Pen Holloway's done with men-in real life. Guys in game are so much less drama. But when her partner from Heroes of Fallen Gods invites her to the convention of the year, she panics. What if he's another jerk? What if he's not?
Cal Burrows is living his dream of being a spy. One of TRAIT's misfit spies, but still a spy. It's the perfect job... until an arms dealer with a taste for blood invades his not-so-secret geek haven. All Cal wanted from ConDamned was to meet his on-line girl. Now, with the threat of mass murder looming, he's forced to choose between keeping his mission a secret and protecting the girl of his dreams.
Despite their attraction, Pen can't help but suspect Cal's hiding something. She also can't shake the feeling he's not as much of a stranger as he seems.
Each book in the Agents of TRAIT series is STANDALONE:
* Gaming for Keeps
* Conning For Keeps (novella)
* Fighting for Keeps
* Dying for Keeps
About the Author
At a young age, Seleste discovered the trick to not being afraid of the monsters under the bed was to turn them into heroes. Since that time, she's seen enough of human monsters that she prefers to escape to fictional worlds where even the worst demons have to play by the rules and the good guys might end up battered and bruised (or dead), but they always win. And really, isn't that the way it should be?
Seleste relocated southeast Michigan with her two kids (and a pair of fierce, attention-hungry slobber-monsters of her own) and is hard at work on her next book.
Read an Excerpt
Gaming for Keeps
By Seleste Delaney, Libby Murphy
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Seleste deLaney
All rights reserved.
Death shone in the troll's black eyes as it lunged at Megara. She ducked the attack and slipped around behind the beast, hoping like hell the magic users had its attention now that she was out of the way. The damn thing was fast for its size. As soon as she could, she swapped weapons, pulling out a wickedly curved blade as long as her forearm. Magic danced on its surface, casting the metal in a blue glow. She plunged the dagger into the troll's back and ice crystals frosted the air as the damage lit up the melee window on the screen.
"Holy crap! Eleven hundred and thirty points of damage! Take that, you ugly fuck." Penelope wanted to celebrate, but her character's attack hadn't been strong enough to kill the troll. And now, nothing anyone else did was pulling its attention away from her. Her hit-points dropped with every thrashing of the beast's club.
On the screen, Megara sliced at the troll again, but as a rogue, her strongest attacks were those that used her stealth skills. In front of the thing? She might as well have been singing "Soft Kitty" to it for all the damage her dagger was doing. With a click of her mouse, she switched back to "Spicer's Stabby Dagger of Doom" for the higher DPS.
She hit it more often, but Pen watched Megara's hit-points sinking lower and lower as the troll swung a club at her head. "Not good. Come on, guys, what are you doing?"
Sadly, she had a pretty good idea. Aaron was playing Maksamar, his healer, tonight, and he would let her die over and over again as long as the group let him get away with it. Somehow he thought that was a good way to teach her what a bad idea it was to break up with his ass. Scowl firmly in place, she punched the key that would — hopefully — help her dodge the next blow from the troll. She just needed to survive the fight, and then Aaron wouldn't have the "distraction" excuse. At least Lohonas was helping. He'd cast a slow heal on her as soon as she backstabbed the troll and he'd been battering the monster with everything he had since then.
Lohonas tells Group:Hey, Darling, can you get just out of range of his club and run him in circles around us?
Oh, that sounded like a really horrid idea, one just destined to draw more baddies on them. But she did so like the way he called Megara "Darling" when they were in group. For a second, she chewed on the nail of her right index finger — her mouse nail, the only one that ever met her teeth. She had to make a decision or she'd die for sure. Finally, Pen dropped her hand to the keyboard, blew out a deep breath, and typed.
You tell Group:Sure thing, Handsome.
