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.
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Copyright © Helena Maeve 2015. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
“You’re a son of a bitch, you know that?”
The crackle of red vinyl dragged across Grigory’s nerves, yet when he glanced up it was with a placid smile. No use antagonizing such a valuable asset.
Nathaniel wrinkled his nose at the cloud of stale cigarette smoke that rose from the bench seat as he sat down. He didn’t comment on the setting. He had more important things on his mind.
“Was it your people?”
Someday, Grigory mused, they would look back on this and laugh. Assuming they lived long enough for hindsight to lend a touch of humor to their clandestine meetings.
“Don’t you want to take your coat off first?” he inquired. “Make yourself comfortable?”
Nathaniel raised his eyebrows. He’d never come out and say ‘cut the crap’—crap being par for the course in their industry—but it was written in the disbelieving lines of his face.
“I won’t be staying. They’re expecting me back at the embassy in twenty minutes.”
“Then you shouldn’t waste time asking questions you know I cannot answer.” Slowly, Grigory raised his coffee cup to his lips and returned his gaze to the flat-screen suspended above the bar.
There was something vaguely offensive about a café in Rome displaying every feature of a New Jersey watering hole. Before Grigory could give it much thought, the ‘Breaking News’ logo flashed on screen.
Ten Downing Street seemed both larger and grayer on TV. The prime minister fared no better beneath the flicker and flash of tabloid cameras. Burly men in stretchy dark suits flanked him like hailers. With little finesse, they bustled him into the back seat of a shiny Mercedes as reporters shouted questions from behind the barricades.
The BBC feed lingered on that one last glimpse of Prime Minister Craft before he disappeared behind tinted glass.
He wore the face of a man on his way to the gallows. Her Majesty hardly warranted the sulk.
A blonde head blocked Grigory’s view.
“Good morning,” greeted the perky waitress, her English beautifully accented. “What will you have?”
She wore a pale coral shirt that matched the sign outside the café and a pair of cut-off shorts. From her apron dangled a hand-scribbled name tag that read Letitia.
“Nothing,” replied Nathaniel. Then, for Grigory’s sake, he repeated, “I’m not staying.”
“Chicken burger,” Grigory said, ignoring him. “And guacamole.”
“Would you like a beer with that?”
Grigory beamed. “Why not? Make that two.”
Punctuating their order with a flick of the pen, the waitress fluttered her lashes and turned on her heel. Her ponytail swung as she sauntered toward the kitchen. She couldn’t have been older than eighteen.
Watching her made Grigory feel impossibly old. Eighteen had been sweating over his university entrance exams and staring wistfully out of the window as neighborhood boys staggered out of their beds simply to trawl down to the public pool. Eighteen had been the certitude that if he hadn’t got into Lomosonov University, his life would have been over.
Eighteen was an eternity ago.
“You know I don’t care for Italian beer,” Nathaniel muttered under his breath.
“Who says I ordered it for you?”
Nathaniel’s stiff upper lip became a flat horizontal line. Like pretty, blonde Letitia, he struck Grigory as too green for the world. At least no one expected Letitia to deal in state secrets.
He allowed himself a sigh. “Your prime minister chooses the wrong call girl to unburden himself to and it must be the SVR’s long reach twisting her arm?” If he clucked his tongue, it wasn’t to dismiss the possibility but to chide Nathaniel for jumping to such a far-fetched conclusion.
It was a sad reality all across the globe that politicians were not to be trusted—especially when they pledged their loyalty to secret spy agencies first.
“Believe me, this comes as much as a surprise to us as it does you.”
Young and inexperienced as he was, Nathaniel didn’t take the bait. “Did you just ask me to believe a spy?”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Have you ever turned on a movie, realizing it’s half way through but sit and watch it anyway hoping you can catch up to understand because it looks really good? Well that’s how I felt through most of this book. You get dropped off during an intense convo not really knowing what’s going on or who the players are, and it never really clears up. Just too many players, too many plots, subplots for this novella to really have time to sort it all out. Grigory, is a unique character for sure. A Russian spy, being caught so easily by the enemy is not going to set well with his handlers. This knowledge and the fact that he has been hiding his sexual preference just may sway him. Karim was sent to convince Grigory anyway possible to help with the swaying, what neither were expecting was the chemistry and even though the story line was still a little murky, I thoroughly enjoyed watching (reading) these two way through it. The fact they both know about each other, know the game, the stakes and still go at it was entertaining. I just wish we had few less players or more time to build on everything. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Crystals Many reviews