Above you see the cover for my book, After the Morning After, which comes out August 9th from Loose Id. Below is a random chapter from the book. Enjoy! Thank you to April Martinez for the cover design!
Following her gaze, Sanjay turned around…and burst out laughing. “Well, I wonder if Orwell imagined this when he penned his masterpiece,” he said and started laughing again as he stared at a camera that was affixed high on the wall in a corner of the room. Victoria’s continued silence worried him, and he turned to look at her again. She was looking in the opposite corner, and he turned around in a slow circle. There were four cameras total, one in each corner of the room. “Shit,” he said, still laughing, “Big Brother brought along his siblings.”
Victoria was totally incapable of humor at that moment. Here she was a respected scientist with a PhD, running one of the most successful research labs in the country, and she’d been taped screwing a suspected corporate thief in her employer’s lab. “Christ,” she muttered, “only I could become an inadvertent porn star.” She heard a loud crack of laughter and turned to narrow her eyes in reproach at Sanjay.
That only made him laugh harder. “Inadvertent or not, I’d say a star is born.”
“It isn’t funny, you idiot. My job is on the line! And you? You could get arrested just for being here!”
“Okay, okay,” he said, still laughing, “let’s see what we’re working with here.” Grabbing a chair, he dragged it over until it was beneath one of the cameras. He stood on the chair and tinkered with the camera for a few seconds.
Victoria watched him anxiously. “Well?”
“It’s a simple video surveillance system,” he explained as he climbed down. “They’re recording images for computers housed somewhere else. If I can get to the computers, I can get rid of the images.”
“All right,” Victoria said with a thoughtful frown. “I guess we can find the room. I’m sure they must be housed down where the rest of security is.”
“When did they put cameras in here anyway?” Sanjay asked as he followed her from the room.
Victoria made her way to the ladies’ room. “I can’t believe I forgot they were there, but they put them in right after you resigned,” she said with a smirk.
“Really? Mike and Ted didn’t mention them.”
“Mike and Ted?”
“Yeah, you know, the security guards for this wing of the compound. They’re friends of mine, and they’re the reasons I was able to get in so easily tonight.” Unaware that she was appalled, he smiled cockily when she turned to look at him in surprise. “See, you know how one guard always has to be at the security desk up front, and they take turns making checks of the building? Well,” he said, and his smile grew cockier, “you’re gonna love this. Whomever is on building check will simply steer clear of the lab and the hall where it’s located until I leave. That’s why I wasn’t worried when you threatened to call security.” A strangled sound came from Victoria’s throat, and he smiled again. “I know. Impressive, right?”
Victoria continued to stare at him. She imagined her fingers wrapped around his throat and almost smiled. “So, let me get this straight. You told the security guards that you were coming to see me?”
“And they promised to not do security checks in my area at all? What did you bribe them with?”
“Didn’t have to,” he said happily. “I told you; we’re friends.”
“So now your friends know that we’ve had sex, and I let you, a suspected thief, stay in my lab for” — she looked at her watch — “more than an hour?”
Sanjay winced. “Well, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound like all that brilliant a plan, does it?”
Victoria wanted to stamp her foot. “Aah, let’s see…Yeah, I got it…That would be a big…resounding… no!’”
Sanjay’s lips twitched. “Relax, Doc. They don’t know we had sex. It’s not like I told them, and besides, they’re not going to tell anyone that I was here. Not only do I trust them, but they could lose their jobs if they told.”
Victoria felt her eye tic jump with nervousness but said, “Fine. There’s nothing I can do about it now anyway.” She turned back toward the door to the ladies’ room.
“Wait a minute,” Sanjay said, fuming, “are those bastard owners actually telling everyone that I stole from the company?” It was one thing for them to accuse him of theft in a boardroom, but for them to tell his ex-colleagues and others was another.
With her hand on the door to the washroom, Victoria told him, “No, not exactly. You know how rumors are: one person makes a suggestion, and then it spreads. Anyway,” she said with a sympathetic sigh when he frowned, “you remember where the men’s room is located. I’ll meet you back out here in ten minutes.”
* * * * *
Twelve minutes later, they were standing in front of a set of double doors marked Security. “Of course they’re locked,” Victoria whispered in frustration as she pushed against them without them budging.
“Stand aside, amateur.” Sanjay shouldered her aside. “Let a pro do his thing.”
Victoria only lifted a brow and watched as he pulled what she thought was an ordinary billfold from his pocket. “Well, this is bound to get interesting,” she mused softly when he opened the billfold to reveal a gleaming set of burglar’s tools. “Burgle in your spare time, do you?” she murmured as she moved closer to get a better look.