She might have the disdain of their healer, but Lohonas wouldn't let her die even if he couldn't bring her back from the brink at the moment. He always had her back, just like she had his. People in her guild had started whispering about Meg and Lohonas as an in-game couple — complete with comments about a wedding by the huge waterfall where the sea dragons played — which was probably a decent chunk of what chapped Aaron's ass. She was pretty sure he was the one who'd started the rant about marrying across guilds.
Like a good little soldier, Pen moved Megara out of range and then ran. She still had the troll targeted and watched as its hit-points slowly drifted lower and lower.
Lohonas tells Group:Good job, Darling. Maks, can you heal her for crying out loud? My touch still hasn't popped, so I'm a little bit useless as anything more than muscle right now.
Maksamar tells Group:With the running around, I can't get a target on her. Hey, cutie, can you stay in range?
Pen bristled, wishing she could stab Maksamar/Aaron, or at least his avatar. Cute had been Aaron's word of choice to describe her when they were together. She'd never liked it much, but the joke had really been on her when he'd cheated on cute with hot and gorgeous. At the same time. They were twins, and their names were pretty much interchangeable. Now Aaron called her cute just to piss her off.
Besides, the range thing was a bullshit excuse. She was running around them in as tight a circle as she could manage. Whatever. The troll was almost dead. Another circle and ...
"Fuck!" Just like she'd worried, she picked up another mob. A low-level spider wouldn't be a big deal except ... there went the green highlight around her screen-name. Poison. Lovely.
You tell Group:Can anyone cure poison? Like ... now would be good.
As soon as the troll blinked out, she spun Megara around and stabbed the spider. She managed to wander a couple steps closer to the group and then fell onto the ground — the game equivalent of passed out and dying.
Lohonas tells Group:Maks?
Maksamar tells Group:Where IS she?
Penelope shoved away from her desk, the leg of her chair banging against Worf's hip. The Newfoundland raised his big black head and let out a low rumble. Not a growl, more of a doggie WTF?
"Hey, you're lucky it wasn't a wheel over your tail. Not my fault you nap so close." After scratching his shaggy head for a few seconds, she glanced back at the screen, hoping her life force wasn't bound too far from where she died. Long corpse runs sucked, especially when she shouldn't have died in the first place.
She blinked at the screen. Not dead.
Her gaze drifted to the chat window where her group was yammering about the loot and who got what. Maybe she and Aaron were moving past the stupidity at last. It would make being in the guild with him a tiny bit more comfortable. Considering he'd been the one who started her playing Heroes of Fallen Gods and invited her to be a member of Crimson Blades of Eternity, she'd dealt with more than her fair share of grief since they split up. She stuck around because it was easier than trying to start over getting to know new people. There were far worse guilds out there. The devil she knew and all that. A full health bar was still a full health bar, and she wasn't about to argue about how stupid he'd been acting earlier. She scrolled up to catch up on the chat.
Lohonas heals you for 15,000 points.
Of course not. She should have known better.
Lohonas always kept her safe, though. He was a paladin from the Fourth Wall, a different guild the Crimson Blades raided with sometimes. After the breakup, she'd thought about asking if she could join the Wall, but felt stupid running from her problems. But Aaron hadn't stopped being a problem, and now Lohonas was coming to the rescue again. For that many points, his life-touch must have popped at just the right moment. The spell basically brought her back to full health.
Every time he had to use it on her she felt guilty — especially if it was because Aaron was being an ass. She could only hope Lohonas wasn't off to a Waller raid after leaving here or his friends would be pissed. He could only use the ability once a day, game-time. Ignoring the rest of the chatter, she typed out a message.
You tell Lohonas:Hey, Handsome, thanks for the heal. I owe you one. Where're you off to now?
Lohonas tells You: Top secret stuff. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. No worries, you can touch me next time. ;-) But, just to clarify, pretty sure that's at least two you owe me.
Pen rolled her eyes at the screen but couldn't keep from smiling. She might have dated Aaron in real life, but Lohonas was the guy she adored. Funny, smart, and always willing to help out. She'd met him her first week playing and had actually been the one to suggest raiding with his guild just so she could talk to him more.
