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This Book is Too Funny

Yes, I cracked myself up while I was writing it. 

spy promo image

I can’t remember where I found the review that said The Spy Who Kissed Me was just too funny—and apparently that was a negative and not a positive. Lol But I remember thinking, well, if that is the worst thing you can say about it, I’m good with that. Lol

The Spy Who Kissed Me was my first completed novel. I had many false starts, bits, and pieces of ideas, but this was a finisher. The idea came and I started writing and I couldn’t stop. Some days I’d type—you read that right—until the tips of my fingers were numb. It ballooned into a whomping 500 pages of story and hilarity. 

Yes, I cracked myself up while I was writing it. 

So some other things to do know about The Spy Who Kissed Me:

It was originally called Pig in a Park. You have to read it to find out why.

Readers—inevitably—called it the pig in a poke book. Which may explain why my early publishers all wanted a new title. 

It was written during the FIRST Gulf War—in 1993. I tried to capture the weirdness of that time when the whole world watched the first, televised war. It was the time SCUD studs and Bagdad Bob. Instead of gossip magazines in the stands by the checkout, there were weapons booklets and everyone talked about the war while they waited. It was the definition of surreal. 

I was also watching reruns of Scarecrow and Mrs. King and somehow, the war and the show collided inside my head and a book happened. 

It is written in the first person, so if that’s not your jam, you probably should avoid this book. 

Here’s the blurb:

This suburbanite is about to meet a dashing spy…

Isabel “Stan” Stanley is stuck in a rut in the DC suburbs. As a wannabe romance writer, she hopes a sexy muse falls into her lap. But she never expected a handsome spy to dive through her sunroof…

Pursued by a hail of bullets, international CIA Agent Kelvin Kapone didn’t have plans to make a friend. But when his latest mission puts him in the bewildering burbs, the charming Stan is a surprisingly strong guide. As he discovers a chilling terrorist plot, Kelvin doesn’t want to admit that he may just need the suburbanite’s help…

Despite her best efforts, Stan can’t break free from the dangerous mission. And while being in close quarters with a sexy spy is getting her great material for her novel, it won’t do her much good if they both end up dead…

The Spy Who Kissed Me is a suspenseful comedic romance novel. If you like high-stakes action, laugh-out-loud scenes, and stories where opposites attract, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ award-winning tale of espionage. 

Buy The Spy Who Kissed Me to pucker up for a fun, flirty escape today!

And here’s an extended excerpt from later in the book where Stan ends up in an interrogation room for, well, reasons. Complicated reasons. Possibly funny reasons. Could be this where the book got just too funny?

An interrogation room in a police station is not a good place to be left alone with your thoughts. Dillon and his partner, Willis, whose fish-like visage made me itch to sketch him, took Rosemary away to arrange her release, leaving me to ponder my situation. The pondering was not fruitful. I didn’t know if asking for a lawyer would make me look guilty, and if a strip search would be better or worse than my yearly pelvic exam? With my thoughts doing a mouse-on-a-wheel, I needed a distraction. Since illustration is my usual response to stress, I produced a battered sketchbook and a piece of pencil from the depths of my purse. A few swift strokes and Cochran appeared on the page wearing prison stripes. I added tiny caricatures of Willis and Dillon doing a Russian dance on either side of him. Willis was a fish, of course. Dillon was a dog, a yippy, dust-mop dog.

Dillon. I paused and frowned into the distance. He was, I was sure, my enemy. Wait until he found out I’m sort of dating his son. I’d never get out of jail.

Jail. How had I got into this mess? My fingers moved as my thoughts roamed back to the how. Dates, deaths and car chases tumbled together. Had I really seen the round-headed man at the Tandoor? And how much should I tell the cops about Kel?

Not that I had that much to tell—

The door opened. I jumped, spilling pad and pencil onto the floor. The pencil rolled across the uneven linoleum floor and came to rest against Dillon’s shoe.

