Clean Teen Publishing is proud to present a brand new release from Sherry D. Ficklin, Playing With Fire. Playing With Fire is book one in Ficklin's newest series #Hacker.
My alarm goes off Friday morning about three hours too early for my liking. When I finally drag myself into the dull off-white kitchen for breakfast, Dad is face down into his laptop, clicking away furiously. I sit down beside him, my Tasty Os nearly overflowing their green ceramic bowl. Dad slides a fifty across the table to me without looking up.
"What’s this for? You need to put a hit out on someone?" I ask, my mouth full of cereal.
"Sweetheart, if you’re only getting fifty bucks for a contract kill, you need to up your rates."
"I’ll take that under advisement," I say through another bite.
He snickers. "It’s lunch money, oh daughter of mine. Begging for money is a time-honored teenage tradition. By never participating, you’re throwing the whole cosmic system out of balance."
I nod and stuffed the bill in my wallet. And to think I’d just gotten used to prepackaged pastries and sports drinks, too.
A few more minutes of clicking and I’ve had it. Dad was great at many things, computers was not on that list. He was about as gentle as a bull in a china shop and I can practically hear the poor keyboard crying for help.
“Dad, is everything ok? Do you need something?”
He sits up, sighing heavily.
“Can you do that thing?”
He waves his hand, sliding the computer across the table to me. “That thing where I can wirelessly connect to my desktop from this?”
I nod, taking the computer, “You got the ip address of the other computer?”
He nods, sliding a scrap of paper my way.
I open his system files and begin rooting around. “You know, there are people who get paid for this kind of thing,” I say.
Dad stands up, shrugging into his camouflage jacket.
"What’s your point?” he asks.
I bite my lip. "Well, in the spirit of teenage begging, I was hoping you’d let me use the credit card to pick up a few new things for my room."
He frowns, his eyebrows knitting together in the center of his face. "What’s wrong with the stuff you have?"
I shake my head.
"Well, first off, there’s no overhead lighting so I need a few lamps, and my old curtains aren’t the right size for the new window. Plus, I’ve had that same comforter since I was nine. Pink flowers aren’t really my thing anymore."
Reluctantly he pulls out his tattered brown wallet and flips the silver Visa card onto the table. "Okay. Just try to keep it reasonable, huh? And why don’t you swing by the squadron today and I’ll give you a tour?"
I wink and stuff it in my pocket behind the cash with one hand, still typing with the other.
“Here’” I say sliding the computer back to him. “All fixed.”
He leans over and kissed the top of my head. “What would I do without you?”
“Work from your desktop like a cave man?” I grin.
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Sherry D. Ficklin is a full
two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.