Sanjay, who by now was on his knees in front of the lock, almost grinned at the cool surprise in her tone. His concentration was mostly focused on what he was doing, and as usual with him, interruptions quickly became a nuisance. Her scent reached out to him when she moved closer, and he could feel her soft breath on his neck as she bent to get a closer look. He lifted a hand, covered her face with it, and gently but firmly pushed her away.
Victoria took the hint and moved away from him but complained, “I can’t believe you just muffed me! That was rude and unnecessary. A simple request would have sufficed.”
Sanjay didn’t bother to look away from the lock. “You were in my way, Vick.”
“And that reminds me,” she whispered furiously, “I’ve told you over and over again to stop calling me that. Vick,” she said with disgust. “It’s such a…a…sweaty-man-with-muscles kind of name. I don’t know why you insist on using it.”
Sanjay sighed and diligently continued his efforts to break and enter. “A, because it annoys you, and I simply live to annoy you,” he commented, grinning when he heard the first tumbler of the lock click. “And B,” he began, clenching his teeth while he worked his magic, “because it rhymes with dick. Yes!” he crowed when the last tumbler fell into place. “I’ve still got it!”
Victoria had gone deaf after the word “dick.” “Excuse me?” She noticed that he was standing and holding one of the doors open for her, but she didn’t move. Her rigid posture and steely gaze demanded an explanation.
Sanjay only smiled at her. “Do you really think that now is an opportune time to argue the merits of a nickname –”
“Merits? You actually think –”
“As I was going to say,” he interrupted her smoothly, “I, for one, am not willing to risk getting caught and going to jail over something so trivial. Either you walk yourself into this office right now so we can find those computers, or I relock these doors and go home.”
“Now just a mi –”
“I mean it, Victoria,” he said, uncharacteristically impatient. “Get your pretty little ass in the office.”
Lips tight and eyes narrowed in anger, Victoria marched stiffly past him and into the office. “This conversation is far from over,” she warned him as she made her way around the secretary’s desk.
To the left of the desk was the security chief’s office, and to the right was a hall that held several small offices. They headed left, each one opening doors as they went. “Jackpot,” Sanjay called, causing Victoria to rush forward.
The room held several computers and monitors, all running and all showcasing recordings from different parts of the compound. “There,” Victoria said, pointing to their right, “there are the screens with the feed from my lab.” She walked over to see, but as they were gone, there was nothing being shown but an empty room.
“Here,” Sanjay said, taking her shoulders and moving her aside so he could sit down. “Let me get to work.”
Victoria watched as his long, pale fingers flew over the keys, not pausing once. And suddenly, there they were on-screen — live and in Technicolor. Mortified to the core, she groaned and covered her eyes.
Not so Sanjay. He eagerly watched the goings-on on the screen. He saw his celluloid self bury his head between Victoria’s silky brown thighs and then watched her wrap her legs around his neck and push into his face. “Yeah! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout,” he muttered lasciviously.
Victoria only groaned louder and pressed her hands harder over her eyes. “Just get rid of the images, will you? I want to get out of here!”
Sanjay’s focus was entirely elsewhere. “That’s right,” he murmured as he watched her squirm and grind against his face. “Give it to me.”
“Sanjay!” Victoria protested.
She got nothing but the sound of heavy panting, and then, “Who’s your daddy, sweetheart? Who… Is… Your… Daddy?”
Victoria punched him on the shoulder, making him jump and blink up at her. “Sanjay! Will you please focus on the job we came in here to do?”
He blinked a few more times before his eyes came back into focus. “Yeah, all right, all right. But you have to admit that we’re hot. I shouldn’t brag, but this is on par with something you’d see in a first-rate porn movie. You might even say that it’s better than porn,” he told her.
Was he serious? Victoria looked at him to be sure, saw dazed eyes and a goofy smile. She sighed, silently confirming what she’d always thought: the male mind, no matter what its age, was permanently stuck on juvenile.
Sanjay began opening and closing drawers. “Seriously, babe, we look like real professionals.”
“Yes, well, what can you expect when we so obviously enjoyed the work?” she said with mild sarcasm. “What are you looking for?”
“Blank DVDs, of course. I want copies of this.”
Appalled, she gaped at him. “You’re not serious.”
He looked at her silently for a few seconds, as if he were looking at an alien species that didn’t quite understand his language. Slowly, he said, “I’m a man. Of course I’m serious.”