Excerpt: Ctrl Z by Danika Stone

Ctrl Z
By: Danika Stone
Publisher: Self-published
Published: March 4, 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense

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Indigo Sykes has spent years trying to forget where she came from. She has a degree, a new life, and a quiet existence. Everything she ever wanted… But all of this comes to a screeching halt when an unexpected meeting with computer hacker, Jude Alden, changes her plans. Romance blooms between the mismatched duo, even while entanglements from Indigo’s past threaten to pull the two of them apart.

Dogged by a history of running, Indigo’s hard-won security is shattered when Jude’s illegal activity drags both of them into a dangerous game. As the net of hacking and underworld crime tightens around Jude and Indigo’s dark history is exposed, the two of them must find a way out or risk bringing the consequences down on them both.

Indigo was in a sullen mood to begin with, and drinking wasn’t helping. Five shots down and she was only starting to buzz, melancholy dampening her mood like a wet coat. Around her, friends drank and danced. Shireese was off somewhere with Tanis, celebrating the success of tonight’s gig, but Indigo couldn’t join in. Tonight she wanted to forget about the mess of her life. Say ‘fuck you’ to all the broken promises the last year had wrought. She knew she should tell Shireese what had happened earlier that evening, but she couldn’t bear the “I told you so” that would certainly follow.

Not yet.

Fighting angry tears, she lifted her last shot glass, swallowing liquid fire and revelling in the heat drawing a line from throat to stomach. When she slammed the glass down on the table, someone stood across from her. Recognition flickered. She’d noticed him when she’d first walked into the bar tonight. She had the same thought now that she’d had then: the guy was completely out of place. He wore clothes two grades above this dump, his dark prep-school hair neatly combed, button-down shirt rolled up to the elbows, and jeans still creased down the center of his knees.

His expression kept her from looking away. He looked soft, where the rest of the men in the bar looked hard. He’d get rolled tonight if he wasn’t careful, Indigo thought. She’d done it herself a time or two and O’Reilly’s was full of grifters. She smirked, and the man – whoever he was – smiled back.

“I’m Jude,” he said, his voice lifted over the din of the bar.

Indigo nodded, but didn’t answer. This wasn’t the first guy who’d tried to pick her up tonight, and the truth was, she wasn’t interested. She didn’t turn him away though, not yet. He stuck out just enough to make him intriguing. He had a bright smile and straight teeth, but more telling than that was a faint Brooklyn accent that had been smoothed away under the file of good schools and money. In the darkness, she couldn’t tell what colour his eyes were, but she liked their shape. They looked kind.

“I’m here in the city with friends,” the man added.


His smile faded. He had to be in his late twenties, Indigo decided, but with the uncertainty of his expression, he seemed younger. He glanced over his shoulder, and then back to her.

“Well, um… sorry for bothering you,” he said, taking a single step back.

Indigo spun into motion, her hand snaking out and flattening against the table with a slap, eyes narrowed and glittering. She knew she looked like shit, the rain had seen to that, but she still wanted to forget. Someone like this, a frat boy who was looking for some fun, someone who was out of place and completely out of her league was exactly the kind of guy she wanted. If some part of her knew that this was what’d gotten her into the mess in the first place, she pushed the thought away.

“That’s a shitty pick up line,” she snarled. “You want to get somewhere with me, then you’ve got to do better than that.” She smiled just enough to take the barb out of her words.

He laughed nervously.

“C’mon then,” she growled, tipping her head to the side. “I’m waiting.”

His brows pulled together like he was taking an exam. A second passed, then two.

“You’re gorgeous,” he said earnestly. “You could be a model or something.”

She laughed aloud, her head tilting back, exposing her neck, as if that was the funniest thing she’d ever heard. Guys loved that, she knew. Made them feel powerful.

“You’re a bad liar,” she said. “I look like a drowned cat.” His face fell and she felt a twinge of guilt. “But you can still stay, honey.” She winked. “‘A’ for effort and all that.”

He chuckled, and moved closer. This time when Indigo smiled, it was real. The man’s eyes were green, she saw, with a navy ring around the iris. Not brown like his. And that was all she needed tonight.

“Well, if you’re giving out points for effort,” he said, dropping his chin. “I might do alright after all.”

Indigo gave him a slow smile, her eyes moving down his body, measuring the hint of musculature under crisp cotton.

“Mm-hmm,” she murmured, “yes, Jude, I think you might.”




Danika Stone is a writer of contemporary fiction with a focus on strong female narratives. An educator, artist, and mother of three, her involvement in the Arts and New Media has spanned a decade and a half. Danika’s personal experiences and numerous friendships with contemporary artists are the inspiration behind Intaglio, while her technology background founds the basis of her newest novel, Ctrl Z. Her favourite reader and collaborator is her husband of fifteen years, D, who met Danika in a university Art class.



3 Thoughts on “Excerpt: Ctrl Z by Danika Stone

  1. is this INT giveaway ?

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