He'd been the one holding her virtual hand when Aaron cheated. Granted, he didn't know what exactly had her so upset, but he'd taken her on an ice giant hunt that led her to places in the game world she'd never been before. Hell, she hadn't known a couple of the caves existed. And while they fought monsters, they bantered like they'd been friends forever. If there was one person in the entire game she wished she knew in real life, it was Lohonas.
But ... as Aaron proved with the way he treated most people, someone could be totally different in game than out. She really, really liked Lohonas and dreaded the idea that the guy behind the avatar could be a massive jerk. The relationship they had in-game was fantastic and not worth ruining with too much reality. She'd cling to their banter and history instead.
Even now when she almost died, he wasn't going to let her forget that time she took the swan dive off a cliff. She'd had ten stinking hit-points left for her swim to shore. She could have lived. Maybe.
You tell Lohonas:Good to know you're keeping track.
Lohonas tells You:Only for you, Meg. Most people aren't worth the effort. Besides, keeping you in my debt means you have to spend time with me every now and then.
You tell Lohonas:Glad to know someone cares, even if it is just so you can get me alone in a dark cave filled with monsters. But ...it's a date. I'll try to get on this weekend.
Lohonas tells You:I'm going to be a little busy this weekend, but if you name the time and place, I'll be there. Later.
And then his name disappeared from the screen as he zoned. She sighed, wishing her guild cared as much as he did. Actually, that wasn't fair. It was mainly just Aaron. She'd need to make sure someone else was healer next time so this shit didn't happen again.
At least the troll had the Blade of Quickening she'd been pining for — it was the entire reason she'd agreed to hunt the damn thing tonight. She clicked on the body, only to find everything gone but the monster's ragged tunic. A quick scroll through the chat screen confirmed her immediate suspicion. Right there after the cash split ...Aaron took the damn blade. She had to resist the urge to punch her twenty-four-inch screen.
Stupid real guys making her game life difficult.
You tell Group:I think I'm done for tonight. Camping.
Penelope hit the keys to make Megara sit and start the cycle that would take her out of the game. She didn't even have the motivation to get someplace safe first. Tonight, she was just done. Time for a bath, and a book, and ...
Lohonas tells You:Hey, Darling, I don't have much time, but I wanted to ask you something. Will you meet me in the city so we can talk for a sec?
As much as she wanted to just curl up with the new steampunk novel she was reading, this was Lohonas. Penelope moved Megara, breaking the camp cycle. It was a haul to the city without any magical enhancements going, but for once she didn't run into any trouble.
As soon as she zoned, Lohonas's stylized elfish face filled the screen: golden skin, almond-shaped green eyes, and a mop of pale sage-green hair. If she got past the hair color, she could almost close her eyes and picture the face behind the avatar. She bet he was handsome. Probably blond or that kind of sandy, surfer-boy brown, but she'd lay odds the eyes were actually green, and he probably had a dusting of freckles — the kind that were paling as he got older but would have stood out when he was a kid. Hell, for all she knew, he was a kid. The thought made her squirmy, and not in a good way. No. She wasn't going to go there. He was a great guy and definitely an adult. Other options need not apply.
You tell Lohonas:Hey there, stranger.
He led the way to a little alcove in the tunnel where they sometimes hung out to chat and settled to the ground. A second later, a glowing orb of light illuminated their tiny corner of the virtual world. She typed in the command for Meg to sit but, before her butt hit, a message popped up on the screen
Lohonas tells You:I know we talked about fighting this weekend, but ... have you ever heard of ConDamned?
ConDamned was a big deal. Not quite E3 for gamers or Comic-Con for the print crowd, but a mishmash of games and comics and books and movies. It was the kind of thing geekboys had wet dreams over. And it was this weekend, less than an hour's drive away.
You tell Lohonas:Yeah, I haven't been in a while, though.
