Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Decode, Chapter 5: Revelations

Chapter 5: Revelations

Maddox and Veronica huddled around his laptop on the couch. She squinted to see what books Maddox kept on the floor-to-ceiling shelves butted against the brick wall in front of her, surprised to spot a few poetry anthologies. Maddox tapped her arm, pointing to a few lines of code on the screen.

"Someone inserted these lines and unless you're looking for something specific, you won't catch them." He leaned back, his shoulders slumping. "It took me two sleepless nights to find this, and there have to be more."

"So what does it do? I mean, is this just code for one of your programs?"

Maddox nodded.

"It's the program that put Maddox Tech on the map. The original." He half-smiled. "My baby."

Veronica leaned on her elbow and yawned.

"I don't know what these lines of code do yet," he said, his smile disappearing. "This program is in the hands of companies across the country. And there could be bits of whatever this is," he pointed at the screen, "on previous versions and we never knew."

"How did you discover it then?"

"By keeping my eyes open for anomalies. I poked around until I found something. Of course, it wasn't the something I expected."

"You expected to find someone stealing information, meaning you spied on your employees."

Maddox shrugged.

"I don't know that I can trust anybody that works for me. So I'm careful."

"How did that lead you to this?"

"When I couldn't find what I wanted by casually looking around, I started examining things more closely in programming. It took a while, but I found this planted code eventually."

Veronica rubbed her forehead, pacing around the espresso coffee table.

"How did I get mixed up in this? I don't even work for you!"

"Do you think I would trust one of my employees to help me?"


"I need an outsider, but one who can be an insider."

"That clarifies everything."

Maddox laughed.

"Look at you. Would anyone suspect you of spying?"

Veronica glared, then slumped over. "No, they wouldn't."

Maddox grinned.

"What do you want me to do?" Veronica said.

"Nothing extravagant. But you might get access to more personal information because of your boyfriend."

Veronica's eyes flashed.

"Ha! I knew you had ulterior motives for targeting me. You want me to get gossip about your workers through Jesse."

Maddox leaned back, surveying Veronica.

"That's one of the reasons."

Veronica flushed, realizing she hadn't even brushed her hair when she flew out of her apartment. Maddox lowered his eyes, swiping his hand across his mouth.

"I'm sorry about the break-in," he said. "I don't think I said that earlier."

"Me too." She smiled slightly. "You'll figure this thing out and fix it, I'm sure. That is if half the stories I've heard about you are true."

He smiled. "They're not."

Maddox walked Veronica out to her car and watched her drive away into the night, hoping he could live up to her expectations.


If you've just tuned in to Decode, catch it from the beginning right here. And stay tuned each week for more!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fun Desktop Wallpaper Downloads

I had some fun this weekend designing desktop wallpaper using my stories as inspiration. I've uploaded them for anyone to decorate their desktop with. I plan to add more in the future, including wallpaper for Decode. To download, browse what I have up so far here.

Here are snapshots of two of the wallpapers:

As a side note, Dead Locked is now also available on Amazon Kindle.

New chapter of Decode coming later this week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Decode, Chapter 4: It Takes a Thief

Chapter 4: It Takes a Thief

The door opened and Maddox Felton stood there shirtless in track pants.

"Someone broke into my apartment!" Veronica paused, flitting over his torso. "You're not wearing a shirt."

Maddox smiled, a twinkle lighting up his hazel eyes. Veronica flushed despite the below freezing temperatures, her brown hair stuffed into a messy knot on her head.

"Did the person steal the disc?" he said, steering her to the gray couch.

"No. I scared him away. Or her."

"What do you know about the person?" he said. "Ramble, if necessary, but give me everything you saw, heard, smelled."

Veronica sighed.

"Sighing doesn't count as information."

She glared at him then closed her eyes to better visualize the scene from just a little while ago. It happened so fast and she was unprepared to pay attention. But as a designer, Veronica tended to absorb her surroundings automatically. While she concentrated, Maddox took the opportunity to admire how her face glowed in the lamplight. She was attractive even when disheveled.

"A ponytail." Veronica's eyes snapped open onto Maddox, who looked back at her intently. "I saw something swing in the moonlight and it had to be hair."

"We're looking for a woman then. That's interesting."

"Wait - you were at the scene when David Moore died. Did you see someone else?"

Maddox scratched his jaw.

"I saw a young woman - a brunette with a ponytail - walking in that area. She looked like she was out for an afternoon run."

"More like an afternoon murder."

"Not necessarily. David had a contact." He shook his head. "I saw her and didn't even know it. Or think about it for that matter."

"Yes, but the key word there is saw. You saw her. What did she look like?"

Maddox sighed.

"Sighing is not information."

He grinned, his eyes twinkling in a way that Veronica was fast getting used to.

"I deserve that," he said. "But you're right. It was only a glimpse, but that's more than we had a minute ago."

"This is all your fault, you know. I lived a simple, quiet life until you came along. Now I have people dying on top of my car and breaking into my house in the middle of the night! What is your problem?"

Maddox peeked at her slyly.

"If you worked for me, you'd find out."

Veronica crossed her arms over her chest.

"Tell me what you have that's causing all this hysteria and I might consider it."

Maddox rubbed his hands together.

"That's why I need your help. I've been suspicious for about six months now and did my own investigating. I thought we had a spy looking to steal information. But things took a turn, and I'm positive that's not what's going on."

"Then what is going on?"

Maddox pulled his glasses off, examining the lenses in the light.

"I won't agree to do anything until you give me the full story," Veronica said.

Maddox traipsed over to the kitchen.

"You'll need coffee for this one," he said. "Buckle up."


Come back next week for more Decode! If you missed the first three chapters, go here to catch up.
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