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From NY Times Bestselling author, CD Reiss, love comes in the most ordinary and most forbidden places.
Rules for my new job:
I’m playing it cool, clean, and professional…until I meet Roman Bianchi. He’s not an insecure nerd or an ego-hole like the other kings of Silicon Valley. He’s charming and handsome. He’s fun, funny, and smart.
He’s also in the office across the hall.
Two broken rules waiting to happen.
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One Thousand and One Dark Nights
Once upon a time, in the future…
I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.
I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and
the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast
library at my father’s home and collected thousands
of volumes of fantastic tales.
I learned all about ancient races and bygone
times. About myths and legends and dreams of all
people through the millennium. And the more I read
the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered
that I was able to travel into the stories… to actually
become part of them.
I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher
and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I
would not be telling you this tale now.
But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off
One afternoon, curious about the myth of the
Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to
see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar
(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then
sent yesterday’s wife to be beheaded. It was written
and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,
the vizier’s daughter, he’d killed one thousand
Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived
in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged
places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had
never occurred before and that still to this day, I
Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have
taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can
protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to
protect herself and stay alive.
Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.
And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a
point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.
And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that
he might hear the rest of my dark tale.
As soon as I finish a story… I begin a new
one… like the one that you, dear reader, have before
I never thought about him naked.
Probably because during our affair—which went on for about a year and ended with a whimper seven months earlier—I never saw Taylor fully undressed. We usually met in some dark corner of the office and did little more than expose the relevant body parts.
But the other reason I never thought about him naked was because it just wasn’t like that. Brilliant, handsome, ambitious, rich, and about to get much richer, he was a real catch if you could ignore the fact that he was a complete ego-hole. I couldn’t ignore it and I couldn’t change it. So I’d used him like an in-office vibrator until he came back from a trip with a new girlfriend. I couldn’t find a hard feeling about it anywhere.
“Is it money?” he asked, hands folded on his desk. “I promised you a bonus in December. Do you need it now?”
“If it’s not about money…?” He let the sentence hang, hands open as if he wanted me to drop motivations in them. We were always frank with each other, but I didn’t have to make his life that easy, did I? He and every other Silicon Valley wunderkind ego-hole had it a little too easy.
“It’s not about the other thing either,” I said.
“Which other thing?”
He wasn’t playing coy. He really did need to know which thing.
“It’s not about your new girlfriend or any kind of hard feelings about anything associated with you and me fucking.”
“And it’s not about the fact that you came back from your trip with a ten-point plan for improving the culture in this snake pit, or that it fell on your human resource manager’s shoulders.”
That was me and those were my shoulders. I really didn’t hold a grudge about it, but making him uncomfortable was its own reward.
“Not about you staying late after work six nights a week,” I continued, “teaching me how to hack some girl I didn’t know, or the four hundred other new responsibilities you laid on me since you got back.”
“I laid them on you because I trust you.”
“I know. And I appreciate it.”
“You’re not going to try and hack Neuronet, are you?” Taylor had taught me the basics of hacking, and it had been fun, but I was never going to be as good as him or his partner, Keaton. “Because they have core vulnerabilities,” he continued.
“No, Taylor. I’m not going to hack Neuronet.”
“Things aren’t going to be any easier there. It’s a goliath on its way to becoming a behemoth. You’re going to get overloaded and ignored. You’ll never be ignored here, even after we crush them.”
“I’m sure I could be a big shot here in the next ten to twelve years, but here’s the thing. We’ve crunched the numbers. QI4 has challenges.”
He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. The sleeves of his jacket hiked up, exposing an expensive watch and starched shirt cuffs. He was the only circuit mogul in town who wore suits.