Lohonas tells You:Well, Heroes is having an unveiling of their new expansion, and there's going to be a contest. They take your characters, max out your stats, and you and a partner fight some of the new uber mobs. The last team standing at the end of the battles wins an all expense paid trip for two to E3.
And there was the gamer mecca itself — the idea almost had her drooling. She had heard about the contest, but Penelope couldn't figure out what any of this had to do with her. People had signed up for that stuff months ago. If he thought —
Lohonas tells You:Before you get too excited, I don't have a spot in the contest, but I heard they might still have some openings for con attendees. I don't know if it's close enough for you, but ...
A gamer convention with her favorite person from Heroes of Fallen Gods? And maybe playing for a chance at E3? Where the hell did she sign up?
Then again ...
Pen chewed frantically on her mouse nail. The best possible outcome? Lohonas would be a great guy; they'd hit it off and develop a real-life friendship. The worst? She shuddered. Aaron was proof positive that not everyone lived up to who he pretended to be online. Not to mention some of the horror stories she'd heard from people who had given online dating a try. The odds of best-case scenario were pretty slim considering how many ways the meeting could go wrong.
Still, she hadn't been to ConDamned in a long time and it would be a lot more fun than the raid the Crimson Blades had planned for Saturday. With her mind tearing through possibilities faster than the Winchesters' Impala ate up the road, her nail chewing grew more and more intense until she ended up biting her finger. She jerked back and looked at just how close to the quick she'd been getting. If she kept worrying at the nail, she'd be bleeding soon. The need for a break from the stress with work and Aaron and ... everything had hit critical levels.
You tell Lohonas:I hadn't planned on going, and I'm not sure I can. And ... this is going to sound dumb, but I'm afraid to meet you.
Lohonas tells You:I didn't think you were afraid of anything. I thought you were the girl who took on a nest of desert vipers on a dare. Naked as I recall.
Heat rose in Pen's cheeks. It didn't matter that he was talking about her character. In the gaming world, that was her.
You tell Lohonas:Yep. You scare me more than death. I just don't want the friendship we have to be tarnished by reality. Does that make sense?
It took him a long time to answer. Long enough that Pen had started to type an apology. Though she wasn't sure exactly what she was supposed to be sorry for. Friendship was a good thing, right?
Lohonas tells You:I get it. I'd like to say you have nothing to worry about, but there's always a chance. How about this? You let me know if you're going to be there, and if we happen to run into each other, fantastic. If not, it wasn't meant to be.
You tell Lohonas:Are you getting romantic or fatalistic? I can't really tell with you. :P
Lohonas tells You:Har-har. Well, if you decide to go, I have it on good authority that if you call the hotel, you can still get a room if you say you're with the other convention — some banking thing.
You tell Lohonas:I will definitely see what I can do. And who knows. Fate has made stranger things happen than you and me bumping into each other at a convention, right?
Lohonas tells You:We found each other here among millions of people. So yeah, Darling, stranger things have happened. Crap. My boss is calling. Gotta go. Let me know what you decide.
You tell Lohonas:Will do! And tell your boss to suck it. It's WAY after hours.
