Title: For the Love of a Spy: the Scrivener and the Handyman
Author: M. S. Spencer
Genre: Romantic suspense; Action/Adventure; Contemporary Romance; Spies/Espionage
Maris Graystone writes the Scrivener, a political column, and Michael Kinder is a handyman with a secret. They meet on a hot day in 1991, an era electric with possibility and peril. Despite the instantaneous sparks, they both sense there is more to their relationship than physical attraction.
Their love affair intensifies against the backdrop of the dramatic world events—a disintegrating USSR, Middle East peace talks, and Vietnam’s re-emergence on the international stage. Michael appears and disappears at unpredictable moments, leaving Maris limp and lovelorn. Looking for safe harbor for both her emotions and her body, she welcomes the advances of a dashing French diplomat, Émile de Canalon, who whisks her off to France.
Will she embrace the luxury and comfort of life with Émile, or the edge-of-the-seat thrills and terrors of globe-hopping adventures with Michael?
She had picked up the phone again when a familiar voice behind her said, “How about a large Meat Lover’s pizza? And a Greek salad. That should put us over the top.”
She whirled. No other voice made her tingle like that. Deep, rich, with highlights of humor and a hint of Canadian diphthongs. “Michael!” She dropped the menu.
He picked up the telephone and, cupping his hand over the receiver, winked at her. “Niko? Yes, could you add a large Meat Lover’s and a Greek salad? Thanks. Address? It’s 1201 North Nelson Street.” He hung up and turned to her with a grin. “Did I startle you?”
Maris realized her jaw had dropped and pushed it back into place. “You could say that. How did you get in?”
He hung his head sheepishly. “Well, you know I have some training in that regard. I’m afraid it isn’t as difficult as it should be.”
“Trade secrets? Okay, then tell me what you’re doing here.”
Michael’s smirk widened into a lascivious grin. “Gee, that’s not the welcome I’m used to. Whatever happened to falling into bed? Or onto a couch? Or—”
Maris threw up a hand to halt his forward motion. “Stop it. That’s not going to happen this time. It’s too…too discombobulating.”
“Can you say that three times really fast?” He took another step toward her. He was dressed all in black, even to his gloves. While not exactly in blackface, his skin sported an unnatural tan. The only spot of vivid color about him was those glorious sapphirine eyes. His expression sobered. “Maris, I wish I could have given you a heads-up. I only found out this morning when they ordered me to Washington. It took a lot of finagling to get this evening off.” He held his arms wide. “Now come here.”
Maris backed away. She had worked too hard at convincing herself the affair was doomed to give in that quickly. She had to stick to her principles, no matter how difficult. To distract him, she asked, “What about your son?”
He stood still, eyebrows raised. “Kip? He’s with my parents, of course. I’ll see him tomorrow.”
Well, that’s pretty cavalier. Her temper threatened to break loose. Maris wiped a pretend tear away. “Ah, gee, that sounds awfully tender. So much for good parenting.”
Michael stopped and peered at her. “I told you before that Kip is used to it. He’s never had a father who appeared on schedule. We appreciate our time together, and that’s enough. The way I hoped it would be with us.” On the last words, his voice cracked—with distress? Or disappointment?
Either way, excuse me? Resentment flared. “Well, don’t count on it! I’m not available anymore. I’ve had time to think. You told me once that you couldn’t offer me security. Well, Michael, I want security. I want stability. I want my own family. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the man who goes to bed with me at night is still there in the morning!” She flung herself angrily through the door into the living room.
Michael followed. “Darling, if you’ll calm down I have something to tell you. I only have a few hours.”
Maris didn’t want to lose her advantage, but her curiosity got the better of her. She reluctantly sat down on the couch. “What is it?”
Michael stood before her, hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans. Then he took them out. He strode to the mantelpiece, only to whirl around and march to the window. She watched his shoulders lift as he took a deep breath. Still with his back to her, he muttered almost inaudibly, “Maris, I’m going to ask for a desk job. A permanent one. Here, at Langley.”
Maris sat motionless, waiting for her lungs to refill with air. All of a sudden, her new black Christmas sweater felt way too hot. She pulled it off and threw it over a chair, then kicked off her slippers. She shook her head to clear it. When that didn’t help, she rubbed her eyes, but she couldn’t stop the sobs from choking her.
Michael sat down next to her. When she didn’t move, he pulled her to him. She let him kiss her while she tried to think. Then she wasn’t thinking, just kissing.
I Heart Publishing: https://www.iheartbookpublishing.com/for-the-love-of-a-spy-the-scrivener-and-the-handyman.html
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KWW84WQ
What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
So many things: how about holding your new book in your hands like the baby it is.
Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:
Set yourself aside and think of him. Leave the thinking about you to him.
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Although M. S. Spencer has traveled in five continents, she spent the last thirty years in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional assistant, speechwriter, and non-profit director. She has two grown children and a perfect granddaughter. Ms. Spencer has published twelve mystery/romantic suspense novels, and currently divides her time between Florida and Maine.
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