Spy Who Kissed Me cover art

Dorothy Parker Award; First digital book nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award

Her mama has been hoping a man would fall in Stan’s lap. But when a handsome spy dives through the sunroof of her car, Isabel “Stan” Stanley’s pretty sure this wasn't what momma had in mind.

A cute smile can help with—but not hide—the hail of bullets. And that name? Oh my that name.

CIA agent Kelvin Kapone-with-a-K has managed to survive and thrive in the big bad world, but the ‘burbs and the wannabe romance author could be his greatest challenge in getting out alive, not to mention heart whole…

(Previously Pig in a Park, this revised edition has new content, including an all new epilogue!)

Excerpt:

I wanted to enjoy the moment, feel the relief, but my companion was bleeding to death all over my sister’s car. Despite my lack of a Florence Nightingale gene, but for the honor of my sex, I mentally ran down the list of what I was wearing that could be converted into a bandage. Bra was out. Dispensable, but minuscule. Non-absorbent sweater. Take too long to get down to my panties because of tightness of jeans. That left my thermal top. I eyed him for a few seconds before turning my back on him and shedding the woolly sweater, then the top. Between the chill of the night air on my semi-bare upper body and fear, my teeth were chattering up a storm before I got my sweater back on and turned toward my patient.

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It didn’t take long to apply the starkly white thermals to his manly, bloody chest. I had to use my chin to hold the top in place while I shoved both my arms and its sleeves behind his back and knotted them. Despite the seriousness of the situation, I felt ridiculous crouched over the gear shift, chin deep in blood, hugging an unconscious man so I could tie my underwear around his mid-section. Dignity has been mostly missing in action in my life. I write about a roach. I live with my mother. But that doesn't mean I've given up all hope. There’s a sliver of it down there somewhere.

He started to stir while my arms were still wrapped around him and I felt the sliver leave, too. I opened my mouth to babble an explanation, but only managed a squeak before he reciprocated the wrapping of arms and upped the stakes by nuzzling my neck with his mouth. I would have struggled, but I was so shocked. Then, well, the feel of his mouth on my skin, his warm breath stirring the tendrils of my hair felt—good. Besides, if I struggled it might loosen the underwear. Not struggling was the righteous thing to do.

It was darn near noble.

His mouth shifted half a tantalizing inch and I had another thought. Could this be research for my novel?

“Ummmm,” he murmured, the pleasure sound came from deep in his throat, “you taste good.”

“Really?” Trembling heat from his mouth tangled with trailing chills from the snowflakes drifting through the sunroof onto my exposed neck. It would have been better without the gear shift digging into my bladder, but sin—research I corrected—had a price tag.

Sweet…research.

He found a sensitive spot just under my ear and proceeded to nibble there, overpowering the effect of the flakes and the gear shift. My bones dissolved, like an Alka-Seltzer in water, swirling around, tickling my insides with aching pleasure. His mouth moved higher, tasting and tantalizing, on a collision course with my mouth. I pursed my lips in preparation. It seemed like the charitable thing to do.

Instead of lip locking, he looked up, taking away the warm and letting the chill back in. I un-pursed my lips and looked up, too. A fat, wet snowflake landed in my eye.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:on Manic Readers:

"The Spy Who Kissed Me will entertain you, make you laugh, give your grey cells a bit of a work out, and lift your mood. This book is such a gem and I absolutely loved it. The Spy Who Kissed Me is FUN in book form."

Patricia Rouse, columnist on RT Book Reviews wrote:

"Pauline Baird Jones' debut contemporary, [The Spy Who Kissed Me] is a delightful madcap romp that will leave readers eagerly anticipating future works by this amazing new talent."

Suzanne Coleburn on The Bells and Beaux of Romance wrote:

“Pauline Baird Jones’ humor is exquisite comic genius! Her characters are phenomenal and colorful as a rainbow. Move over James Bond!”

Dick Adler on Crime Watch wrote:

"[The Spy Who Kissed Me]" by Pauline B. Jones is a lively, sharply-written new cozy...that deserves attention."

Jill Smith on RT Book Reviews wrote:

". . . . a remarkable new talent . . Pauline Baird Jones and her hilarious novel [The Spy Who Kissed Me] make their debut. Written in first person, this adventurous romp is a 14 karat gem, and I for one would love to see more from this vastly amusing author."

on Under the Covers Reviews:

"A romantic suspense, action-packed mystery, or a sizzling romance, the choice is yours because [The Spy Who Kissed Me] is all three, and more. . . The characters are many, varied, and unusual. The plot has as many twists as a kitten-snarled ball of yarn, but Ms. Jones manages to smooth out every kink, unsnarl the impossible, and deliver a book that is absolutely engrossing, engaging, and balm for your funny bone."

on Painted Rock Writers Colony:

"[The Spy Who Kissed Me] is at once a mystery, a suspense thriller, an action adventure, a comedy, and a romance. Ms. Jones is a talented author who has a funny, unique way of looking at the world that will delight fans of almost any genre. Her heroine is extraordinary, her dialogue is catchy, and her plot . . . well, her plot must be experienced to be believed. This is a great book."

on Word Museum:

"Pauline Baird Jones bursts onto the scene with an irresistibly fun-filled voice . . . ["The Spy Who Kissed Me"] is the perfect showcase for this highly talented author . . .The reader will keep turning pages well into the night. Ms. Jones' sense of humor shines throughout the book, leaving one with a fond memory of fun even after the last page is turned."


