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The Spy Who Loved My Russian Tea Cakes by @author_barr is a Christmas in July Fete pick #romance

Title: The Spy Who Loved My Russian Tea Cakes

***Part of the Christmas Cookie Anthology Volume A Pinch of Nutmeg***

Author: Marilyn Barr

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Book Blurb:

Reiki Practitioner Cassie Bench is the black sheep of her family. She would rather work over the Christmas holidays than answer her family’s interrogation about her non-existent love life and career choices. She assures herself it has nothing to do with the handsome coma patient, Sergei Chekov who stars in her dreams.

Sergei wakes from blackness and dreams of a siren’s call. He isn’t sure who he can trust when the woman from his dreams walks into his room with his favorite childhood treat to jog his memory. Despite his attraction to her, he must escape to safety.

Cassie is heartbroken and left with nothing but questions. Who was the woman who convinced her to wake Sergei? Why is the FBI involved? And will she ever see Sergei again or will she be left to pine over the spy who loved Russian tea cakes?


“Of course, but I’m not a nurse. I’m the Reiki—”

“Yes, the spiritual healer. You are the one I meant to find. I knew it the minute I saw you.”

“Great, then lead the way.” I gesture to the stairs behind her and regret not asking her if she would prefer the elevator. Together we shuffle at a snail’s pace.

“My Sergei’s room is the first one at the top of the stairs, dearie.” She puffs with each step. I reach out to help her, but most of our residents find a helping hand to be a dig against their independence. I push open the door to the hall and wait for her to step through. She then waits regally for me to open the door to her son’s room. “Sergei is in bad shape. He needs you to wake him up. He’s in a coma, you see.”

“If he’s not consenting, then I don’t think I can—”

“He would want your help. I know it. As his only relative, I give consent on his behalf. You are his only hope.” She’s on the brink of tears. Her gnarled hands tangle handfuls of her sweater set like she’s wringing out a washrag. My heart pounds. Coma healing is a gray area in the number one rule of energetic healing. Never journey on someone’s behalf without their consent. Would Leslie fault me for calling her so soon after she left?

“Please, for a mother’s love.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

**AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK** in the Christmas Cookie Anthology volume A Pinch of Nutmeg!!!!

Paperback Links –

eBook Links –

What I love most about the holiday season:

My favorite part of the holiday season is the Christmas lights. I grew up a few miles from the Columbus Zoo (Ohio) where they have the largest light show in the nation. With all the animals asleep in their indoor enclosures, the outdoor areas would be transformed into winter scenes made of lights. As zoo members, my family would wander around for hours surrounded by lights.

Even though we have since moved from Ohio, my husband still indulges my love of lights. We love the outdoor Christmas light display by the Indianapolis Art Museum and the traveling lantern exhibits (formerly at the Louisville Zoo.) Last month (June 2022) my family traveled to the Nashville Zoo to see their after-dark laser light exhibit.

Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?

The Spy Who Loved My Russian Tea Cakes is dedicated to my deceased mother-in-law. It includes her recipe for Russian Tea Cakes (with gluten and dairy-free substitutions for my son who has a long list of food allergies.) While I decided to write a book around my mother-in-law’s cookie recipe, I wanted the story to reflect her interests. Theresa loved gritty crime and spy novels, like those by Patricia Cornwall, John LeCarre, and Robert Ludlum. The television shows she liked to watch were too scary and intense for me like Wire in the Blood and Foyle’s War. Sergei represents these interests.

While Sergei reminds me of Christmases past with Theresa, Cassie represents present-day Christmases. I currently study remotely with the International Association of Reiki Professionals curriculum while mentoring under a master teacher who channeled my attunements, just like Cassie in the book. At the time The Spy Who Loved My Russian Tea Cakes was written I had just received my second attunement and started giving Reiki sessions to clients. I am currently a certified practitioner on my Master Reiki walk to becoming a teacher and mentor. Helping others’ spiritual wellbeing is the basis for the holiday season.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.

Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs July 1 – 31

Drawing will be held on August 1.

Author Biography:

Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual/energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated.

When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.

Social Media Links:


Jul 24, 2022

I love decorating for the holidays!


Unknown member
Jul 10, 2022

I love most about the holidays are the songs we sang around the piano and the rolled sugar cookies my gram baked and let us cut them out, decorate and taste test.


Barbara Bettis
Jul 08, 2022

Fun title Marilyn!! Happy Christmas in July :)


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jul 07, 2022

Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing your book in our Christmas in July Fete! I have yet to read this one so off I go to grab a copy. :)

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