On the brink of retirement, a spy will risk all.
The writing’s on the wall. Will Rowe has no illusions about retaining his post as the head of the largest Section field office in South America. Private contractors, some more lawful than others, already see to most of their interests. It’s only a matter of time before Will himself is made redundant. He’d like to think he’s made peace with the inevitable, but when a figure from his past offers one last chance to make a difference, Will can’t resist.
Caught between his duty to the agency and his commitment to protect his operatives, Will must persuade the man who nearly wrecked his career to give up the one and only constant in his world—revenge.
Ignacio was a low-grade runner for the infamous Macias cartel the last time he and Will spoke. Now he is the head of the family and a direct beneficiary of MI6 cost-cutting measures. Will knows that approaching such a man without his superiors’ knowledge or approval is a perilous undertaking, but he doesn’t expect his body and heart to become forfeit. As events spiral out of his control, Will finds himself at the mercy of an old lover intent on awakening desires he long thought suppressed.
“I was wondering when you’d work up the nerve to come see me,” Ignacio admitted, switching to English. “Have a seat. What will you have to drink?”
“That’s not what I’m here for.”
Ignacio shook his head, shoulders slumping. “Always business with you… Very well, but it’s your loss. They make an excellent martini. Shaken, not stirred, of course. That’s how you spooks prefer it, yes?”
Ten years on and his smile was just as warm as Will remembered. He had the kind of face that made men want to confess their sins and beg absolution. Will had been stupid enough to trust his soft, slanted eyes once. He had worshiped diligently, on his knees, and nearly lost his job for it.
“Manuel Sosa,” he replied, sidestepping the question altogether.
Ignacio froze, whiskey halfway to his lips. “What about him?”
“He’s in custody. He’s under our protection. I’m here to request that you don’t attempt to interfere with that state of affairs. Again.”
A sharkish smile taking form on his lips, Ignacio clucked his tongue.
“No, that’s not it… You look like you haven’t slept in weeks. Has this meeting been keeping you up? Did you play it out in your head until you drove yourself crazy, like you used to?”
“It’s been ten years,” Will shot back, bristling. It took everything he had to keep his voice even. “I’ve grown out of it.”
Liars, traitors, and other sexy things
Thank you, Because Two Men, for hosting me today. It’s with a sigh of relief and a slight pang of regret that I watch book five of my six book series Shadow Play fly the nest for general release. What began as a chance meeting in a bar in Rome has become a tangle of lust and (dis)loyalty. Enemies have become lovers, lovers have become traitors, and now traitors must fight for their lives… or die trying.
A year or two ago, I wrote a short story entitled In the Presence of Mine Enemy, which pitted a newly retired MI6 spy against the man he thought he’d killed. It’s a claustrophobic, fast-paced, on-the-brink novella that should end in tears but somehow (spoiler alert!) doesn’t. The Shadow Play series sprang from that same kernel of an idea. Deception doesn’t quite spell out true love in real life, but fiction is more lenient with liars. And what better reason to bend the truth than Queen and country?
As much as I enjoy James Bond and the sleek, good guys fighting the good fight theme of the 007 books and films, I’ve always been partial to stories about average people doing extraordinary things. Shadow Play focuses on six such pairs. The stories are interconnected but distinct and each character must carry its own cross. Some, as the pair at the heart of Best Kept Lies, are divided by their allegiance to rival agencies, others, as in The Price of Freedom, are separated by a commitment to truth and justice, while others still are only in it for their own survival, like the hit men of Splendid Isolation.
In Counterfeit Conscience, the fifth installment in the series, the choice to be made is one between answering the call of duty and allowing oneself to be manipulated into renewing ties with a very dangerous (and very seductive) individual. But if lies are tolerable when they serve the common good, the question then becomes who decides what the common good is. And that’s when the fighting for one’s life business comes into play. (I did warn you!)
I hope you enjoy the different dynamics at work in the Shadow Play series. And by dynamics, yes, I mean all the sexy bits.
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.
Author’s Social Media Links: