If Maverick's fast-paced, genre-bounding novel is any indication, Dorchester's new imprint, Shomi-which aims to hook a younger generation of readers-should catch an audience quickly. Maverick grabs readers from page one, throwing together romance, science fiction and cyberpunk-a mash-up hinted at in the anime-style packaging- to tell the story of L. Roxanne Zaborovsky, a high-strung freelance computer programmer whose reclusive life gets tossed on its head when two men show up looking for her. Appearing mysteriously one night, the pair immediately set to fighting over Roxanne; before long, she realizes one is an old college acquaintance, Mason Merrick. Taking off with Mason, Roxanne learns that the men are each after a valuable bit of her work-a piece of code she hasn't even written yet. When even stranger things follow-like close friends showing up with entirely different lives-Roxanne discovers that her pursuers are playing with the threads of reality, trying to gain advantage over the other. Maverick's roller-coaster ride doesn't always stay grounded, but it's easy to get drawn into her world of twisting realities and shifting identities, especially with superb heroine Roxanne handling narration. This excellent piece of genre fiction shows much promise for both Maverick and the imprint she spearheads. (July)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Wiredby Liz Maverick
Seconds aren’t like pennies. They can’t be saved in a jar and spent later. Fate seeps through cracks and shifts like fog. Pluck a second out of time or slip an extra one in, the consequences will change your life forever. Is the man you love really the man you think you know, or is there a version of your life in which he’s your enemy? If you didn’t know who or what you were before, would you take a chance on becoming that person again?
L. Roxanne Zaborovsky is about to discover fate is comprised of an infinite number of wires, filaments that can be manipulated, and that she’s not the one at the controls. From the roguishly charming Mason Merrick -- a shadow from her increasingly tenebrous past -- to the dangerously seductive Leonardo Kaysar, she’s barely holding on. This isn’t a game, and the pennies are rolling all over the floor. Roxy just has to figure out which are the ones worth picking up.
Read an Excerpt
By Liz Maverick
Dorchester PublishingCopyright © 2007 Elizabeth A. Edelstein
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWe had everything before us; we had nothing before us. I'd read that once, but I couldn't help thinking it had to be one or the other. Alone in the middle of the street staring into darkness, I wondered which was worse, and forced myself to keep walking.
I was on the way to the 7-Eleven. It was two o'clock in the morning. I was almost positive there wouldn't be anyone in there but me, so I could just go straight in and buy something and then I'd turn around and come straight back. What could possibly happen?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing was going to happen, so there was absolutely no point in panicking.
I'm not going to panic ... not going to panic ... not going ...
I tried staring at my feet as I walked, tried to focus on anything at all that wouldn't freak me the hell out. The heels of my shoes struck the pavement with the sound of a confidence the rest of me just didn't feel.
Which was silly, because when I got there, there would be one person I knew, someone familiar. Naveed. So, that would be fine. Although if I thought about it too much, I'd have to consider just how pathetic it was to count the manager at the local convenience store as one of my better friends. That was thelast thing I wanted to think about: the state of my world. What had become of my so-called life since graduation.
I needed to focus on the positive, not on the negative. This was all about rebuilding, clean-slating, making dull things shiny. That's why I was here. At two o'clock in the goddamn morning on my way to the 7-Eleven. Two blocks down and two blocks over, a five-minute walk.
Granted, a lot of crime could take place in five minutes, but I liked to think that my neighborhood was far enough north of the really sketchy part of town to avoid that stuff, even if the 7-Eleven itself was really the line of demarcation. We had lots of quaint Victorian facades, only some of which were still crumbling, and we had fairly nice neighbors, most of whom tried to grow gardens. We were still close enough to the bay to hear the comforting low of foghorns at night, even if we couldn't see the water. We had hills near enough to climb and look over to see a grand city view, even if we weren't living in it. In short, my neighborhood wasn't the worst and it wasn't the best. We had lots of things I could think of to make myself feel like I wasn't being a complete idiot by coming out here like this.
