Authors: Paula Altenburg
His Spy at Night
“International intrigue, adversaries with more in common than they want to admit, and ohhhh the chemistry…I couldn’t put
Her Spy To Have
Bestselling Author of
For love of the game.
You win some, you lose some.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service officer Marlies Wiersma plays hard and loves harder—sometimes with disastrous results. After falling for a man who wasn’t who he pretended to be, Lies is anxious to prove to her boss that she won’t make the same mistake twice. She accepts an assignment which pits her against a charming crime lord—and alongside a diplomat with no patience for spy games, particularly feminine ones.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
When a national security threat results in Canadian Defence Trade Commissioner Harry Jordan harboring a spy in his embassy office, his instincts scream that Lies Wiersma is a woman not to be trusted. The two of them are supposed to be on the same team, but Lies is a little too good at these games for Harry’s personal comfort. He’s been burned by a woman before.
Harry’s reluctance to play along proves to be too much temptation for fun-loving Lies to resist, and once again, she finds herself in over her head with a man. This time, however, he’s exactly who he claims to be.
Now Lies has to convince Harry that, no matter who she pretends to be during the day, at night she’s all his.
His Spy at Night
Copyright © 2016 by Paula Altenburg
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Cover design by Syd Gill/Syd Gill Designs
Edited by Nancy Cassidy/The Red Pen Coach
Digital formatting by Author E.M.S.
Published by Paula Altenburg
Stewiacke, Nova Scotia Canada B0N 2J0
Table of Contents
Being called into the director’s office wasn’t how Marlies Wiersma had anticipated her Monday morning would begin.
On her lap perched the case file she’d been handed when she walked in the door and been told to take a seat. Lies wondered if she was about to be reprimanded, demoted or fired. That Dan, her team leader, had filed a report on her stung. She’d gone to him the minute she’d figured out she’d made a serious mistake and he’d thrown her under a bus in return. Deep down a part of her believed that if she’d been a man Dan would have kept her affair to himself.
The thought of crying in front of the CSIS director was too horrifying to contemplate. John Carmichael was retired military and a well-preserved sixty-three, if his assistant was to be believed, meaning he had plenty of experience in intelligence behind him. If he wanted to know how Lies felt about being broadsided this way, she planned to make him work for it. She held herself as steady as a living statue, refusing to give up any personal tells, keeping ramrod straight with her knees together and feet tucked neatly under her chair. She summoned her best
I don’t give a damn
smile. As soon as she got home that evening she could let it all out, but not before then.
“You can relax, Marlies,” John said. “I know what you’re thinking.” Through the window beside his desk she could see the tops of the trees that lined the parking lot three stories below. He settled deeper into his chair and crossed one knee over the other, swinging the toe of his polished black leather loafer. Thoughtful gray eyes examined her, making it hard not to squirm. “You think Dan sold you out because you’re a woman.” She couldn’t hold on to her smile any longer and her shift in expression must have made him think she was closer to tears than she was. “I was a team leader once, so yes, I know he could have kept this to himself.” He gestured toward the file folder in her lap. “I asked him point blank if there was any reason you shouldn’t be given this assignment and he told me about your affair with Michael Ajam. Then he said he didn’t believe it would affect your ability to do your job. He had nothing but complimentary things to say about your professionalism.”
A new assignment. Not a firing. She couldn’t speak for fear she’d begin babbling her gratitude. She wasn’t nearly as confident about her professionalism as she’d been a few weeks ago. At twenty-eight she’d been with CSIS for three years, but she’d only been in the field for a little more than three months, and getting involved with Michael had been a huge mistake straight out of the gate. She was young, she was blond, and she was pretty enough to catch most men’s interest. She’d thought she was so smart too. She’d intended to use Michael as a way to get closer to the people he worked for. Instead, like a teenage girl, she’d fallen head over heels. She thanked every deity she could think of that she’d figured out he was far more experienced at this game than she was before she’d given anything away. He’d assumed she was a low-level bank teller who’d gotten cold feet after he’d asked her—on his boss’s behalf—to make one too many wire transfers for him. Each of those transfers had been highly illegal, but small potatoes compared to what she’d really been looking for. He’d set her up, wanting to see what she would do with the information he fed her. As far as he’d ever know, she’d done nothing with it. She had that much satisfaction.
And now John and Dan were giving her a chance to redeem herself. Heady relief bolstered her resolve to do better next time. She’d learned her lesson.
“Thank you.” She smoothed a palm over the file. “What’s the assignment?”
John didn’t answer straightaway, but gazed out the window, the lines around his eyes made more noticeable beneath a beam of bright morning sunlight. It was late summer in Ottawa and the day promised to be as hot and humid as the past eight had been. The city was experiencing a heat wave.
