Truth is Sometimes Stranger Than Fiction


My guest today is M. S. Spencer with her Romantic Suspense The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower.  Welcome M.S. 🙂


Truth is Sometimes Stranger Than Fiction

The Mason’s Mark arose in part out of a true story. Starting in the 1940s an Italian named Licio Gelli embarked on a lifetime of bizarre scams and crimes. Alternately linked to rightists and leftists, he bilked or used people from Italian politicians, to the Nazis, the Communists, the CIA, even to Juan Peron, dictator of Argentina. His exploits criss-crossed the globe and spanned four decades. At last check, he was still alive, in his nineties and writing poetry from prison. In 1996 he was even nominated for the Nobel prize in literature.

Gelli is most famous for founding a Masonic lodge called Propaganda Due, a renegade group that was first dissolved, then reinstated, then erased by the Grand Orient of Italy (Grande Oriente d’Italia), an Italian Masonic organization. He had ensnared many prominent Italians into P2, which ultimately led to several huge scandals.  He is the model for the shadowy puppetmaster in my new romantic suspense novel The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance).

Here’s a summary:

In both the best and worst first day at work ever,  docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial falls apart when she discovers a dead body. Together with Detective Ernest Angle, she’s drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons. Also cloaked in mystery is her new love Gideon Bliss.  A George Washington expert, he haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she’ll fall in love with him only to learn he’s a thief or even a murderer.

Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten Ernest, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including which black ops agent to trust,  whether our first president strayed, and if she and Gideon will ever be together.

The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower

(an Old Town Romance)

Secret Cravings Publishing (released January 7, 2014)

78,400 words, Romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames

M.S. Spense Romantic Suspense


Buy the book


EXCERPT (R) : Afternoon Delight

Claire took his hand and they climbed the stairs to the hall.

“What are you going to do now?”

Gideon closed the little door behind her and took her face in his hands. “I am going to make love to you.”

One would have thought this would take Claire by surprise, but since she had managed to keep her own desire on the back burner only by dint of fingernails jammed painfully into her palms, she didn’t quibble. “Take me upstairs.”

Claire assumed the king-sized bed filling the center of the room was there by necessity, given Gideon’s six-foot-three frame. Thank God there’s no ceiling mirror. Light filtered in through the wooden Roman shades, revealing a room with few feminine touches. She hoped that meant Dorcas hadn’t spent much time here. The bureau had a small mirror, a brush, and a bowl of coins. Clothes were dumped unceremoniously near, but not on, hooks.

It didn’t take them long to add to the pile. As they stood amid the detritus Gideon bent down to kiss the top of her head. She took a forefinger and pushed him slowly but irresistibly onto his back on the bed, noting with satisfaction the flicker of trepidation that licked his features. The hours leading up to this moment only made her hungrier for him. Setting one knee on each side of his hips, she slowly inched up his body, gliding over the erect penis with only a casual rub. As her pussy neared his mouth he grabbed her thighs and drew her to him. His tongue crossed the distance and lodged itself in her vagina, sucking and tickling. She rolled the aching flesh over his mouth and opened her thighs wide. When his fingers slid toward her asshole she redoubled her thrusting. One finger, then two, entered the hole, while his hands clasped her buttocks and propelled her closer. The orgasm rose just before she wanted it to, but when she heard him mumble, “Come on, come on, baby, come,” she let go.

She arched over him, shaking and yelping. He held her arms and moved her off his body. “My turn,” he whispered.

When he’d finished, not a skin cell on her body remained unfondled. His penis lay inside her pumping its last ounce of love, and his lips were fastened on one ear lobe, nibbling the soft flesh.

She awoke to find the sun that slipped through the shades glistening red and checked her watch. Six o’clock! “Oh dear, my mother was supposed to call. She’ll wonder why I didn’t pick up.” She scrabbled about on the floor for her purse and sat back on the bed, stumped.

“You left it downstairs.” Gideon stretched and let a hand fall on her breast. He tickled the nipple till it stood up. “Just tell her you were indisposed.”

She brushed the hand away. “I have to go, Gideon. I can’t believe what we did.”

“It’s called ‘Afternoon Delight.’ Delightful. Come here.”

“Really, no.” She found her light cotton shift under the bed and pulled it on, then ran a comb through her hair. “You haven’t told me what you’re going to do with the box.”

Gideon sighed and pulled on his jeans. “I need a little more time. If Nutley’s theory is correct, the letters could be explosive, but I’d really like to be sure of their authenticity before the news gets out.”

“When will you know?”

But he didn’t have a chance to answer her. Loud pounding came from the front door. Gideon didn’t bother to button his shirt before running out to the balcony. From the front windows Claire saw strobe lights flashing in the street. Police cars?

As her lover leapt down the stairs they heard a deep voice trumpet, “Mr. Bliss? Open up. This is the police.”




Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Blessed with two fabulous grown children, she has published eight romantic suspense/mystery novels. In an excess of optimism, she has recently heaved the entire ho to Florida with a detour to Maine, leaving behind the cherry blossoms, the monuments, and the political hacks.


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4 Responses to “Truth is Sometimes Stranger Than Fiction”

  1. melissakeir says:

    What a fun piece of history. I hadn’t heard of him before. I’m always interested in learning more. I think that’s what I love about being an author….sharing pieces of history or reality in my writing!

  2. Thanks for having me Anne–I love the layout–one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. Hope your readers enjoy hearing about the Mason’s Mark. M. S. Spencer

    • Anne Lange says:

      Thank you M.S. I’m so pleased you could spend time here today and share your book with us. I for one really enjoyed hearing about Licio Gelli. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. 🙂