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Series Book #
Jane Spyrus & Abel Andretti
Dec 30, 2014
New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands delivers a "madcap escapade" (Publishers Weekly) in this contemporary romance about a quirky inventor and unexpected love.
Shy Jane Spyrus loves gadgets. She can build anything B.L.I.S.S. needs in the international organization's fight against crime—although its agents aren't exactly lining up at her door. Some of them think her inventions are a little too . . . well, innovative. Like her shrink-wrap prophylactic constraints or her spray-on truth serum.
Of course, you can't use wacky inventions to fix all your problems; Jane knows that better than anyone. Her neighbor has been kidnapped, driving that point home. She will have to team up with another human being—and Abel Andretti arrives just in time. He will help Jane find her neighbor, stop a villain, and, most of all, he will show Jane how to love the daylights out of something without batteries.
The Loving Daylights was originally published on April 2003.
1:40 p.m. Thursday “D & C meeting in twenty minutes, Jane.” “Yep.” Jane Spyrus straightened from her worktable and smiled at the tall blonde standing in the doorway of her office. “I’ll be ready. I just have a couple more adjustments to make. Thanks for reminding me though, Lizzy.” “No problem. Want me to stop and grab you on my way?” She asked. “Just in case you get too involved in what you’re doing?” Jane didn’t take offense at the offer. She was famous for getting involved in her projects and being late for meetings. “No, that’s okay. I just have a couple more adjustments to make, then I’ll head right over.” Lizzy Hubert nodded, then moved slowly into the room. “What are you working on?” Jane immediately shifted to block her worktable, aware that her face was flushing with embarrassment. “Nuh uh. You’ll see soon enough.” “Can’t blame a girl for trying,” she laughed and gave a shrug. “See you in twenty minutes. I’ll save you a seat.” Jane waited until the door had closed behind the other woman before relaxing and turning to peer down at the item on her worktable. She shook her head. It was silly to be embarrassed about her latest project. It was a brilliant idea. At least she thought so. And she wasn’t embarrassed by the B.T. Trackers she was also going to reveal today. But somehow, the mini-missile launcher made her blush and want to squirm every time she thought of presenting it. Jane sincerely wished she could have someone else do the presenting at the monthly Development and Creation meetings. That was the one aspect of her job that she truly disliked. Jane loved creating new weapons and spy technology for BLISS but loathed presenting them. She was a very poor public speaker. She tended to stammer and stumble over her words, and knew she probably sounded like a fool. It was amazing to her that Y accepted any of her inventions. Jane made a face at the very thought of the head of BLISS. Y was a hard as nails ex-agent who came across as all-knowing and all-seeing. She was the most intimidating woman Jane had encountered in her life. She supposed it was the woman’s lack of expression. It left you uncertain as to what she was thinking. It was also probably part of the reason it was so hard to gauge the woman’s age. Her face was remarkably unlined, yet she’d been at BLISS forever according to Jane’s Gran, another ex-agent and a contemporary of Y’s. All of Jane’s family was involved in the intelligence industry in one way or another, most of them in the daring area of spying. That wasn’t Jane’s area, however. She wasn’t the risk-taking type. She preferred dusty old books and tinkering with technology to the adrenaline pumping, life threatening, daring-do of being an actual spy. She liked to think that her job developing innovative new weapons and gizmos in the D & C department at BLISS was just as important though. Picking up a tiny Phillip’s screwdriver, Jane made the last of the necessary adjustments to one of the prototypes of the BMML It only took her a couple of seconds, then she straightened, removed her glasses and stared down at her creation with a pleased sigh. To the unknowing eye the BMML - or BLISS Mini-Missile Launcher - looked like nothing more threatening than a neon pink vibrator. That was the idea, of course. That was its ‘cover.’ Grinning at that thought, she began to pack things away into her briefcase, then reached over to turn on the radio on the corner of her table. She kept it tuned to an 80's hits station and Whip It by Devo immediately filled the room. The opening beats made her pause and bob her head. There was just something about that song. Jane didn’t particularly care for it overly much, but darned if every time it played, she didn’t find herself stopping what she was doing, cranking up the volume, and moving to the beat. As she did now. With the vibrator-like BMML still in hand, Jane began be-bopping around her workroom. When the chorus started, the only part of the words she knew, she began singing into the BMML as she jerked about to the techno-pop sound. “Am I interrupting something?” Jane froze, the neon pink BMML -which bore that uncanny resemblance to a vibrator- still raised to her open mouth...and wished the floor would split open and swallow her whole. It would have to be none other than Dick Hedde, standing in the door to her workroom with a smirk so wide that Jane’s own face ached in sympathy. She would never, ever hear the end of this