I made a point of walking in the middle of the street, but it wasn't like I was loitering; all I wanted was to get to my destination, get my stuff, and get home. My head down, I jammed my hands deeper into my hoodie pockets and powered through the crisp air, moving from dark to light and back again as I passed beneath illumination from the occasional street lamp.
At the halfway point between my house and the convenience store, the panic I was trying so hard to keep at bay started to win. Once more I stopped in the middle of the street and tried to work it out in that same logical, rational manner.
What are you doing, Roxanne?
I'm going to the 7-Eleven. People go to the 7-Eleven all the time and absolutely nothing happens to them. Chances are that absolutely nothing is going to happen to me, which means there is absolutely no point in panicking. Keep walking.
The first step was always the hardest, for I'd discovered that once you got going, it was all a lot easier-in a relative sense, anyway. So I forced myself to move forward, trying hard to believe everything I was telling myself, because if I let myself panic, everything I feared would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I made it another half a block, then slowed to a halt and turned to look behind me toward home. A discarded S.F. Chronicle fluttered and slid across a shard of light striking the pavement. I turned toward my destination. The pale glow of the 7-Eleven was only a block away, a gas station beyond. It was so close. But so was home.
And as I stood there, staring at the glow, a figure emerged from the shadows and stepped into the street.
Give me a break. This would certainly have been the moment to laugh if one was in the mood to do so, and I could feel my body begin to react-in a bad way, with all the symptoms of fear, coming together one by one. I shouldn't have thought about self-fulfilling prophecies.
I didn't make any sudden moves; I simply raised my foot to take a step, landed with the swivel of an about-face, and started walking home at exactly the same pace.
But suddenly, some distance in front of me, there was the figure of a second man, rising up from a crouch in the middle of the street, as if he'd been waiting for some time.
"She's mine, Leo!"
I whipped around and looked behind me at the guy who'd shouted.
"I think not, Mason," a British accent shouted back. "She's mine."
I whipped around to look at the guy who'd answered, and a funny little wheezing sound started coming out of my mouth. I'm going to die.
I pulled at the messenger bag strapped across my chest and started scrabbling for my phone, which was, as always in times of dire need, somewhere very far and very deep inside. While I was wheezing and frantically feeling out the corners of the bag, the two men started moving in on me, not more than a block away each, and hunched over a bit as if they were stalking me.
In my mind I screamed at the top of my lungs; in reality I suspect the noise was nothing more than a futile squeak. Arms out, taking tentative, sideways steps as they moved in on me, the men had gone completely silent with a kind of predatory focus that chilled me to the bone.
I dropped to my knees on the street, upending my bag. The contents spilled everywhere: tissues, Band-Aids, sunglasses, money, keys, an expired driver's license, and a few other bits of general crap that had no real purpose but to make me feel more normal. Last was my cell phone, which reacted to my sudden lack of motor control by flying out of my grasp and rattling off across the pavement.
I looked wildly from one end of the street to the other, at the men. They looked the way animals look in that split second before attacking. Sure enough, the men left their marks, sprinting full-bore toward me.
The pavement vibrated from the pounding of their feet. Terror clutched at my throat. I couldn't get air into my lungs. The curb seemed to spin around me as if it had been built in a circle. Dizzy and gasping, I focused on my cell phone.
The pavement shook harder, and I cringed downward, anticipating a fist or a boot in my face at any moment. I still couldn't breathe, and I could barely move. All I could do to prevent a complete surrender was stay focused on the phone. I inched toward it on my hands and knees, leaving a trail of personal belongings in my wake.
If nothing else, go down fighting. But I knew those old words and that belief were as hollow as the mantras I'd repeated over and over and over on the way here, and I gave in. Curling my head down into my knees, I rolled onto my side in the street. Even to save myself, I couldn't work past my panic and the fear. I felt so weak. So, so weak. I hated that feeling more than anything in the world. But I couldn't do anything about it.
The endgame came in a flurry of fisticuffs, arms and bodies and men shouting and muscle against muscle. I cringed again, waiting for pain. Silver streaked through the air, and out of the corner of my eye I watched a gun flip end over end until it smashed down hard on the pavement some distance away.
