Tuesday, September 6, 2022

God, he’s annoying! – #EroticRomance #FlippedTropes #MFRWHooks #Giveaway

The Gazillionaire and the Virgin cover

Welcome to this week’s MFRW Book Hooks blog hop! My excerpt today is from my BDSM erotic romance The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. I’m sharing a segment from the first meeting of the main characters. It’s a bit long – I hope you don’t get bored!

To keep you interested until the end... I'll bribe you! leave me a comment telling me what you think of Theo. I’ll give a free copy of the novel to one randomly selected person who comments.


She’s the billionaire. He’s the virgin. Still, he knows how to make her melt. One word from Theo, one touch, and Rachel surrenders to bliss. It seems that love and complementary desire may harmonize their differing values, until Rachel’s unwitting violation of Theo’s trust tears them apart.


The Hook

I hadn’t expected him to be so big. He’s well over six feet tall, I’d guess, with the shoulders of a football player. A rumpled white shirt and loose trousers hide the details of his body, but I don’t think he’s fat, just large. His smooth, young face seems incongruous paired with his giant’s frame. Shaggy black hair overhangs his forehead and grazes his collar. Behind dark-framed, unfashionable glasses, his eyes dart from one detail of my luxurious office to the next, finally settling on the rust-hued trunks of the redwoods outside my window. He sucks in a deep breathe then releases it in a long sigh. He doesn’t look at me.

Good afternoon, Dr. Moore.” I rise, circle the desk and settle into a chair next to the couch. “Thanks for agreeing to see me.”

He ignores my outstretched hand, continuing to stare out at the lovely view. His fists are clenched on either side of his thighs. Rarely have I seen anyone look so ill at ease.

How far away is the sea?” he asks finally.

About fifty meters. Most of the time you can’t quite see the water, but at sunset you can sometimes catch the glint of the reflections.

You should have built closer,” he declares. The stark confidence in his voice is at odds with the nervousness I read in his body language. “I would have designed this place so that every office had a view of the ocean.”

That would have been my preference, too. But California building codes are pretty strict.”

With your money, I would think you could have arranged for a variance.”

I decide to ignore the jibe. He doesn’t seem to realize he has insulted me.

I appreciate your taking the time out of your busy schedule, Doctor. I know Looking Glass Inc. is a bit off the beaten track. Did you have a comfortable trip?” I’ve gotten plenty of flak for establishing my company’s campus in Santa Cruz rather than in the heart of Silicon Valley, but I don’t care. This is where I want to be.

Oh, yes indeed. That was one of the most comfortable limousine rides I’ve ever experienced.” Sarcasm drips in his reply. “With a ride that smooth, I was almost convinced that your company’s latest technology coup was an anti-gravity device.”

Not yet.” My laugh sounds forced. His social awkwardness is affecting me. “That’s on our agenda for next year. Would you like some coffee, by the way? Juice? Water?”

Nothing.” He yanks his eyes away from the view and stares over my head, focusing on the Klee original hanging behind my desk. “I drank my fill from the complimentary bar in your limo.”

I find myself in the unaccustomed state of being temporarily at a loss for words. Despite his lack of social skills, Moore somehow has gained the upper hand in this conversation. I swallow my annoyance and begin again.

About your charity—”

I don’t approve of you, Ms. Zelinksy,” Finally he looks at me, though he seems fixated on my mouth rather than my eyes. “You and your kind.”

It’s Dr. Zelinksy, actually.” Guess he hadn’t bothered to Google me. “And what do you mean, ‘my kind’?”

You Valley billionaires, who think your money can buy anything, including the human soul. You use technology to enslave the poor, benighted masses. You lure them into spending their time and money on devices and services they don’t need. You suction up their personal data so you can slice it, dice it and use it to sell them more trash. And then you brag about how you’re ushering in a brave new world of hi-tech miracles. Hmmph!”

Suddenly he’s on his feet, towering over my chair, his full lips twisted into a black scowl. For an instant I think he’s going to hit me. Instead he turns his back on me to stride over to the window. Sunlight filters through the boughs to dapple the earth below. The view appears to calm him somewhat. His fingers uncurl but his shoulders are still hunched and tight.

