The Hacker Pushes Her Luck (Moonchuckle Bay 6)(3)

By: Heather Horrocks

Walter nodded. “My computer team is doing a great job, but I’m still feeling vulnerable. I’ve hired a top-notch consultant who doesn’t know anything about our systems to see if she can find any vulnerabilities.” He turned to Jareth and Ginnie. “This is in no way a vote of no confidence in your team, but it’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes.”

“A cybersecurity expert?” Owen asked.

“Yes. Jade Monroe will be arriving today. She comes highly recommended.”

Heidi asked, “What exactly is a cybersecurity expert?”

Walter motioned to the IT guys, giving them the floor.

Ginnie Djeffreys explained. “An ethical hacker. They earn the big bucks — anywhere from $250 to $1000 an hour — because they have the specialized software and know-how to infiltrate computer systems. And to find out where others have infiltrated yours, if you’re the company hiring them.”

Jareth added, in his light French accent, “Also known as white hats, they’re independent agents who hack into systems to test and improve cyber security for the organizations who hire them.”

“Thanks.” Heidi nodded. “Will this expert have more expertise than our IT Department? Even the London Department?”

Jareth snorted. “Some of these guys have mad skills. They like working alone and breaking in. This Jade person will be able to look at the code and tell us where the break-in occurred.”

Walter looked between Jareth and Ginnie. “What’s the status on the break-in?”

They exchanged glances and Jareth cleared his throat. “No further damage detected. It looks like they went into the records of supernaturals in town, but captured nothing of value.”

“We can be thankful for that, at least,” Walter said.

“We have another problem,” Owen said. “My team found an indication that there are people who want to get their hands — or claws — on the dragon’s egg.”

Ty and Mara’s egg was in danger? That thought made Walter’s heart go cold.

“We’ll beef up security. We’ll call the hospital and have them set up a secure room in the paranormal wing.” He looked at his assistant. “Heidi, would you please call Manfred and tell him what we need?”

“Yes, sir.” Heidi stood.

Owen nodded approvingly. “Now, tell us more about the hacker.”

Though Walter loved old books, he worked with high tech. His laptop was state-of-the-art, he wore an Apple watch, used an iPad, and had the latest phone. He was no slouch in the technology department, but he knew when it was time to pull in the top guns. He held up a folder. “Jade Monroe has a stellar resume and reputation. She can apparently hack into just about any system. For sport, she got into the human systems at Langley and Scotland Yard. Just for fun.”

He didn’t mention that she was also arrogant and rude, or at least she’d given that impression over email. He didn’t care about that. He needed someone to solve this problem ASAP.

“Good,” Owen said. “We haven’t had this problem before. I’m sorry that dubious honor fell to you, Walter.”

Walter shrugged. “I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with it, either. But we’ll get to the bottom of it. I intend to keep this town safe.”

Owen nodded approvingly. “Good. We’ll check back in with you. Keep us posted.”

The screen went blank, and Walter said, “Let’s get to work, folks.”

As the others left the conference room, Walter looked down at the delicate ring on his hand, set with colored quartz found only in Scotland’s mountain regions, resized to fit his little finger. A memento of his wife, and a constant reminder to him to not make mistakes. Walter never made mistakes.

Not since he’d married a human. He’d had centuries of regrets, and he wouldn’t make that mistake again. He wouldn’t make a mistake in the office, either. It would run efficiently, and they would make the computer system impregnable to hackers.

He hoped Jade Monroe arrived quickly. The sooner she did, the sooner this little problem could be resolved.

Firefighter and dragon Tyberius Thrakos — known to his friends as Ty, and father of the egg in danger — stuck his head in and gave a rueful grin. “I understand you’ve just had your first major meeting. Sorry I led you to such problems when I talked you into this, old friend. What can I do to help you get the office up and running?”