What would happen if a jaded romance writer had the opportunity to create her perfect man, only to find out he wasn’t perfect, and that everything she thought of as romantic was decidedly not?
Adam is everything romance writer Joan Richardson could want: handsome, thoughtful, kind, and made entirely to her specifications—a one-of-a-kind prototype droid—but sadly not without glitches. On their way to his designer’s lab for repairs, they’re ambushed by Jack Carter, a smuggler, who instantly loses his catch to another band of thieves. Jack hitches a ride with the reluctant Joan as they follow the thieves to an airfield, where they sneak onto a cargo plane and end up crash landing in the Amazon rain forest. Joan makes a deal with Jack to get her and Adam back home safely. But before he can make good on the agreement, they are accosted by thugs with guns determined to steal Adam. Now Joan is caught in a web of deceit and betrayal worthy of a plot in one of her novels—only this time, the consequences could be much worse than just a bad review…
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In The Romeo Prototype by Suzanne Jefferies, Joan Ryder Richardson is an author who has commissioned the perfect man, an android named Adam. But Adam has some glitches, and when Joan takes him back to the lab for adjustments, he is kidnapped—twice. The first kidnapper, smuggler Jack Carter, loses Adam to a couple of thugs almost immediately, so he joins Joan in chasing after them. When their plane crash lands in the Amazon rain forest, Joan makes a deal with Jack to rescue Adam and get them safely home. But Joan has been betrayed by someone she thought was a friend, and she and Jack walk into a lot more than they bargained for…
The story is a fun adventure/romance, with charming characters, plenty of twists and turns, and some hot, spicy love scenes. My kind of book!
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: The Romeo Prototype by Suzanne Jefferies is the story of a woman jaded by failed relationships. Sure that the only way to get a perfect man is to build one herself, author Joan Ryder volunteers to participate in the Genesis Project, where an android is built to her specifications. The android is Adam, caring, sensitive, everything she could possibly want. Well, almost. He has glitches, and when Joan takes him to the designer’s lab for repairs, Adam is kidnapped. One of the kidnappers, Jack Carter, loses his catch to a second set of thugs. So he and Joan chase them to an airfield and steal aboard the plane. But the plane goes down in the Amazon rain forest, and Joan, Jack, and Adam are stranded. Joan strikes a deal with Jack to get them safely home, but before he can, things go south, and Joan begins to suspect that her “perfect man” Adam might not be so perfect after all.
The Romeo Prototype combines science fiction, romance, and suspense, for a tale that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end.
“Morning, beautiful, did you sleep well?” Deep voice, with just the right amount of heat and spice.
Joan rolled over, blissful sigh ready to escape her lips. Adam.
Hot rocking bod, ample chest room for snuggling, ripped and corded where it mattered. Broad shouldered, tanned gorgeousness. She looked into his long lashed dark eyes that smoldered. Maybe, too much. Joan frowned.
“Adam, could you just look up at the light, there?”
She pressed her fingertip round his eye socket. So far so good, nothing loose. She hesitated, put her finger on his eyeball, and gently swiveled it from side to side. No problem with the old poke and prod, but, as Adam’s eye rolled upward toward the light, a thin slip of mechanics peek-a-booed through.
“Ah, damn. Something’s gone wrong there. Can you still see?”
There goes today’s word count. “We’ll have to drop in to see the professor.” Joan rose naked from the bed. “Do you think it was the run-in you had with the neighbor?”
“He addressed you inappropriately.” Adam stretched his arms out behind his head, giving Joan a view that wouldn’t be out of place on one of her book covers. “My lady’s honor is not to be questioned.”
Debatable that. “I’m just going to have a shower.”
“Shall I join you?”
She smiled at the thought. Him naked, her naked, soapy hot water, and endless opportunities. Except for one small problem. “Let’s try not to fry your circuits in the first week, shall we?”
As the water pumped, Joan soaped, considering her day. No matter which way she flipped it, she’d have to head past the Jo’burg University lab. Not close and not convenient. If anyone had told her how much work Adam would be…still, the benefits weren’t exactly bad. Pretty awesome, in fact. Wasn’t that the whole point?
