The Tech Guy


I've got an excerpt from Lia Fairchild's fun new chick lit book The Tech Guy today. I read this a couple of weeks ago and love it! Take it away, Lia ...

Emma Barton is a workaholic. Nothing is more important than becoming managing editor of the magazine she works for. And she has the perfect plan to achieve that goal. Then Guy Walker enters her office. Sexy, sweet, and super popular, the new tech guy takes the office by storm. Will he derail every strategy Emma has in place? If he discovers her secret, it could ruin Emma’s career and turn her life upside down. 

Chapter 1

 

“Check out that curly hair.” Jayne sat and stared through the glass window of my corner office, drool dripping from her chin like barbecue sauce at an all-you-can-eat wings night. “It reminds me of—”

“Bozo the clown?” I interrupted, without looking up from my computer. Normally, I’d be up for Jayne’s amusing way of finding “hot” in every guy, but today I was too preoccupied to indulge her.  In addition to everything else I had going on, the magazine redesign launch was a little more than a month away. Was I feeling the pressure since it was my idea to revamp the publication? Do supermodels eat salad? I had to stay on top of things to make sure everything turned out the way I’d envisioned it. The way I’d planned it from day one here at New You magazine.

“No, silly.” Jayne turned back to face me. Spring’s daylight shone from the unusually clear L.A. sky and played across her rosy cheeks. “You know, Emma, that sexy actor from the eighties. Now he’s in that hospital show.”

Her stylish apricot skirt pulled tight against her thighs as she crossed and uncrossed her legs. Looked like our recent absences from the gym were showing. I reminded myself we keep those things to ourselves, even though she probably had tuned me out by then. When there was a man on Jayne’s radar, everyone else was simply background noise.

I knew exactly to whom Jayne was referring, but instead I said, “I really don’t have time for this right now. And you need to stop gawking at whomever Bill is meeting with and get back to work before he sees you.” Bill knew Jayne and I had recently grown close, and our inter-office water cooler sessions were becoming way too frequent. Jayne was a copy editor so technically I was her boss, but that didn’t interfere with our new-found friendship.

“Okay,” she said after a long pause. “But just take a quick look first and tell me that guy’s curls aren’t hot.”

“Someone talking about me?” Adam, tall and lanky, stood in the doorway patting his own coiled locks. He liked to describe himself as the gumbo of race. You name it, it was in his genes. He sort of reminded me of Snoop Dogg, but I never told him that. His head was big enough already.

“Not you, Fro-meo,” Jayne spouted. “The mystery man over there in Berkley’s office.” Jayne and Adam had a love-hate relationship. They both respected each other professionally, but they batted heads socially. The irony was they were both flirty, opposite-sex chasing, non-committal flakes when it came to relationships.

“Hey, Adam,” I said, finally looking up. “I was just going to buzz you to ask if you finished the Links file. I need to get in there to make some changes.”

“Yeah, finished with that a while ago,” he said. Always in fashion and dressed to impress, he wore a dark grey suit with faint pinstripes and a deep purple tie.

“Great, thanks for letting me know.” I tilted my head and stared blankly at him, hoping he would get my vibe.

“My bad,” he answered with a smile. I loved Adam, but he had a unique immunity to guilt. Things seemed to roll right off his back like he was lathered in grease. His relaxed attitude made some think he was lazy and unprofessional, but when it came to copy editing, there was no one better, or faster. That’s why I’d put up with him for almost two years.

Adam glanced across the hallway at the two men. Bill Berkley, editor in chief of New You magazine, was behind the desk facing our way. The other man was facing Bill, leaning forward in his chair, speaking and gesturing with his hands. Adam turned back to Jayne, who had resumed her spying position. He shook his head and laughed. “Anyway, I just came to tell you ladies I’m having a par-tay on Friday night.”

Jayne and I peered at each other with raised eyebrows, but different expressions. Jayne was always up for a party; I could take it or leave it.

“When don’t you have a party on Friday night?” I asked.

“Hey, they’re all for very specific events. This one just happens to be celebrating my girl, Tina’s new Chanel ad. You remember Tina, right, Jayne?” He glanced over at Jayne who cocked her head like a collie, adding a crooked smile.

Taking the hint, he said. “Tall, blonde? You met her at the party we had for Nikko’s graduation from ITT Tech?” He put his hands on his hips as if it was our duty to remember all his lady friends.

“Oh yeah, right,” Jayne snapped. Her answer didn’t sound convincing. “Sweet girl.”

“So y’all are invited. And Emma,” he said, pointing a finger gun at me. “Bring Howie this time.”