Thank you, climate change
“It’s sensitive,” he finally said, swiveling his attention—and his chair—back to her. “And for the most part unofficial. Any reports will come straight to me, not through Dan.”
He proceeded to fill her in. Canada’s aerospace and defense trade commissioner in the Netherlands had received intelligence suggesting a prominent businessman and Canadian ex-pat named Bernard Vanderloord was laundering money from the Middle East by filtering it through European Union defense contractors. Vanderloord had been a person of interest to CSIS for some time now. They knew he operated primarily out of the Netherlands, where he had dual citizenship. They’d also linked him to the theft of Canadian military weapons systems parts that had ended up in countries with nuclear capabilities that Canada didn’t conduct military business with. CSIS also had reason to believe he had connections to the Russian Business Network, a known cybercrime organization. He was currently doing his best to get closer to Canada’s defense trade commissioner because of an upcoming shipbuilding contract. The Dutch had an established shipbuilding industry that Canadian defense contractors, with less experience behind them, would like to tap into. Canadians were actively seeking strategic partners in the Netherlands through the current trade agreement between the two countries.
This was where Lies came in. Her parents were Dutch immigrants with family still in the Netherlands, and Lies spoke both Dutch and Frisian fluently. She knew the country well, having spent most summers with her cousins while growing up. And she’d just spent the past three months working on a money laundering case so she knew what to look for.
“We’d like you to go to the Netherlands, where you’d work in the trade commissioner’s office as his personal assistant. We want you to get as close to Vanderloord as possible. He already knows Harry isn’t much of a mark so he’ll be looking for another way into the trade agreement.”
Lies knew how fraud worked. If Vanderloord was a crime boss he’d either go for the top of the food chain or the bottom. Harry Jordan, the trade commissioner, sat at the top. Since Jordan wasn’t willing to play Vanderloord’s game, Lies would come in at a low-level position, someone new who hadn’t yet formed any loyalties, and become a prime mark. Her pulse quickened. She’d assumed that, after her last failure, she’d be given insignificant assignments until she’d built up her team leader’s confidence in her again. This, however…
This was her wheelhouse. She was equal parts thrilled and terrified. But last time, she’d gotten too close to her mark and the wound was still raw. While the Michael Ajam she’d fallen in love with had never existed, that didn’t mean she wasn’t mourning his loss. The real Michael, too, had an element of excitement inherent in him that she’d been drawn to. The criminal side to him had been the deal breaker however, and the fact that she’d misjudged him so completely tossed her confidence in herself to the wind.
“There’s one more thing,” John went on. “It’s a big one. I want no one—and I mean not even Dan—to know what you discover. I’ll be your team leader. We’ve already got enough on Vanderloord to put him out of commission. We aren’t trying to do that. He and the Minister of National Defence are old friends. They went to university together. Intel we’ve received suggests Vanderloord and the minister are conducting business together. We want to find out how they’re managing to keep it off the radar.”
Lies couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “To clarify—you aren’t after Vanderloord. You really want to take down the Minister of National Defence?”
“I never liked him. His eyes are too close together.”
It was an old and tired profiling joke but she was too stunned to appreciate that the director of CSIS had a dry sense of humor. Her last field assignment had ended in disaster. She’d hoped for a chance to redeem herself and this investigation would definitely do that, but botching it could ruin her career instead.
“You can do this, Marlies,” John said, again reading her mind. His eyes sparkled with empathy. “Don’t let one misstep throw you off your game. We’ve all been in your shoes. It’s an occupational hazard to sometimes trust the wrong people. Trusting yourself is more important. Learn from it and move on.”
“Of course I can do this,” she said automatically, mentally crossing her fingers. Her job involved having to lie. If she couldn’t convince John and Dan, and the trade commissioner, of her ability to get the work done, how could she expect to fool someone like Bernard Vanderloord? As far as liars went, he’d make Michael look like a student caught cheating on an entrance exam.
“Perfect.” John reached for the phone on his desk. He lifted the receiver and punched a button on speed dial. “Can you send Harry in, please?” he said to his assistant.
Lies’s ears perked up. Harry? As in Harry Jordan, the aerospace and defense trade commissioner who she was supposed to go to work for in the Netherlands?
Why was he in Ottawa?
Before she could speculate, or ask for clarification, the door cracked open behind her. She stood, gripping the file in her left hand as she turned to greet the man who’d be her boss for the foreseeable future.
* * *
Harry Jordan wasn’t used to cooling his heels in an outer office, waiting on other people’s schedules. Under normal circumstances people jumped to accommodate him—mostly because they wanted something only he could provide.