Wednesday, June 17, 2015

HEART-SHAPED HACK by TRACEY GARVIS-GRAVES --> COVER & CHAPTER REVEAL








When Kate
Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis,
she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect
of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that
begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her
secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker
with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian
intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around
on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance
and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way
past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds
herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian
has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a
target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And
when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong
her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.










© 2015 Tracey Garvis Graves
Heart-Shaped Hack
CHAPTER ONE



“The
babies are going to starve,” Helena said.
“Don’t be
so dramatic,” Kate replied. “No one is going to starve, least of all the
babies.” But her pinched expression and the way she was jabbing at the keyboard
as she refreshed the donations page on their website said otherwise. For the
first time in the sixteen months since Kate had left her position as a
corporate attorney to open the food pantry, she faced the heartbreaking
prospect of turning hungry people away. She couldn’t stand the thought of
letting down her regulars, especially the young mother of three who relied on
the pantry to feed them.
The
problem was that Kate’s nonprofit organization was not the only one in
Minneapolis that needed help. Tomorrow was the first of September, and everyone
was trying to stockpile whatever resources they could before they headed into
the colder months.
“Let’s
see,” Helena said. “We could rob a bank. We could pawn our valuables. You could
sell your body on a street corner.”
Despite
their dire circumstances, Kate cracked a smile. Helena had walked through the front
door of the food pantry shortly after Kate opened and said, “I’m sixty-five,
and they’re forcing me to retire from my job at the insurance company. My
husband retired two years ago, and now he’s home all day. That’s too much
togetherness for us. I have to find something to do outside the house, and you
wouldn’t have to pay me much.” Kate hired her on the spot and had never
regretted it.
She
swiveled her chair toward Helena. “Why am I always the one who has to sell her
body? Why can’t you sell yours?”
“Who do
you think is going to bring in more money? A gray-haired grandmother of seven,
or a willowy twenty-nine-year-old beauty? It’s a no-brainer.”
It was
hard to argue with logic like that.
Kate had
been so determined not to let down their clients that she’d resorted to begging
her ex-boyfriend Stuart—who worked as the executive producer on an hour-long
talk show on the local ABC station—to let her appeal to the public during the
afternoon broadcast.
“Do you
know how hard it is for me to be around you, Kate?” Stuart said when he
received her call. “Do you ever think of that?”
“Of course
I do. But this is really important to me.”
“I used to
be really important to you.” 
Kate
remained silent. They’d been through this before.
He sighed
in defeat. “Come in tomorrow. I’ll squeeze you in after the cooking segment.”
“Thanks,
Stuart.”
The skirt
had been Helena’s idea. “We need to do whatever we can to grab viewers’
attention.” 
“You mean I need to do whatever I can.” 
“Of course
I mean you. You have great legs.”


On the day
of the broadcast when Helena arrived at the food pantry, Kate said, “I don’t
remember this skirt being quite so short. I’m actually a little worried about
the type of viewer I might attract with it.” She tugged on the hem, pulled out
her desk chair, sat down, and crossed her legs. “Can you see anything?”
 “You’ll be fine unless you decide to recross
your legs in the middle of the segment like Sharon Stone did in that one
movie.”  
“I can
assure you I will not be doing that. The skirt is as far as I’m willing to go.
I draw the line at flashing people, not even for the babies.”
Kate had
paired the black-and-white houndstooth skirt with a black short-sleeve top and
her favorite black heels. When she arrived at the TV studio, she ducked into
the bathroom to check her teeth for wandering lipstick. Before she left the
food pantry she’d applied a raspberry lip stain that Helena claimed looked
stunning on her. That morning she’d curled her long dark hair and then brushed
through the curls with her fingers so they draped across her shoulders and down
her back in loose waves. She’d used plenty of mascara to play up her brown
eyes. The extra primping made her feel a little like she was standing on a street corner, but she banished those thoughts.
At this point, they needed all the help they could get.
After
Stuart snaked the mic up the back of her top, his hands lingering on her skin
in a way that made Kate feel sad, he positioned her on a stool and told her to
wait for his signal. She kept her legs tightly crossed, and when the light on
the camera turned red, he pointed at her and she began to speak.
“Good
afternoon. My name is Kate Watts, and I’m the executive director of the Main
Street Food Pantry. As we head into the winter months, our needs—and those of
all local food pantries—will be greater than ever.”  Kate stared into the camera, imagining she
was speaking directly to anyone who might have the means to help them.
“No child
should ever have to go hungry, and many of our local residents depend on the
food pantry to feed their families. I’m here today to personally appeal to you
should you have the ability to help us in any way. The families we assist, and
especially the children, depend on your generosity more than you could ever
imagine. Thank you.” She ended the short segment with the food pantry’s
telephone number and street address, and when Stuart gave her the all clear,
she reached under her shirt for the microphone and handed it back to him.
“Thanks,
Stuart,” she said, giving him a quick hug. “I really appreciate this.” 
“Sure,” he
said, looking over her shoulder as if there was something very interesting
across the room. “Take care, Kate.”


That was
yesterday, and so far only a few additional donations had trickled in. She and
Helena spent the rest of the afternoon making calls to local churches and
schools to set up additional food drives while continuing to monitor the
donations page. Finally, at a little before three, Kate went into the back room
to recount their inventory. It was the end of the month and they were down to
their last cases of infant formula and baby food. Almost all of the canned
vegetables had been depleted, and they were completely out of peanut butter and
soup. If it was this bad now, Kate didn’t want to think about what might happen
when budgets were stretched even thinner by holiday spending. Dejected, she was
sitting on the floor, clipboard in hand, when Helena burst into the back room.
“I ran
after him,” she said, gasping for breath. “But he was too fast. Boy am I out of
shape.”
“Who did
you run after?” 
Helena
tossed a brown paper bag to Kate and leaned over, resting her hands on her
knees as she took in giant gulps of air.
“The man
who dropped off the money. Seriously, I may need supplemental oxygen over
here.”
Money?
Kate
looked into the bag and blinked several times. “Did you lock the front door?”
“Yes.”
She turned
the bag upside down and watched in disbelief as hundred-dollar bills rained
down on the concrete floor. She counted it quickly. “There’s a thousand dollars
here.”
Their
website listed four levels for donations with amounts ranging from ten to one
hundred dollars. There were higher amounts for corporations, but this was the
largest donation they’d ever received from one person, and it was more than
enough to replenish their shelves. Kate was already picturing herself pushing a
giant cart through Costco. “Did he leave his name?”
“No. He
walked up to my desk and said, “Give this to Katie. He must have seen you on TV
yesterday.”
“Young?
Old?” Rich?
“Young.
Early thirties, maybe? Tall. Blondish-brown hair. He was in a real hurry to
leave. I chased him out the door, but he jumped into the driver’s seat of an
old blue car.” 
“An old
car? Are you sure?”
“I think
it was old. It didn’t look like any car I’ve ever seen. It had stripes on the
hood. And then he burned rubber.”
 “Why would someone who drives an old car drop
off a bag full of money?”


“I have no
idea. But whatever the reason, he just saved us.”










Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, and Cherish
Tracey loves to interact with her readers and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.