{Book Review} #Romantic Suspense -- Her Spy To Have by Paula Altenburg -- #Giveaway Inside

The games are about to begin ... 

When Isabelle finds herself stranded in Bangkok, she has no choice but to accept Garrett, a stranger’s help in getting home. For these enemies to lovers, it soon becomes a game of keeping secrets. Fans of Jill Shalvis and Roxanne St. Claire will enjoy this sensual but humorous James Bond meets Justin Trudeau romance.

Series: Spy Games #1
Paula Altenburg
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 4, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Au pair and ex-pat Isabelle Beausejour has been living abroad for most of her twenty-four years, traveling the world with her irresponsible father. When Isabelle finds herself stranded in Bangkok, with no job, no money, and nowhere to turn, she soon becomes desperate.

Intelligence officer Garrett Downing is on the hunt for military goods that have gone missing. Instead, he finds himself coming to the aid of a young woman with more resourcefulness than common sense.

Isabelle has no choice but to accept a stranger’s help in getting home. Once there, however, as enemies turn into lovers, it soon becomes a game of keeping secrets. Garrett is more than he seems. Isabelle knows more than she’s willing to admit. Will she choose loyalty to her father over the love of a man who tells lies for a living?

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Altenburg
The rain continued to pour. The inside of the van became the entire world, and he filled every inch of it. She eased her fingers from beneath his touch.

He hadn’t taken his eyes off her.

“You’ve been avoiding me,” he said.

“And you’ve let me.”

“No,” he corrected her. “I’ve been giving you space. But something happened today. I’d like to know what it was.”

Isabelle’s mouth went dry, her heart hammering so loud she was certain he must hear it over the steady drumming of the rain. She’d made her decision. Now she had to live with it. She hadn’t told her father that she believed CSIS was searching for him. She wasn’t telling Garrett anything more than she already had, either. She didn’t want to choose sides between them.
She turned her face away and looked at the streaming driver’s side window so she wouldn’t have to meet his eyes and read the disappointment in them. When she spoke, she was as honest with him as she could be. “I have nothing to tell you.”

He cupped her chin in firm fingers and forced her to look at him. His expression was grave, but he’d shut down his thoughts so she couldn’t read them. The creases around his mouth, so evident when he smiled, had smoothed. He dropped a light kiss on her lips.

“I guess this is it, then,” he said.

She swallowed hard against the painful lump in her throat. She’d known from the beginning there could never be anything of significance between them. She hadn’t expected to fall in love with him.

The rain slowed, then stopped altogether. The sun burst through a break in the clouds. Regret burned at the backs of her eyes. “I wish things could have been different.”

He let go of her and settled back in the passenger seat, six feet of rugged male indifference wrapped in a white Henley shirt and wheat-colored Dockers.

“Put your right foot on the brake, start the engine, and slide the gearshift into drive,” he said. “If you cut the wheels hard to the left, you should be able to pull back onto the road with no problem at all. Stay clear of the shoulder. It’ll be soft.”

Slowly, Isabelle maneuvered the van onto the dirt road. Muddy water from the puddles sprayed off the tires as she stepped on the accelerator. A minute later, they were on pavement again.

“For the record,” Garrett said, staring straight ahead, “I wish things could have been different, too.”
This review is the intellectual property of The Literary Apothecary. 
Permission has not been granted for reuse of the content of this review. 

Her Spy To Have is a taut, fast-paced romance, with a hint of suspense. In the story we meet and follow the development of a romantic relationship between Isabelle and Garrett. Struck with bad news, Isabelle becomes determined to leave Bangkok and concocts a plan to do so. However, Garrett lands on the scene and ends that not-so-well-thought-out plan. We learn of Isabelle’s backstory and what brought on her itinerant lifestyle. 

Isabelle is a resilient, clever, and fiercely independent woman. Yet, we see how vulnerable and imperfect she is. Meanwhile, Garrett is staunch and full of integrity. Soon, we began to wonder how these two are going to “hit it off”. But, there is an attraction that cannot be denied. 

Revolving around felonious behaviors and one veracious officer, this could have easily turned into a police procedural. Yet, Altenburg keeps it delicate and sweet, providing a respite for weary mystery readers. She smoothly brings two imperfect people together, while skillfully massaging the internal and external conflicts that build up the plot. Essentially, she morphs their idiosyncrasies and transforms their story into one about desire, love, and triumph. While this new creation is exquisite, I do wish I could have seen more emotion from Isabelle, as her angst-ridden backstory called forth emotions I dare not share. 

I would not recommend this book, at least not without sharing a few teasers, to those who devour romantic suspense novels, as even I felt a little mislead by the series title. However, if you like romance, with a tinge of suspense, this is the perfect book. 
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for honest review. 

This review is the intellectual property of The Literary Apothecary.
Permission has not been granted for reuse of the content of this review. 

Other Books in the Spy Games Series

HER SPY TO HOLD (Spy Games, Book 2)
HIS SPY AT NIGHT (Spy Games, Book 3)

HER SPY AT DAWN (Spy Games, Book 4)

About Paula
Multi-published author Paula Altenburg grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was likely to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother. A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, confirmed that writing was the most logical career path for her.

She’s worked in the Aerospace and Defense industry, which surprises everyone who knows her. She writes because she can’t keep a secret, and getting to pass everything off as fiction makes a good compromise. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can.


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