one. Trying to pretend her face had not just gone as red as a tomato, Jane lowered her would-be microphone, turned off the radio with feigned calm and faced the one person in D & C that she absolutely loathed. “Not at all, I was just t-testing my latest invention.” It was possibly the stupidest thing Jane had said in her life, and one Dick did not have the grace to let pass. “Truly Jane, I’ve always known you were socially backward, but if you don’t even know the proper way to ‘test’ that thing, you are more hopeless than I thought.” She hadn’t considered it possible, but Jane actually flushed a deeper crimson at those sarcastic words. Mouth tightening, she put the BMML into her briefcase along with one she’d adjusted earlier. “Is there something you wanted, Dick?” “Just to remind you that the D & C meeting is in-” He checked his wrist watch. “Five minutes. We wouldn’t want you to be late. Again.” Jane’s teeth ground together in irritation, but she merely closed her briefcase, picked it up and crossed the room, walking with all the dignity she could muster. “I was just heading that way.” “Sure you were. After you finished testing your invention, right?” He taunted as she grabbed her jacket off the hook by the door and stepped into the hall. Following her out of the room, Dick pulled the door closed behind them. “By the way, Jane. I hate to burst another bubble, but your little prototype there was invented by someone else years ago. It even has a name. I believe they call it a vibrator.” “Ha ha.” Jane picked up a little speed in an effort to outstrip the little jerk and avoid any more of his crap. “Thank you for that news break.” “Anytime,” he assured her and though she couldn’t see his face and refused to turn and look, Jane could tell that he was enjoying this immensely. Dick seemed to enjoy nothing better than humiliating Jane. “Always happy to be of help.” Muttering some unpleasant descriptive words under her breath, Jane continued along the hall to the conference room. She was most relieved to find the room almost full. It meant Dick would shut up. Temporarily at least. “Jane!” Lizzy was seated halfway up the left side of the table. Jane moved in her direction at once. Other than Dick, Lizzy was the only member of the D & C department who was near her age. All the rest of the members were older and had been recruited when BLISS was first put into operation. A job in D&C at BLISS was a lifetime job. Anyone who took a job there had it explained quite plainly before they signed on. You did not join D & C at BLISS, then quit taking all their secrets away with you in your head. Jane didn’t know what would happen if anyone tried such a thing, but suspected it wouldn’t be good. As far as she knew, no one had been foolish enough to try or really wanted to. It was a great place to work, with unlimited funds and almost unlimited freedom. “I can’t believe you made it on time for a change,” Lizzy teased gently as Jane hung her jacket over the back of the empty chair she’d saved for her as promised. Jane gave a somewhat forced smile as she sat down, very aware that Dick had followed her. Much to her relief, he didn’t comment, but kept on walking up the room, taking one of the two seats at the far end of the table so that he sat with his back to the windows. “Y will be impressed to find you here and not stumbling in after she starts the meeting,” Lizzy continued to tease. Jane grunted. Y never seemed upset at her tardiness, but almost expectant of it. Jane half-suspected that was part of the reason Dick Hedde was so obnoxious to her. Y seemed to like Jane and was very patient with her lateness. Dick, however, wasn’t well-liked by anyone and tended to take that out on Jane. As if summoned by her thoughts, the door suddenly opened allowing Y and Mr. Manetrue into the room. While Y was the head of BLISS Mr. Ira Manetrue was the head of D. & C. and Jane’s immediate supervisor. Jane got along well with him too, much to Dick’s further annoyance. The gentleman, an old flame of her grandmother’s, had taken Jane under his wing the moment she started at BLISS. He considered himself something of a mentor to her. All of which made Dick’s loathing for her almost understandable. Jane could have told the man that if he would just be respectful and less of a greasy brown-noser he’d get further, but he made himself so unpleasant she couldn’t bring herself to do so. For the most part, she ignored him like everyone else. Or tried to. “Good day everyone.” Mr. Manetrue greeted the room as he and Y took their seats at the far end of the table opposite Dick. Once the two of them were settled with notepads and pens at the ready, he asked, “Who’s going to start the presentations today?” His gaze zeroed in on Jane, but she merely glanced down at the pen she was twiddling nervously between her fingers. She would have to make her presentation eventually, but didn’t have the courage to actually volunteer to do it...and be first at the presenting. Fortunately, others weren’t so shy and several stepped in ready to lead the way. Jane felt relief seep through her as Mr. Manetrue gestured for someone else to start. Time passed swiftly as idea after idea and several prototypes were presented and displayed. Jane had a terrible time paying attention. She was all too aware that as each person finished their presentation, she was that much closer to having to make her own. She started trying to remember what she’d planned to say. Jane always memorized a sort of speech for these meetings, and always forgot