Root, who is captivated by her exotic looks, intelligence, and down-to-earth nature, thinks he has just found the perfect combination of beauty and brains. As the computer virus and the human virus researchers hook up for their first date, their chemistry together is undeniable.
They begin working together tracking viruses from Jersey to Maryland, eventually discovering a link to the lethal Spanish virus. As they immerse themselves into their dangerous journey, they cannot help but fall in love. Only time will tell if Rainz and Root can outsmart a group of Bioterrorists determined to carry out their mission.
In this adventurous romantic tale, follow Rainz and Root as they investigate a new lethal virus - and discover a little more about love, themselves and each other.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)|
About the Author
While John Christopher (1922-2012) was born as Sam Youd, he chose to write his science fiction books under multiple pseudonyms. Well known for his young adult book The Guardians, he won numerous awards for his work. He also wrote The Tripods, which is a series of young adult books that imagine a post-apocalyptic world.
Read an Excerpt
The Spanish Helix
By John Christopher
iUniverseCopyright © 2014 John Christopher
All rights reserved.
Sometimes you run into a guy you just lust for. Sometimes you find a guy you admire for his intellect. Rarely do you find the physical and intellectual qualities in one package. Then there's Root. I met him on a bet. My girlfriend Rachael bet me five hundred bucks I couldn't workout at GeekFit for six months. It was hard. I almost lost the bet. First time I walked into GeekFit, I almost walked out. What a bunch of propeller heads! And some women were as bad as the men. But I persevered, hired a female trainer, and toned my middle-aged curves. Then one night I saw him. There on a ProStrider was this handsome Adonis with dark blond hair and olive skin. Wait, this is GeekFit. What the hell is he doing here? I wanted to walk over and check him out, but I was hot and wet. I needed a shower bad. Instead I ran into the women's locker room; ripped off my sweaty top; threw water on my face, pits, and tits; and towel dried. I threw powder on "the girls" so I could slide into my spare top. When I came flying back out, he was lying there on the gel bench press. Ice-blue eyes, broad shoulders, and muscular legs with shorts I could almost look up.
"Excuse me," I say in a soft, sweet voice, "can I jump in between your sets?" Christ, I almost said between your legs. He seems irritated at first, but then I see a hint of a smile as he looks up into my brown eyes and says sure.
I wait and watch him. Every time he takes a deep breath and pushes, I moan. Trying not to be obvious, I walk over to the thigh machine and slide in. Christ, my legs haven't been this far apart since Jose. Maybe I should just try fifty pounds. I spot him watching me between reps. Christ, now my legs are locked open and I can't move the damn thing! Well, isn't this ladylike?
He approaches with the devil in his eye and a quiet confidence about himself. In thirty seconds those eyes have studied every pore from my tattoo to my hairline. "Hi, my name is Dave Root, but call me Root. What's your name?" he asks with a hint of an accent. I can't tell if it's Italian or Latin.
I try to hide my embarrassment and close my legs against the weight without grunting. "Denise Rainz, but everyone calls me Rain ... Rainz." I lose the battle and clang the weights.
"Well, Rainz, why don't I remove some of the weight so it's easier for you to use. By the way, what are you doing for dinner next Friday night? I know this great Italian place in Medford. I'll make reservations for two at eight o'clock, under Root. My phone just locked onto yours and is sharing information—name, address, phone numbers, that kinda stuff." He looks down and smiles. "By the way, I like that position on you."
Jesus, I'm so embarrassed, but my gaze follows his body to the men's locker room doorway in spite of myself. Damn, and how did his phone find mine? Somehow I missed that.
I hear Sonia, my trainer, scream from behind me. "Dee, what are you doing? You're going to get hurt!" "That's okay, Sonia, I can handle him," I say firmly with a smirk.
