1. I found this way too early…. I will be (im)patiently waiting for the next chapter! You have a fantastic start to this story!

    The dual perspective is *chef’s kiss*. That was an unexpected (but highly appreciated) treat.

  3. Hello,
    I wanted to say that I really like your book. It is, however, not what I expected. I’m confused, are they 18-19? because they sound young and inexperienced (at least Josh does).

    Two things tho:

    1. I feel like that’s not how the cybersecurity industry works 99.8 % of the time and it only does work like that when they’re coding geniuses who hacked into the Federal Reserve (bad example) at 12. What does he do? Pen testing? Engineering? Is he an analyst? And the AI facial analysis part? Is he Tony Stark? I feel like
    that’s not commonly and used expensive tech/software. I mean, maybe I haven’t read far enough for this to make sense. Idk.

    2. Also, I’ve never seen antipsychotics prescribed as a precaution. They’re generally very careful unless you get a crappy psychiatrist. For example, some things are not even diagnosed until one’s 18. But like your genes being responsible for the need for attention? His father’s genetic makeup resulting in Josh not knowing boundaries? That’s strange for sure. Like, Tyler is more realistic in a way because Josh is too excited and childish for someone who’s jaded and traumatized.

    Sorry, this is probably not warranted for free chapters I read online. But I wanted to ask you two questions because other than my confusion, this is 🔥.

    1. Hi, Zee! Thank you so much for the feedback. Just an FYI, these are beta chapters, so there will be some things in them that still need to be smoothed out before publication and I truly appreciate feedback like yours because it helps me look at things with fresh eyes and see where there is room for improvement. So, Josh and Aly are in their mid-20s, and making Josh sound young in this chapter was intentional because in my experience, men tend to act like children when they’re with their friends, especially at that age. He does (I hope) read true to age throughout the rest of the book.

      To address your points as you laid them out:

      1. You are correct in that Josh is the 1%. The company he works for handles billions of dollars in assets and needs someone with his level of skill on call to handle direct attacks against their servers. I come from an intelligence analyst background, and Josh is modeled after some folks I worked with from the NSA. He’s plugged into communities with all the latest software developments, including AI. You’d be surprised what you can get your hands on if you know the right people. That said, I can absolutely do a better job of making this clearer early on in the book, so thank you!

      2. Again, you’re absolutely right about antipsychotics. I go into it later in the book but, in short, Josh’s childhood psychologist was a piece of shit after fame and notoriety, and scared the crap out of Josh and his mother, to the point that Josh didn’t want to get off the meds until recently and is still dealing with the repercussions of being told at a young age that he had similar traits to his father and would possibly follow in his footsteps. Also, there are quite a few studies showing a strong indication that both psychopathy and sociopathy are shaped by inherited genes, and I allude to that throughout the book, like the example you gave. Lastly, I don’t subscribe to the belief that everyone who survived traumatic childhoods has to be jaded or visibly traumatized 24/7. I have seen plenty of firsthand evidence (having survived a traumatic childhood myself) that we run the gamut of personalities, and since most of what I see in literature are broody alpha males, I wanted to show something different with Josh.

      Hope this clears things up, and, again, thank you for the feedback!

      1. Hello, I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment, I really appreciate it. I hope my comment didn’t come off that aggressive, and made it seem like I didn’t like it.

        To be honest, I stumbled upon your book by chance through the Instagram reels and (from
        what I saw) it really ticks all the boxes of what I enjoy in a story (the Ghostface mask was a shock because I hadn’t seen it outside of fanfiction, and that kink has a chokehold on me idk).

        I hope you don’t mind a low key long response because I have so much to say about this since it’s such a taboo genre and a lot of people misunderstand it and it’s so nice to see what you’ve written. I’ve been reading dark fiction (smut included) since I was like 18-19, so I’ve seen a lot of works of varying darkness (some just f*cked up) and smut levels. So, it makes me happy to see a story like this.

        I want to respond to what you said: sorry if I’m
        annoying you 🙁

        (If i’m overstepping, pls let me know.)

        1. It now makes sense to me why you wrote what you did in the way you did. It definitely reads as a little young, more than you actually intended maybe. Having spent time with guys in their mid-twenties (I am in the age range myself), I agree they can be childish. Their behavior can range from silly and immature to more centered and serious. I understand showing the casual side of the conversation but something about it feels less “i’m acting young” and more “i am young”. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m also not a guy lol (which is fair that i wouldn’t see that talk).

        2. The reason I questioned his involvement with a multimillion/billion dollar company is because he comes off fresh and unable to handle the responsibilities (not saying that’s how it is, it just came off that way). It feels too perfect of a financial set up already for a 25 year old? I think it’s his internal monologue? But also, I believe there are 25 y/o guys who are super smart and successful but this felt too much right away. I mean it works for the story it just seemed quick of a build up.

        3. I don’t know if sociopathy and psychopathy is the thing anymore, we usually call it Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), i know about this because it’s in the same personality disorder cluster as mine (Cluster B, i have BPD). Also, the anti-psychotics: I should be on them too maybe as my dad suffers from paranoid bipolar (schizoaffective disorder). However there was no need even tho it was found to have a genetic component also. My doctor prescribed me two mood stabilizers and an antidepressant to manage my symptoms. Sorry, I just get picky about mental health discussion on books. I don’t your background personally with mental health, so i like don’t assume you don’t know stuff. but I thought I’d share this info anyway.

        4. re: jaded outlook on life. I don’t think i explained my thoughts correctly before being jaded because I do agree with you, i think you’re right when you say that people shouldn’t be broody, angry, or depressed all the time if they’ve been through traumatic events. and you probably (definitely) expand on that further in the book. I definitely think it is too early to tell before an external stimulus triggers any type of reaction. I think that being sarcastic and dark humored but also funny and lighthearted is a good portrayal of a whole person who’s not just their past. Like I know for myself personally, I move through different emotions (highs, lows, anxiety, panic) a lot and have the capacity for “happiness” (by that i mean laughing and experience joy and contentment).

        Lastly, i cannot wait. Where will
        this sold as a paperback? B&N?

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