Five years ago, Maya Jain kissed her best friend only to have him run out of her dorm room and leave the state. When he shows up in Washington, D.C., a wanted fugitive sought after by every branch of the US government, she can’t bring herself to ignore his plight. As their physical relationship picks up where it left off, she decides it’s time to make him see her as more than the bespectacled, bookish girl he once called “Owl.”
After being accused of espionage and treason, Zack Strong needs a forensic accountant to help clear his name. Not knowing who he can trust, this white-hat hacker has no choice but to ask his former best friend and math tutor for help. Together they unravel a cyber conspiracy at the Barn, an NSA facility tasked to intercept electronic communications. But as they traverse the nation’s capital to avoid capture, Maya insists on letting their simmering sexual tension take its natural course. Even though he’s never been able to shake the memory of their one kiss, he refuses to let her give up her life for a man with no future.
“Aren’t you going to ask me some questions first?”
Maya frowned. “Like what?”
“Whether or not I’m guilty of espionage, for one.”
Though hampered by his hands, she managed a shrug. “It doesn’t matter. We’re friends, aren’t we?”
“It depends on your definition.” It took a moment before Zack realized he’d blurted the words out loud. Judging from the way her dark brows drew together, they’d zeroed in on the exact same memory.
Friends didn’t kiss. Given, they’d shared just the one, and he’d hightailed it out of her life almost immediately after, but the unfortunate lip-lock would always complicate the question of where they stood. And if someone asked him right then to slot their relationship into a neat little box, “friends” wouldn’t be it. Why? For one, he hadn’t thought about anything but kissing her for the past three minutes. Considering every branch of the all-powerful but dumb-as-fuck US government had painted a bright-red bulls-eye on his ass, his inconvenient reaction was a testament to their complicated status.
His brain should be devoted to the task of clearing his name, not figuring out how to shift his weight so his zipper wouldn’t press uncomfortably on a growing part of his body. He shouldn’t be fascinated by the hint of pink tinting Maya’s whisky-colored skin, or the scent of cinnamon and orange floating off her hair. The last thing he should notice were her long, curly lashes—the sooty fringes framing her almost black eyes such that they appeared huge on her oval face.
Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at www.taraquan.com
Tara has organised her own interview with her character. Here it is:
Tara Quan’s Operation Owl Tour of the Capital – Character Interview with Maya Jain
Thank you so much for hosting me today. I’m trying something new, which is to chat up my book prior to getting a firm release date. Because of my impending move to Rome, I may soon experience a prolonged Internet blackout and have prescheduled my stops. To the best of my knowledge, my latest multicultural romance from Decadent Publishing comes out some time in July 2014 (so, depending on when you stumble upon this blog, it might be available now). For updates as well as a chance to win a $25 gift card, drop by my website: TaraQuan.com/Owl
In honor of the place I consider home (what the government terms the National Capital Area), I’m dedicating the posts on this tour to Washington, D.C. and its surrounding suburbs. The romantic comedy I’m very blatantly promoting is set entirely in the US capital. A Beyond Fairytales adaptation of The Owl by Brothers Grimm, Operation Owl features a geeky hacker hero and his bookish best friend. They team up to expose a cyber conspiracy at the heart of the US government and end up indulging in some other equally exciting activities.
At this stop, my lovely hostess asks my heroine, Maya Jain, to tell you a bit more about the city. (This interview takes place prior to the start of the book.)
Waypoint: An Interview with Capital area resident, Maya Jain
Hi Maya, and thank you for giving us a few tips about visiting Washington, D.C. How did you come to live in the US capital? Were you born here?
I grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of D.C. known for its excellent school system. My parents moved there from Chandigarh, India, before I was born. They liked the neighborhood because it’s very ethnically diverse, and, with three kids, it paid to make education a priority. After going to MIT for university, I moved to Arlington, Virginia, which is two metro stations outside the capital (i.e. a 7 minute commute). It’s very convenient since I work at the Treasury Department.
So this is an EXTREMELY important question for most visitors. Where can we get good cup of coffee or tea around here?
Hmm… It depends on whether you think Starbucks makes good coffee or not (I’m partial to their Frappuccino). Around where I live, I’d recommend both Northside Social and Java Shack, both of which make excellent coffee at a reasonable price. If you feel like venturing into Old Town, Alexandria (another D.C. suburb), ESP makes excellent flat whites.
As for tea, I’m still looking. No one makes chai like my mom does, so I end up just paying her a visit when I get a craving.
If you had a visitor over for one day in D.C., and they’d already seen all the monuments and museums on a previous trip, where would you take them?
If they happen to be here on a Sunday, I’d drag them over to Eastern Market, where a bunch of artisans set up stalls selling anything from embellished belts to fruits and vegetables. If they like antiquing, I’d also make a stop at the Georgetown flea market. For someone who’s here on a different day of the week, I’d take them shopping in Old Town Alexandria or Georgetown.
If you could spend a responsibility-free all-expenses paid night in D.C., where would you go?
To be honest, I’d rather stay at home and play video games, but since it’s free—I’d catch an opera at the Kennedy Center (the tickets are usually way out of my budget), followed by dinner at a nice restaurant on U Street.
You seem a little distracted. Is something bugging you?
Oh, nothing much. I just heard from an old college friend I haven’t seen in a really long time. I’m supposed to meet him a little later today.
Oh well, in that case, I should probably let you run off. You two have fun!
You can purchase Operation Owl here when it releases: