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France, 1993
A cunning killer trusted that his secret was safe, an innocent woman holds the key to his destruction, and an intelligence officer must keep her alive before the madman can strike the fatal blow.
When Gabriela Martinez finds a mysterious coin in the French Riviera, she is thrust into a struggle between governments, terrorists, and madmen, all seeking knowledge she doesn't know she has. Richard Harrison, the intelligence officer assigned to protect her, has all he can do to keep her safe. But when the psychological games to terrorize Gabriela escalate beyond his control, Richard must find a solution, if not, it may be too late for them both.
Set in the exotic French Riviera, The Coin is a story of hatred, betrayal, love and duty—of terrible and painful choices that, nonetheless, bring about personal triumph.
Winner of the 2018 Bronze Medal at Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

344 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 1, 2013

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About the author

Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra

14 books460 followers
Hi, everyone. My name is Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra (yes, I know...it is a mouthful). I am originally from Cuba, lived in many places/countries throughout my life, and am now back in beautiful Florida.
I started writing when I was thirteen. My first short story was a science fiction one set on Mars (I was into Asimov, Clarke, Bester, et al at that moment of my life) and my second one was a paranormal novella, at nineteen, which was a rare leap for me since that genre really did not exist at that time.
I have written suspense, thrillers, mysteries, and short stories; I am delving now into cozy and will tap the paranormal in the future.
Love to read, watch videos of beautiful horses (since I can't ride anymore), and swim. Travel when I can.
More importantly, love to hear from my readers.
If you ever want to check out all my novels, you can check me out at my website: https://mariaelenawrites.com
Maria Elena

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5 stars
62 (59%)
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27 (25%)
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12 (11%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 46 reviews
Profile Image for Victoria Saccenti.
Author 15 books340 followers
June 21, 2015
This romance/suspense story is set in the lovely French Riviera. It is a fast read, the plot is tight and the characters are well developed with an unexpected twist to the standard romance story. This adds complexity and interest, not one character is stronger than the other, thus eliminating the "victim" or "superhero" tendencies so prevalent in modern Romance.
Profile Image for Nights.
114 reviews75 followers
July 16, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and I just couldn't put it down.

The only thing that bothered me was how fast Richard fell for her, but it didn't take away too much from the story for me.

I am looking forward to the sequel; I'm curious as to what mess Gabriela has gotten herself into this time :P lol

(Also, the counter thingy is weird on this, I didn't read it from December 28th to April 8th, I started it on April 2nd :P Just felt like straightening that out)

(EDIT: I found out how to change the 'date read' thingy so it no longer says 'read from December 28th' yay! I'm very happy about this)

I won this from a First Reads giveaway.

Profile Image for Felicia.
936 reviews
June 20, 2015
I received this book from goodreads first reads. I thought this was a great action packed book, with a few twists I didn't see coming. I don't like when married women and men not their husbands have the main love story in a book.
Profile Image for Mari Christie.
Author 11 books96 followers
November 5, 2017
This was a great book! Fast-paced, intriguing, suspenseful, with sharply drawn characters. Most interesting, however, is the unusual ending. Most unexpected.
684 reviews42 followers
July 20, 2020
The Coin is one of the best espionage suspense romance novel I have listened to this year. The story starts with secrecy of the coin and what it represent. Whenever some high profile political mishaps happen, the coin is the only connection to these mishaps. Richard Harrison was on his way to France for vacation when he was given an assignment by his boss. It was supposed to be simple assignment where after he get a statement from the person in question, he can go on his vacation. Except his boss never told him, in the briefing of what his assignment would lead to.

Gabriela Martinez found a coin and never expected that this coin could cost her, her life. As her life isn't complicated enough, she suspected her mentor, sponsor, and friend wants her as his mistress, a husband who treats her ventures as hobbies rather be there to support her. Mr. Richard Harrison, who is now protecting her from a killer, who wants his/her secret to remain a secret.

Gabriela is no damsel in distress except her loyalty to her friends could thwart Richard from protecting her. There are moments when the psychological games from the killer begins,I thought of what part of her life is in danger, that she doesn't understand. It like part of her is in denial. Those were the moments, I had to take a break from the story, because of her being brave and loyal, she made Richard's job to protect her that much more difficult.

The story ends where no resolution to Richard and Gabriela's relationship. She is married with two children and Richard is noble. The ending did leave me emotional dissatisfied but since there is a second book in this series, there has to be some reconciliation of a happy ending between these two characters.

I may be dissatisfied with how things ended between Richard and Gabriela's, I still strongly recommend this book for anyone who loves suspense, espionage, and thriller. It is suspenseful thriller of cat and mouse, with a bit of romance.

If the readers/listeners pay attention, they would know who is the antagonist is. I figure it out.

The narrator, Michael S Ables did such an excellent job with the characters and story. He is going to be one of my favorite narrator. After hearing an sneak preview from the second book, The Book of Hours, at the end of this book, I'm glad he's coming back to finish this duology series.

I was given this audiobook by the author. After listening to this book, I decided to write an unbiased review. I was not compensated or influenced in any way for writing this review.

192 reviews13 followers
August 8, 2015
The Coin is book one in a duo-logy (2 book series). I however read them out of order. This did not ruin the story for me in any way and in fact it was really fun to pick up Gabriela and Richard's story from their first meet, instead of the reunion they had in book 2.

The Coin starts out with Gabriela innocently picking up a coin while on her hike. Like her I have always been taught finding these coins is a lucky thing. She combines her lucky coins on a bracelet (which I now want one!) and while the coin is the jewelers getting put on the bracelet is when it is discovered to not just be a simple coin, but a code for terrorist. This is where Richard enters her life, and thank goodness he does, because she quickly becomes the target of some really nasty mouse and cat games!

The mystery around this story was fantastically woven and I truly feel in love with these books! I am simply sad to not have more of Richard and Gabriela's story to read, but will be looking out for more amazing mysteries by this author!
Profile Image for Jaffareadstoo.
2,592 reviews
July 1, 2013
This fast paced romantic thriller has a decidedly menacing edge to it; the plot is fast and furious and never slackens its pace. The characterisation is strong and meaningful and the dialogue between the major players is convincing and well thought out. The inclusion into the story of some quite dark and sinister psychological mind games adds a dangerous frisson of excitement which helps sustain the tension to an exciting degree.
I particularly enjoyed the beautiful setting of the Côte d'Azur whose isolated beauty forms an integral part of the novel.

Overall, this is a commendable first novel. The author has a real talent for storytelling and her ability to control the action whilst keeping the integrity of the love story, adds a nice dimension to what is in effect a very well controlled and suspenseful thriller.

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book. This in no way influenced my review.
79 reviews
September 17, 2013
This book was recommended by friends and I couldn't be happier to have found it. I immediately identified with the main character, Gabriella Martinez who finds a coin in the woods and asks a jeweler to add it to her charm bracelet. Unbeknownst to her, the jewelers have been on the lookout for particular coins with markings and this coin comes up with a match. Gabriella is plunged into a terrorist network of CIA, Israeli agents and terrorists who want her to pinpoint the place that she found the coin. Enter into this mix, CIA agent, Richard Harrison, who has been duped by his boss into believing that this is a quick side trip on his vacation to the Cote d'Azur and you have a mixture of suspense, danger, romance and betrayal. Wonderful read which will have you riveted on the edge of your seat and rooting for Gabriella to make it through. Looking forward to the sequel and so will you. Must read!
July 20, 2013
After weeks of placing The Coin down, I still cannot let go of its beautiful scenery, relatable characters, and startling fast paced plot. The coin straddles two genres of fiction which evoke a powerful reading experience: suspense and romance! Sierra’s complex plot and intriguing characters form a compelling story that everyone will enjoy. Not only is the authors style accessible and interesting, but the pacing in the story is fast and addictive with its unique blend of both genres. The Coin should probably come with a warning label: it will grab you and keep you reading well into the wee hours of night, and keep you thinking, deeply, hauntingly, well after the final word! Can’t wait until the next book!
Profile Image for Monica Porta.
Author 84 books191 followers
July 3, 2015
The Coin is a romantic thriller set in the French Riviera. Filled with beautiful scenery, the story is narrated in the third person omniscient point of view, giving the reader full access to everyone's mind, but with an important twist that adds to the suspense. I enjoyed how the main characters' relationship evolves during the harrowing experience they are put through and how they grow during the story. I particularly liked the ending, and I'm looking forward to reading what's in store next for our Gabriela.
Profile Image for Missy.
75 reviews
January 4, 2014
The story of Gabriela and Richard is amazing. This story has great characters, action,and love. Thank you Maria for this story that I will continue thinking about, and can't wait to read the sequel. So many questions, to see what Gabriela and Richard are going to do next. If you get a chance please make this into a movie, would love to see it on the big screen :)
Profile Image for Noelle Walsh.
1,172 reviews62 followers
December 5, 2013
This book was incredible! Mystery, romance, action, suspense... What more could one ask for in a good book? This book could very well make a good film or television program and with that ending, one can only hope that the sequel is released soon, so we can find out what happens next!

