A badass ex-Special Ops officer and a smartass hacker fight a dangerous enemy"and a blistering attraction to each other.
Connor Hughes is an ex-special ops officer, CEO of Metrix Security, and bonafide badass. His private security firm is renowned for its effectiveness. He"s renowned for his lethal precision and iron self-control. But when the former Marine meets a gorgeous young hacker with a mouth as smart as her brain, his control unravels in ways he never could have predicted.
Tabitha West is a genius MIT dropout with a bad attitude, an obsession with Hello Kitty and piercings in unmentionable places. Tabby amuses herself by outwitting the most secure technology systems on the planet. Known in hacker circles as Polaroid due to her photographic memory, she"s as secretive as she is accustomed to working alone. So when Connor decides she"s the only one who can help him catch a cyber criminal intent on taking down one of his clients, she tells him exactly where he can stick it.
But when the cyber criminal turns out to be the Hannibal Lecter of computer crime"and a dark presence from Tabby"s past"Tabby and Connor are drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. They quickly find themselves fighting not only their common enemy, but also an explosive desire that threatens to consume them.
When the stakes are this high and the game this deadly, will falling in love be the most dangerous move of all"Books in Series:Wicked Games Series by J.T. GeissingerBooks by Author:J.T. Geissinger Books
The key to infiltrating a highly secure, access-controlled building that houses multimillions of dollars of technology and proprietary trade secrets lies in one word.
"Good morning!" I say brightly to the receptionist seated behind the large mahogany desk in the posh lobby of GenCeuticals, the top biotech firm in Washington, DC.
She looks up and smiles. "Good morning. May I help you""
Making sure to maintain strong but nonthreatening eye contact, I say, "Yes. I"m Dena Johnson from corporate. Bob McKenna said I could stop by and take a tour of the facility."
I hand her my card, which I made yesterday on my home printer. It identifies me as a Senior Vice President of Information Technology.
Of course I"d researched the company and knew what names to use. Dena Johnson and Bob McKenna are actual employees of GenCeuticals. The devil"s in the details, as they say, and successful espionage requires total command of details.
The receptionist"twenty-something, friendly"doesn"t even glance at the card in her hand. "Certainly, Ms. Johnson. Let me call the general manager for you. Please have a seat."
"Thank you." While the receptionist makes a phone call, I make myself comfortable on a leather sofa in the seating area nearby.
After a brief conversation, she hangs up the phone, beaming as if she"s just won a prize. "Mr. Hoffmeier will be right out to see you!"
Smiling blandly, I tick off a mental list of failures so far. No inspection of my business card. No request to view my company security badge. No request for a second form of identification. No call to the corporate office to confirm my visit.
Stupid people make my job so much easier.
Never let a sheep guard the chicken coop. The wolves will always find a way in.
After a short wait, the glass doors to the left of the reception desk slide open with a gentle siss of air. Through them bustles a man. He"s fiftyish, balding, wearing a navy blue suit that fit well fifteen pounds ago, and a tight smile. He looks at the receptionist. She gestures to me.
"Ah!" The man scurries over, hand extended. "Ms. Johnson! Welcome! I"m Donald Hoffmeier, General Manager here at GenCeuticals, DC. We don"t often have visitors from corporate"what a wonderful surprise!"
I stand and shake his hand. It"s clammy. His brow is speckled with shining drops.
It"s all I can do not to smirk. I know I"m a bitch, but making people nervous sort of gets me off.
"Thank you, Mr. Hoffmeier," I purr, batting my lashes. "It"s so nice to meet you. I"m sorry I didn"t call ahead to arrange a visit, but I was on business in the area, and I"ve heard such wonderful things about your operation here that I couldn"t resist taking a look for myself."
Hoffmeier looks positively dazzled. He stammers, "W-well that"s great to hear! You never know what the higher-ups think of all the hard work you"re putting in."
He leans closer. His voice gains a conspiratorial tone. "I"d heard rumors of restructuring. Getting rid of some of the middle management, things like that."
I give his sweaty paw a final shake and then wave my hand dismissively in the air. "Oh well! You know how the rumor mill works. But I can assure you, everyone at headquarters loves what you"re doing here." I drop my voice. "You didn"t hear that from me, though. Gotta keep the troops on their toes, right""
Hoffmeier nods so enthusiastically, I think his head might fly clear off his shoulders.
"Okay! Great, great!" He claps like he"s calling a class to order. "So"the tour. Shall we""
When he motions to the sliding glass doors"accessible only through an electronic badge reader, which mine won"t open because it"s fake"it"s all I can do not to break into a big, shit-eating grin.
"Yes," I say. "Let"s." I follow behind him as he leads the way.
Chickens, meet the wolf who"s about to devour you.
Half an hour later, I"ve toured the executive offices, the acres of employee cubicles, and the enormous manufacturing facility, where I had to don booties and a cloth hair cap and pass through two sets of air locks that whisked away any stray dust, airborne microbes, and aerosol particles from my person, all the while exclaiming my delight at how well managed and efficient everything seems.
Now it"s time to thrust home the sword.
"Mr. Hoffmeier, this is incredible." I pull off my cloth cap and hand it to a pimply tech in a white lab coat who looks about fifteen years old. He deposits the cap in a wastebasket and helps me wrangle the booties from my heels. I had to leave my briefcase outside the clean room"the briefcase the security guard stationed at the entry didn"t bother to look inside because I was with Hoffmeier, mistake number five"but retrieve it as we exit. "I can only imagine how impressive the IT department is."