I originally wrote this book because my editor demanded I tell Paisley's story. She wanted it out there, and I'm grateful she gave me the push. This book flew from my fingers, and I had a blast going along with Paisley for her adventures.
Nothing shakes up a gal like a giant bottle of lube and two sexy neighbors. If you haven't read the book, you'll have to get your own download to find out what I'm talking about.
Have already read Interlocking Hearts? What did you think? Where do you want to see the series go next? I'm knee-deep in writing another #ROBOSEX adventure, and I'd love to know what you hope to see.
Do you want to see more of Coral? Paisley? Or are you ready to see the sparks fly in another robomance. Tell me what has your circuits sizzling.
Enjoy a taste of "Interlocking Hearts" below...
She was already standing, so she walked toward the double doors of despair. She would have to tell Coral the interviewers were mean to her. Or that they didn’t want such an attractive woman working around the magistrate, because the boss’s wife would have been pissed. Something. She could think of that while she bombed the interview.
“That’s me,” Paisley said, and tried to walk with confidence, but ended up doing a horribly non-rhythmic strut she immediately abandoned when more than a few people stared. She looked like she was in the middle of a mild seizure.
“Right this way, please.”
Paisley entered a room that held a large conference table covered with robots. Some were small and on top of the table, and some were self-ambulatory.
The man who had called her name before motioned for her to sit in the lone chair on her side of the table. She was placed at a mechanical buffet. Too bad she felt like she was about to be eaten alive.
“We are doing something different for this interview, Miss Compton. As a secretary to Coral Sechshundert in the Department of Mechanical Affairs, you will need to interact with mechanical elements of all different types. Some will be bots that are owned by the building and some are beings who are applying for their certificate of humanity to become a full-fledged member of society with the rights allowed them. Please address each being in front of you as you would interact with them if they approached your desk.”
Paisley now understood why many people in the waiting area came out so quickly. Most of the smaller bots on the table were highly specialized mechanics. The general public most likely didn’t have a baseboard cleaning bot, or a window cleaner or a cobweb remover. The vacuum bot was a pretty common model, so that was the gimme of the group.
The first bot, which was sitting in a chair, didn’t have a head. That didn’t mean it wasn’t self-aware.
The first mistake people made when working with mechanics was assuming human appearance meant human inner workings.
No head did not mean no brain. No head just meant the designer did not see the need to make the bot appear more human. This bot was probably an industrial worker. Paisley noticed a speaker near where a human’s chest would be.
“Please forgive me if I’m being forward, but are you able to see me? Or should I speak with more detail if I have questions? I don’t see a visual data receptor.”
The bot immediately whirred to life. A series of clicks and an optical module ascended from the middle of its frame.
“Visual data receptor engaged. Please relay next command.”
Well, that one definitely wasn’t self-aware. Waiting for commands was a sure sign that it only performed based on a specific voice prompt and could not interpret different terminology.
She spoke as clearly as she could. “Disengage command prompt.”
The bot immediately retracted its ocular unit and slumped into a more relaxed state.
Moving onto the next bot, Paisley noticed its more human appearance. Eyes whirred to life as she moved in front of the android, letting her know it had focused on her.
“Hello. I’m Paisley. Are you being reimbursed for your time here? Or are you being forced into this?”
The bot triple-blinked and copied some of Paisley’s movements with its hands and posture. The mirroring was a tic of the artificial intelligence software gaining data.
“They have offered me an immediate review of my application for my certificate of humanity. Being that I have not been approved yet, I do not get to earn my own income.”
Paisley turned toward the man she was probably supposed to impress with this interaction and frowned. “You’re forcing a humanoid to be present like an exhibit without compensation? That’s shitty.”
The man sucked his lip in between his teeth and wrote something on his clipboard before he responded. “Might I remind you, Miss Compton, that you are here to interview for a position. I asked you to interact with the mechanics. I do not recall asking your opinion of our process.”
Paisley turned to the humanoid and, looking it straight in the eye, repeated, “That’s shitty. If I were you, I would keep track of the time you have spent in here for this project.” She leaned in, and once again the robot followed. “The government uses what they call consultants. They won’t employ robots officially until the laws are reviewed, but working here all day—I am assuming without a break—you will rack up some serious hours. I bet they would just pay you rather than address a lawsuit were you to sue them.”
The robot held still for a moment, and then replied, “All of that is duly noted. Thank you, Paisley Compton.”
“You’re very welcome.”
She went to the next chair without looking back at her interviewer. She’d probably already pissed this guy off. There was no need to continue the interview for the job, but she could show the dude up. Once a bot could tell it was being screwed over, treating it like an appliance was cruel.
The next robot was a simple serving bot. Most of the bot’s body was made up of welded points that showed no ability for additional movement. Artificial intelligence wasn’t installed on immobile units. They usually responded to basic commands.
“Power up,” Paisley said loudly.
The machine booted. “Service mode or removal mode?”
Paisley turned back to her interviewer. “Did you want me to offer you a drink?”
“Not necessary.” He took more notes.
The bot turned off.
Paisley was at the end of the table. She could stall and make her interviewer more uncomfortable, but she needed to get out of here before she got Coral in trouble by association.
“Did you want me to try and run diagnostics on them? You only have one bot with artificial intelligence who would be a candidate for a certificate of humanity. A bot you aren’t compensating for its time.”
At that, the aforementioned bot leaned forward. “I gender identify as female.”
Paisley nodded. “That you aren’t compensating for her time.”
The interviewer held his ear, frowned emphatically, but his disapproval obviously didn’t matter, because he tilted his head as if someone had yelled at him and nodded.
He hung his clipboard on the wall and gestured toward a door on the opposite side of the room from where she’d entered. “After you, Miss Compton.”
Paisley looked at the solid door with a small translucent window. The glass was frosted and contained metal reinforcements. It looked like something that would keep troubled people locked away from sharp objects.
“You first,” she said.
The man sighed heavily and opened the door. He stepped through and held it open for Paisley. “Come on, please. This is heavy.”
Paisley walked through and saw Magistrate Ralph Winters himself seated at a long table, facing what was a two-way mirror. He had been watching her. So she not only annoyed the interviewer, she probably was going to be arrested or fined for messing up their deal with the droid.
“Have a seat, Miss Compton,” he said.
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