Excerpted from Gaming for Keeps by Seleste Delaney, Libby Murphy. Copyright © 2013 Seleste deLaney. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Any time I am asked (or when I do the asking) to review a book, I somehow feel that I need to spend more time on my write-up than I do when I review a book for fun. That is the case with my latest review. I finished reading Seleste deLaney’s GAMING FOR KEEPS a couple of days ago, and instead of jumping into the review with the enthusiasm fresh from reading the book, I decided to sleep on it. The next day, my enthusiasm hadn’t changed. I figured maybe I still needed more perspective, and gave it another day. Still no change. What that tells me is that this book really is that much fun. So, the basic premise is that a couple of people who have played an MMORPG together but have never met in person go to a convention hoping to meet each other, and end up hitting it off in person as well as they do online. The conflict? He is a real-life spy, and there’s a psycho planning to kill a bunch of people at this convention. He has to figure out how to stop the bad guy, save the girl, and still keep his secret. Unfortunately, she has bad experiences with online dating, and is very leery of secrets. I went into this hoping it would be as fun as it actually was. I was expecting a lot of geeky references, and I got them. (I’m sure there were several that I didn’t catch, too, since I haven’t played an MMORPG before. I do play RPGs on the computer, but I play solo instead of online.) The one thing I was expecting that I didn’t get was more of a fantasy/paranormal element. Both the good guys and the bad guys are 100% human. No vampires, no demons, no elves – except of the role-playing kind. Normally, I prefer paranormal fiction. Straight fiction without that fantasy element doesn’t interest me as much. However, between the RPG and the spy stuff, this was pretty close to fantasy without actually adding anything paranormal. The lack of fantasy creatures didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book at all – if anything, it made me enjoy it more, because it was all fresh. There were no hidden magic powers waiting to save the day. No evil spells or curses the bad guy wielded which made you wonder how the normal-seeming good guy had any chance at all. It all made sense in the world we already know, so I wasn’t pulled out of the story to decipher the mechanics of a plot device. This is already a pretty long review, so I’m going to add a few bullet points of things I particularly enjoyed:• The sex-in-the-shower scene. Without going into details, I can just say that I’ve had experiences very similar to this one. It made me laugh, and it made me believe. Nicely done.• I loved the description of the costumes. There weren’t many of them, as the costumes weren’t part of the story apart from when they were on the main characters, but they were fun to read.• In-game descriptions. Awesome stuff. You can tell Seleste has played before. Even though I don’t play MMOs, there are enough offline RPG similarities that it resonated with my experiences.• Geek references. I’m only just getting into Firefly (I know, bad geek girl) because I lacked TV service when it aired, but I loved the quotes they threw around. Same with LOTR. (For full disclosure, I received a review copy of this ebook from the publisher. But I only begged to be sent a review copy because the book was not yet available for purchase.)
This book is a definite must read, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading. Seleste creates a world of gaming and geekry, but at the same time adds a heck of a lot of action, with spies and general mayhem and then throws in a good dose of romance. What there not like? A very well written story, with great characters. I absolutely love Cal Burrows. He’s every girl’s dream. A gorgeous spy, who is a geek at the same time, quoting Firefly and other tv shows, as well as a great lover. Pen is a very lovable character, who is down to earth and bubbly, with a great personality. Seleste totally rocks at writing sex scenes, I absolutely loved the shower scene. I would love to see a sequel to this book, and read more about Cal and Pen.
Penelope started playing this game with her ex-boyfriend, who'd team (guild) she is still part of. But Aaron doesn't help her in-game. A man with the screen name Lohonas does. He's always got her back, even if he is from another guild. Lohonas has get in-game morals and team support. If Pen could meet one person from online, Lohonas would be him. But people aren't as they seem online. Aaron had proved that. ConDamned, a gamer, book, and comic convention, is coming up and Lohonas asks Pen if she's going to maybe meet? Nervous, Pen says yes. Cal is looking to relax at ConDamned, but his boss at TRAIT needs him on the job at the Con. Cal also is ready to work in the field again, or he thinks. All he has to do is find the code and break it, letting the others on his team know so they can stop the bad guy. And not lead on he's a secret agent. When Cal meets Pen, all he wants is to spend time with her and keep her safe. The novella is from both Penelope's and Calvin's POV. It's neat how in the story the gamer persona did show through and match with their actions and real personality. Seeing their chat, I like Lohonas's personality. And he's not forcing her to meet him. If they happen across each other, they do. If not, it wasn't meant to happen. Hahaha! Pen is great. She's got spunk. I loved her strength and at the bar with the drink she chugs. She's quick with her retorts, and pending who her bather is with she's a hoot. The story is quick. But conventions are only a weekend, so there isn't much time to waste. I liked that they had a semi-relationship prior to meeting, makes the relationship feel a bit stronger for me. The relationship grows with seeing the thoughts of both Pen and Cal. The danger of a threat to all at the Con comes to life toward the end of the story. And sparks an even deeper connection with Pen and Cal. So enjoyed this sexy read. This is one that is a one sitting read. You want to keep reading Cal and Pen. Not to leave them be until the story ends. Even then, I wanted the weekend to keep going. Cal is every girls, geek or not, dream come to life. But if you are a geek girl, yea you'll appreciate and love him deeply. Oh, I enjoyed this one. I think even if it was a full length novel, I'd want more of this couple. I was left happy, pleased, and not wanting the weekend to end. I'm always wishing for more from this author, Seleste.
