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My Sweet Lisa

My Sweet Lisa is book seven in the Operation Quickline series of romances with espionage intrusions. It features Lisa Wycherly and Sid Hackbirn as a pair of undercover counter-espionage agents who weren’t supposed to fall for each other. Here’s where you can buy the book version from your favorite retailer, at $15.99 for the paperback or $3.99 for the ebook. And click here to see the rest of the Operation Quickline series.

Finally, it’s real love… Now what?

Yep, it’s Real Love, but…

Lisa Wycherly’s surprise birthday party ends in a terrifying disaster when she’s kidnapped off the street. Her partner, Sid Hackbirn, is so devastated that he loses his interest in sleeping around – the one thing keeping the two of them apart. The kidnapping gets messy enough when it comes to light that the kidnappers got the wrong target. There’s also a defecting KGB agent playing games with the CIA, who are involved with the Colombian kidnappers.
Then Lisa’s recovery sets in motion a whole other set of challenges as she and Sid deal with her trauma and try to get the KGB agent under control, only to find that Sid’s randy past will continue to haunt them. The only thing worse? Figuring out how to be a couple.

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Read the first chapter

Writing My Sweet Lisa

That’s always been the problem with the Operation Quickline series. Back in September of 1982, when I started the series with That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine, I had envisioned a story about two people whose values were diametrically opposed being forced to work together and somehow finding a friendship. It was also supposed to be an espionage thriller. Only it turned out to be less of what we envision when we think of traditional spy stories.

Romance or Espionage?

There were two reasons for this. One was that actual spies are not all that interesting. They live below the radar for a very good reason. They don’t want to be detected so that they can keep spying. James Bond is a total joke. Later I even made fun of that with other characters commenting on Sid’s sleeping around as being pretty dangerous for someone doing what he does.

The second reason the Operation Quickline stories went the direction they did is that Lisa and Sid seriously grew on me. As they came alive as characters, they started falling for each other. Soon the characters and how they grew became more important than the spy plots. Years later, I realized I didn’t really have a series of spy thrillers. I had more of a romance with espionage intrusions. Or a romantic spy fiction serial – which is how I produce the series nowadays.

Writing My Sweet Lisa

Of the books to date, My Sweet Lisa is possibly the most like a romance of all of them. Yes, there is a spy story – it is part of the conceit of the series. But the story is more about Sid getting jolted out of sleeping around and then how they both deal with the new state of their relationship. It’s not a Happily Ever After, either.

When I originally wrote it, back in the 1980s, I was interested in the idea that just because you’re in love with somebody doesn’t mean that there will be no fighting or conflict. That there is actually more room for conflict when you’re living a relationship. Then, during the recent rewrite process the story went through, I realized that Sid and Lisa had also grown since I first wrote them. There were Lisa’s nightmares, and Sid’s, too. Lisa was more open to an untraditional marriage. Sid was more open to making a commitment to her.

And there was something else that I’d had no clue about when I finished writing the last Quickline book in 1983 – AIDS. In fact, one of the reasons why I kept the Operation Quickline series in its original 1980s context was that Sid, with his sleeping around, could not exist in today’s world. It’s too dangerous. But AIDS got added to the story and made for some wonderful plot twists, not only for this story but for the following stories.

Sid’s Voice

The other big change in My Sweet Lisa is that we get to hear more from Sid. We’ve had snippets of Sid’s voice throughout the series in the brackets and one or two extended narratives. This time we’ve got four full chapters from his perspective.

That held over from the original writing, only Lisa had written it in the third person. Sid’s interjections didn’t really happen until one of the later rewrites. But once they had, I realized it made a lot more sense to write the experience with his voice. After all, sitting around being watched does not make for a lot of interesting action. So Lisa didn’t have that much to say until she got away. Of course, that does make the narrative pretty raw. But if you’ve been following the series, then you already know that Sid’s language generally peels paint off walls, even if you haven’t actually seen it.