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Today NINA BERRY takes over the blog to share a deleted scene from her novel, CITY OF SPIES. You can find Nina online at these places:
Celebrating her escape from East Germany and the success of her new film, teen starlet Pagan Jones returns to Hollywood to reclaim her place among the rich and the famous. She’s thrilled to be back, but memories of her time in Berlin—and elusively handsome secret agent Devin Black—continue to haunt her daydreams. The whirlwind of parties and celebrities just isn’t enough to distract Pagan from the excitement of being a spy or dampen her curiosity about her late mother’s mysterious past.
When Devin reappears with an opportunity for Pagan to get back into the spy game, she is eager to embrace the role once again—all she has to do is identify a potential Nazi war criminal. A man who has ties to her mother. Taking the mission means that she’ll have to star in a cheesy film and dance the tango with an incredibly awful costar, but Pagan knows all the real action will happen off-set, in the streets of Buenos Aires.
But as Pagan learns more about the man they’re investigating, she realizes that the stakes are much higher than they could have ever imagined, and that some secrets are best left undiscovered.
——–Top Secret Deleted Scene Ahead——
A shadow moved to her left. She startled, spinning to see a man in a dark suit, no drink in his hand, moving purposefully along the side of the house. The sound of footsteps to her right, and another man, dressed in the same dark suit, rounded the outside of the south wing of the house, also moving toward her.
Cold sweat broke out on the back of her neck. Had the East German security services decided to track her down in the US?
No, calm down. That wasn’t possible. Frank Sinatra’s private security was second to none. Maybe these were his men.
She backed up a few steps, ready to run, and bumped hard into someone behind her.
“Oof,” he said, and put his hands on her shoulders to stop her momentum.
She whirled. It was a man, disorientingly familiar in the dark, tall, wearing a jacket with no tie.
“Excuse me there, young lady.” His voice… she knew him. It was too dark to see his face, but the accent was so distinctive. Why wasn’t the name coming to her?
“I’m sorry,” she said, stepping back to let him by.
“No, my fault.” He peered down at her, gray-green eyes friendly but pouched with weariness. He squinted as if in recognition.
“Everything all right there?” One of the other men had stepped closer to them, his posture alert, ready.
“We’re fine, Dan, thanks.” The man flashed even white teeth at her in a rueful smile. “Pagan Jones, isn’t it? Fancy meeting you here.”
Pagan’s heart skipped several thumps as he stepped into more light and she saw familiar thick chestnut brown hair, square forehead, rounded cheeks and dimpled chin. The deep furrows between his brows indicated he was well acquainted with pain and loss, but his charming smile made her smile back. She’d literally bumped into John F. Kennedy.
“Mister President,” she said, not quite believing the words as they came out of her. “I’m so sorry! I was just….” She was about to make an excuse and step back, when the sense of his words sank in. “You know me? I mean…” She was a celebrity, sure, but did Presidents have time for teen beach movies and tabloid magazines?
“Well, I’ve heard of you,” he said. “And it’s a pleasure to finally meet.” He held out his hand.
She shook it, her heart sinking. He must’ve heard about her drunken, deadly car accident and how she’d been convicted of manslaughter and sent to reform school. The shadow of her bad deeds would never leave her.
Which was as it should be.
“The pleasure is mine.” She forced herself to keep smiling. He was better looking in person.
“They told me what you did for us in Berlin, the night the wall went up,” he said, referring to the cold crazy night Pagan had risked her life to help Thomas Kruger’s family escape the East German secret service. Along the way she’d accidentally uncovered the identity of a double agent working for the Communists. “So I’m glad to have this chance to thank you for your hard work there in a difficult situation.”
The blood seemed to have drained from her head and hands. She was floating. She swallowed, forcing herself to let go of his hand. So that’s why he’d heard of her, not for her many misdeeds, but for her only good one.
Stay steady, Pagan.
“Thank you, sir. I just did what I had to do.”
“Ah, but not everyone would see it that way,” he said. “Many would have thought only to save themselves or folded under the pressure. Maybe I should appoint teenage girls to run the CIA.”
Her heart expanded inside her chest. She was going to burst.
“You should go to Berlin.” The words blurted out of her before she could stop them. She put one hand over her mouth, shaking her head. “I mean, thank you, sir.”
His lips twitched in amusement. “Why do you think I should go to Berlin?”
Oh God, now she’d done it. Giving advice to the President of the United States. “It was very tough on the people there when the Wall went up,” she said. “I understand that we couldn’t stop the East Germans without starting a nuclear war. But if you went there, it would mean a lot to the Berliners.”
He considered her. It was like having the attention of the sun. If it went on much longer she would burst into flames.
“You’re smarter than they told me you were,” he said. “So I’ll tell you something in confidence. We’re already seriously thinking about a trip to Berlin. Probably not for a while. There’s a lot to do. But I’ll take your words under advisement.”
“Ja-ack!” A soft voice called from the cypress trees between their lawn and the guest house. Pagan glimpsed hair more platinum than her own and a curvy form clad in something shimmery. “I’m waiting.”
Pagan shot a startled glance at the most powerful man in the world. A married man, a family man. Yet he was here to…
The President looked Pagan right in the eye. “Remember, now. This is all in confidence. Have a good night.”
As he moved past her, his pace picking up speed, the secret service men tracked with him. She wasn’t the only one in his confidence.
“Good night, sir,” she said, and couldn’t help watching him vanish between the cypresses. So the President of the United States had secrets too.
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