Conning for Keeps
by Seleste deLaney
EBook: 110 pages
Release Date: February 3, 2014
Secret Agent Marissa Jones has a gift. A con artist to the core, after deep hypnosis she can turn into someone else entirely. Marisa’s gift has gotten her into hot water over the years, but now more so than ever. With her smoking hot partner by her side, she needs to convince him that not only is she her true self, but also that she can be trusted—even in spite of her past.
…or traitors to the cause?
Trevor Harris has his own issues with the mission, he’s got revenge to seek, a cursed painting to secure, and Marissa’s sugary-sweet alter-ego to ignore. But when he releases Marisa from her mental cage and things get a little too hot, he ends up finding out what falling for a con artist really means—bigger trouble than ever before.
I’m going to totally date myself here, and admit that my very first favorite TV show was Scarecrow and Mrs. King back in the 1980s. (Does it help that I was in middle school at the time? No? Sigh…) I was absolutely in love with the idea of spies and covert operations. Except for the fact that I am monumentally non-observant (probably because my nose is in a book 50% of the time and I’m listening to an audiobook another 25%. I’m perpetually distracted.), I totally wanted to be a spy.
I’ve resigned myself to reading about them instead. And watching them on TV (Chuck!) and movies (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, I’m looking at you. Awesome with a side of awesome sauce.) So you can imagine I jumped at the chance to get my hands on this book.
It didn’t disappoint.
TRAIT (Tactical Response and Investigative Team) utilizes some very interesting methods to achieve its aims. Both the agents in this novella come from backgrounds you might not expect a government agent to have, and Marissa’s con artist background is enhanced for many of her missions when she is put under hypnosis to become a different person while on assignment.
There’s also a mystery–and apparently, rather unattractive–painting that is very valuable and possibly cursed. Either way, lots of people want to get their hands on it.
Marissa and Trevor have to pose as an engaged couple for their assignment–one of my favorite situations for a couple of spies undercover, especially when they’re denying their feelings for one another the whole time–and their weekend is scheduled to end with a group wedding ceremony. They of course are hoping to achieve their aims before then and be long gone before any white gowns are donned or aisles are walked down.
Or are they?
This was a fun read. I would have liked a little more information about the background of their assignment, but even Marissa and Trevor don’t know that much, so apparently Seleste deLaney could tell us, but…well, you know how that goes. 😉 The ending had more than one twist that I didn’t see coming–always the sign of a good spy story–and it left me wanting to see more of these agents and their agency. I was thrilled to know that there was a book one in the series, Gaming for Keeps, (how did I not know this already? See? I’d make a terrible spy) and it’s definitely made it onto my TBR list. Its hero, Cal, makes the briefest of appearances in this one when Marissa texts him some interesting pictures of a sleeping Trevor.
I’ll just let you imagination work on that one.
In the meantime, I’m going to go get my hands on book one.
4 stars/ B rating
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Seleste started on her career path as a young child. Stories of talking animals soon gave way to a love of superheroes and science fiction. Her first foray into the world of romance came at age twelve when she envisioned a sweeping epic love story of two people thrust together and torn apart again and again by fate. As she recalls, the plan was for them to admit their love on his deathbed. But, as is often the case with pre-teen girls, a story of that depth gave way to other pursuits, and sadly it is completely lost other than vague memories.
After that, she occupied herself with short stories for a while, and then poetry until after she had earned a degree in chemistry, spent time as a high school teacher, and became a mother of two. Then she delved into writing fiction once more.
She never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.
20 eBooks of GAMING FOR KEEPS International
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