Cutie Pi

Beyond the stars, Trini discovers love and pie.

Trini Martinez never thought of herself as flaky. No matter the radius of the problem, she could be counted on to solve and understand it. But when tentacles burst out of the newest Post-Doc to join the lab, and she finds herself pulled into an intergalactic game of tug she begins to question her sanity.

At least Nolan is there to rescue her. Friendly and charming, on top of being the hottest guy in a lab coat, he’d worked at her side for the past year. Trini assumed Nolan had no interest in her beyond their cancer research. Boy did she get that one wrong.

Racing through the stars, this computer scientist finds herself at the mercy of murderous bounty hunters, alien drones, and civilizations that’ll pay planets for her research. Her only hope to survive is a man that knows far too much about this intergalactic society. Can she trust Nolan or has she been a pawn for him the whole time?

In this Pi-Day themed romance, there will be quantum mechanic problems, steamy DNA exchanges, aliens with huge spaceships, and a planet’s worth of pie.


Excerpt from Cutie Pi

“Let me run it again,” I said, leaning closer to the screen. In doing so, the trusty pen I kept notched on my shirt slipped free. It struck three keys, changing the code to gibberish and setting off another run cycle.

Damn it! More of that never-ending shame rolled through my gut and I froze, watching the numbers scroll to their endless doom.

“Whoops.” A voice rolled in a laugh. I watched as his hand glanced across my keyboard, not that that would solve anything. We were already deep into losing ten minutes of useless code crashing. Oh. He picked up the wayward pen and raised it to my eyes.

At magma levels of embarrassment, I swiveled my chair to come face to face with Nolan. Dr. Smith.

Nolan, he insisted.

The pen waggled at the tip as if he was challenging me to grab it. I stared transfixed at the movement almost forming a perfect infinity loop. Nolan blinked and his hand froze as if he hadn’t meant to do that. Thrusting the pen back to me, he said, “I’m guessing that’s a special one.”

“Why?” I mumbled already sticking it back where it began.

“Just…” He shrugged, his smile widening further while his stoic, military features all slid into place. They wanted to keep him stern, but he couldn’t cease grinning obliterating the dour illusion. His rich voice dipped to a soft whisper. “You’re always wearing it.”

“Oh, I…” It’s from undergrad. I got it when I signed up to join the engineering club which I lasted in for two weeks. I have no attachment beyond always using it. “I’ve found it fits best here without…” Slowly, I pulled my finger from my collarbone straight down to my bulging ‘Mandelbrot set.’ If you know what I mean.

Nolan followed the movement, as any mammal would, which left him staring right at my chest. Brilliant move, Trini. Truly Noble prize worthy there.

Gulping, I returned to the numbers doing their useless dance. Find a topic that doesn’t reveal how fumbling you were. “Did you watch it?”

“Excuse me?” he asked.

“The trilogy. Okay, it’s more a prequel that came out after the other two, then the original and a sequel. But they synch up fairly well.”

The edge of his lips raised, digging crinkles beside his mouth to form a half smile. “The space one?”

“Yes. Yeah. That one that I suggested.” When he’d last collaborated with me, he mentioned wishing for something new to watch and I pulled out the old Tri-Wars. Dated, especially in the effects department, but solid story telling and characters…if one ignored the reliance on silver bikinis for all the women and female aliens.

Nolan winced and rubbed a hand against his pristine chin. “I’m afraid I don’t go in for the space stuff.”

“Oh.” My voice deadened as I raced to not sound disappointed. What would I care if he wasn’t a sci-fi nerd? No nerd at all. Look at him? Nerds didn’t have jawlines that could cleave diamonds. Usually.

“But I did watch that elf and dwarf one you kept quoting?”

“Last Sword of Gilain?” I tried to not squeal in surprise. That wasn’t a movie but a massive series that stretched into ten seasons.

“Yes. I quite preferred the bard Drager.”

“Did you get to the part where he…?”

“Was secretly a dragon the whole time?”

My heart fluttered while my brain dredged up the million and one facts I knew about the old serial. Not just the show but the books, the comics, and that one breakfast cereal tie-in. “I freaking adore his singing goat. Whoever thought to include that in the show was a genius. In the books it was just a sword which like, please, we’ve all seen that before.”

“Right. Yes, we have,” Nolan said cautiously, his words prickling my ears.

Don’t make it all about you. “I mean,” I snickered, “what did you like most about him?”
“The dragon part, mostly. Breathing fire on his enemies was…cool.” Nolan’s eyes drifted down from mine, a fact I barely noticed until he didn’t look up. What was…?

Oh god. In my excitement, I’d clamped my hands around his. Both of them. Warm, strong fingers hung tight in mine. The backs of his hands sported those manly veins prodding out of rough skin. What would it feel like to trace them clear across his body, up his arms, over his chest until reaching the heart…?