I’m so happy to be a guest here to talk about my new romantic suspense TWO CAN PLAY. I thought it would be fun to give you an exclusive look at the Real Life Lounge, the gamer arcade where the book is set–and where Lounge employees work and live as one big happy gamer family–by taking you along as Rena Novo, the book’s heroine, takes Gage Stone, the hot new hire she’s supposed to mentor, on a tour of the highlights of The Life. Make a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of two $15 Amazon Kindle gift cards to be awarded at the end of the tour. For additional chances to win, follow the tour and comment on each tour stop.
Rena grew more and more suspicious that Gage was out to expose The Life to either ridicule or trouble with the law as she led him around the Lounge. But when Maya, advisor to the Blackstones, owners of the Lounge and the game company that created EverLife, a wildly popular virtual reality game, tells her Gage’s questions are good for The Life, she decides to trust him. Hearing she’s about to get a special assignment from the Blackstones, she decides to celebrate with Gage and act on the sexual chemistry she’s been fighting since the tour began.
STOP TEN… THE BIG ROUND BED
Rena flashed her card in front of the security box in the elevator and they zoomed upward. The door opened at the fifth floor.
“This is my level,” she said, stepping out of the elevator and waiting for Gage to join her.
“This is a lot more like it,” Gage said, looking around at the plush carpet, elegant furniture. The Lounge’s techno music was piped in. “Smells like incense, not Top Ramen.” First Levelers lived on soup they cooked on the hot plates they could afford.
“It’s pumped through the AC ducts.” She breathed in the pleasant aroma.
“So you got here–Level Five–in, what, nine months? Is that average?”
“Faster than some.” She was lucky. Sometimes she felt too lucky and had a shiver of a question as to why she was doing so well, but that was for late night when she was alone, not now, not when she was about to have sex, then have the honor of a meeting with Nigel and Naomi.
She slid her key in the door and entered, turning as Gage followed her. He jumped when he saw her plaster statue of Lara Croft. “So, you’re a Tomb Raider fan,” he said. Already, he’d told her she reminded him of Lara, who’d been her role model and gotten Rena through that black time with her uncle. Lara had showed her how to be strong.
He looked around the studio-sized space. She didn’t have a lot of décor beyond a black leather sofa, a standing lamp, table and love seat, her computer desk. There were two highlights–a black lacquer entertainment center with a 40-inch flat-screen TV and one each of the latest consoles, and her one-of-a-kind bed.
Gage nodded at the television. “What that cost?”
“One hundred K in points. I need it to check shaping qualities and depth of field on game tests.”
She moved to stand beside her bed. His gaze followed her and locked onto the huge, round bed, covered by a black-velvet spread and tiger-striped pillows.
“Nice bed,” he said, moving close enough to run his fingers along the surface. “That must have cost a lot.”
“It did. It’s modeled after the one in the SIMS Party Pak. I wanted the best.” He locked gazes with her. “It’s very useful for earning social points,” she said, knowing that would puzzle him.
He looked up at her, frowned, then seemed to get it. “Hang on…? You get points for–?”
“Sex? Absolutely. It’s the most popular way to get Social Interaction points.” “How does that work exactly?”
“Sex? You don’t know how sex works?” She gave him a look, glad to be the one doing the mocking for a change.
He shot her a quick grin, rewarding her for the joke. “The point bit. How does that work?”
“It all depends how good you are.”
“And you’ll decide that?” He moved closer to her. She could smell his cologne, see the creases at the edges of his eyes and noticed how sensuous his lips were.
“And you want the best.”
“Of course.” Desire burned in her veins and she went tight between the legs.
For a second, it was almost too much. She felt a little afraid of how intense this could get, and she still had doubts about Gage and why he was here.
“The real question is what do you want?” She’d stripped sex completely out of her tone. “Why are you here?”
Her meaning registered in her eyes like the flick of the needle on a gauge. He took a few seconds to answer. To his credit, he didn’t glance away. “I’m a gamer. I needed a job.” He paused, as if he had to gear up to say more. “I like what’s here,” he said finally…softly. “Rules you can understand. People you can trust. A family. Like you said.”
She wasn’t quite sure she believed him, but she realized she wanted to. She wanted to very badly.
Before she could respond, her phone buzzed, startling them both. She saw it was a text from a name she’d never before seen. Please to come up to Penthouse. Nigel will see you now. 3-6-3 on the elevator keypad.
“It’s time,” she said, looking at Gage. “I’m to go up.” Adrenaline poured through her, overriding her lust like a tidal wave on a quiet beach.
“So…another time then?” He ran his finger along her cheek, sending a shiver of pleasure and promise through her.
“We’ll see.” That was the best she could manage. Her body wanted him, but her mind didn’t quite trust him. And right now, she had something far more important than Sex Points to do. She was about to get an Owner Quest, something she’d wanted from the minute she joined The Life….