Devlin Bear was working on a top secret government project when he was killed in an explosion in the facility where he worked before Carly chose his Sim as her sexual partner and fell in love with a man completely beyond her reach.
But if he really died in that explosion, how is it that her new companion Cyborg seems to think he's the real Devlin Bear? Is it the AI and programming? Or is he the real deal?
Carly wants to believe he is Devlin Bear, but it's hard to believe that's possible--hard for her to believe. Some people aren't having nearly as much trouble believing and they want the secret trapped in Devlin's mind.
Word Count: 20,594
Genre: Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, December 2011
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
The sound that escaped Carly’s throat was low, barely more than a breath of sound in the darkened room and still carried a wealth of emotions—anticipation, frustration, pleasure, agony ….
It was always like that. There was always the doubt as she struggled to reach that special place that, this time, she might not reach it and she would be left with a hollow sense of defeat and disappointment. She would be left aching and miserable instead of gaining the sense of fulfillment and peace she needed.
But then that was part of the appeal, the realization that it was a gift that was only dispensed when everything came together in just the right way. It couldn’t be taken for granted.
As if he sensed that she was teetering on the brink and could fall either way, he cupped one of her breasts and sucked the nipple into his mouth, pulling on it in just the right way to produce an electric current along her nerve endings. Sensation arrowed downward through her belly and her womb contracted. It set off the avalanche of glory she’d been struggling to capture and Carly sucked in a sharp breath, going rigid for a moment as every muscle in her body seemed to contract at the same time. A shudder traveled through her when the contraction eased and she sucked in another harsh breath.
“Daniel! Oh god! Oh my god!” she gasped as the contractions reached a peak that snatched her breath away, curling her arms tightly around the man above her to anchor herself to the world as she was swept away on the glorious rapture of her climax.
But of course, her arms were empty. The sense that she was holding the weight and warmth and flesh other than her own began to vanish as quickly as her climax dissipated. By the time she’d reached the lower plateau once more and her body began to cool the illusion had vanished.
“Sim off,” she whispered, even though the command was completely unnecessary. She’d achieved orgasm. The computer would have registered that because she could never keep quiet enough to fool the damned computer.
Carly allowed her arms to drop to the bed at her sides, struggling to close her mind to the emptiness around her and hug the illusion to herself just a little longer. A shiver raked through her as the heat left her. Feeling sluggish, she struggled to find her coverlet and pull it across her.
“He isn’t gone,” she muttered to herself. “He was never there at all.”
Rolling on to her side, Carly squeezed her eyes closed, trying to force her mind to empty itself so that she could find the rest she’d sought when she got into bed.
She was too tense—not still, but rather again. Disappointment gathered at the fringes of her mind as it so often did these days … afterward. She struggled with the urge that struck her and finally yielded to it. “Trude … who is Sim Daniel 378251?”
She didn’t know why she’d given her Home Entertainment and Surveillance System—HESS—a name at all, let alone the one she’d settled on—Trude the Prude—but the computer had assimilated the reference to it and responded immediately. “Sim Daniel 378251 is a sexual simulation, Carly.”
Irritation flickered through Carly. “But it’s based on a real person, right?”
“Unknown. There is a high probability that the Sim is a hybrid.”
“What do you mean by that? You can’t simulate human behavior without a human.”
“That is correct. However, the central entertainment center has catalogued human behavior and characteristics. It is most likely that Sim Daniel 378251 is a sim created specifically for you, based upon your personal preferences.”
Carly’s disappointment was disproportionate for the situation. She was certain of it. Trude was liable to recommend a psyche evaluation if she pursued it. She debated with herself briefly. “Just out of curiosity … I would like for you to assimilate the data associated with Sim Daniel 378251 and give me a list of the humans who contributed to the Sim.”
The computer didn’t respond. Uneasiness trickled through Carly. “The purpose of the report?”
Carly’s heart skipped a beat but frustration was hard on the heels of her anxiety. “Curiosity,” she said, struggling to keep any inflection from her voice, “like I said.”
“When would you like the report?”
Carly resisted the urge to demand it immediately. Instead, she faked a yawn. “It’s late, Trude. Won’t it be easier to access the data during low demand hours?”
“Affirmative, Carly. However, everyone does not share your sleep cycle. Minimal output demand hours are between 0400 and 0500.”
Disappointment bit deeply, but Carly managed to keep her heart rate from reflecting that and the surge of excitement that followed. “Well—I guess you could give me the report with my coffee in the morning?”
“If the data is available and I’m allowed to compile the report, I will give it to you then.”
Why wouldn’t it be available? Why would there be a problem accessing the information if the central system had it?
Carly decided not to ask. The yawn that time wasn’t faked. “Good night, Trude.”
“Good night, Carly.”