Cloak and Mirrors
by P.M. Terrell
CIA operatives Vicki Boyd and Dylan Maguire are back in the 6th book of the award-winning Black Swamp Mysteries Series. Vicki and Dylan journey to Ireland for their honeymoon and while they are there, they agree to pick up a package from a Russian spy containing plans for Russia’s latest stealth technology. But when the Russian decides to defect, they find themselves trying to get him safely out of the country. They also discover the Kremlin has uncovered their identities and now Vicki and Dylan flee across the island. With breathtaking descriptions of Ireland’s rugged coast and the Northern Lights, romance and suspense come together again.
Dylan set the kettle on to boil and made his way to the kitchen door. He opened it quietly, lest he awaken Vicki, and stepped outside onto the small stoop. It was half past seven but the skies were still dark; it would be another hour before the sun had fully risen. It had rained during the night, leaving behind a heady perfume of wet sod and sweet winter jasmine.
His eyes traveled the length of the tree-lined winding drive, watching the branches dip as though bowing to an invisible monarch. He wasn’t able to see beyond the far lawn; a person could be standing just on the edge of the grass and the mists would obscure him completely. But that’s the way it was here in Ireland, he thought. The mists and the fogs could morph in front of one’s eyes and if he allowed himself to go there, they would take his mind into places better left alone.
A sudden gust rounded the corner of the house and struck him fully and for the briefest moment, his weight was shifted to his toes as he fought to keep his balance. Ah, the wind, he thought as he settled again. She was as much a part of Ireland as the rain. Never referred to as it, it was always she: She’s a blustery one today or She must be sleepin’, she’s so slow. She because the winds were just like a mistress: they could wrap their cool arms around you and calm your nerves; they could give you that extra push up the hill or propel you down one; or they could change in an instant from cajoling to wicked, catching you when you were least prepared. And then there were the lazy winds; the winds that rolled in from the Atlantic or the North Sea on a bitter winter day; lazy because they wouldn’t take the time to go around you, they’d go straight through you instead.
He looked up, registering the gray clouds against the dark skies. She’s comin’ in from the Atlantic, he thought as he watched them roil and tumble toward the east. But there was no more rain in her, at least not now; perhaps later in the day, there would be a mist or two. Now, she was simply playing; skittering across the fields, rippling the grasses, awakening the sheep and the cows as they were set out to pasture half-groggy with sleep.
The teakettle began to whistle and reluctantly, he moved back inside and removed the kettle from the massive stove. He would keep the stove on for awhile, at least; it helped to chase away the chill that inevitably found its way into every nook and cranny. Besides, there was breakfast to be made.
While his tea steeped in a china cup, he placed another peat brick in the fire. The fireplace was along the wall between the kitchen and the living area and visible from both rooms. His eyes dropped to the bearskin rug that lay rumpled in the living area.
He could still see Vicki lying there as she had last night, the fur soft against her skin, the glow from the fire illuminating her curves, her long hair tumbling over her breasts. He had kissed and licked her nipples until she was writhing under him; he had followed those curves with kisses, spreading her legs to find her filled with desire. She had pulled him down to her, her moans filling the air, her fingers threading through his hair, kneading his back, feeling his want. The world around them ceased to exist, his vision filled only with her: amber eyes radiant, silky skin glistening, legs that wrapped him in a cocoon of love.
- What made you start writing?
In 1967, my father was transferred to the Mississippi Delta by the FBI. It was a very violent time and I was treated like an unwanted Yankee that should go back home. The school principal noticed how alone I was and suggested that I write. I started and never stopped.
- What is your favorite part about writing?
My favorite part is once I have hit my stride and I am past those first few pages. The characters come alive on the pages, the plot is gelling in my mind and I just can’t write as fast as the images are coming to me.
- What is the hardest part?
The hardest part is often the first chapter. I am feeling my way and often the characters haven’t yet found their voice. For that reason, I will often rewrite that first chapter when the first draft is finished.
- What advice would you give new authors?
Learn as much as you can about the publishing industry. Even with a traditional publisher, authors often have unrealistic expectations. It’s good to know how books are sold, how publicity is obtained, and how the process of reaching the readers works. My first book was published in 1984 and I have seen countless authors come and go. It isn’t always the best writer that achieves success but the one that refuses to give up and learns the business.
- How do you come up with your plot lines?
Inspiration is everywhere and often truth is much stranger than fiction. I enjoy science and technology and often I will get ideas from news stories involved one or the other. I also find the CIA’s declassified files from the Cold War era to be fascinating. I love to travel, which is why Ireland has played such an important part in my books. I am always inspired when I travel there.
- If you couldn’t write, what would you do?
I would want to make the world a better place in some way. I am passionate about animal welfare and I could definitely see myself working to educate people around the world about animal rescue and welfare. I would also work to enact stricter laws against animal abuse and neglect.
- What do you do in your spare time?
I raise freshwater angelfish, which is how my CIA operatives became angelfish breeders as a front! I found that every time I began talking about my fish, my friends’ eyes would glaze over. I realized it was the perfect front for CIA operatives because everyone would think they were the most boring people in the world.
- What book or author most inspired you?
Daphne du Maurier. I love the settings in her books, the psychological thrillers, the way she can whisk me away to another place and time. She was also Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite author and she wrote The Birds. My favorite book is Jamaica Inn. A friend told me it was the most frightening book she had ever read so of course I had to read it!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books in several genres, including suspense, historical and non-fiction. Prior to becoming a writer, she owned two computer companies in the Washington, DC with a specialty in combatting computer crime. Her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. Technology is often woven through her suspense thrillers. Terrell is of Irish descent, and Ireland often figures prominently in her books as well. She has been a full-time author since 2002 and currently travels between her home in North Carolina and Northern Ireland, the home of her ancestors. She is also the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina’s Writers Conference and Book Fair (http://bookemnc.org) and The Novel Business (http://thenovelbusiness.com).
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/terrellpm
Buy links – will be provided prior to March 17.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
P.M. Terrell will be awarding Celtic necklace containing the Tree of Life. USA only to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.