“‘Enslave the benighted masses!’ Don’t you think that’s a bit melodramatic?” I’m tempted to cross the room and stand by his side, to soothe and coddle him. I refrain. He’s too skittish.

Melodramatic?” He glances over his shoulder at me. “I know one kid, from South Central LA. A former member of Code in the Hood. He beat his mother senseless when she wouldn’t give him money to buy the latest iPhone. Another guy died of a stroke after spending three days and nights non-stop playing Grand Theft Auto. Then there was young Aurelia—her brother came to a couple CIH meetings. She killed herself after her boyfriend posted naked pictures of her on Facebook.”

There are always unstable individuals in the population,” I begin. “You can’t hold technology responsible—” I stop short. Why in the hell should I defend myself? “In any case, Code in the Hood exists at least partly to counter those tendencies, doesn’t it? To inspire disadvantaged kids to engage with technology in a productive way, and to give them the computational skills they need to succeed.”

You’ve been studying our PR materials, I gather.” He wanders over to the Klee and peers at it like some art critic. “This is real, isn’t it?”

Of course it’s real,” I snap. I take a deep breath, summoning every shred of patience I can muster. “And yes, naturally I’ve been researching your organization, given that Looking Glass is considering a substantial contribution.”

Considering? Your email led me to believe that you’d definitely decided to support CIH. That’s the only reason I agreed to meet you.”

We have decided. In fact, I’ve already prepared a check. I invited you to Santa Cruz because I wanted to give it to you in person.” With slow, deliberate steps, I make my way back to my desk and open the top drawer. I half expect Moore to flee as I get closer, but he stands his ground, watching my every move with an intensity that’s unnerving. “Here you are, Dr. Moore. To assist in your worthwhile efforts.”

He scans the slip of paper I place in his hand. “Two hundred fifty thousand dollars... that’s...that’s quite generous. Enough to fund our drop-in tech center in LA for a year.”

He raises his head. Our eyes really connect for the first time since he arrived. Some unidentifiable emotion jolts me. Behind the Clark Kent glasses, his are a deep, rich brown, brimming with intelligence. They drill into me like lasers, burning through the layers of polite etiquette and business strategy, seeking to unmask the truth about me and my motives.

So tell me, Dr. Zelinsky,” he says at last. “What do you expect in return for this contribution?”

I meet his gaze, accepting his challenge. “Nothing at all. The money’s yours—that is, it belongs to CIH—free and clear.”

He skims the check one more time. “No strings?”

None. In fact, I’m prepared to help you raise more funds for your excellent cause. I expect that with a little prodding, I could get Sergey and Larry to shell out at least as much. Maybe Mark could be convinced, too.”

Theo Moore folds the check and carefully deposits it in his shirt pocket. Then he plops his bulk into my ergonomic desk chair, swivels to face the wall, and resumes his inspection of my painting. “Based on your earlier communications,” he comments, “I had some notion that you were interested in SHAMAN.”

God, he’s annoying! I grab the chair arm and swing him around to face me once more. “It’s rude to turn your back in the middle of a conversation.”

He shrugs and half-grins. “I’ve been called worse than rude. Sorry. I’m not very good at dealing with people. So was I mistaken about your intentions? You’re just interested in CIH, not in my software?”

He’s doing it again, taking control of the interaction. He’s even stolen my chair. I hike myself up onto the polished teak desk so I can look him straight in the eyes.


Don’t forget to comment, for a chance to win! And please do visit the other authors participating in this week’s Book Hooks.


Daryl Devoré said...

She is great at standing up to him. Tweeted.

Anonymous said...

Not bored at all, trust me!

—Trix, vitajex at aol dot com

Dee PMInc said...

Just love it.

Janet Lane Walters said...

He is quite an intriguing character

kaisquared said...

I think Theo needs a spanking!

bn100 said...

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I Tweeted this for you! - Kayelle Allen

Tena Stetler said...

Theo does not have a very high opinion of Dr.Zelinski. Though he maybe reconsider his opinion after the donation and finding out she may not be interested in his software.

Fiona McGier said...

I do love me some hot nerds! Good sex starts in the brain, when someone thinks of something to do with another--and when pleasing both of you is the ultimate result, it's magical! Theo is probably on the autism spectrum, but that doesn't mean he's not hot! Great excerpt--my review--https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28766414-the-gazillionaire-and-the-virgin

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