Move over, James Bond! There's a new spy in the neighborhood! He's geeky and he's awkward but he's out to prove that chivalry is not dead! When I was reading Gaming for Keeps, I remember the many late night computer-gaming sessions I had way back in College. I was addicted to an MMORPG game then, and spent many nights in an internet cafe just to play. I wasn't proud of it because it created a serious dip in my grades, but it had been fun. In fact, up until now, I still visit my MMORPG account every once in a while and play for a few hours. (Gamer right here! Hee.) Story-wise, I love the incorporation of an MMORPG game and a game convention into the story. It's like stepping into a familiar territory: Geekdom! Also, I love the inclusion of cosplay, because seriously, what's a game convention without cosplay? LOL! (I used to cosplay, too, so yeah...) Also, I love the mystery bit included in the story, and how Pen became a sort of ticket for Cal to infiltrate the convention program involving the arms dealer. Character-wise, I find Pen relatable. Aside from the fact that she's a gamer and she cosplays, it's easy to understand why she became jaded with men. When she agreed to meet a guy she only knew online without even asking to see a picture of him first before their meeting, I wanted to smack her with a broom just to knock some sense into her. I understand that asking a picture would probably be anticlimactic to the story, but it was the smart thing to do, in my opinion. As for Cal -- well, any guy who could pull off an elf costume without his head blowing up because of fan-girls in a con is just awesome. Hands down. On the other hand, I feel slightly affronted because Cal said he doesn't like anime though. I mean, how could you not like anime?! Oh, well, at least he's a spy with superb coding skills. That definitely earn him points from me. I really liked Gaming for Keeps, but I couldn't give it a higher rating because it's a little short, and the romance aspect between Pen and Cal felt a little forced. Seriously, sleeping with someone you just met in a convention is a little careless. And I felt that the part about their attraction and sparks was a little over the top. All in all, I still enjoyed it though.
Gaming For Keeps Seleste Delaney Entangled Publishing June 10, 2013 Only after inviting a girl that he met in an online MMORPG to meet him at a gaming convention does Cal Burrows learn there is danger afoot at the convention. As a spy, he has been enlisted to get hold of a code that a terrorist is sending through at the convention so they can find out what he’s up to. He can only hope that her hesitation in accepting his invitation will convince her to stay home. Penelope Holloway is drawn to the online persona of the man who invited her to the game convention. Her first relationship begun online and ended badly, and while she is hesitant, Pen not only is curious about her online friend but she has enjoyed going to the convention in the past. After a case of mistaken identity, she decides her friend is a jerk as well before accidentally meeting up with him in the bar and finding out later who he is. Except she never suspected he was a spy or that her life was going to be in danger at the convention. Gaming For Keeps was a pure delight to read. The characters were likable (I always find the geek characters are people I would enjoy hanging out with). The pace was face, the sex was hot and the action kept me on the edge of my seat. If you’re worried that the novella length won’t give you a full story, leave that worry at the door. This is the perfect length. ARC provided by publisher for honest review.
