Geeky meets kinky in the third novel of the sexy Slices of Pi series by RITA-nominated author Elia Winters, where the employees of a gaming company in sultry Florida work hard—and play even harder.
Matthew Abrams finally has the life he’s always wanted—a promising career as a programmer at PI Games, a decent apartment in a nice neighborhood, and a thriving social life. And he’s perfectly content until he has a one-night stand with Silas Benson, a biomedical engineer with a charitable side to boot. Suddenly Matthew is doubting his life choices and worrying he might not be living up to his full potential.
Silas Benson doesn’t have time for much else outside of work, and that’s how he’s always liked it. As a biomedical engineer, he’s at the cutting edge of advances in the field, and he’s not going to waste his life partying when he could be doing actual good in the world. After a one-night stand at his friend’s twenty-fifth birthday party, though, Silas feels his focus shifting toward a certain tall, dark, and handsome almost-stranger.
When an emotional breakdown requires Silas to take a leave of absence from work, Matthew rushes to his aid and teaches him the merits of frivolity. Silas is an unwilling student at first, but Matthew soon has him in the groove, which makes for one steamy, wild ride. But is this a forever sort of affair, or will Silas abandon Matthew’s wanton ways in favor of a life of serious-minded solitude?
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Matthew Abrams leaned back in his chair and glanced around his cubicle, then back at the time displayed at the top of his computer screen. Still half an hour to go in his workday. Somebody ought to do a study on why five o’clock took longer to arrive on a Friday afternoon rather than any other day of the week, because today had definitely been five times longer than a normal day. Seemed like he’d been checking the clock every five minutes since lunch. And yeah, he could get more work done, but he’d checked everything off his to-do list that was actually essential. The “wouldn’t it be nice?” items could wait until Monday, or whenever.
The lack of sunlight didn’t help the atmosphere in here. The programming and design teams at PI Games both kept their rooms fairly dim, preferring to work by the light of their computer screens as opposed to the harsh fluorescent overhead bulbs of the office building. The owner, Will, had tried to replace them with more natural LED bulbs, not liking his whole office building to look “like a damn cave,” as he said, but he was a gamer himself from way back and understood the appeal of a dark room and a blue-lit screen.
But Matthew wasn’t the dark-room kind of guy. He kept a small desk lamp with a sunlight-mimicking bulb, and now it flooded his desk with a warm glow, keeping his solar-powered bobblehead happily moving to its own mechanical rhythm. Working in the dark all day meant he lost his sense of time. Each morning, he passed from the brilliant Florida sun into the dark air-conditioned office building, and then emerged again at the end of the day, back into the heat and sweltering humidity. It was somewhat of a surreal existence, and right now, he really wanted that sunshine.
Bored, he got up and wandered out of the programming room in search of his friend Isabel. The design room was across the hall, and Matthew pushed open the door to the designers’ darkened cubicle farm. Well, more like a cubicle family farm, since there were only four members on the team. Isabel Suarez, the design manager of PI Games, was—as usual—hard at work at her desk, her brown curly hair pulled back in a low ponytail, headphones over her ears giving a clear “do not disturb” message that Matthew had no intention of following. He leaned slightly over the cubicle wall, then a little farther, and when she still didn’t look up, he waved his hand in front of her screen. She jumped, made a face, and then pulled her headphones off. “What?”
“Wanted to see if you had plans this weekend.” He folded his arms on the gray cubicle wall. “I’m going to do some classic shooter co-ops and thought you might want in.” If there was any way to pull Isabel away from work, it was inviting her to game.
Isabel pushed her yellow-tinted glasses up into her hair. “Tonight?”
“No, tomorrow. I’m working tonight.”
Isabel looked at him askance. “You’re working late? Why do I doubt that?”
Matthew put a hand over his heart. “Isabel, I am offended that you think so little of me.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh please. You’re a nine-to-five programmer, Matthew, and we both know it.”
“Guilty as charged.” He shrugged. There was no shame in avoiding the compulsive workaholic qualities of his coworkers. “At least I have time to have lunch with my coworkers on Fridays, which you missed today because apparently you can’t pull yourself away from your work.” He raised an eyebrow at her and gave her his most devilish grin.
“I know, I know.” She sighed. “I couldn’t pull myself away. Next week, I promise. So what, you’re busy tonight but it isn’t work?”
“Not here.” Matthew shook his head. “I’m working at Gigi’s tonight. I picked up a shift. Gaming’s tomorrow night, though, if you want in.”
Isabel took out her phone and tapped through a few screens. “Nothing in the calendar for this weekend. I might be free. I’ll let you know.” She tossed her phone back into her bag and pulled her glasses back down over her eyes.