“Thanks, but we’re going to Bill’s for dinner.” As much as I didn’t want to go to Adam’s party, I didn’t want to go to Bill’s even more. With all the extra hours I’d been putting in for the launch, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time with my Bill Murray–lookalike boss. Yes, a few inches taller and my boss could be a stunt double for his namesake.

“Oh yeah, that should be exciting,” Adam said. “Well, I’m out.” He turned and started to walk back to his office when Jayne’s voice caught him. He stopped in the hallway.

“I’ve got my date picked out,” she said, smiling in the direction of Bill’s office. “I just have to figure out who he is first.”

Adam gave a knowing grin from the hallway that rattled me. “Oh, I know who he is.”

“He’s probably an intern or something.” I tried to sound casual, but the smug expression on Adam’s face made the tiny hairs on my arms stand up. And when he knew something I didn’t, well, let’s just say I’d been in better moods when Howard used my new scarf to clean his bike chain, or when he left the toilet clogged all day. But what was even worse was when Bill made big decisions without me. It wasn’t as if he was required to consult the managing editor on every detail of the magazine’s operations. But the head honcho always made such a big deal about me being his “right-hand woman,” a term I’ve learned to live with as well as use to my advantage.

“Nope.” Adam stood in the doorway shaking his head, wearing a confident grin.

Jayne eagerly waited for more information. “Well?”

“If you guys had been at Bill’s niece’s Quinceañera last month you would have known that that guy is—”

Just then I saw the men making their way towards us. I stood abruptly, swept my shoulder-length brown hair back, and clasped my hands behind my back. Adam sensed them walking up behind him so he turned around, taking a step back into my office.

“Well, I’m glad you three are all together,” Bill said as the two entered. “I’d like you to meet the man that’s going to help take us to new levels and keep us running smoothly.” He slapped a hand on the other man’s shoulder. “This is Guy Walker, our new technical consultant.”

I tried to cover my shock with an awkward smile I copied from Ronald McDonald. My eyes widened with forged hospitality. I’d gotten pretty adept at that lately. Like the first time Jayne showed up in the office with her boyfriend, Hank. Let’s just say if they decided to do another Star Wars movie, he could play Chewbacca.

But this was different. Bill and I had talked about bringing someone in to upgrade the equipment and get new software. And we had planned to develop a greater online presence, but as far as I knew, we hadn’t moved on it. I suddenly felt my inner thermometer start to climb.

Jayne, on the other hand, was grinning from ear to ear. She popped out of her chair like a Jayne-in-the-box, flicking her fiery red away from her face. “Hi, I’m Jayne.” Her words came out like molasses, sweet and slow. She plunged a claw forward, way too eagerly, to snare her prey.

Guy reached out and gave her hand a gentle shake accompanied with a closed-mouth smile. He might have been a head taller than Bill, at least six-one, probably taller. He should have towered over Jayne as well, but she covered her lack of height with her ever-present four-inch heels.

“Great to meet you,” he said. Then he turned to Adam and shook his hand, but with greater firmness. “Hey, man, good to see you again.”

Adam’s smile was triumphant when it was clear that Guy remembered him and he proudly displayed it to Jayne and me as he replied to Guy. “Yeah, you too.”

“And this,” Bill resounded with his arm outstretched to me as if I would magnetically float right into place, “is my right-hand woman, Emma Barton.” Jayne held back a smirk, while I reluctantly complied and walked to Bill’s side. I felt like a daughter being pawned off in an arranged marriage.

From the beginning, Bill had seemed to take me under his wing. He saw real potential in me, and though he thought I was a talented writer, he knew I wanted more. He told me he was impressed with my ability to take charge and make things happen. After only a few months as a columnist, he was ready to give me more responsibility. He promoted me to copy editor, which eventually led to this. And of course that was exactly how I had planned it. When you got to know me, you saw that making plans is what I’m all about. It’s my way of controlling the chaos. Writing “Newlywed News” was merely a stepping stone for me. Right from the start, I knew I’d eventually work my way up in this company, even if it meant putting up with Bill’s archaic views of women.

“It’s nice to meet you, Guy.” I presented him with my Donald Trump handshake, so he’d know whom he was dealing with. “Welcome to the team.”

“Thanks,” Guy responded. “I’m really looking forward to working with all of you.”

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence. Then, as usual, Jayne opened her mouth without thinking. “Those are some pretty broad shoulders for a computer geek.”

An innocent chuckle escaped from Guy. “Well, I played a lot of water polo in high school and college. It was kind of a family thing. Mostly did it for my dad and brother.”