"I didn't mean Root, I mean the machine!" We both laugh at that one. Sonia is a fitness instructor who has won several competitions. She has an exercise for every muscle. And I mean every muscle. Have to get her to show me the K-muscle exercise. You know the one, that deep muscle that only women have. Sonia is a tall blonde in her early forties but looks late thirties. Hell of a trainer. In six months I lost my baby fat, tightened my core, and increased my overall confidence. I would have lost more, but a girl's gotta treat herself once in a while, right?
"Tell me more about Root, Sonia," I say, straightening my sports bra and shaking off the Root effect. "I haven't seen him before. Is he single, what's he like, what does he do, how old—"
"Slow down, Rainz," she interrupts, smiling. Sonia escorts me to an isolated part of the gym and looks around to make sure we are alone as we sit on the weight bench.
"Well, he's, um ...," she says, clearing her throat. "He's an interesting guy." She hazes over for a few seconds like she is remembering something. I sense there's a backstory to this. I tilt my head and give her one of those 'girlfriend, you can trust me' looks.
She takes a deep breath and squirms a little. "Root can be ... intense. Sometimes he's your typical Italian male."
I slide a little closer as she blushes on a slow exhale. "Intense? Italian?" I ask, teasing at her hidden thoughts.
Sonia turns toward me with a worried look on her face. "He may be more than you can handle, Dee," she says, turning toward me. "Don't let the quiet ones fool you. Cool on the outside, there's a fire within. If you are looking to keep a man at arm's length, then David Root is not your man." She turns and slides a few inches for separation.
"Well, let me try and—"
Sonia puts her hand in the air to stop me. "I don't know, Denise, you've always been about control and noncommittal." Sonia slowly leans back and studies my face. "Although, you may be evenly matched."
She shakes her head to shatter the imagery. "Back to your questions. He's single. He's a techie. Really doesn't socialize a lot while he's here, but he is friends with a few people."
"Like who, Sonia?" I ask calmly, expecting her to fess up and tell me about her and Root.
"Root works out with Len, Jack, and Santos."
"Are they close friends or just workout buddies?" I inquire.
Sonia tilts her head and her eyes shift side to side as she thinks about the question.
"They're workout buddies, and I think they work together somehow," she says, standing up.
"Can't miss Len Marx. He's tall, muscular, with buzz-cut blond hair. Eats right, if you know what I mean." Her hands help draw the outline. "Wears khakis and polo shirts with 'NJSP Cyber Crime' stitched over the pocket."
I stand and follow her close, but she stays angled so I can't read her face.
"Jack usually comes in wearing a suit. Don't know what he does, but he definitely has that ex-military look about him. This guy has OCD written all over him: mirror shine on the shoes, permanent crease in the pants. You know the type."
I nod my head yes, remembering an ex-boyfriend from last year. Dillan. What a pain in the ass he was. After a few months, he wanted to control my life. I dropped him like a bad habit, and two months later he hooked up with my friend Sophia, a fitness model. Heard she had him begging.
"Then there's Santos," Sonia says, almost drooling. "Spanish. Tall, lean machine. Black hair in a ponytail. Usually wears boots and black border-patrol pants. His vest and T-shirt have the ICE logo."
"What's ICE, Sonia?"
"Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has that look like you don't want to cross him. Both Santos and Root are certified to work out in the Helix LifeSim Gym up there in the corner. You have to have a medical clearance and work with a trainer for a month before you are allowed to use it on your own."
She stops and sits on the trainer's desk for a minute. "I heard Root and Len talking one night while they were working out. Root is in computer networking and security. Len is in computer forensics. They were talking about a virus coming out of the Cayman Islands Central Bank. Said the virus is polymorphic, whatever that means. I just remember the Cayman Islands."
She looks at me with a distant memory. "Didn't you track a new virus from the Islands last year?"
"No, Russia and Spain. And it's not the same, Sonia. I'm in human virus research; sounds like Root is in computer virus research. Not to mention I don't have friends like Santos, the lean machine!"
We both smile and take a deep breath on that naked thought.
"Okay, what else about Root?"
"Well, I know he is competitive with Gianni, his trainer. Last year, he tied with her for the Trainers Challenge. Both went two hours on those Pro Ellipticals over there. Pissed her off so bad she challenged him again the following week. He made two and a half hours; she pounded through three hours straight. Damn near killed her, but she won. She said she's taming the Italian. Word had it back then that he could go all night long, if you know what I mean." Between the smile on her face and the blush on her cheeks, something got intense.
As we walk back into the main part of the gym, Sonia grabs some fruit and a bottle of water from the trainers' kitchen. "You know, he dated a girlfriend of mine for a while last year. Jeanette. See her over there? The tall redhead with the royal-blue top. Well, anyway, she brought in a few pictures from the annual karaoke party. Huge Spanish house on the lake. Thought she saw a Spanish Swing in the master bedroom." She stops and takes a sip from her water bottle. "Come to think of it, she didn't say much at all about—"
"What's a Spanish Swing?" I ask, turning toward her. She blushes and puts her hand on my arm. "I'm too embarrassed to explain; Google it." Hmm. Maybe I'll have some fun after all.
"Well, Root is taking me to dinner, and I need a new outfit to focus his attention," I say with renewed passion. "I heard there's a new boutique dress shop in Princeton. I'll ask Monica and Rachael to meet me there, and then we'll have lunch. Why don't you join us?"
Sonia smiles. "Been there. It's called Diamonds in the Square. You will absolutely love it. I'll call ahead and tell Heidi you're coming."CHAPTER 2
Sonia was right. It's a lovely drive to Princeton on the back roads. The park is a lush green, the new seminary is beautiful, and the produce stands are just starting to open.
I almost forgot this is so close to the university. The drive allows me to appreciate the world outside of work. Between the European virus research and the journal articles, I've been working sixty-hour weeks for months. Last vacation I took was spending a few days with my family at Christmas.
My thoughts wander from thinking about the cloudless blue sky to past boyfriends. Root is a little different. He's taking me to his favorite Italian restaurant, not to the trendy Marquee Club in NYC like Troy. So much for boy-toy Troy anyway. I'll need an understated, classier ensemble this time.
I pull into the Square and slip into a parking spot right in front of Diamonds. Heidi greets me at the door.
"Sonia said to expect you today, Dr. Rainz," she says, smiling and holding the door open for me.
Heidi is a tall, Euro-looking brunette with olive skin and brown eyes. Maybe she's midtwenties. At her age, she can wear that size six mini without a bra. Probably wearing a designer thong too. Bitch. Wear it while you can, honey. In a couple of years you'll gain weight, and your body will eat thongs for breakfast.
"Sonia was kind enough to give me a few hints on what clothes may be appropriate for your date with Dr. Root," she says in a slightly pejorative way.
"Heidi, do you know Dr. Root?" I inquire with a Hollywood smile. If this bastard is fooling around with her, I am outta here. I must have flashed a jealous look, because now Miss Euro is backing up.
"Oh no, Dr. Rainz. My mother and Dr. Root have the same trainer. She told me about the Trainers Challenge."
I take a deep breath to relax and force a polite smile as I walk past her.
"Please look around, Dr. Rainz, and then I'll show you the styles Sonia suggested you consider," she says, giving me my space.
Diamonds is laid out like a woman's dream closet. There is space for everything from designer dresses and shoes to lingerie and suits with a wide selection of styles and sizes. Full-length mirrors with just the right light. Comfortable chairs for your girlfriends to sit on and judge.
I'm looking at the leopard dress with matching shoes when I hear Monica behind me. "Oh, honey, that leopard is definitely booty-shakin' club wear. If this is a first date, I'd look for something else."
"Monica, honey, I knew it was you!" I screamed as I turned around and gave her a big hug.
"You look absolutely fabulous," I say, backing up to look at her. "Bet those Saks clothes you model fit like a glove. And you know that white silk blouse I saw you model last month looked great against your long black hair and dark skin. Can you keep the clothes after a photo shoot?"
"Oh no, Denise," she says, shaking her head from side to side. "We have to give them back. Saks and the jeweler have people right there protecting their investments."