every word the moment she stood up to speak. This time it appeared to have fled sooner than that. Her mind was already a blank. “Jane?” Mr. Manetrue’s voice pierced her panicked thoughts. Jane glanced up to find all eyes turned expectantly her way immediately felt her heart sink. It was her turn. Swallowing nervously, Jane picked up her briefcase, set it on the table, then stood and opened it. She started to retrieve items, noting with a sort of detached interest that her hands were shaking... as usual. Wishing once again that she wasn’t such a poor speaker, Jane closed the case and held up two small silver cases. “I..um..” She stopped and cleared her throat, then tried again. “Last month we lost one of our agents when she was forced to remove all her clothes and jewelry, including the wristwatch tracker which is standard issue to all employees at BLISS. She was later found dead.” Jane paused and took a nervous drink of water, then forced a sickly smile and marshaled on. “That incident got me thinking about a tracker that wouldn’t be discovered.” “And you came up with a cigarette case?” Dick Hedde snickered. “It isn’t a cigarette case.” Jane turned it so that he could see that it was thicker than that. “Besides, it isn’t the case itself that is the tracker.” She opened the case and turned it so that everyone could see the long white items inside. “I came up with B.T.T.’s. BLISS Tampon Trackers.” Jane took in the blank expressions around her and felt her stomach roll over. It was Y who finally asked, “Am I to understand that those are actual tampons?” Jane bit her lip. While Y didn’t sound upset, she also didn’t sound overly impressed with this ingenious idea. “Well, yes. They will function as actual tampons as well. But they also hold tracking devices that have a range of-” “But what if the agent isn’t menstrual?” Unsurprisingly, the woman wasn’t rattled by this conversation. Her calm attitude had a settling effect on Jane. “Oh, well I thought of that. There are lubricated and unlubricated.” She held up a second case and opened it to reveal several more tampons, these distinguishable from the others only in that they were an off-white. “The lubricated are easily inserted and easily removable and only serve the purpose of a tracker, while the non-lubricated are absorbent and-” “The tracking device is waterproof, I presume?” Y interrupted again. “Yes. It’s at the very center of the tampon and waterproof. They also has an estimated life of two years.” Y nodded, then sat back without comment. Everyone was silent. Most of the older members of D & C were eyeing the B.T.T.’s speculatively and nodding. Lizzy was grinning encouragingly at her and Dick, well he was sneering nastily. The man was obviously just waiting for an opportunity to tear at her. Deciding not to give him that opportunity and that she’d said enough on this subject for now, Jane set the silver cases back into her briefcase. Taking a deep breath, she then removed two more items. One was a four inch square flat piece of wood with a spike sticking out of it, the other was a banana. She set the wood, spike up, on the table top, then impaled the banana on it peel and all. Finally, she retrieved several small foil packets from her briefcase, wondering all the while what on earth she was thinking of to present this item. It had seemed brilliant in an evil gleeful sort of way when she’d come up with it, but now- with all those eyes trained on her - it seemed the most foolish thing she’d ever come up with. What had she been thinking? She hadn’t been thinking, that was obvious, Jane decided, and tossed the little packets back into her briefcase, then reached to retrieve the banana and it’s spiked holder. “What are you doing?” Y asked sharply. Jane paused and flushed. “I was going to skip this item. It’s rather silly and I thought I should just move on to-” “No skipping,” Y said firmly. Mr Manetrue nodded, adding, “Even if your idea doesn’t work out, Jane, it may spur another idea from someone else here, or even yourself. That’s what these meetings are about, remember?” Jane blew out an unhappy breath, but set the banana and its holder back and retrieved the small foil packets from her briefcase. “This idea- Well, my gran was telling me once about an agent friend of hers who was raped while on assignment and I thought-” Her face was flaming and she knew it, but she had no choice but to continue, so straightened her shoulders and blurted, “I came up with the BLISS Shrink-Wrap Condom.” Dick Hedde was not the only one to laugh this time, although most of the other laughs were more embarrassed titters. Jane did her best to ignore them and walked over to hand a packet to both Y and Mr Manetrue before returning to her spot and opening the packet she’d kept for herself. “As you can see, the label suggests the condom contains a Viagra-like substance to increase longevity and increase sensitivity and pleasure,” she mumbled, wishing she’d thought a little harder about this before deciding to present it. “This is to make it appear more attractive to anyone who might use it.” She removed the small bit of rubber inside her packet and doggedly began to slip it onto the banana, ignoring Dick’s apparently uncontrollable mirth. “However, once it’s fully stretched out and applied it reacts to human body oils and begins to constrict. I applied a special cream meant to emulate human body oils to the banana earlier and as you can see the condom reacts quite swiftly.” The room had gone quiet again. Even Dick had stopped