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Launch day for Hearth Global’s smart house system. Techs in place, programs operational, uplinks activated. All systems go. Until one doesn’t. Ryan has a house on his roster without any record of construction, and it’s a hot mess. Actually, calling it that is an insult to hot messes everywhere. They have to inform the owner. It’ll be a PR nightmare, especially on their first official day in business, and even more so when the owner is an attorney itching to bury them in lawsuits, but it has to be done. Right?

Uh, not so much. As it turns out, there’s a lot more at stake than Hearth Global’s reputation—top secret government stuff in which Ryan is now swimming up to his ears. He can’t make this software work by himself without the beautiful owner finding out something isn’t up to snuff. But what other choice does he have? The DOD is keeping tabs on the company, watching Victoria to make sure she doesn’t cause waves, and threatening to step in if anyone jeopardizes their agenda. To keep them all safe, Ryan has to buck up and take on the role of Victoria’s virtual house servant. 24-7. For as long as it takes to get the house up and running on its own. Because nothing could possibly go wrong with that…

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    Great Sci Fi Romance

    I have a programmable thermostat. They make thermostats that learn your habits and adjust themselves. There are remote home monitoring systems that receive alarms and send response units if something wrong is detected. You can adjust your lights from your smart phone with the proper app and equipment in your house. Combining all of this into a Smart House is the brainchild of Hearth Global. Not only does it combine everything normally found in remote or local monitoring, it also checks levels of supplies for food and orders more when supplies run low. The user interface is the real breakthrough. Owners are able to talk to a holographic concierge instead of typing commands into a keyboard or other device. The concierge responds by voice. All of this is possible today, just no one has done it. Ms. Donnelly takes us to the day it all happens at Hearth Global. Smart houses come online, the holographic concierges begin taking commands from the house owners and the world will be forever changed. It’s all monitored at the central command point over secure paths of the internet. Each tech monitors fifty accounts and all goes well. Ryan is typical of these and is also working on an advanced hologram that will be more lifelike than the others. Then Tori, in house fifty-one tries to boot her system and nothing happens. She finally gets Ryan in tech support and explains the problem. He’s only supposed to have fifty houses and this one has fallen through the cracks. On orders from his superior, he takes over this one client and, unknown to her, operates her house manually, substituting for the concierge. The interaction between them, and the relationship that develops between Tori and her “hologram” is the crux of this delightful story that carries us through the creepy government agent gone wrong, near disasters and a lawsuit to its conclusion. This is a highly recommended sci-fi romance. I’m watching my robot vacuüm with a bit more suspicion now.


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