“Sorry.” I crouched to retrieve my stuff. Willis bent to help me and our heads collided. 

“I didn’t mean to assault you,” I gasped.

He grinned and scooped my pad out from under my hand. “Try to relax, Miss Stanley. We’re not ogres.”

I looked past him to Dillon. He didn’t look like he agreed with his partner. Then he stepped on my pencil.

“Sorry.” He picked up the pieces and tossed them onto the table. Both pieces rolled into an indentation in the surface on one side. It looked like it was from beating heads there. A tiny, sympathetic ache formed around my eyes, then fanned out along my forehead.

“You’re an artist?” Willis flipped through my sketch pad.

“Sort of.” I twitched as he got closer and closer to the page with the sketch I’d just done of him.

“I’ve seen this bug before.” He looked up. “You the one does the cockroach books?”

“Yes.” Was this going to help or hurt my cause?

“My sister’s kids love your books. I don’t suppose you’d autograph one of these for them?”

What? Was I going to say no to a cop?

“Sure.” I reached for the book. Dillon cleared his throat. “Was that wrong? I’m not trying to bribe him. Really. I’m a law-abiding person. I’m probably the most law-abiding person you’ve ever arrested. I’ve never even gone in an exit or taken the tags off my pillows!”

Dillon sighed. “You read mysteries, don’t you?”

“Yes, but I can stop anytime.”

“How about this one?” Willis held up the page I’d just done. In center place, larger than the rest was my roach with him and Dillon doing their dance. “I think they’d like this one. This one kind of looks like you, Dillon.”

He stopped, his stocky, fish-shaped body going all stiff.

Lawsuit time.

I snatched the sketchbook from him and slammed it shut. “I’m sorry. That’s part of a work in progress.”

“Can we get down to business?” Dillon paced across the narrow room, his hands shoved in the pockets of his suit pants. His tie was listing toward his left ear. I got the feeling he blamed me for all of it.

“Of course.” I sat down and looked cooperatively at Willis. He didn’t look as friendly as before. A distraction was in order. “I’m surprised you got onto my sister so fast.”

“We’re not quite as incompetent as the media like to make out,” Dillon snapped.

“And when she was identified in the line-up—” Willis shrugged, settling into a chair facing me.

“The man with the dust-mop dog. I knew it. His dog was pooing on someone’s lawn, you know.”

“This will take less time if you’ll wait until we ask you questions,” Willis said, amusement creeping back into his eyes.

Dillon leaned toward me again. “Let’s start with the bullet holes in your sister’s car. Where they came from? Why you were seen speeding from the scene of Carter’s murder?”

“Uh, because I didn’t want to get shot?”

Dillon slammed his hands against the table. “Don’t mess with me!”

I cowered in my cower-resistant seat. “I’m not. You don’t have to scare me into spilling my guts. I’ll spill them without the act.”

I looked at Willis, then Dillon. They looked confused.

“What act?” Willis finally asked.

“Good cop, bad cop.” They looked at each other, then me again. I hastened to reassure them. “Don’t feel bad. You do it very well. It’s just that I was expecting it. I can pretend I don’t notice if you want.”

Willis gave a half-laugh, half snort and rested his arms on the seatback. “You’re a very, unusual woman, Miss Stanley.”

“Oh no. I’m hopelessly ordinary. That’s what makes this whole thing so weird.”

“Don’t you think it’s stretching things a bit to call murder weird?” Dillon asked, pacing around to loom over me.

“Murder isn’t normal,” I felt the need to point out.

Dillon looked inclined to puff up again, but Willis laughed and said, “Can it, Ken. Miss Stanley is cooperating. You can badger our next witness.”

With an air of forbearance, Dillon hooked a chair with his foot and straddled it like a rebellious teenager. I gave him a “teacher look,” which seemed to disconcert him. Satisfied, I looked helpfully at Willis.