laughing as the condom began to shrink around the banana, forcing it to shrink too. When the banana peel actually burst squirting banana mash out the bottom of the condom, he, along with most men in the room, actually crossed his legs. “As you can imagine, this would discourage any sexual interest or the possibility of rape.” Much to Jane’s amazement, Y burst out laughing as banana mash leaked out all over the table under the now pencil thin empty banana peel. “Diabolical,” she decided aloud. “Although it would probably have more use as a torture device to get information out of double agents and such. I doubt someone intent on rape would take the time to don a condom,” she pointed out mildly, then asked, “Is there a way to stop it once it’s activated?” “Yes.” Jane pulled a small jar of cream out of her case. “This will make the rubber relax at once.” She quickly opened the jar, scooped out some of the cream and began smoothing it over the straining latex. As she’d said, the condom immediately stopped shrinking and reversed, growing larger around the shriveled banana peel. Y nodded her satisfaction, then asked, “What’s next, Ms Spyrus?” A relieved smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, Jane removed the shrink-wrapped banana, quickly wiped up the mess left behind by her experiment and put it all away. Then she peered at her last two items. The BMML’s. The BLISS Mini-Missile Launching Vibrator. Neon pink in color. Dismay again claimed Jane as she suddenly realized that every single item she’d brought today was sexual in nature. Even the Tracking Tampons had to do with sexual organs. Jane had to wonder if that meant something. Perhaps she’d spent too long in just the company of women. True, she saw lots of people at work, but mostly just in passing. Most of her time was spent alone in her workroom. As for a social life, she really had none to speak of. She had the occasional coffee or pizza with her neighbor Edie, or the infrequent lunch with Lizzy, but hadn’t had a boyfriend in quite some time. There just hadn’t seemed to be the time or opportunity since graduating from university with her doctorate two years earlier. When Jane had first taken the job at BLISS, she’d worked long hours trying to prove herself. Many of those hours had been in her D & C workroom, but between nights and weekends, just as many had been spent in the workroom she’d created in her apartment. That workroom had eliminated the need for a night nurse for Gran while still allowing Jane to work long hours. And she still was working long hours, Jane realized. No longer out of a need to impress anyone, but simply because she enjoyed it. Jane had a passion for her work. She hadn’t really felt a need for more of a social life, at least not one that included the emotional messiness of male female relationships. Not consciously, anyway. But as she stood there, looking down at the contents of her briefcase, Jane began to suspect that subconsciously it was a different story. That perhaps she was inwardly yearning for a relationship; possibly emotional, but most definitely sexual. “Jane?” Ira Manetrue prompted, making her realize that she’d stood there an awfully long time contemplating the possibility that she needed...well..basically that she might need to get laid. Sighing, she shoved these concerns aside and grimly lifted one of the BMML’s out of her briefcase. The restless shuffling and soft murmurs that had begun to fill the room came to an immediate halt. Jane wasn’t surprised, but ignored that as she carried one down to the end of the table to hand over to Y. “Oh my.” Y turned the item in her hand. “I hesitate to even ask what this is.” “A microphone,” Dick said with a laugh as Jane returned to her seat and picked up the second BMML. “At least that’s what she appeared to be using it as when I stopped in to remind her about today’s meeting so she wouldn’t be late again.” Jane ground her teeth together and unconsciously began to twist the vibrator in her hands, turning the base one way and the top the other. “Mind you,” Dick went on. “Jane said she was testing it so she may have had it at her mouth for another reason entirely.” He waggled his eyebrows then in a suggestive manner. “This is the BLISS Mini-missile Launcher,” Jane announced sharply to shut the man up, then forced a calmer tone of voice as she continued, “As you can see, it appears to be nothing more than your common everyday vibrator.” “Are they commonly neon pink, Jane?” Dick asked slyly. Jane’s fingers tightened on the Vibrator she held, unintentionally flicking the switch to on. It immediately began to vibrate in her hands. Jane gave a start and dropped it. Fortunately, she caught it before it hit the desk. Flushing even further as Dick burst into gales of laughter, Jane tried to shut it off. Unfortunately, in her agitation, she pushed down on the switch instead of flicking it to the off position. Much to her horror, the BMML bucked in her hands as the missile launched.
THE LOVING DAYLIGHTS is a re-issue of Ms. Sands book. It is still a pleasure to read all the antics that are always found in a Lynsay Sands story. As I read the book, I found myself wondering how her brain comes up with these concepts. I imagine her laughing hysterically as she comes up with the inventions. It makes me laugh even more. Ms. Sands is well-known for her humor and THE LOVING DAYLIGHTS is a perfect example of that. Fresh Fiction
Family Tree For
Jane Spyrus & Abel Andretti
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