Towel-dried, a turban wrapped round her wet hair, she strolled back into her bedroom. Adam had made the bed, all corners neat and exact, hotel ready. No, better than hotel ready—had she mentioned those benefits? Next to her bed, her birthday cards stacked neatly, she tried to not stare at the embossed red “40” that screamed at her.
From behind, warm hands felt over her still damp hips. “Why don’t we do something together today? Just the two of us? There’s the new Bridget Jones movie I know you’d like to watch?” His hands snaked upward toward her breasts. “Or we could just stay in, and I’d give you a massage you’d never forget.”
And today wasn’t even her birthday anymore. Who needed one day of pampering and spoiling if you had every day? As his hands worked on her, she felt as if she’d ended up on an Oprah Christmas edition. And you get one, and you get one, and you get one.
He nibbled at her neck. “Or we could go shopping? Shoe shopping? Clothes shopping?”
Joan frowned. “Book shopping, obviously.” She pulled away from those admittedly skillful hands. “Best we pay a visit to your mama.”
His face lit up. “Shall we take her some shortbread? I can make some.”
Joan wriggled into her skirt. “Only if you promise to make me breakfast as well.”
Adam scurried off to the kitchen while Joan finished dressing. On her bedside dresser sat her Mac notebook. Guilt drenched her like cheap perfume. So, she’d managed two words so far, Chapter and One. Better than nothing.
But, with Adam, the distraction had been…well, distracting.
She double pressed the Skype icon. Ah, and the good Professor Velaphi just happened to be online. Joan hit the dial button then rammed a comb through her coarse hair.
The professor sighed as she answered. “What’s wrong now?”
Joan shrugged. “Something with his eyeball, I can see the wiring.”
Short circuiting, pitch problems—that one had not been particularly fun—the inability to walk backward—a handier skill than she’d thought—and now a wonky eyeball. Not particularly noticeable unless she was right up close and personal and this prototype was all about the up close and personal.
The professor narrowed her eyes and nodded as she wrote down Joan’s description. “Might be the retinal display. Can he still see?”
The waft of bacon and eggs drifted toward her. “I guess so.”
“I’ve got a gap at two if you want to bring him through then?”
Joan did not. What was that saying about deadlines whooshing past? “Sure.”
“Thanks, Joan, your doing this really means a lot to me.”
“No problem.” The smell of hot coffee roasting combined with the fry up. What was a technical glitch with a man like that in the kitchen? No problem at all.
Adam, suited and booted, and oh too delicious to contemplate without melting entirely, opened up the car door for Joan to get out.
It was the little things, she reflected as he slammed the door behind her.
The university campus swarmed with students hurrying to class, the canteen, or to an illicit romp behind the bleachers. Everywhere she looked fresh faces passed her. A slick, quick reminder that hers was not as fresh, definitely not without an occasional filler or fixer here and there. And did they all have to be so glowing with health?
Adam beamed down at her.
She took his hand. “You’ll still love me when I’m sixty-four, right?”
He agreed. Not that he caught the reference. Ah, the little things.
The lab sat back on the campus, removed from the general milling population. Joan paced through the well-tended gardens, the fountains, the statues of various illustrious politicians and dealmakers. With a little luck, it would be a minor repair and she and Adam could get on with their getting to know each other. Adam kept astride alongside, her hand in his. How lucky had she gotten?
The students thinned out as they wove between the stone buildings, through narrow alleyways, the sun replaced by cold shadows.
A man in black sauntered toward them. Student, lecturer, administrator? He could have been any one of the above.
Tall, broad shouldered, his blond hair slicked back, as he neared them, she registered cool blue eyes beneath those glasses without lenses. The kind of man who’d made her heart stop, once upon a time. Even that swagger of his did things to her body it had no right to do. Older, sure but dangerously good looking. Yeah, and he probably knew it, too. She squeezed Adam’s hand.
Still, her eyes traveled over that body. Took in the slim hips, the muscular thighs, the power in his chest. The gun in his hand. What?
She blinked. Looked twice.
Gun barrel. Pointed at them.
Her breath caught. Her heart galloped as the adrenaline pump-a-thumped.
Instinctively, she stood in front of Adam, her arms outstretched, shielding him.