*Won on GoodReads First Reads*
Profile Image for Lorraine Baker.
212 reviews5 followers
March 13, 2014
I got this book throught the goodread first read programme and was a bit unsure whether I would like it as it seemed from other reviwers to be a romance. Wrong - this is a quick pace romantic thriller that got me from the first few pages. A beautiful setting, vividly described and characters you care about. A good read that I did'nt want to end.
Profile Image for Lisa.
76 reviews
November 15, 2013
The stuff that movies are made of! Plenty of action, romance and suspense that would make a great movie, in my opinion. The worst part is having the story end as it did! I sincerely hope I won't have to wait *too* long for the sequel! I need my fix.
Profile Image for Sandra.
Author 14 books5 followers
August 27, 2016
A fast-paced thriller with well-drawn characters, a tight plot and enough romance to keep you turning the pages. If you like suspense seasoned with a rising attraction between two people, I recommend this book. I am looking forward to the sequel.
June 15, 2013
One of the best books I have ever read...romance,suspense, action...this book has it all...beautiful setting, intriguing characters...excitedly anticipating the follow up!
17 reviews7 followers
August 28, 2014
Fast paced story with amazing characters and a beautiful setting. Great romantic thriller....can't wait for book 2. :)
Profile Image for Tim Terry.
254 reviews5 followers
July 17, 2020
A Nazi minted coin, attracting evil and death. Will special agent Richard be able to protect Gabriel but also himself, from the evil around her?

When Gabriel picked up an old coin on a hiking trail in France, she was thrilled and immediately took it to a jeweler to add to her bracelet. But the coin was marked and linked to international terrorists as a code for their illegal purchases of resources. Quickly identified in a routine procedure, it was reported to American intelligence in Europe where special agent Richard is diverted from a planned, well-earned vacation, to investigate its appearance in what should be a routine and a quickly executed assignment.
However, when Gabriel and Richard first meet, both of them, being highly attractive and enticing individuals in their own ways, are immediately, subtly but powerfully attracted to each other. Neither of them can afford a relationship as she is married with children and Richard cannot afford relationships in a job as dangerous as his.
Like an evil talisman, the coin immediately exerts its malign influence, which dramatically affects their destinies, as powerful and dangerous enemy agents converge upon her, like sharks to a bleeding carcass in the sea. Her sour but hardworking husband, Roberto, and other family and acquaintances of hers are inexorably drawn into the web of danger as Richard struggles to protect her. He is assisted by the loveable but ugly and chain-smoking little French agent, Maurice, as they are pursued across the French countryside.
Neither Gabriel, nor Richard, realize that as they face mounting danger together in a series of escalating attacks on her, both of their lives are changing forever, but will they be able to accept these changes?
The writing is tensely taut, with magnificent descriptions of the scenery around them, as well as gripping accounts of realistic action. There are also a host of interesting characters around the two main protagonists. Amongst others, the tragic and alcoholic Bernard; totally self-obsessed, the evil and ruthless, Albert; and of course, the French agent, Maurice, who pops up to help them throughout the episode.
Besides being a compulsive and exciting thriller, this is also a dramatic but gentle romance that is handled in a beautifully delicate style by the author. This makes this a thrilling but also, an intensely poignant reading adventure.
Profile Image for Pearl.
475 reviews6 followers
July 22, 2020
Gripping, intense and with a dash of romance you will never forget! Wow. I was speechless after reading The Coin by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. The author did such a great job that I was so enthralled and sucked in the story. I was unable to put it down because it was such a unique kind of story.

First of all, I loved where the story was set-- French Riviera. The setting alone was romantic and it was a perfect blend to a love story mixed with suspense. Plus, the characters were very interesting and well-developed. What I also especially loved about this book was the fact that it was easy to read. Some suspense books make my head ache with so much details but this book was just perfect for me because it was fast-paced.

