Thursday, January 16, 2014

Welcome, M.S. Spencer!

Today I`m happy to have author M.S. Spencer visiting! She`ll be sharing some background on her latest book, as well as an excerpt. The floor is all yours, M.S.!


Hi, Vicki. Thanks for having me. Before we get to the spicy excerpt, I'd like to tell your readers a little about how this story came to be.

It is amazing what a little Googling can lead to. Sometimes truth is truly stranger than fiction. For example, the intricate plot for the Mason’s Mark came about unexpectedly. I started with the idea that my heroine finds a dead body on top of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. The GWM is not only a Masonic Lodge (Alexandria-Washington no. 22) but a memorial to George Washington and a national showcase for freemasonry. In order to ensure authenticity, I wanted to learn as much about freemasonry as I could.  

I began with basic sites on Masons, but my Google search led me into a strange world of global intrigue and crime. I followed one thread to a fake Masonic lodge called Propaganda Due, led by a remarkable scam artist named Licio Gelli. He was associated with Nazis, Communists, terrorists, and the Mafia, to name a few. But his connection to a shadowy group called Operation Gladio—supposedly a team of black ops left in Europe after WWII to guard against Communist takeovers—was too intriguing not to use. Thus was born The Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, a contemporary tale about old scandals. And a dynamite love story.

The moral is: sometimes it pays to click on random links and let the threads take you where they may—you may get a really great story out of it.

Here's a summary of the Mason's Mark:

In both the best and worst first day at work ever,  docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial falls apart when she discovers a dead body. Together with Detective Ernest Angle, she's drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons. Also cloaked in mystery is her new love Gideon Bliss.  A George Washington expert, he haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she'll fall in love with him only to learn he's a thief or even a murderer.
Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten Ernest, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including which black ops agent to trust,  whether our first president strayed, and if she and Gideon will ever be together.

The Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)
Secret Cravings Publishing (released January 7, 2014)
eBook (79,000 words), Romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames

