CIA certified seductress and assassin Madeline Spruce is vectored against traitors in Vietnam, playboys in Rio, and dangerous agents in Monte Carlo to uncover a complex trade involving cryptocurrency for weapons of mass destruction. Madeline’s unique sexual skills and techniques and her natural erotic charms bring the complex, steamy mission into focus, at the increasing risk of her life. At home, her boyfriend Daniel awaits, faithfully studying the Kama Sutra. Faced with danger at every turn, Madeline and Daniel must make every orgasm count—and they succeed beyond their wildest expectations.
Cyrus Linton liked the look of the brunette in the Blue Ho Chi Minh City Bar enough to terminate his call, close his cell phone, and move close enough for a casual introduction.
“Good evening. That dress is Oshun blue, isn’t it?”
The woman coolly appraised Cyrus as if she had only just noticed him. Her eyes moved systematically from his wavy brown hair to his deep brown eyes, his thin mustache, and his broad, white smile. She affected to weigh what he said as if she were reading between the lines. As she drew a cigarette from the pack that lay on the counter, Cyrus quickly snapped his gold lighter and lit it. She blinked as if trying to clarify what she was looking at, and then exhaled before she spoke.
“Yes, it’s Oshun blue. Are you a student of voodoo?”
Linton smiled. “My mother wore a diaphanous Oshun blue dress when she met my father. She was a student of Santeria, and anyway the dress served its purpose. May I buy you a drink?”
“I’ll have a triple gin martini with three olives and a dash of vermouth.”
While he ordered her drink, Linton’s eyes never left the woman. She was fascinating in an otherworldly kind of way, like a magical creature, and his eyes roamed over her lithe, elegant form with unabashed curiosity. He tried to fix every detail in his mind. When her drink came, she raised the glass and looked over it at her benefactor.
“Here’s to Oshun,” she whispered.
Cyrus touched his glass to hers and amplified her toast, “To Oshun and your enchanting eyes.”
They drank and placed their glasses on the counter. They smoked in silence for awhile. Finally, he said, “My name’s Cyrus. Cyrus Linton.” He did not extend his hand but waited.
The woman angled her head slightly as if to roll the name around in her memory to see if it matched anything propitious. Then her eyes registered recognition. “Of course you’re Cyrus Linton. Haven’t I seen your picture in the papers? Something about nixing a corporate merger? And you’re the CEO of a company that makes highly technical chips—for communication?” She took another drink. He raised his glass to toast her correct guess.
“So may I ask your name?” he asked.
“Not just yet. Can we find a table first?”
The pair picked up their drinks, and Linton signaled the bartender to bring another drink wherever they landed. He offered the lady his arm and escorted her to the area farthest from the bar and the entrance, a cozy little grotto where they could sit side by side and have a view of everyone in the bar. The waitress brought their second drinks and asked if they wanted to order anything else. Linton looked at the lady.
“I’m not really hungry now, but go right ahead and have something if you like.” She moved her hand gracefully over the ashtray and tapped her cigarette.
“I’m not very hungry either. Waitress, keep an eye out, and if it looks like we need another drink, just bring it.” The waitress nodded and deftly made her way to another table.
“Cyrus Linton, you asked my name. It’s Madeline Spruce. I’m pleased to meet you.” She extended her hand. He raised it to his lips and kissed it gallantly.
“The pleasure is all mine, Madeline. I notice that you aren’t wearing a ring.”
“I find jewelry an encumbrance. I notice that you’re wearing a wedding band.”
“Yes, but, like you, I’ve also found it an encumbrance.”
“Yet you wear it anyways.”
“If you read about me in the newspapers, you know that I’m going through a particularly nasty divorce just now. My wife and I have long since separated. When the divorce is final, I’ll take off the ring. Symbolism is such a bore.”
“Yet you know about Oshun. Now I’ve made you self-conscious. Don’t worry. I’m sorry I asked.”