“Okay. Well, I guess we all should get back to work now,” I said, hoping that would clear my office. Adam and Jayne said their goodbyes before walking out, but Bill and Guy didn’t take the hint.

“Emma, Guy and I have some paperwork to go over in my office, and then he has to go. But tomorrow, I’d like you to show him around the rest of the office. Introduce him to everyone.”

I sat back down at my desk. “Of course.” I picked up a random piece of paper, signaling the end of the discussion and my obvious need to get back to work. A half-eaten muffin sat next to my computer, and I felt my cheeks blush when I glanced at it. As if I’m not allowed to eat? Heaven forbid a woman consume a muffin in the morning.

“That will give you two a chance to get to know each other, especially since you will be working so closely together.”

That one caught me off guard. “Oh, uh ….” I squinted over the paper, fighting the sudden urge to cram the rest of that muffin in my mouth. I had some interaction with Marty, who had been taking care of all the tech issues up to now, but no more than anyone else. I should have realized that increasing our online presence would require a lot from me, as well.

“Didn’t we talk about this before?” Bill’s eyes lifted up toward his bushy eyebrows like he was searching his brain for the memory.

I sat back in my chair, waiting for him to drop the inevitable bomb. It seemed as though Guy sensed my annoyance. His happy expression faded, like the boy last picked for a baseball team.

“Anyway,” Bill continued, “the point is that you will be Guy’s go-to person. He’ll answer to you, and the two of you will work out a schedule and priorities. And you’ll have to get him up to speed on the redesign launch.” Bill must have noticed the blank look on my face because he added, “Don’t worry, Em. We’ll work it all out. One thing at a time, right?” That was easy for him to say. He wasn’t a type A, compulsive planner who lived and died by her to-do list.

As Bill and Guy left my office, I tried to convince myself that this could be a good thing. We really did need a new tech person. Marty was one of our freelance writers who also provided tech support. Great writer, but unreliable when it came to time-sensitive problems. We had to bring in someone from the outside to save our asses more times than I could count. So, it did make sense to have someone dedicated to that part of the business, because our equipment was ancient and our software had more bugs than a Louisiana swamp. I only hoped that this Guy could handle what was ahead.

But something else still felt off. Like waking from a bad dream that you forget the instant you wake up, yet somehow you’re still left in a negative fog. Once I dreamt I was back in high school. I’d walked through the door to find my mother making me a prom dress. It was hideous, of course, but seeing her there when she had long since passed pleased me more than attending the clichéd ceremonial virginity auction. I awoke the next morning, tears still moist on my cheeks, trying to remember why I was so upset. The sadness followed me to the office. I racked my brain trying to remember the dream. Then, flipping through one of our fashion-focused issues, I spotted a dress that brought the whole dream back.

But this was different. This was real. And when it came to my future at the magazine, I didn’t like to take any chances. I’d worked my butt off to get where I was. I wasn’t going to let anything—or anyone—jeopardize my career. Plus, I couldn’t help but wonder why Bill didn’t consult me or even ask for my help in hiring someone. That wasn’t like him. After all, I was his right-hand woman.

Reviews:

I'm always surprised when a book is as good on the inside as it is on the outside. Cute cover, adorable man, fun title... but the writing carries the book. I loved the plot, but I really enjoyed her ability to write a fun contemporary romance that wasn't clunky. Witty, charming, and romantic! Five stars!

I really enjoyed this book. It was light and heart warming. I had just tackled some long, hard to read novels and this was just what I needed to relax and enjoy. I was hooked within the first couple pages and couldn't stop reading.This is the first Lia Fairchild I have read and I've already bought 2 more of her books!


The Tech Guy is available from Amazon US and AmazonUK

 

About Lia  

I've been creating stories my whole life, but only for me, in my own head. Then one day I sat down and started to write a book. I completed my first novel, In Search of Lucy, in February of 2011. Seven months later, AmazonEncore contacted me about representing my book. It's currently in the top 10 for Kindle Drama.

My second full-length novel, Vigil Annie, was released on Amazon in December of 2012. One reviewer called this thriller "suspenseful, well-crafted, and fast paced."

I recently completed my first romantic comedy, The Tech Guy, now available on Amazon.

My other works include a mystery series (A Hint of Murder) and a short, sweet romance (Special Delivery).

I was born and raised in Southern California and hold a bachelor's degree in journalism and a multiple subject teaching credential. I'm a wife and mother of two teenagers.

Look for updates on me and my books at http://www.liafairchild.com or follow me on Twitter at  or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lia.fairchild.author?fref=ts

****

Happy Reading!
 
Peace and Love   Black heart (cards) 
 
Sibel XX