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The Spy Who Was Out Cold by @author_barr is a Book Series Starter pick #pnr #paranormalromance

Title: The Spiritual Spy Book 1: The Spy Who Was Out Cold

Author: Marilyn Barr

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Book Blurb:

Ito may call Katya his umnyashka, but this clever telepath has made a catastrophic mistake. When Sergei assassinated their captors, Katya rejected Sergei’s offer of freedom for Ito’s promise of love as he worked his way up to mob boss. Fifteen years later, Katya has traded her metal cage for an endless string of hotel rooms with no hope of escape until Sergei steps into her life with a second chance.

Sergei thought he could forgive himself for his crimes as a teen cage fighter if he rescued enough kids from similar situations. Now he doubts it, but the institute won’t surrender its most effective vigilante to his dreams of retirement. With a prayer to his spirit guardians, Sergei vows this rescue will be his last…one way or the other.

Sergei’s final mission squeezes him between the loyalty to his childhood comrades and the hope of a simple life. Is Katya part of Ito’s expansion into human trafficking, an innocent in need of rescue, or possibly the one who will share his new life? Will Katya choose redemption, or will her wicked programming jeopardize the mission and Sergei’s life?


The music of my mother tongue delivered in a familiar feminine voice, like a piano in desperate need of tuning, sends my soul on high alert. I know that voice as well as my own. The creative string of curses belongs to Katya Lagunov.

When she steps from the lobby, she is as formidable as a swamp monster…and looks like one too.

A crown of plastic rollers wrapped in chestnut hair adorns her head. Her disguise of a green goop mask and oversized hotel bathrobe does the job of hiding her in plain view. No one will forget the swamp witch who screamed like a banshee in a foreign language. However, no one will remember any other attributes of the lady other than those Katya wants them to see. Her height, eye color, and facial features are as good as invisible. The hotel staff stares at the trail of green goop forming below her wild hand gestures. Who wears a mask on their hands?

Her dream was to become a fashion expert. I doubt she achieved it.

Perhaps that’s why I turned a blind eye to their illegal activities like gun-running and white-collar theft. The first few years hurt. I had assumed they would have left Scorpion’s Beak to its destruction. I focused on helping kids like us. The Institute had Ito on their radar for years but as long as there were kids to save, I could divert attention away from him. The trust we built extended over the years…but perhaps too far. In my nightmares, Katya and Ito are victims like me. The news they flipped to hunters hit me like a slap in the face.

I’m fighting the pull of those memories when Katya telepathically connecting us interrupts me.

Sergei, are you crazy? You aren’t wearing contacts and your eyes are memorable. Anyone in Scorpion’s Beak Organization will recognize you, idiot. Ito is watching for you. If you leave quietly, we will not chase you. Why would you pursue us?

While her guard grovels shamelessly, Katya fights with her necklace to tuck it into her robe. My watch snaps a few pictures of the jewelry to be analyzed for the type of camera it contains. Is she wired for sound alone or images too?

So, my eyes are memorable, Katya? Are there other parts of me you haven’t forgotten since we parted?

You are reckless and foolish for being here. These guards have a thing for blow darts. They will sedate you and throw you into a hole where no one will find you. How could you be so stupid?

Sweetheart, if they want to play darts, I will bring my own set.

Stop it. Ito is torn to pieces because of you. If he sees you, he will have to choose between what we were and who he is. He will kill you, but it will kill him too.

I’m touched, Katya. Tell me you aren’t in the human trafficking market, and I’m gone. I retrieve the two vodka bottles and hold them for her to point to the one she would prefer in her drink. In true Katya style, she picks the one with the sparkly bottle instead of the more expensive one with the austere label.

What? Ito would never do that after what was done to us. How dare you—

Do you know everything Ito does? Ah, I see. I dare because of the look on your face. How about an easier question? Are you happy?

The last time I was happy was at the fashion show, which I had to leave because you were lurking nearby. If I’m going to backstab the men who make me miserable, you would be on the list.

I have seen the evidence. Ito has taken over for Pyotr and Aleksei in all areas of the business.

Fighting cages or brothels? Seriously, Sergei—

There are pictures.

Here in the US? Impossible.

Private auctions feed those places in other countries. Ito’s organization is a supplier.

I don’t believe you. She taps her red nails on the bar top with agitation. I fumble with the ice scoop several times to prolong the process of making her simple drink.

I will take him down for this. It will kill me, but you are back in a familiar position, Katya. Will you leave with me, or will you go down with the Scorpion’s Beak Organization? It is not too late for you.

Why do you assume I am a pawn? I could be the mastermind behind his worst deeds.

“Which fruit do you want as a garnish? Russian mules are traditionally made with lime slices, but I prefer orange slices.” What will it be, Katya? Are you staying or going?

“I make my own rules,” Katya says with a hollow laugh, which her henchman echoes. “I too prefer oranges, but a wedge, not a slice.” If I need out, I will rescue myself. I don’t want to join the honor scouts like you or be a part of a dirty organization.

“Orange wedge. Got it,” I say while retrieving a fresh orange from the cooler under the bar. “I’ll be here all week so if you want your mule done your way, ask for Brandon. You can even send your friend here”— I clap the shoulder of her guard, who swells with pride. She smirks at his ignorance— “give him exact instructions and I will get you set up.”

That’s my offer, Katya. Full immunity, no testifying, and complete relocation. If you want to disappear, order a mule with orange slices and I will have you in a helicopter in hours. If you order mules with orange wedges, I will know you are still on the fence. An order with lime slices and you chose Scorpion’s Beak Organization…again.

“I think I know how to order my own drinks. I’m a big girl.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

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What makes your featured book a must-read?

Fast-paced and full of tension, The Spiritual Spy Duology follows a Russian vigilante on his last mission for the mysterious company, “The Institute”. The first book, The Spy Who Was Out Cold, follows three childhood friends on three separate paths. One is evil, one is good, and the fate of the third hangs in the balance, but who is who?

They will use mental telepathy, a diabolical organization, and divine intervention to get what they deserve. As Sergei turns in the friends he swore to protect as a teen, he wishes on a star to retire to a quiet life. Will the spirits watching over Sergei grant his wish to walk away from the Institute or does Fate have a different plan for him?

Readers say, “Sergei is the hero we all wish to rescue us.” “The Spiritual Spy Duology is like a James Bond movie with a supernatural twist.” “This holiday series is so hot; it will fog up your kindle.” When its free, you can’t help but treat yourself to one last present. So, collect your copy of The Spy Who Was Out Cold.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $40 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win. Runs January 11 – January 20, 2022. Winner will be drawn on January 21, 2022.

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 vampire movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.

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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Jan 11, 2022

Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing your book in our Book Series Starter Event!

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