Fun, fun read! A spy thriller/romance set at a gaming con. Very witty. It's like "Chuck" but with hotter people. I really enjoyed this book even not speaking "game-speak." My lack of nerd credibility didn't hamper my love of the world and characters. Great read!
Refreshing read! I'm a gamer and when I found out this is set in the online game, I was quite ecstatic! The romance between the two was great, and even though this was a short read I felt their chemistry during the game and when they met in person. The sex scenes was hot, everyone is talking about the "shower scene" and had to agree. :D Gaming for Keeps is a short story so I'm not emotionally invested in it but don't get me wrong ,the writing is flawless with great pace. It's fun steamy read that is worth your time. Overall, this is a good book and recommend this to anyone who is not just a geek or gamer. This is my first book from this author and will definitely check her other books!
This was my first time reading a novel about the gaming world and I enjoyed every moment of it. I actually found it hard to put the book down and at times were eagerly waiting, biting my nails with anticipation to see what was going to happen next! Seleste DeLaney is an amazing author who has brought to life a believable character, one who I can relate to and had me hanging on waiting to see if things were finally going to go right for Pen. I loved it and can't wait to see what DeLaney brings out next.
Started this book thinking the worst, I love the author but know nothing about 'Gaming online'. I am so glad I continuerd to read! Cal and Pen 'meet' online in a game room, but neither know the others real name. At a gaming convention where Cal is working, Pen meets him in an elevator but soon loses sight of him. She runs into who she thinks is Cal and it doesn't turn out good. Add in a little romance, a bad guy hell bent on punishing those who snubbed him and one undercover agent and sparks fly. Hopefully this is the start of another series by Seleste Delaney. Great quick read.
Gaming for Keeps is a friends-to-lovers romance centered in the gaming world. I’m not a gamer, and some gaming-premised books make my eyes glaze over, however, Gaming for Keeps has just enough gaming for gamers, and more than enough non-gaming plot to keep the rest of us entranced. I’ve read many gamer-romances, and Ms. deLaney’s Gaming for Keeps is one of my top two for non-gamers! Burnt beyond crisp in a past relationship, Penelope Holloway (Pen to her friends), is ready to give up on real-life men and stick to games. However, she finds her long-time online gaming pal—known only to her as Lohanas— intriguing. When he asks if she’d like to meet in person at a gaming convention, she reluctantly agrees to attend the gaming convention. The one caveat is that serendipity rules—if they meet and happen to figure out each other’s identity, then so be it. Pen is a good-looking, witty, self-assured gal, and she is the perfect other half to Cal Burrows both on screen and in real life. Cal is a coder and a spy of sorts, and for a totally geeky nerd, he is hot! It is particularly fun how Ms. deLaney matched real-life Pen and Cal to their perfect virtual alter egos, Megara and Lohana, respectively. In this nerd-meets-nerd-and-falls-in-love story, there is also a subplot of the TRAIT team investigating and defusing the threats of a nefarious character at the gaming convention. The quick-paced plot is easy to dive into, and the balance of action, romance and humor kept my interest. Gaming for Keeps does not provide the reader with much backstory or secondary character development; the format of a short story/novella doesn’t allow it. However, this story is packed with enough fun that it is easy to go with the flow and enjoy.
It is cool and I also like games like candy crush and related games
Fun. Sexy read. Good book
Gaming for Keeps by Seleste DeLaney is a fun and smexy read. I enjoyed it a lot and I am not a gamer. The main characters, Pen Holloway and Cal Burrows, are well developed for a short story. The plot was straight forward with no twists and turns just action. There were references to the MMO gaming world but nothing that distracted dramatically from the story (for those of us who are not part of that world). The secondary characters that were members of TRAIT, the spy organization that Cal works for, were not fully developed but this was a novella about Pen and Cal. I understood why the focus was on them with only enough description about the others to add substance to the organization and the terroist plot. I would love to read more about the TRAIT agency and the characters that were introduced in this story. I look forward to reading more from this author.