Willis’ lips twitched, but all he said was, “Let’s take it from the top. Why did Carter’s killer shoot at you?”

I explained about the choir practice and Mrs. Macpherson while Dillon beat an impatient tattoo on the floor with his foot. When I paused for breath, he jumped on me with, “The Carter house isn’t on your way home, Miss Stanley.”

“I know. I was thinking, you see.” I leaned forward and rested my elbows on the table. “I’m trying to get out of bugs and into romance novels, but it’s not as easy as some people think it is. I was mulling my book and not watching where I was going. And when I stopped, I realized I was lost, well, not exactly lost, I was in my subdivision, just not the right part of the subdivision. That’s when I drove by her house.” I shrugged. “It was just a coincidence.”

“A coincidence?” Dillon fixed me with an official glare. “Want to hear another coincidence?” I had a feeling I didn’t, but he didn’t wait for my assent to tell me, “Paul Mitchell was killed with the same gun that killed Carter.”

“Two murders in two days is pushing the coincidence envelope pretty far,” Willis added.

“The same gun?” I sagged back. Maybe it had been the round-headed man I saw in the parking lot? This was not good. “This really isn’t my week.”

“Carter volunteered at a youth center that helped teens get off drugs,” Willis said. “We found drugs on Mitchell’s body—”

“But it couldn’t be drugs.” I turned to Dillon. “According to your son, Paul Mitchell was a major straight-arrow kid. No way would he be using the stuff.”

“My son?” Dillon began, puffing up again, but the door opened again. Of course, we all looked. In the opening, I saw yet another cop. Behind him were two men in suits.

“What’s up?” Willis stood up, his body going tense at the sudden interruption.

“They’re here for Miss Stanley.”

“What?” Dillon jumped up. “We’re not through with her yet.”

The cop shrugged. “Their paperwork is in order. She belongs to them now.”

She? Who? Me?

The cop gave way for the identical suits. It wasn’t just their conservative gray suits, white shirts, or proper ties that matched. Their blank, cool faces were almost identical, too. Only their hair was different, one light and one dark.

A mouth moved in the face of the light-haired guy, exposing a straight line of white teeth. “Will you please come with us, Miss Stanley?”

I clutched my purse to my chest, too shocked for words.

Willis had plenty to say. “She’s our witness. You can’t waltz in here and take her. Not till we’ve finished getting her statement.”

Like identical marionettes, they pulled open their jackets, extracted matching leather wallets and flipped them open. Dillon took a hard look, then wheeled away.

“You damn spooks think you can do whatever you want.”

Willis’ face was tight with rage. “What possible interest could the CIA have in the murder of a math teacher in the suburbs?”

“I’m afraid we’re not at liberty to answer questions,” the dark-haired partner spoke this time.

Dillon slammed his hands down on the table, catching the point of my broken pencil and sending it sailing through the air. “You’re out of your jurisdiction. This is our case.”

The pencil hit the wall, then the floor, where it rolled back between Dillon’s feet.

Neither spook reacted. Light hair said, “It’s still your case. You’ll just have to solve it without Miss Stanley. Like the man said, she’s ours now.”

They closed in on either side of me, grabbed my arms, and swept me out the door and down the hall. There was one brief check to our exit. A uniformed officer approached me holding up a familiar-looking glue gun.

“Miss Stanley? I think this is your sister’s. We forgot to give it to her when she reclaimed her personal items.”

I recognized Rosemary’s monogram on the side. She loved that glue gun almost as much as her car. Still gripped by suits, I signed something, took the gun and shoved it in my purse. The spooks started us toward the exit again, my dragging feet barely brushing the floor, the glue gun cord slapping against my legs.

“It’s all right, Miss Stanley. Trust us,” dark hair said.

Trust the CIA? I don’t think so.

* * * * *

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt and more of the story behind The Spy Who Kissed Me. I had a lot of fun writing it. Lol

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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