For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.
Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.
Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.
Hi! Kim Fielding here, and I have a new book out. Yay! The Spy’s Love Song is the tale of a jaded rock star and a State Department operative who end up in deep trouble in a country with a repressive totalitarian government. And there’s romance.
Much of this book takes place in Starograd, the capital of the fictional country of Vasnytsia. I modeled Starograd (but not its current politics) on several real cities in Central and Eastern Europe. Most of Starograd’s architecture was inspired by Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And lucky me! I just returned from my second visit to Sarajevo, so I have photos to share.
Sarajevo’s buildings reflect its three major historical eras. The city was founded in the 15th century, when it was part of the Ottoman Empire. So the oldest part, Baščaršija, has a definite Eastern feel. In fact, it was the commercial center of the city—the bazaar—and there are still coppersmiths who do beautiful work. There’s also a gorgeous mosque, a Sephardic synagogue from the 16th century, a lunar clock, and some of Europe’s first public toilets.
In the 19th century, a fire destroyed half of Baščaršija. By then, Sarajevo was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The replacement buildings have the same architectural style you can find in Vienna. The transition from Ottoman to Austro-Hungarian architecture happens suddenly, as you cross a narrow pedestrian street.
After World War I (which began, actually, in Sarajevo, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Baščaršija), Yugoslavia was formed. Although it was not part of the Soviet Union, it was a communist country; locals tell me Yugoslav communism was a softer sort than the Soviets had. During this time period, the city built lots of the big cement apartment buildings that were common throughout communist countries. You can see one in this photo. These buildings are ugly, but a local told me they were appreciated during the long siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996) because they were so solidly built that they better withstood the constant shelling and sniper fire.
And this brings me to my last architectural point about Sarajevo. During the siege, I’m told, every building in the city was at least damaged. You can still see this damage everywhere, although Sarajevo’s now a vibrant, safe city. I took that final photo while waiting for my tram in the middle of what was known during the war as Sniper Alley. Again, very safe today (unless you’re careless about crossing in front of a tram), but during the war, it was a brutally dangerous place to be.
As you’re reading The Spy’s Love Song—and you are going to read it, right?—you might recognize bits of Sarajevo in Starograd.
Wow! This was not quite what I expected at all. I do love Kim Fielding’s work, and one of the things I enjoy most is she doesn’t write the same version of the same character’s doing the same thing. This book is a great example of that.
The MC’s in this were very different people but set up well, and the location…well, you can’t get much better than what was provided for you in this. The book covered everything from regime type politics, to a rock star who mentally complained about his beach chair being uncomfortable by not having arm padding to a gruff government agent.
As with all Dreamspun books though, there is always romance sprinkled throughout, and without it being too much, it was just enough for two men who had themselves placed in a tenuous situation.
And of course a happy ending, as all the category romances must have.
4 pieces of eye candy
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.