finished with 5556 points - 184 adrift of gold medallist Pavlo Tymoschenko - said: "I hope I can take the momentum forward from here and snatch some medals."
The next World Cup event is on 14-17 April at Sassari in Italy.
1. Amelie Caze (Fra) - 5284 pts
2. Mhairi Spence (GB) - 5208 pts
3. Lena Schoneborn (Ger) - 5192 pts
4. Katy Burke (GB) - 5152 pts
7. Samantha Murray (GB) - 5072 pts
10. Heather Fell (GB) - 4996 pts
1. Pavlo Tymoshchenko (Ukr) - 5740 pts
2. Adam Marosi (Hun) - 5720 pts
3. Mikalai Hayanouski (Blr) - 5596 pts
7th: Nick Woodbridge (GB) - 5556 pts
21: Jamie Cooke (GB) - 5396 pts
14th semi-final B: Robert Flack (GB) - 4144 pts