“G’day,” said the stranger, those eyes now icy cold. “No need to panic now, sheila. It’s your mate I’m interested in.”
Joan blinked. “Adam?”
He pointed the gun squarely at Adam. “If you’ll just step this way.”
Joan glanced over at Adam. Run? Yell for help? Options flashed by. But Joan was frozen to the spot.
Ca-click. Another gun cocked—not the man in black’s. Joan’s knees gave way as a different man appeared.
Shorter, with a blue uni cap, he pushed his gun firmly to the blond man’s temple. “Drop it, Carter.”
Blondie hesitated then lowered his gun. As Mr. Uni Cap retrieved it from Blondie, a larger man who looked as if he bench pressed quarterbacks for breakfast appeared from behind. Firearm number three, if she was counting, and yes, she was counting.
Mr. Big stepped up to Adam and reached behind his right ear.
Adam, do something, she wanted to yell. But he waited there, his arms up in surrender. Where had the guy who’d decked the neighbor for saying she had great legs disappeared to?
Adam folded over, powered right down, just like the professor had taught her. Game over.
Blondie pointed at Adam’s crumpled body. “You got to lift him now, mate.”
The gun pushed farther into Blondie’s temple. Blondie’s hands rose higher. He had a point. Adam weighed at least three hundred pounds minimum, all of that technology whirring and clicking. Mr. Big swung Adam over his shoulder and backed up out the alleyway. So much for that theory.
Adam’s lifeless eyes stared at the wall as Mr. Big turned and disappeared into the campus.
“Slowly, slowly.” Mr. Uni Cap back-tracked in Mr. Big’s direction. Pace. Pace. Pace. Blondie eyeballed him, his arms now at waist level.
Then Mr. Uni ducked away.
Blondie led the chase.
Joan took off her shoes and bolted after them.
Mr. Uni skipped through the undergrad traffic like a delivery man on a timer.
Where was Adam? She couldn’t see him. Only the running man. But no Adam.
Hot tar burned the soles of her feet. Mr. Big couldn’t be that fast, could he? Not with Adam slumped over him, a non-human dead weight?
Bob and weave, bob and weave, Mr. Uni cut through the campus until he slipped from view. Her radar zoned in on Blondie, less quick but just as agile as he kept with the tracking.
She caught a glimpse of that blue cap, and Mr. Uni bounced back into view and bee-lined straight for the parking lot.
Blondie sped up as Mr. Uni piled into the backseat of a cruising Beemer. Black, polished to within an inch of its life, it had tinted windows, and a low, humming engine. No plates. It screeched off toward the exit.
“Oh, for shit’s sake,” Blondie yelled. He veered toward the opposite end of the parking lot. Yeah, go that away, far away from me.
She could spot her bright green car from a thousand paces.
Should she follow them in her car? Yes.
Gathering her keys while she ran, she leapt to where her car waited for her. The Beemer crawled forward, waiting in the security queue. It was hard to miss it—no one drove with tinted windows. Should she call security over? The vague shadowy figure who swiped visitors in and out didn’t seem equipped to help, only if she wanted that boom raised.
Forget about it.
Her key fit in the lock first time as she turned and lifted the handle. Her bare feet hit the pedals as she tossed her shoes into the backseat. She rammed the key in the ignition, switched on the engine, and lurched the car forward. At the gate, the Beemer drew up to the man in the security outfit. How many cars idled between her and their getaway vehicle? One car, two cars…
The guard’s head dipped low and looked into their car. Maybe they’d get stopped? Maybe she could call on him for help? She slid into the queue, car number four. The boom lifted up. Maybe—
Two fists slammed down on her hood—Blondie.
She leaned over to lock the passenger side door about two seconds too late, as he opened the door and got in.
“Get the fuck out.”
“Get a bloody move on, we’re losing them.” He pointed to Mr. Uni’s getaway car which carved its way through the traffic, away from the university. “Use that lane.” His hand yanked the steering wheel to the left and the car jerked into the students’ lane.
“What the hell? This is the—”
“No gun, remember?” He reached over her, a white uni card in his hand, forcing her way back into her seat. “Be a darling and hit the pad.”
Seconds later, the boom lifted.
Joan hesitated then stepped on the gas.
© 2019 by Suzanne Jefferies