Software billionaire Marc Julian’s orderly life is shattered one night by a cyber-intrusion into his company’s servers. He’s always surrounded himself with the best people, but finding the culprit behind this might require a real expert…and sometimes it takes a thief to catch a thief.
Jesse Winchester and his team of “grey hat” hackers are suddenly available to Marc. Marc doesn’t know if he should trust Jesse with the keys to his company’s kingdom. After all, Jesse’s a convicted felon, sent to prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. A felon sentenced to thirty-five years in prison, who mysteriously served only three years before being released…
Marc’s first company, his whole life, was shattered because he trusted the wrong person. This time there’s even more at stake, but few other options. Especially when his evil enemies, the billionaire industrialist Krom brothers, are revealed to be the source of the intrusion.
Is Jesse there to help Marc, or does he have his own history with the Kroms, his own score to settle? As Jesse and Marc spend more time together, their growing intimacy is at war with their need to win their respective battles. Soon the game they start to play with each other, against each other, becomes more exciting, more exquisitely frustrating…and more dangerous.
This story was so interesting. I loved that there were so many references; to security measures, to government oversights, to other countries’ information gathering, and even to science fiction. Mr. Vance uses either his research skills, or broad knowledge base to bring a story that is both interesting, and realistic. The characters were so fun. Marc with his inability to trust anyone that you cheered when he finally does, and realizes he does, trust Jesse. Then Jesse with his receiving a conscience at the wrong point in his revenge scheme. His relationship with Leonid is fascinating. I like that he treats Jesse as a son in a twisted, criminal kind of way. The side characters are wonderful and I’d like to see them again. I’m glad Marc is able to be friends with Ryan They make a good team. There are some things left unresolved in the story, but Marc and Jesse are happy together. I can’t wait to read more of these two, and also Ryan.
Four and a half
I asked Jesse to join us and tell the best place he’s ever hacked into and why it’s his favorite. Pretty ingenious place to hack into and reason behind it. Read and enjoy!
“Hmm…that’s a good question. You’re not from the FBI are you? NSA? CIA? If you were, I suppose you’d lie anyway, eh? I certainly enjoyed hacking into the MIT residential assignment system. Nothing like bypassing security at America’s preeminent technology school. It was a fairly harmless hack, really. I just wanted a dorm room to myself for the semester. Too bad it didn’t work out that way for long…
“Anyway. At one point in the mortgage crisis, I was just furious about the behavior of the banks towards people in trouble. Bank of America went so crazy, they were repossessing houses that were already paid off! The whole system was in chaos, nobody knew who owned what mortgages – they’d all been rebundled and resold so many times as collateral for weirder and weirder financial instruments. So, of course, that much chaos and confusion made it a perfect time to, um, make a market correction.
“And I felt no guilt about taking money out of the hands of financial institutions that were paying bonuses to the people who wrecked the economy, out of our tax dollars, because they had to ‘retain talent.’ Well, I thought, if they need to retain talent, I know some people who need to retain a roof over their heads.
“If a mortgage suddenly appeared as paid off, well, it was entirely possible that the paperwork that had it listed as a default was wrong – everything was so ass over teakettle. My Ma and I were working some cons out of Stockton, California, at the time, renting a house under an assumed name, of course. And it seemed like all our neighbors were underwater on their mortgages. Stockton had one of the worst default rates in the country.
“Anyway. We had some really nice neighbors, and of course some mean ones. Too bad for them. Obviously we couldn’t magically fix every mortgage on the block…but it turned out the nice families also knew how to keep their mouths shut when someone did them a favor. Yeah. If I ever need a safe house, deep cover, I know a little town in California where I’m always welcome…”
He’d made a mistake with Marc. He’d thought they could play a game together, to pass the time, let off steam, release stress. Marc was smart enough to know that that’s all it was.
But the look on his face, when Jesse said goodbye… The shock. The disappointment. The…
Say it. The hurt. That was when Jesse knew that for Marc, it had been more.
That was when Jesse knew that it had been more for him, too.
Brad Vance writes gay romance, erotica and paranormal stories and novels, including the breakout hits “A Little Too Broken” and “Have a Little Faith in Me.”
Facebook Author Page: www.bradvanceerotica.wordpress.com
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