A Lexi Carmichael Mystery: Italy might seem like a long way to go to hide after a disastrous date. But when sexy uberhacker Slash (no, that’s not his real name) asks me to go with him to Rome on an investigation, the timing is sort of perfect. My messed up love life becomes the least of my worries though, after the dead body, the near-kidnapping, and the discovery of a top-secret encrypted file that even I can’t hack. With time running out, there’s only one thing to do: call in the legendary Zimmerman twins and my best fluent-in-Italian friend, Basia, to crack the code. Now if only someone could help me solve the mystery of whether Slash is flirting, or if all the kissing is just one of those “when in Rome” things… But when we finally uncover the secret someone would kill to keep, it’s up to me to solve the case and save the lives of my best friends. Just another week in the life of geek-girl Lexi Carmichael. Read about Lexi’s previous adventures in No One Lives Twice, No One To Trust and No Money Down.
I’ve loved listening to music since I was a little girl. Not because I’m musically gifted, but because notes, themes, chords and tempo all have an intrinsic mathematical logic that speaks to me. After all, music is defined by its numeric divisions, such as a beat, a measure or a bar. Musical scales are actually harmonics based on the numerical ratios present in the Fibonacci series, which are a sequence of integers beginning at zero and one and continuing with each new number being the sum of the previous two.
I know all of this because I’m a geek first-class. My name is Lexi Carmichael and I’m a mild-mannered twenty-five-year old who, thankfully for music aficionados, is not employed in any part of the music industry. By day, I work as the Director of Information Security at a hot new cyber-intelligence firm just outside of Washington, D.C. By night, I’m a gamer, book nerd and fangirl (Bond, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings). I’ve got long brown hair, no discernible curves and zip in the social skills department. I double-majored in mathematics and computer science at Georgetown University with a specialty in cybersecurity. Ask me to talk about a rigorous axiomatic framework or computational complexity theory, and I’m all over it. Ask me to make small talk and I’ll imagine myself jumping off a bridge.
Yet here I am, dressed in my fanciest dress—okay, it’s my only dress—and attending an opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with a man whose social skills and intellect far exceed my own. Small talk is inevitable, and I have a sad feeling that my observations on the Fibonacci series in Don Giovanni won’t fill more than a few minutes.
My acquaintance’s name is Slash, which is short for “backslash” in hacker lingo. I’m pretty decent myself at the keyboard, but Slash is a hacker of extraordinary ability. Of course, Slash isn’t his real name but so far he’s never felt compelled to tell me what his family named him at birth. In fact everything about Slash is a mystery, except that he assures me he’s Italian-American and he works, at least partially, for the NSA, where I was once gainfully employed. He’s so good at what he does that he’s watched around the clock by a team of FBI agents who I’m pretty sure are instructed to kill him rather than let him fall into enemy hands.
Tonight, Slash looked jaw-droppingly handsome in three piece suit and tie. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a date because I’m quasi-seeing my boss, Finn Shaughnessy, and Slash knows that. But Finn’s and my situation is fraught with complications and I’m having a hard time sorting it all out. Maybe Slash doesn’t care about Finn or maybe he does. I wouldn’t know either way. Technically, the word date wasn’t mentioned once in relation to our evening. So, as far as I know, this is just Slash’s goodwill gesture to expand my personal horizons into areas, up until now, unexplored.
Julie Moffett is the award-winning author of thirteen published novels in the genres of historical, paranormal fantasy, and time travel romances, and action/adventure mysteries.
She grew up as a military brat (Air Force) and has traveled extensively. Her more exciting exploits include attending Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan, backpacking around Europe and Scandinavia for several months, a year-long college graduate study in Warsaw, Poland and a wonderful trip to Scotland and Ireland where she fell in love with castles, kilts and brogues.
Julie has a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Language from Colorado College, a M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is nearly finished with her M.Ed. Able to speak Russian and Polish, she worked as a journalist for the international radio station, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Washington, D.C. for eleven years, publishing hundreds of articles. She now works as a proposal writer and research advisor for a defense contractor in the Washington, D.C. area.
Julie is a single mom with two sons, who keep her quite busy. She belongs to Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers where she served six years on the organization’s Board of Directors. She was also the Market News Columnist and Feature’s Editor for the organization’s monthly newsletter, Update, for eleven years.
- Website: www.juliemoffett.com
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