I also found the dialogues between the characters very entertaining. It's like I was basically watching a movie because I feel like I can hear their voices on my mind. As a whole, reading this book was a great experience!
Profile Image for Jennie Rosenblum.
1,026 reviews32 followers
October 15, 2019
As the Indie Author’s market is developing, I am seeing more and more books that appear just as professional as those coming out of the traditional publishing market. However most of the time the Indies have a better story and this is a perfect example of that.

In the theme of great mystery authors, like Louise Penny, this author created an entire world where the reader can “walk around” and know where they are. The story of a found coin on an innocent stroll soon leads to all kinds of trouble for the Gabriela. Being a fan of true thrillers, I thoroughly enjoyed the high level adventure scenes and incredibly detailed car chases. The web of suspense created by this author was awesome.

This is a book going on my short list of recommendations for those who are fans of a very good suspense book.
Profile Image for Jennifer Pierson.
11.2k reviews145 followers
February 11, 2022
The Coin was a brilliant psychological thrill ride that I couldn't get enough of. See, it all started when Gabriela finds a coin that puts her in the crossfire of all kinds of danger. Thankfully, she has Richard (an intelligence officer) who is determined to keep her safe. However, she's not exactly making his job any easier since they have no clue as to who is stalking her but that killer is upping the ante all over the place while she doesn't see danger everywhere like Richard. There are a ton of twists coming in hot which kept me on the edge of my seat, and when I get this kind of story, I don't care if there's romance to it or not because I'm all about the suspense. Plus, this author is a descriptive genius as I felt like I was in the French Riviera in 1993, and I loved that! I cannot wait for the next book as I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND The Coin to ALL! 
Profile Image for Cyrene Olson.
1,209 reviews16 followers
February 3, 2018
Set in the early 1990’s in France, this is a story that creeps up on you. Although it didn’t catch me right away, before I even realized it, I was completely involved. I sat down to read figuring I could get a few minutes in reading and the next thing I knew an hour has gone by. This is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat, as Richard tries to get to the bottom of the case and trying to protect Gabriela at the same time.

Wonderful character development – this is one of those books that could easily translate to the big screen, and I’d be first in line to get a ticket.
Reviewed by Cyrene
Author 13 books29 followers
February 9, 2020
This romantic thriller about an American woman Gabriella (originally from Cuba), who lives near Grasse and found a coin while hiking. The coin has markings added after it was minted, and they indicate that it’s part of some international scheme to create dissent among people. Gabriella, married with two children, is guarded by a reluctant American operative who happened to be nearby on vacation. The intriguing plot of the novel moved quickly with lots of tension that was sometimes interrupted by head-hopping, the growing attraction between the operative and the woman despite her marital status, and the obvious identity of the antagonist.
190 reviews
February 7, 2017
Gabriela and Richard are strong, passionate characters thrown together into a nest of killers playing with them until they're ready for the kill. Evil, traitorous, and weak characters force the two together in a run for their lives.

I don't want to give the story away as you just have to read and experience this thriller set in the Côte d’Azur. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to the sequel.
602 reviews1 follower
January 11, 2021
Nothing Is What It Seems

This book starts out as a page turner. The plot is complicated and interesting, the characters are a little flat but believable until near the end, and the setting is well described. I was disappointed in the ending because I think, given the way she was portrayed throughout the book, that Gabriela would have made different decisions and I think it would have been a better story for the alternative. It could have precluded a sequel, however.
Profile Image for Katherine.
47 reviews2 followers
March 13, 2018
Loved It!

I bought this book because I knew the author would be at a book signing I was attending. Shortly after I started it, I had a chance to sit down and speak with the author. I wasn't immediately in love with the book, but she was so well spoken and interesting that I knew I wouldn't be disappointed by finishing it. Now I can't wait to read the next one!
11 reviews
October 18, 2017
Entertaining read

Grabbed me right from the start even though the plot was predictable. The characters were well fleshed out especially Gabrieala. Looking forward to reading the sequel.
1,124 reviews4 followers
October 21, 2022
Great spy thriller

This story kept you on your toes until the end. Lots of twists and turns. Loved the love story between Richard and Gabrielle. I was a little disappointed how it ended. I thought that they might have got together. Maybe in the next book.
532 reviews8 followers
December 13, 2021

Wonderful tale with adventure, passion, intrigue and excitement.Best story ever and I didn't want the journey to end at sll
Displaying 1 - 30 of 46 reviews

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