There is a lot to love about this fast romp. If you love nerd heros and heroines, this is the book for you. The leads meet on line in a video game and then plan to meet at a fantasy/gaming convention in person. The hero has a career he can't reveal and the heroine is coming off a bad break up with a fellow member of her game guild. These parts of their characters were well developed. The hero suffers from what I call beauty burden. He is very good looking and he tends to attract much more conventional women than the type he likes which are smart, feisty, cute, nerdy women. He liked to let his nerd flag fly and loves to dress up in costume for cos (costume) play which is a common nerd fun at conventions. This makes him a wonderful and interesting hero. The writing here is good although jumpy in points of view and focus in places. The scope of the book is very narrow. We get very little secondary characters though I would like Trevor (a co worker of the hero) to get his own story. We also know very little about the characters backstories and families. This was a fun witty book and with real sexy times and I look forward to more books by this writer. This book was given to me for my honest review
I need to start this review out by saying this: I am a total nerd. Completely. This book immediately drew my attention because of that. I actually met my husband off an MMO, so the idea of this story completely drew me in. The author did a GREAT job keeping in line with the MMO aspect as well as all the other nerdy quips. Firefly, Dr Who, and Lord of the Rings all referenced in a book? Yeah, that's a book for me. My only regret is that the book is so short! I wanted it to go on a little more, but that's mostly because I enjoyed it so much. I couldn't put this book down and I completed it in little over an hour. It's a quick read, but it's jammed full of delicious nerdiness. Also, if you're not a nerd, the nerd talk isn't so overwhelming that a person would feel lost in the references. This book is well written for nerds and non-nerds alike. Definitely pick up this book. I only wish that when I met my husband from an MMO that he was a super spy. :P Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Fun, flirty and full of geek. The book was exactly what I expect from Seleste. Pen wants an honest man, someone the same online and off. Cal just wants to meet his online gaming partner without revealing his T.R.A.I.T. spy identity or being dragged into work on his weekend off. It's a recipe for a disaster that starts immediately when Pen mistakenly meets a jerk pretending to be her online friend. From there to blue body paint and glitter, revenge sex gone wrong in the shower, battling with wooden swords in front of an audience, and ultimately saving the day from a terrorist, the novella keeps a steady of pace chock full of geek humor, nerd references, and, most importantly, Firefly. Although I do have to disagree with Seleste on one item--River Tam rocks. Always looking forward to Seleste's books, I can't wait to see what's in store next for the group at T.R.A.I.T.
Wow! What a good book! Loved the story and would so love to see more! Lohonas! Love, love, love the name!
I absolutely loved this story! I love the characters, the relationships, and I especially love the geeky aspect of it. Seleste has a great voice, and I love to read when her characters banter with each other. There is no exception here. Great chemistry too! I can't wait for the next T. R. A. I. T. book!! :o)
What a great read! Don't let the cover and the title fool you. This book is NOT just for geeky gamers! The characters and the story will appeal to everyone in all walks of life. Pen is a feisty character that I'm sure everyone can relate to in some way. What girl hasn't had her heart broken and sworn off men, right? I know I have. I loved her. Cal is...steamy. And the fact that he's a spy really doesn't hurt his persona at all. Do yourself a favour, and pick up this book. It's well worth your time. And who knows? You may find yourself looking into a "gaming" personality of your own!
I have SO much love for this novella! MMORPGs, geeky conventions, full on Firefly discussions and quotes...I'm in nerd heaven right now, and I don't want to leave. On top of that, spies and secret missions? SOLD! This is a book you DON'T want to miss!
Loved this book. Great read for anyone looking for a little modern romance. Main Characters meet in on online role playing game but Seleste does such a great job with description that even though i don't play those games i had no trouble understanding it and couldn't help but feel like i was playing right along with the main girl Pen. This story had everything i look for in a romance. You wont be disappointed