Blurb for Best Kept Lies:
What becomes of the Russian spy who lands himself in the crosshairs of a rogue British agent?
Grigory Antipov’s work within the intelligence community is exemplary, but attracting too much attention is against his interests as a spy—a lesson painfully learned the night he is abducted off the streets of Rome. Captivity is a dangerous thing and Grigory already operates under a cloud of suspicion, given his predilection for male company. Luckily, his stint in British custody is short-lived, a mere flex of muscle from Agent Karim Awad.
Karim’s objective is obvious. Lure Grigory into Section’s clutches and turn him against his own people—expose him to the wrath of Moscow if he refuses. His mission brief may not specify the methods to be used, but Grigory soon discovers that Karim is a man of many talents. With powerful interests at play and the threat of deadly force in the air, Grigory faces an impossible choice—surrender to his fate or sacrifice the only man whose touch makes him feel alive after so many years.
General Release Date: 22nd September 2015
James Bond Crying into His Martini
Before Best Kept Lies was a blip on my editor’s radar, I’d already dipped my toes into this genre once before. My first attempt, a short novella called In the Presence of Mine Enemy, had been well-received and writing it had been really enjoyable. But my fascination with spies was still in its infancy. I wasn’t as taken with Bondian gadgets as I became obsessed with trying to imagine what Bond might be like once the baddies were defeated and all the Bond girls went home. Did he cry into his martini? Did he go home and try to wash the blood out of his suits?
Did he even have a home?
Per popular culture, espionage conjures visions of dapper Englishmen dodging bullets while spouting catchy one-liners even as they save grateful and sexy damsels with one hand and defeat stock villains with the other. The protagonists can be silly or sexy, or both, but they are seldom allowed to lament their chosen profession, much less break free of it. At best, they’re permitted a heroic exit. At worst, they’re rebooted again and again, a fresh new face taking up the banner of improbable stunts and unambiguous morality.
In writing Best Kept Lies, I was keen to focus on what happens behind the scenes, in between car chases. Enter Grigory, Russian spy working in not-so-friendly Europe, freshly caught in the British Intelligence Services’ net. While his daily routine may indeed involve bespoke suits and dead drops, he is also a man acutely aware of what he stands to lose. Never has this been clearer than when his attempt to recruit a British spy lands him in the crosshairs of a rival agent.
Karim has both the manpower and the authorization to bring him in, but what he wants most is to make of Grigory a double-agent serving Britain’s interests in Moscow. Placed in an impossible position, Grigory’s only hope is to eliminate Karim before word of this travels back to Russia and he is decisively put to pasture. Both Karim and Grigory are experienced senior agents, far too sensible to let anything as petty as personal affinity get in the way of doing their jobs. And yet longevity in the world of espionage goes hand in hand with solitude. Finding a kindred spirit is more than either of them could have ever hoped for—a good thing, too, as their burgeoning affair threatens their very lives.
Excerpt from Best Kept Lies:
The vibration of the subway car and the tooth-drill noise of the tracks did little to dispel the thought. Although the director would never say it outright and in their interactions he was every bit the patient mentor Grigory had always known, he knew he’d been disappointing during their interview.
Given how much he traveled, Grigory only had a scattered few chances to impress his superiors. And he came unprepared. Exhausted. His mind resolutely elsewhere.
If his next assignment saw him relegated to Vladivostok, it wouldn’t come as a surprise.
Grigory grabbed the steel bar and levered to his feet as the train slowed into station. Crisp evening gales buffeted his cheeks and the cement stairs leading up to the surface. He didn’t mind the climb or the slippery walk down to his apartment building. He needed the exercise.
Did they even have escalators in Vladivostok?
There was no sign of his busybody neighbor as he slotted his key in the door and stomped his feet to shake off the melting snow. His mailbox overflowed with pamphlets and advertisements. He shot it a baleful glare in passing but resisted the urge to clear it out.
Tomorrow. He would find time for it tomorrow.
He shifted the bag of groceries from one hand to the other as he trotted up the stairs. This was his life. He could get used to it again. Warm, crowded Rome was already losing its grip on him. Soon he wouldn’t miss the coffee or the food. He’d forget the smells and sounds of the city—just in time for his next mission.
Idle thoughts consumed Grigory’s attention. He was on the landing, halfway to his apartment door, when he noticed the sliver of light slanting through the gap.
The plastic bag slid free from his hand. Two apples rolled out. One thumped lazily against the door, nudging it open a little farther. The other rolled right into the apartment, where it tapped softly at a black, heavy-duty climbing boot.
Karim picked it up and took a casual bite.
About Helena Maeve:
Helena Maeve has always been a globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she’s collected in her excursions. When she isn’t writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.
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