Knowing all too well the damage online trolls can inflict, game designer Emily Bartwell takes privacy seriously. Living in solitude and working remotely under a male alias gives her a sense of security. The sexy writer renting the house next door ignites desires she'd forgotten she had, and when he invites her to play games of a very different sort, Em is ready and willing. Even if it means breaking all her own rules to abide by his.
Undercover tech reporter Fox Mullins is so close to the biggest scoop of his career: finding the elusive programmer Phoenix. An increasingly erotic adventure with his reserved but passionate new neighbor is the ideal way to heat up the chilly Pacific Northwest nights as he tracks the brilliant gamer.
At first Fox is happy to help Em explore her newly awakened kinky side, no holds barred, no strings attached. But as they push the limits of intimacy, both physical and emotional, Fox discovers he's not the only one keeping secrets. And revealing hers may mean betraying the one woman who embodies everything he desires.
Emily Bartwell has reinvented herself on the isolated island of Lyra, hiding from her past in the misogynistic video game industry and anyone who might uncover her identity as the elusive game designer Phoenix. Reporter Fox Mullins is on Phoenix's trail, and as soon as he meets Emily, he becomes determined to make her reveal her secrets to him. The lies and lust between them soon become too tangled to unravel without damaging both their lives. Kennedy (Master of the Opera) shows her talent for organic relationship-building in this erotic romance; both Emily and Fox display emotional growth and maturity, and their relationship develops from tentative flirting to domination to equality without feeling forced or implausible. The secondary characters, however, are little more than archetypes, and the broad-strokes overview of the video games industry will disappoint anyone with more than a superficial knowledge of the gaming community.