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Title: Best Kept Lies (Shadow Play #1)
Author: Helena Maeve
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: unknown
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
Shadow Play series (Book #1)
What becomes of the Russian spy who lands himself in the crosshairs of a rogue British agent?
Grigory Antipov’s work within the intelligence community is exemplary, but attracting too much attention is against his interests as a spy—a lesson painfully learned the night he is abducted off the streets of Rome. Captivity is a dangerous thing and Grigory already operates under a cloud of suspicion, given his predilection for male company. Luckily, his stint in British custody is short-lived, a mere flex of muscle from Agent Karim Awad.
Karim’s objective is obvious. Lure Grigory into Section’s clutches and turn him against his own people—expose him to the wrath of Moscow if he refuses. His mission brief may not specify the methods to be used, but Grigory soon discovers that Karim is a man of many talents. With powerful interests at play and the threat of deadly force in the air, Grigory faces an impossible choice—surrender to his fate or sacrifice the only man whose touch makes him feel alive after so many years.
I Want Your Doomed Romance
The few times I’ve been asked if I prefer writing a specific genre or pairing most, I’ve tended to waffle on the answer. Not because I don’t genuinely try to figure this out for my own self but because I’m never quite sure. No story is ever just one thing, so genres can be hard to pin down. Pairings are even harder. If I were left to my own devices, every character I write would be poly and queer—after all, they do say to write what you know—but that wouldn’t make for very interesting reading.
What I do know is this: I really, really enjoy writing doomed love affairs. Best Kept Lies and the remaining five novels in the Shadowplay series have taught me that when it comes to tragic heroes tragically wrecking all to be with the one they love, I am there with bells on.
At its core, the series is a collection of six stories, each feeding into the next one as the overarching power balance between different actors in the intelligence community begins to degrade. Each story centres on a different couple, from enemy spies to journalists meddling in conspiracies far above their pay grade, to gangsters playing both sides and nearly getting killed for it. The characters and circumstances are different, but the themes of opposites attracting or rivals becoming lovers are ubiquitous.
In Best Kept Lies, for instance, Grigory and Karim are first thrust together by virtue of their profession. While Grigory works to recruit a British agent for his employers, Karim, himself a British spy, means to capture and turn him into a spy for the UK. The stakes couldn’t be higher. If Grigory agrees to betray everything he’s worked for, then he becomes a pawn in the hands of the British. If he refuses, the British could leak work of his meeting with Karim and expose him to Moscow’s wrath. His life hanging by a thread, Grigory can easily believe that ordering Karim’s assassination is his only way out.
Then again, not all best laid plans come to fruition.
As their feelings for one another morph from enmity to something far more complicated, Grigory and Karim’s loyalty to their respective agencies begins to wane. But if two rivals can become lovers, what about others like them? What about the survival of the system itself? Answers to come in the next five instalments! In the meantime, I think I can safely say that Karim and Grigory are surely doomed… which is just how I like my male characters.
Karim’s fingertips were a light, almost ticklish weight on the back of his neck. They were also all the proof Grigory needed to know that he hadn’t succeeded in exhausting his partner.
He hid a smirk into the sheets. He’d have to try harder next time.
“You awake?” Karim wondered. The gentle caress drifted down Grigory’s spine, between his shoulder blades, lower and lower until he hit the edge of the sheet.
Grigory sighed into the pillow. “Maybe.” Are you going to stop there?
“I was thinking, just now…”
“Of?” Grigory tried to mitigate the hopeful note in his voice. Since his recruitment, he had gone weeks and months without a lover. He wasn’t so keen on physical contact that he felt a need to hoard his pleasure like a magpie.
Sleep would’ve made it easier to embrace self-control. Karim’s warm breath on his nape stirred more than his short-cropped hair.
“That first night in Rome,” said Karim. “Took me hours to realize I hadn’t made it up.”
Grigory had no desire to move, but he rolled over, accidentally whacking Karim in the chest with his arm. He would’ve expected a smile on Karim’s lips. It sounded like a tease.
“That wasn’t your first time with a man,” Grigory countered.
“I hadn’t, in a while. And I wasn’t sure if it was taking advantage to—”
Grigory raised his eyebrows. “Give me a blowjob?” He didn’t have to cast his mind back too far to remember the heat of Karim’s mouth, the intensity in his gaze as he drove Grigory past the point of no return.
“I wasn’t sure it was…wanted.”
“I don’t recall turning you down.”
Karim ran a hand over his naked chest, curling his palm around a pectoral. “How could you have done? I was blackmailing you, threatening to turn your own agency against you… It’s not that I’m saying I would’ve done anything differently—”
“Surely not,” scoffed Grigory.
“But your options were limited. You could submit or…”
“Way I remember it, I seduced you.”
Karim smiled. “Selective memory.”
“A necessity, in my line of work.” Our line of work. There was plenty of guilt to go around, if they started unpacking the past.
Enter Pride Publishing’s September blog tour competition for this chance to win an eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies.
About the Author
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.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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