Her Perfect Game
Hot & Nerdy # 2
By: Shannyn Schroeder
Releasing October 26th, 2014
Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…
Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior—in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn’t quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she’s entering a “hackfest” over spring break—where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who’s been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can’t fight the desire that comes rushing back.
Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they’re face to face again, he doesn’t know how to admit that her online admirer is really him—or how to convince her that he’s offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.
It took a second for Charlie to realize that she was being called a cheater. She stood. “What?” She looked up at the board. She and Override were still in second place, now only by five points, but Jane and her partner were fifty points behind.
“She had an unfair advantage. I wasn’t sure, but I suspected. It’s just not possible.”
Charlie glared at her. “I am not cheating. How could I?”
A nasty smirk stole across Jane’s face. “Someone fed you the answers.”
Charlie’s heart sank. She knew exactly where this was going. “No one gave me anything.”
“Should we ask your boyfriend over there?” She pointed at Jonah sitting by the door.
“First of all, he’s not my boyfriend. Second, he didn’t give me shit. I’ve worked through each task just like everyone else.”
Jane crossed her arms and waited. Carl looked back and forth between Jonah and Jane.
Jonah slid from the stool. “I didn’t give her anything. I didn’t create the challenge. Carl did.”
Of course, Jonah wouldn’t lie about their relationship.
Carl crossed the room to talk to Jonah. The harsh whispers carried across the room. Carl was asking about having a personal relationship with a competitor. Jonah nodded. She was screwed.
Her stomach sank. There was no coming back from this. “Fuck this.” She slammed her laptop shut and looked at Override. “Sorry if you get screwed here too. I did not cheat, but I refuse to get thrown out for doing nothing wrong.”
She slid her computer into her bag and rushed out the door.
“Wait,” Jonah called.
She didn’t, but then he caught her by the arm. “What are you doing?”
Charlie yanked her arm from his grasp. “I’m not going to sit there and be accused of cheating because I slept with you.”
“Carl wasn’t going to throw you out. He knows I didn’t have access to anything he created.”
“Doesn’t matter. If I win, everyone in that room will question whether it was legitimate. Thanks for fucking this up for me.” She turned away, tears clawing at her throat.
“Whoa. What do you mean me? I didn’t do a damn thing.”
“That’s right, you didn’t. All you had to do was deny we had any kind of relationship.”
“Why the hell would I do that? I know you didn’t cheat, and lying wasn’t going to change that accusation.”
“Whatever.” She took a couple more steps before he moved in front of her.
“What’s the big deal? It’s a stupid small-time hackfest.”
“Not for me it wasn’t. I needed this win.”
“Charlie, you have to know that you didn’t really have a chance against Poison.”
Tears welled and burned her eyelids. “Thanks for the vote of confidence. I guess we’ll never know now.”
She tried to push past him, but he laid a hand on her shoulder. “Why are you so upset?”
Charlie swallowed hard. “I needed this win. This was my chance. The prize is Def Con. I can’t afford to get to Vegas and pay for a hotel and shit. And I need Def Con to network and find a job.”
“No, you don’t, Charlie. You’re good enough that all you have to do is send out your résumé after graduation. You won’t need to network. The jobs will be there.”
She swiped at her face, hating every tear that fell. “No, they won’t because there won’t be a graduation. I dropped out.”
He looked stunned, his mouth hanging open, and Charlie skirted around him. She couldn’t look at his face knowing in a moment it would be filled with disappointment. She raced to her room, packed her stuff, and checked out to go back to her regular life.
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