For a chance to win a $25 gift card, drop by my website: TaraQuan.com/Owl.
Five years ago, Maya Jain kissed her best friend, only to have him run out of her dorm room and leave the state. When he shows up in Washington, D.C. a wanted fugitive sought after by every branch of the U.S. government, she can’t bring herself to ignore his plight. As their physical relationship picks up where it left off, she decides it’s time to make him see her as more than the bespectacled, bookish girl he once called “Owl.”
After being accused of espionage and treason, Zack Strong needs a forensic accountant to help clear his name. Not knowing who he can trust, this white-hat hacker has no choice but to ask his former best friend and math tutor for help. Together, they unravel a cyber conspiracy at the Barn, an NSA facility tasked to intercept electronic communications. But as they traverse the nation’s capital to avoid capture, Maya insists on letting their simmering sexual tension take its natural course. Even though he’s never been able to shake the memory of their one kiss, he refuses to let her give up her life for a man with no future.
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Multicultural
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Here's an excerpt:
“About a year ago, I was contracted by the National Security Agency for what they called Operation Owl.”
Maya turned and squinted at him. “Operation Owl? Are you sure you’re not making this up?”
Zack rolled his eyes. “The irony isn’t lost on me either. Apparently, the person in charge of naming these NSA projects was a Nicodemus fan, so fairy-tale titles were used as operation code names. Mine happened to be The Owl.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You do realize the confluence of operation name, my nickname, and this meeting place supports the theory you’re a schizophrenic conspiracy theorist, right?”
He scowled. “And sane people don’t use words like ‘confluence’ in every day conversation. Do you want to hear my story or not?”
She patted his shoulder. “Sorry. Please continue.”
He had a feeling she was making fun of him but decided to let it slide. “The goal of Operation Owl is simple. The country’s top white hat hackers—”
“And now we can add delusions of grandeur to your list of symptoms,” she murmured.
Detecting a hint of amusement, he cleared his throat. “Some white hat hackers were hired to gain access to the Barn—a bank of servers the NSA uses to intercept any and all electronic communication. The government would like to think the facility is impervious to offsite attacks, but they wanted to make sure. We were given a simple task—break in, retrieve a picture of an owl they hid among the data, and brief them about their vulnerabilities. The people who contracted us were pretty damn sure we’d all fail.”
“I’m guessing you didn’t?”
How about one more excerpt?
“This better be important,” Maya grumbled as she fished the iPhone Zack had gifted her out of her purse, which she had left in the closet, all the way by the kitchen. She could never seem to remember simple daily tasks such as charging her phone, putting it in memorable and easily accessible places, or installing software updates. It was a miracle she had bothered to look for the darn thing at all. After spending the night and the better half of the morning slaving away at his behest, she didn’t have the patience for more demands. At least not until she’d gotten some sleep. “What do you want?”
“You need to get out of there.” Zack’s panicked voice rooted her to the spot. “And not through the front door. They’re already on their way up. Why did you take so damn long to answer?”
This wasn’t the right time to be scolding her, but they’d talk about it later. “Who’s on their way up?”
“Men with guns who won’t bother flashing badges. Put on shoes you can run in and come out to the balcony. Now, Maya.”
Too confused to think straight, she followed his direction and strapped on a pair of hiking sandals. Barely remembering to take her purse, she bolted across the living room with the phone still pressed to her ear. “What am I supposed to do there?”
“Leave your stuff. Jump to the apartment next to you and keep going until you find an unlocked door. Get out through there and take the fire-exit stairs down to the loading dock. I’ll be waiting.”
She turned the doorknob. “Who do you think I am? The Princess of Persia? I’m not the jumping over rooftops type of girl.”
Globetrotter, lover of languages and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Follow Tara at:
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Link to Rafflecopter Giveaway -- $25 Amazon gift card or Paypal cash, http://www.taraquan.com/owl.