Launch day for Hearth Global’s smart house system. Techs in place, programs operational, uplinks activated. All systems go. Until one doesn’t. Ryan has a house on his roster without any record of construction, and it’s a hot mess. Actually, calling it that is an insult to hot messes everywhere. They have to inform the owner. It’ll be a PR nightmare, especially on their first official day in business, and even more so when the owner is a lawyer ready to bury them in lawsuits, but it has to be done. Right?
Uh, not so much. As it turns out, there’s a lot more at stake than Hearth Global’s reputation–top secret government stuff in which Ryan is now swimming up to his ears. He can’t make this software work by himself without the beautiful owner finding out something isn’t up to snuff. But what other choice does he have? The DOD is keeping tabs on the company, watching Victoria to make sure she doesn’t cause waves, and threatening to step in if anyone jeopardizes their agenda. To keep them all safe, Ryan has to buck up and take on the role of Victoria’s virtual house servant. 24-7. For as long as it takes to get the house up and running on its own. Because nothing could possibly go wrong with that…
“At its inception, Virtual was going to be a totally insular tale narrated solely from Ryan’s perspective as he sat in his dark pod and interacted with the woman living her life on the other side of a computer screen. The intimacy of it was what drew me to the narrative: the imbalance of Ryan inserting himself so deeply into Victoria’s life, without her ever knowing; Victoria coming to care for and rely on a man she believes is nothing but a computer. But while that version would have made for an amazing film adaptation of a psychological drama, it didn’t work so well as a book. The core of the story remained the same in this final version, but it’s now wider in scope, straddling the line between kinda-romance, kinda-not.”
Favorite Scene: The night of Victoria’s date.