I sensed the presence above me before he even opened his mouth. The British-accented voice yelled, "I've got her!" Then two arms slid under my armpits, and I was wrenched up from the street. "I've got her," was repeated, the voice growling and angry.
How strange. The emphasis was all funny. The emphasis was on the I've, though I had no idea why in a moment of such terror I would even notice.
I waited for the end, but my captor merely crushed me against his suit, my face pressed into his chest. "Sorry, Mason," he said. "You lose. A bit out of shape, aren't you?"
"I tripped on a goddamn Big Gulp cup," the second man said sullenly.
My captor started backing away, and I was dragged along like a rag doll. The toes of my sneakers scraped across the pavement as I hung limply in his hold, my eyes squeezed shut. "This is where it ends," he said.
I didn't know how a person might prepare herself to die, and when a gunshot rang out in the next second, I thought I might never have time to figure it out. I fell away from the man holding me, landing hard on the pavement. But I wasn't the one who'd been hit. The most polite curse I'd ever heard flew from the lips of my English captor, who gripped the top of his arm with the opposite hand. I watched in a kind of trance as razor-sharp lines of red appeared between his fingers.
"This is where it begins," the American voice said, distinctly triumphant.
The two men looked at each other. A beat of silence passed between them. Then, with matching battle cries, the two charged each other again like horseless knights in some kind of 7-Eleven-sponsored urban joust; my former captor, the British guy in the suit, versus the other guy wearing a simple T-shirt and jeans. They were smashing their fists into each other again and grappling like a couple of high school wrestlers all because ...
Let me get this straight. Are they fighting over who gets to mug me? There was no time to process that question. Hoping to God I wouldn't get shot, I lifted myself to my knees. Shutting out the sound of the struggle and testosterone-fueled grunting, I continued crawling hand over hand, knee over knee, down the middle of the street toward home, shaking so hard I could barely propel myself forward. It felt like I was moving slower than was even humanly possible. The likelihood of escape-
"L. Roxanne Zaborovsky!"
I stopped crawling. Only my closest friends knew about the L. It wasn't even on my driver's license.
"It's me! Mason Me-" The announcement was lost in a kind of gargle. The speaker had probably just been hit in the face.
Frozen in midcrawl, I finally looked over my shoulder. It all happened really fast from there. The T-shirted guy was struggling in a choke hold, the suited man behind him. The darkness had leached to a smoky gray, making it easier to see their faces. One I didn't recognize at all. The other man, in the T-shirt and jeans ... I could hardly believe it. Mason Merrick?
His eyes met mine, and in the next second he'd made some fancy move and turned the tables. Suddenly it was Mason sitting on his adversary's chest, punching the guy in the face. He actually took a moment to look over at me in the heat of the struggle and yelled, "Get in the car!"
I'd crawled up next to Mason's car. It seemed long odds on a typical bumper-to-bumper San Francisco curbside, but I'd somehow crawled up next to it. I recognized the Mustang immediately; it was the one he used to wash and wax outside my house ad nauseam.
I reached for the door handle, my fingers trembling so badly I could barely work them, and opened the door. Launching myself inside, I banged my shin hard on the stick shift. I locked the door, pulled my feet up on the seat, wrapped my arms around my knees, and stared down at the keys in the ignition, which were faintly tinkling against one another while I did my best to will myself home to my room. I never should have come out tonight. I knew it. Self-fulfilling prophecies have always been my downfall.
When I looked out the window, Mason was still on top of his adversary but had one arm out searching blindly for the gun. It was just beyond his reach. He had to sacrifice his hold, but he got what he wanted by arching his back in a desperate grab.
The Brit freed himself, but he didn't get far. Mason swung the weapon around, pointed it onto the Brit's face, and yelled, "Advantage."
Favoring his bloody arm, the Brit slowly got to his feet. I thought he was going to lunge forward, but the two men both went slack, simultaneously turning away from each other to check ... their cell phones? They just as quickly and just as calmly put them away again, and picked up the intensity of their conflict as if it had never waned in the first place.