Behind the Book: The (mostly) True Story Behind the Writing of The Spy Who Kissed Me

I don't know if I somehow managed to lose this interview or if I never finished it. What has happened, it is gone, so I will try to recapture the events that led to the writing of Pig in a Park.

Me: Well, so. The Spy Who Kissed Me (aka Pig in a Park). Your first book in every way. Can you take us back to 1992 and the writing of this book.

Myself: Well, I'll try, but it is so last century.

Me: Well, let's do our best. This book is sort of a synergy of several ideas coming together, right?

Myself: That's true. I'd been watching Scarecrow & Mrs. King reruns and thinking what I'd have done differently if I were writing it. And I was watching the first Gulf War on television.

Me: Even now, that sounds kind of odd.

Myself: I know. It was even odder then. I'd hear people say, "So, did you see the war today?" Patriotism was cool and everyone was talking about smart bombs. I guess it wasn't too surprising that I'd start to wonder what would happen if someone stole some of them.

Me: So you started asking questions.

Myself: Yeah, I called a military friend who almost had a heart attack. He was sure no one could steal anything, but I knew from stories my dad used to tell that stealing wasn't that uncommon. In fact, a young man was murdered around that time. At first, it was thought it was drug related, but then turned out he worked at a National Guard Armory and it was about thefts of military equipment.

Me: Synergy.

Myself: Definitely. Then all I had to do was figure out to bring a spy and an ordinary person together. And to figure how to involve a spy in an internal problem. Because I quickly found out the CIA is about foreign spying (though we see how well that worked for us now!).

Me: You decided to keep the story in first person, too, despite a lot of advice not to do that. Why?

Myself: I knew that the first person POV would be a hard sell and tried a couple of times to change it, but Stan had such a strong, unique and distinctive voice, she just took over. She wasn't me, but I definitely channeled her during the writing of the first draft. And in the end, I just liked it that way.

Me: It was challenging, though.

Myself: Yeah, it's hard when all the action has to be filtered through a single person. And the romance, well, that was even harder. Plus, the reader never gets to really know what the hero is feeling. But in the end, it worked for this book. You'll notice, though, that so far I've never done that again!

Me: Yes, I had noticed. So, okay, this book did turn out to be a hard sell.

Myself: Yeah, I pretty much got rejected by all the major, NY publishers, though many sent encouraging comments. I'd read that a writer rarely contracts their first book and I'd put it aside, but then something would happen to encourage me. I entered it in the RWA Golden Heart and it finaled. In other contests, the readers loved it. It felt like it was just editors in the way.

Me: So, you decided to wander from publishing's well beaten path?

Myself: I'd gotten interested in the internet and realized that it might provide me a way to reach out to readers directly, so I started looking for internet publishers and hit pay dirt. Pig in a Park released in 1998 as an e-book.

Me: Despite the difficulties of getting anyone to buy and read an ebook, you had some good things happen, didn't you?

Myself: You know I did. First, I sent it into Romantic Times Magazine for review. I wasn't sure what would happen, but I got this amazing and wonderful review. The reviewer went on to nominate it for the Reviewer's Choice Award that year, in company with six NYT bestselling authors. It also won a Dorothy Parker award. I was also able to contract the audio and hard cover rights. It later released in hard cover as The Spy Who Kissed Me. Not bad for a first book/ebook. (And will be re-releasing through L&L Dreamspell as The Spy Who Kissed Me.)

Me: Not bad at all. Anything you wished you'd done differently?

Myself: I wish I hadn't cut it so much during the years of editing! It started out too big (at 500 pages), but ended up pretty short during a period of trying to sell it to a major publisher. I suppose I could have put some of it back in, but you just reach a place where you're done with a book. For good or ill, it is what it is.

Me: There is another...odd side effect from this book?

Myself: Yeah, the title sort of launched me into collecting pigs. Not live pigs, but stuffed pigs, pig trinkets. I didn't actually start it. My sister started noticing them and now I have pigs all over my house, even an antique pig with wings. Some day I'm going to collect them all together and take a picture of them with the book. LOL!

Me: Could that be why you kill a stuffed pig in Do Wah Diddy Die?

Myself: Do I look like Freud?

Me: In the right light...

Myself: Do not go there.

Me: Yeah, you're probably right about that. Well, anything you want to add before we wrap this up?

10/3/2009 update )

Myself: Speaking of cutting stuff, I happened onto an older version of The Spy Who Kissed Me and decided to add some of the deleted material back in for the upcoming re-release of this book with L&L Dreamspell. I also added an epilogue to the book. (When I originally wrote it, I thought I'd be back for another round of fun with Stan and Kel, but it never happened, so I added the epilogue to better end the story.)

Me: Thanks for taking time to talk about The Spy Who Kissed Me (the book formerly known as Pig in a Park).

Myself: No problem. 🙂

The Spy Who Kissed Me
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