"Have you seen Rachael?" I ask, knowing she is never on time.
"No, but just listen for the approaching storm. You know Rachael; she's like a bull in a china shop."
"Careful with her, Monica; she's between boyfriends again. And you know how she gets a little tense without some regular jungle lovin'."
We both turn away from the door and head deep into the dream closet. I'm looking for a black dress that will show off my curves and great legs. Monica is headed for the blouses.
"Stay away from the leather, honey, unless you want sweat running down your ass all summer."
We turn and look at each other laughing. "Rachael's here!"
"I have a few hours before I have to get back to the casino. We open the doors at four o'clock for the dancers," she says, almost knocking over the dress mannequins with her cha-cha routine.
She barely stops to give us the obligatory hug before starting in. "So, Denise, you're looking for a first-date dress?" Rachael says with a curious tone in her voice. Monica doesn't say anything but detects a subtle smile on my face and moves in closer. "You have an unusual smile today, Denise. Is this new man something more than a sporting event?" she says with a touch of sarcasm.
"Oh, I don't know. It's too early to tell," I say, walking away from the question as I enter the designer dress area. Although, she may be right. I didn't buy a new outfit for my last two boyfriends.
Rachael is already looking at swimsuits while Monica is heading over to the new arrivals in the blouse section. The sound of hangers moving on and off the racks creates a cacophony of sounds and is driving Heidi crazy. Monica has narrowed her focus down to two: a black Vanessa Bruno Lace cotton blouse and a white silk Joie blouse. I bet she buys them both, just because.
Heidi carefully approaches Rachael to help her select a swimsuit. "The swimsuit you are looking at is the Jewel-Box suit by Miraclesuit."
"No jewels in that box," Monica mutters.
Rachael moves up behind Monica. "I heard that bone ass."
"And they're off," I say laughingly under my breath.
Heidi lowers her head and smiles but is careful not to laugh. "The other swimsuit you were looking at is the Bead-Buckle suit in dark blue by Colletto."
"I'll try both the Colletto and the Miraclesuit in a size ten, Heidi," Rachael states confidently about her size. Monica and I look at each other in disbelief, a size ten?
I hear my phone's e-mail alert, but I'm having way too much fun shopping, and I don't want to miss a minute of the Monica and Rachael show.
Monica points to the Rossi and Zanotti shoes in the showcase. "Denise, aren't those to absolutely die for?"
I look at Heidi. "How much?"
"Dr. Rainz, shoes in this display are in the one-thousand-dollar price range," she asserts proudly.
I snort and look back at Monica. "I don't think I can even walk in those," I say, pointing to the heels. "And besides, they're one thousand dollars, Monica!" What, is she nuts?
"You could persuade your new boyfriend to buy them for you," she says, batting her eyelashes up and down.
I look back at Monica in disapproval. "You know me better. I can take care of myself. Besides, then they think they own you."
My eyes sweep the other displays for more appropriate shoes, meaning less expensive, shorter heel, and walkable. The front display catches my eye. "Heidi, how about the Stefani and Jimmy Choo shoes in the window display?"
"Those are in the two- to five-hundred-dollar range, Dr. Rainz."
"That's a little better, Heidi," I say, thinking about my ensemble choices.
With both girls busy in the dressing rooms, I casually scan the display for shoes I can walk in without looking stupid.
"Heidi, those please," I say, pointing to the Stefani pumps.
"Dr. Rainz, Sonia thought a black dress would look great with your light brown complexion and shoulder-length black hair. I've selected four dresses for you to try on. I'll bring them and the shoes you want back to the dressing room for you."
By now, Try and Bye, my code names for Rachael and Monica, are sitting in the chairs, waiting for me to start the show. Heidi has served fruit and cheese with wine to my 'judges.' The hallway becomes my runway. I model the silk Mattox strapless first, followed by the cotton DKNY sheath, and then the cotton and nylon Tahari.
Excerpted from RainZ by John Christopher. Copyright © 2014 John Christopher. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
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