The heat inside the car spiked. I automatically reached out to turn down the temperature, but the car wasn't running and the heating system wasn't on. Outside, the air had thrown off a chill that prickled my skin. Inside the car it was sweltering, hotter than seemed reasonable, logical.
I pressed my body back against the seat, my skin crawling as claustrophobia set in. Sweat slipped down my burning face onto my sweatshirt. I grabbed for the window handle, but the mechanism was stiff and my fingers too damp to get a grip.
Out the window again, I saw Mason was in the other man's face, gesturing in my direction, taunting, flailing his gun around. The other man was in some pain. He finally put his good hand on his hip, swore violently at the ground, and surrendered.
It was almost too easy, I thought, and any relief I might have felt at Mason's victory was tempered by the oddness of the circumstances and my discomfort over Mason having shot the guy, even if it seemed in self-defense. At least I felt like I could now take a chance on leaving the safety of the car. I was suffocating. I thought I might be sick from it all. My sweaty fingers finally bested the handle and I pushed the door open.
I basically fell out of the car, and for a moment I just lay on my back in the filthy street, staring up at the stars with my arms splayed above my head like a corpse, and breathing in huge gulps of cold air. It seemed to me that the sky should have been light gray by now, but it looked pitch-black again.
"Pack it in, Leo," I heard Mason say. "No straight line here, buddy. You'll have to go around."
I turned my head and saw the man called Leo shake his head and walk away. His good hand clasped his bloody arm.
Mason quietly watched him go, then stuffed his gun in the waistband at the back of his jeans and looked at me. I scrambled to my feet, swaying backward against the car as the blood rushed to my head.
"Hey, Rox," he said. He grabbed my messenger bag and started stuffing my belongings into it.
I was grateful for a few extra moments to compose myself. The last thing I wanted was for Mason Merrick to see me completely fall apart in front of him. By the time he reached my side I was as close to normal as I was going to get. Assuming normal was speechless and gaping.
If you'd asked me back when my first college roommate, Louise, broke up with Mason Merrick whether or not I'd ever see the guy with the two last names again in my lifetime, I'd have said the chance was nil. Then again, the last time I saw him he was wearing nothing but boxer shorts and eating my sugar cereal, and I'd have given even lower odds at the chance of finding myself in a situation with him involving weaponry beyond a cereal spoon. In the span of one short night, both unlikely events had come to pass.
Thing is, I don't believe in coincidences.
Excerpted from Wired by Liz Maverick Copyright © 2007 by Elizabeth A. Edelstein. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
The author of 9 published novels, Liz Maverick has been published by NAL, Dorchester and Avon. Her previous works include Cosmopolitan Magazine Book Club Pick What a Girl Wants, PRISM/Daphne Award finalist The Shadow Runners, Golden Leaf Award-winner Crimson Rogue and Waldenbooks/B&N bestseller Crimson City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I figured this would be some love triangle story in the cyberpunk style, but it was so much better!! Not a romance, just a sci-fi story that builds slowly into a grand finale. Loved the development of the heroine over the story. Highly recommended!
I wish a little more attention had been paid to the development of the main characters relationship and developing romance but this was still a worthy read. What you really have to admire in this book is the author's ability to bring main character Roxy's voice to life. I loved the mental commentary that Roxy provides as she goes through the rush of situations that she finds both confusing, challenging, and certainly life-changing. It was certainly engaging enough to have me purchase the sequel in this series Irreversible which I look foreword to reading soon. Wired certainly has a permanent home on my bookshelf.
