Zoe Tawn is about to finish her bachelor’s degree and start a PhD program in quantitative psychology. Yet her friends don’t think she’s quite ready to graduate: she still hasn’t played her v-card. Zoe’s friends don’t know her v-card was played years ago; she doesn’t talk about that crap. She does agree that dating would make her a more well-rounded individual, however, so she tries, and realizes the dating game isn’t for her: she’s a geek, not a flirt. Zoe decides to utilize her strengths with the mantra “Smart is the new sexy” and develops a predictive model for companionship to replace those outdated compatibility questionnaires. Her model goes viral in no time, so her friends secretly enter her profile into it. When a match comes back, it shocks them all: it’s Wesley Williams, the twenty-something CEO billionaire of Quantitative Solutions, where Zoe is doing an internship. Zoe insists the error in her model must be unacceptably high until she gets an email requesting she stop by Mr. Williams’ office at her earliest convenience…
Lena gave my hand a squeeze. “High school’s ancient history,” she said. The determined look on her face
told me she wasn’t going to back down. “You haven’t dated anyone in college.”
I nodded. I’d been busy, dammit. I had a full scholarship that was contingent on keeping at least a 3.7
GPA, and then I got the internship at Quantitative Solutions, which was not only good for my vita (the
academic version of a resume, which had to be submitted with grad school applications), but it paid
well, too. My mother had raised me by myself; she deserved a break, so I couldn’t afford to slip either at
school or at work.
“So you’re re-virginized,” Lena declared.
Both Talen and I blinked at that.
“Doesn’t that involve a surgical procedure?” I asked.
“Nope.” Lena shook her head so vigorously, her ponytail swung about. “The hymen is a fairly elastic
piece of skin, as is the vagina. Even if you’ve had sex before, if you don’t have it for a while, well, things
can tighten up again.”
Talen’s brow was wrinkled. “What the hell are you guys looking up in the library?” Lena was an
information science major: it was an outgrowth of library studies to focus on organizing all kinds of data,
not just books, and to organize it electronically. She took courses in web and graphic design, statistics,
organizational systems, even things like psychology to understand how people interacted with, stored,
and retrieved data.
Lena gave her a teasing grin. “Much more interesting stuff than the economy.” Talen majored in
economics with a minor in business. She rolled her eyes at Lena’s comment. “You know how I feel about
this,” Lena went on, although she didn’t need to. I’d heard this many times over the last few years. “Just because we’re smart doesn’t mean we have to be non-sexual beings. We don’t have to limit ourselves
because of some dumb stereotype about smart girls- women.”
“Smart is the new sexy.” Talen and I chimed in when Lena said this; we’d heard her declaration many
times. Lena nodded; her beam showed her pleasure that we remembered her “teachings.”
“We know you’re smart.” Lena gave me a teasing nudge. “Next semester, we’re bringing the sexy side
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Missy Marciassa loved getting lost in novels from the time she could read, so it’s no surprise she wanted to write. Her very first “novels” were re-writing the books she read to get the endings she wanted in second grade. Missy continued to read and write through grade school and high school.
After becoming rather disillusioned with fiction after writing literary criticism as an English major in college, however, Missy focused on her enjoyment of learning about people and studied psychology. Reading fiction fell to the wayside with all the reading and writing required for college and graduate school, but once Missy became a doctoral candidate, she rediscovered her love of fiction. Then she started getting the urge to write, an urge that wouldn’t go away (she refuses to diagnose it as a compulsion). Covert Assignment is the end result of that urge.