When Grace Quincy ("Q") lands a job as the lead scientist and engineer in the CIA's Clandestine Operations and Properties group, she becomes the Quartermaster for U.S. reconnaissance—the creator of spy gadgets for Jayce Jackson, special agent with a license to kill. As charming as the famed British double-O, Jackson is one-hundred percent all-American, from his dusty cowboy boots to his unending Southern charm. His conquests in and out of the bedroom are the stuff of legends, yet Q daydreams of being something more to Jackson. At the highly sought-after event, Nebulas and Novas, Q gets tangled in Jackson's latest mission and the mysterious disappearance of NASA's green glass Moon stone. Q must trust her wits to survive the dangerous operation, thwart Dr. Faust's sinister plan, and save the sexy spy she loves.
As the CIA's top scientist, Q and her team create some very innovative devices for use in the field. But, when it comes time to show them off, the ever-professional Q gets flustered by some charming banter initiated by her sexy spy, Jackson. This scene always makes me think of Desmond Llewelyn, the actor who played Q in seventeen James Bond movies. Bond may play around in the lab, but Q always brought him to task. "Oh, grow up, 007!"
At times, when writing, my characters decide they want something to happen, and I can't alter it no matter how I fight it. In this scene of PROMISE ME THE MOON, my hero, Jayce Jackson, whispered his desire to tutor Q in the art of a seductive tango. I fought the inspiration because I needed them to be away from each other, Q doing surveillance, and Jackson fulfilling his mission. There was no place for a dance floor, let alone a tango. Well, Jackson's tango turned out to be much more creative than I ever expected. Even my heart beats slow-slow-quick-quick-slow when I read it. *Sigh* Oh, Jayce!
One aspect I love in Promise Me the Moon is the humor of Q's fellow scientists in the CIA lab, Bob, Bill, and Barry, affectionately known as the Killer Bs. They represent the science nerds and math geeks who work behind the scenes, mostly because being out front isn't as exciting as the MMOPRG they've been playing online. Their best ideas for spy gadgets come from comic books. So when the Bs and Q are tasked with a stakeout in the French Quarter, you can bet nothing will go according to plan.
Like most of us, Grace Quincy has a family who has the best intentions. In her case, however, her job at the CIA leaves many questions unanswered and leaves a lot of room for her family to make assumptions. Super smart, analytical, and a little nerdy, Gracie has never fallen into the well-defined categories of what her family thinks a young, single woman should be. In an attempt to figure her out, they have come to some conclusions about Gracie's lifestyle that she feels she needs to defend. Unfortunately, the way of life she's protecting and what her family imagines it being are two totally different things.
Five years ago Meredith St. Claire fell in love. Her romance with Kostya Dychenko ended after three whirlwind days in Kiev when she quietly slipped out of his arms at dawn. Returning to her life in the United States, Meredith tried to forget Kostya. Now a call from Immigration sends her to face the man who still haunts her dreams. Kostya, who stumbled on surreptitious information about resurrected Soviet-era missiles in Cherkasy, has fled to America seeking asylum—and the help of the woman who disappeared from his bed five years ago. Together Kostya and Meredith return to the Ukraine and face the terrorist group, Fire of Dawn, to stop the imminent missile launch. But will the fates that brought them together again unleash circumstances that endanger them both?
One of the most important moments of Fires of Kiev is the reunion between Kostya and Meredith, five years after their whirlwind romance in Kiev. I love this scene where Meredith anticipates seeing Kostya, who is miraculously just down the hall. Her brother, Will, enters as a grounding force, yet as her older brother he can't help but tease her for her obvious nervousness. Also in this scene, Meredith and Will get a hint of Kostya's character and the scope of what he's facing.
As I researched the city of Kiev, I was struck by pictures of a small pedestrian bridge that spanned the road separating Mariinsky park and downtown Kiev. Thousands of lovers have visited the bridge and left padlocks as a symbol of their love. Many are inscribed with initials or names, a sort of promise made in a public, yet private way. I imagined Kostya and Meredith, practically strangers, but with this amazing connection. They would want to share a symbol like a lock on the railing, but it might be too new, too awkward to suggest. The wish on the emerging star provides an opportunity for truth in this magical moment. Love can be found quite quickly.
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