Linton stopped twisting the ring around his finger. “It’s a natural question. I’m actually pleased that you asked.”
“Why is that?”
“It allows me to tell you that my life is opening a new chapter. I’m looking forward to a whole new life.”
“As a bachelor? A playboy?”
Linton laughed. “Nothing of the sort. I work so hard, I’ve not got time for romance. Tonight is an exception. My company has just clinched a deal, and we’ll be delivering product to a new client for a long, long time. So I’m celebrating.”
“All by yourself.”
“I planned to come here, drink until I could just barely drive home, drink some more there, and then crash because tomorrow morning I’ll fly to Singapore.”
“Where you’ll make your first delivery.”
“That’s a good guess, Madeline. I’ll be taking my chips and the recipe for making them. It’s highly technical.” His look said that a young woman shouldn’t worry her pretty little head about it. Madeline ran her index finger along the rim of her glass.
“I like technical as long as you make it intelligible to a lay person like me.”
“Well, if you’re willing to listen…”
Madeline nodded, her bright, intelligent eyes saying that she was ready for his tutelage.
Linton smiled, warming up to his subject with all the enthusiasm of an artist. “It’s all about Gallium Nitride chips with a diamond base. The Gallium Nitride allows a great deal of energy to be conveyed into the atmosphere through an electrical charge.”
“And the diamond base conducts the heat away from the Gallium Nitride efficiently.”
“So you paid attention to the newspaper articles! You couldn’t be an engineer?”
“No, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend. I was interested about their conducting heat away from the metal because I’d never thought that diamonds could do that sort of thing.”
“It’s fascinating. Decades of research went into the design of the chips I’ve got to market, and special techniques of manufacture are necessary to make the chips work. I can’t talk about the details of the manufacture for many reasons.”
“I could follow you if you chose to tell me how they’re made, but I’ll understand if you have to protect your intellectual property.”
“Madeline, you are remarkable. Here, let me light that cigarette.” He set the gold lighter out on the table between them, an invitation and an invisible barrier. “It’s all about a recipe, actually.”
Madeline knew she had hit pay dirt. This kind of confessional mode, induced by sex or the prospect of sex, opened a mother lode of human intelligence. This was why the Agency trained seductresses and assassins. Seductresses could not follow through with assassinating their targets. Assassins could not elicit intimate information. But Madeline could do both. She was about to learn about the intricacies of GaN transactions if she played her cards right. This excited her almost as much as the attractive male from whom she would be eliciting the information.
She stubbed out the remains of her cigarette. “From the little I’ve read you have to grow the chips as if they were a living culture, more biological than physical.”
“I couldn’t have put it better. You aren’t working for one of my competitors, are you? I wouldn’t put it by them to send someone like you to steal my work.”
Madeline chuckled, a deep and throaty sound that vibrated through Linton’s body. “As I recall, you asked to buy me a drink and not the other way around.”
“You’re right. Yes, the recipe allows manufacturers to use a special machine. Without the recipe, the chips cannot be made even though you might have mastered the machine.”
“So the recipe has all the ingredients and the order of their introduction and the baking instructions, like a cake.”
“Exactly. Did I say you have the most beautiful eyes? Well, you do.” He took her hand and gazed into her eyes so earnestly that she saw the loneliness and longing that lay behind the veneer of expat-corporate executive. She understood only too well his isolation and wished, for once, that things could be different. But a job was a job and she had one to do.
Madeline took her hand from his. “What do you say to finishing our drinks and finding another venue to continue our conversation? I’d like at least to get out of this bar, drive a bit and then just walk around. The night is Ho Chi Minh hot, but breezy. Do you mind?”
Cyrus Linton turned off his cell phone as he rose, and Madeline Spruce took his hint and turned her cell phone off as well. She took his arm as he led her out of the chill of the Blue Ho Chi Minh City Bar into the stifling night heat. It was a brief transition to his Jaguar, but they were already sweating by the time they climbed into the car.