So quick to slip back into work mode. He couldn’t relate. “Hang on, hang on. Why don’t you and Caleb come by the club tonight? I’ll mix you up something good.” Although he spent a lot of time with both Isabel and Caleb here at PI Games, where Caleb was creative manager, he seldom saw either of them outside the office. Matthew and Isabel had only grown closer over the last year after she’d met Caleb at DiceCon and he’d joined the PI Games team; shortly after, Caleb and Isabel had started dating out in the open, and everyone agreed they made an enviably adorable couple. He wanted to hang out with them more, but Isabel was always working.
Isabel looked back up at him. “Matthew, you know I’m not a nightclub kind of person. And I’m probably going to work late tonight. At my real job.” She looked pointedly past him at the clock on the wall. “Especially if I keep getting interrupted before I can get my work done.”
“Okay, okay.” He held up his hands in surrender. “Just trying to get you to go have some fun.”
“You have enough fun for the both of us.” She smiled, pulling her headphones back on. “I’ll text you tomorrow if I want to do some gaming.”
Matthew wandered back out into the brightly lit hallway, and then again into the dark programming room, where he settled back at his desk and skimmed over his coding from the day just to have something to do. Too bad most of his friends had such an unflappable work ethic. It was hard to get them to goof off with him. Not that he didn’t like his job, of course. PI Games was a fantastic place to work, and being a programmer was awesome, but it was hard motivating himself to do more than was expected of him. That sort of thing was for overachievers like Isabel. He worked, he wrote immaculate code, he met his deadlines, and then he went home.
Lately, he’d been picking up more and more bartending shifts at Gigi’s to earn a few extra bucks and stay engaged in the social scene, and he was looking forward to heading back there tonight. Tending bar felt like being back in college again after too much adulthood, especially since a bunch of his shifts ended in an after-hours party somewhere. Even if he was almost thirty, there was nothing wrong with maintaining his youthful enthusiasm. He leaned back in his chair and stared down his clock. Five minutes to go.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I live this set of books. They are well worth the reading time. I will check out her other books.
I absolutely loved Silas and Matthew! So perfect together--throw in Ruul (Matthew's special needs kitten, yep, name comes from the original Ghostbusters movie) and you've got an unbeatable combination...adorable, geeky, and able to get things done, all in one. These two actually make me think that a quick hookup in a bar might actually lead to something. Okay, maybe not. This is fiction. But still, it seemed believable--and nobody was hoping for it here more than me :) Silas and Matthew somehow managed to take the opposites attract troupe and make it work for both of them--and then some! Silas needed to find a life outside of work (and realize that he's not actually allergic to having fun, LOL) and Matthew needed a kick in the pants to make his work not only something he enjoyed but something that challenged him once again. They might have gone into their realizations kicking and screaming (not literally, since neither one of them is that kind of guy--biting and tying up, though, sure ;)) but once they figured things out for themselves? So satisfying. Add in Silas's full-body blushing (which Matthew takes full advantage of) and his slight social awkwardness, and you've got a story with just the right blend of sexy-sweet-geekiness. Single Player is the third in the series, but worked fine as a standalone. Matthew apparently played a part in one of the other couple's getting together, though ( Even Odds --and they're in this one a bit too) so I was prompted to add that one to my TBR pile...and while I'm at it, why not book two ( Tied Score ) too? ;) Rating: 4 stars / A- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Single Player is the third book in the Slices of Pi series, but as with the others, can be read as a standalone. The characters from the previous stories do make appearances so it's fun to see them again too. Matthew is a video game programmer who doesn't take himself to seriously and enjoys letting lose and having fun. Silas is a biomedical engineer and an extreme workaholic. He has Asperger's Syndrome which causes him to not be able to understand social situations. He pushes himself past his limits to the point that he doesn't believe he should have free time or let loose because it gets in the way of his work progress. After working himself to hard and not resting enough he starts to burn himself out and his boss takes notice, putting him on a mandatory leave of absence. When Matthew offers to show him ways to unwind, Silas doesn't like the idea but as time goes on he starts to see how it is improving his life. These two had amazing chemistry together. Silas was adorably awkward, even if he did get on my nerves with insulting Matthew repeatedly about his job, saying that it wasn't a real job. That drove me a little crazy to be honest, so I had to knock off a star. Matthew had a lot of patience with Silas' little quirks, and I thought he handled the job insult better than I would have. I was definitely happy when Silas came around at the end. I ended up enjoying this one even more than the second one the series! I still haven't read the first one but I added it to my never-ending TBR list so, one day... I hope! lol! ** I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. **