Every person's life impacts numerous others in countless ways. Change a single action or circumstance and the ripples change reality as we know it. This is what's known as a parallel universe. Now imagine you are the focus of that change. Two men are manipulating you like a pawn on a chess board, changing your experiences to achieve their own outcome. Reality shifts and as you desperately try to cling to your sanity. Who can you trust, except yourself? L. Roxanne Zaborovsky, a reclusive freelance computer programmer, alienated from her family, her closest friend having moved on without her, finds herself unaccountably compelled to visit the local 7-Eleven in the middle of the night. Her anxiety builds with each step, and just as she is debating returning home, she finds herself sandwiched between two ominous men each claiming her for himself. They are Wire Crossers, people who manipulate reality to alter fate each with their own desired outcome. Both are after a code Roxy has yet to write and their goals are diametrically opposed. Roxy is the Major, the key player in the game. Those whose lives she impacts are Peripherals. One of the men is already known to her. He is Mason Merrick, the ex-boyfriend of a former roommate, who Roxy once had a crush on. The other is Leonardo Kaysar who will stop at absolutely nothing to foil his adversary. Though she is attracted to both men in different ways, neither can be trusted, for with each Splice of wire, each shift in reality, she is becoming painfully aware that she is completely expendable. When predestiny goes out the window, free will is the only option. Can agoraphobic Roxy muster the courage to take control of her fate and become the woman she'd always wanted to be? Cyberpunk meets Romance in this thrilling action debut from Dorchester's new Shomi imprint. Unlike the typical romance, Roxy's adventure is told in the first person allowing the reader to experience the adventure right along with the cagey heroine. Her confusion and epiphanies will become one's own. Enjoy the twists and turns as Roxy's final fate comes down to the WIRE. This is a book you won't want to put down! -- Reviewed for PNR Reviews
L. Roxanne Zaborovsky is graduating college, but does not plan to attend the ceremony. Instead before her interview, she heads to the neighborhood 7-Eleven, thinking nothing could happen to her on such a short walk although she repeats that mantra several times trying to keep the panic at bay as her lack of memory of key events and people frightens her. Suddenly two men come out of nowhere with one shouting at the other she is mine and the second one saying au contraire. As Leonardo Kaysar and Mason Merrick argue with one another over Roxy, she is ready for flight not fight. Still she knows they want something from her but Roxy is confused as she is not sure what and because Mason seems familiar yet unfamiliar as if they shared an attraction and more. She learns she is a player and so are they in a game of life in which fate is a zillion wires that crisscross, but though she feels she once loved Mason and may still she believes he will do anything to win including harming her. However, this time Roxy understands more than the apparent myriad of previous times with these two competing punks she plans to change the rules although she has no idea how or if successful what that will do to her and the two male hunks sniffing at her. --- This is a terrific science fiction thriller that readers will be WIRED into one sitting as ¿reality¿ consistently shifts depending on who controls the threads of time and place. Fans will cheer on Roxy as she begins to comprehend the rules of the game in which there are none except whatever the rivals Leonardo and Mason separately decide as they manipulate everything and everyone with Roxy their current expendable game pawn. However, she plans to become lean and mean kicking butt. Liz Maverick provides a strong tale told by her heroine. --- Harriet Klausner
Roxanne is trying not to panic on her way to the 7-Eleven, but even as she tells herself nothing can happen to her in such a short distance, two men come toward her out of the shadows and from that moment on, her life is never the same. Her memory is spotty at best about certain events in her life, certain people who are in her life and then aren't. And when coming face to face with Mason Merrick again after so long, her feelings get jumbled up along with her life when she learns that she's in the middle of a wire crossing game of playing with time and the future between two men who want something from her, something she can't even remember. And if all that isn't bad enough, after falling for Mason again, she learns that even he will do whatever it takes, including hurting her, to get what he wants to win the game. He can't be the bad guy in all of this, can he? But she's becoming the kind of woman she's always wanted to be thanks to these two goons who keep messing with her life and her future, and suddenly she's turning the tables on them and eventually learns that she will have the life and the love that in reality she always dreamed of.
My name is Nightdream. I am a sleek black tom with deep blue eyes. I am afraid I am a loner, but I previosly was a member of the order until my sister, Speckledsky was killed by a pack of dogs. I travel by night (I post during the night) and would love a companion.
Just post your name, description, personality, and if you are a loner or a clan cat. I would be more than happy to move to a clan.