Excerpt (R) : Gideon Comes Back

When they reached Prince Street Gideon found a parking spot directly in front of her house, no small feat. Just one more way he’s special, thought Claire glumly. He walked her to her door. She unlocked it and turned to thank him, but he was already on his way to his car.
Ichabod greeted her with a snarl.
“I know. I forgot to feed you. Come on, Icky.” She found a can of cat food and emptied it into his bowl. Then she poured herself a large glass of water and took it to the living room to conduct an analysis of the evening.
So at any point did I come across as even semi-coherent? She tried to hack through the warm, fuzzy blanket of the evening. Gideon had been the perfect gentleman, ordering foie gras and champagne, pointing out the constellations with obvious expertise, helping her in and out of the car. It all seemed so…unreal. Like he was acting a part. Too perfect. And he’d sucked her in like soda through a straw. She slapped her forehead, forgetting that she still held the glass. Water sluiced across her face and ran down her front. She mopped it up with some tissues and vowed to hit the antique stores that weekend. I’ve got to get a coffee table. Preferably one with cup holders.
The doorbell rang. With the disintegrating tissue pressed to her face, she stood on tiptoe to check the peephole and looked straight into an unblinking sea-green ocean. Gideon. After a minute she remembered to open the door.
He stared at her with concern. “Are you all right?”
Claire pulled the tissue away and noticed black streaks on it. Her mascara must have run. Oh no, I bet he thinks I’ve been crying. She rubbed her eyes, hoping that wasn’t making it worse. “Fine. I spilled a glass of water, that’s all.”
“Oh.” He stood, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “Um, could I come in for a minute?”
She pointed at the living room and backed away, then turned and leapt up the steps. A quick look in the mirror confirmed her suspicions. I look like something Ichabod’s been playing with. She fixed her face, wrung out her blouse, and returned with renewed aplomb.
Gideon filled the small space. Claire sidled around him and sat on a packing crate. He looked around the room. “So…er, have you just moved in?”
“Yes.” It struck her that he was more uncomfortable than she and drew strength from that. “About a week ago. Sorry about the mess. Won’t you have a seat?”
He dropped down on the loveseat but immediately sprang back up. He patted his rear, flummoxed. “Why am I wet?”
Claire put a hand to her mouth to suppress the giggle. “Ooh, I’m sorry. I forgot. That’s where I spilled the water. Here, let me.”
She retrieved a towel from the kitchen and began to dab at the dark blotch on his khakis. He stood it for a minute, then put a hand under her chin and lifted her up. “You’d better stop doing that. This is hard enough for me.” He blinked. “Do you…do you know how beautiful you are?”
The question threw her. How to respond? Yes? No? Tell me more? She decided to let him talk.
“Your eyes are the color of the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea on a cloudless day. I could sink into them and drown.” He touched her brow. “And these little cinnabar ringlets framing that soft, creamy face…” He wrapped one around his finger. “Wind one up tight and it could strangle me.” He took her hand. “Your fingers—so slim and delicate, like little stilettos. Sharp enough to gouge an eye out.”
Claire stepped away from him, bewildered. “You make me sound like a vicious animal. Why?”
His hands dropped to his sides. “Because I sense how dangerous you are.”
“To me. Claire…I—” He gazed at her helplessly.
Someone had better take charge. “Come with me.”
He seemed distracted—perhaps working out another ghoulish metaphor? “I want to show you something.”
Gideon let her take his hand and lead him upstairs. Since he had to duck his head to avoid hitting the lintel of the miniature door he missed the part where Claire stripped off her dress and tossed it aside. She stood before him, a translucent blue lace bra and panties the only thing between her and the touch of his fingers on her tingling skin.
He gazed at her, perfectly still and silent.
Claire waited as long as she could, then gently unbuttoned his shirt. She unbuckled his belt and pulled the chinos down, When she reached his socks, Gideon pulled her up. “I see where this is going.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Would you like to help?”
He ran his hands over her shoulders, down to her waist, then around to her ass. “You haven't left me much to do.”
“Only the best part.”
He sighed. “I knew it would come to this.” A minute later Claire's last line of fabric defense lay in tatters, Gideon's shoes, socks, pants, and assorted other items lay strewn about the room, and the two of them were locked in a frantic embrace, limbs intertwined in a complex filigree pattern. Claire's desire exploded, shattering the cloistered walls built up over three long, empty years, years without the feel of a man's hard body, of his hands, of his penis. She lapped him up, reveling in the joy of uninhibited pleasure, banishing all rational thought. Gideon made her feel both delicate and wanton. Whatever he had feared must have lost its power, for he was not shy in his efforts to bring her to the edge. When his fingers and his lips had finished their work, his cock slid slowly and inexorably inside, nudging her to orgasm. Like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill, Gideon drove her steadily to the tipping point, his eyes locked on hers, his hips rocking, lifting her, goading her, until she fell, rolling joyously back down, taking him with her.


Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Blessed with two fabulous grown children, she has published eight romantic suspense/mystery novels. In an excess of optimism, she has recently heaved the entire ho to Florida with a detour to Maine, leaving behind the cherry blossoms, the monuments, and the political hacks.


Author Pages



M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks so much for having me Vick! I hope your readers enjoy the excerpt and my adventures with Google. I look forward to seeing you on my site on the 23rd! M. S.

Carolyn Gibbs said...

Great post and excerpt, M.S. Looking forward to reading this book!

V.L. Locey said...

Thank YOU for stopping by, M.S.! I`m looking forward to visiting your blog soon as well!

Sandy said...

You have certainly had an exciting life, M.S.. Googling is fun and interesting.

Your excerpt was excellent. Looking forward to reading more.

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful excerpt. Poor Gideon didn't know what hit him! All the best!

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks all for reading and enjoying. Gideon does rebound and acts the hunk he really is soon. M. S.