Thursday, December 12, 2013

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Bree Robinson

Book: Desk Jockey Jam
Author: Ainslie Paton
Heroine: Bree Robinson

Bree Robinson is a totally kick ass heroine because she knows what she wants in her career and she’s worked hard to get it on the fast track, despite the kind of prejudice that can make it hard to succeed in the world of high finance which – no surprises – is dominated by men.

The kind of men who’d suggest a girl might be getting ahead because of equal opportunity practices rather than her talents.  The kind of men who think good legs gets you favours.

But she’s also on another fast track – the flat track roller derby one.  And while it’s tempting simply to say all roller derby dolls are the boss, (well they are!) because derby is one heck of a rumble, one hell of a ride, the real reason that Bree is a great character is because she’s not prepared to let what other people think of her determine her choices in life.

Desk Jockey JamBlurb:
Whip it meets Wall Street

Anthony Gambese thought he had life sussed. Happy family, good mates, the freedom of surfing, a new career, and enough action in the bedroom to keep him well satisfied. He had no idea. But two chicks were about to show him the error of his ways, trashing his love-life, stealing his promotion and challenging his honour. And that was before he discovered what a roller-derby doll could do by skating over his heart.

Like a roller derby jam, this novella is tight packed, fast and furious. It can be read alone or as a follow up to Grease Monkey Jive. It tells the story of Ant Gambese, the last of Dan’s mate’s not felled by a girl who was exactly what he needed, and didn’t see coming.

She was The Senior Analyst. Which meant dancing in the tea room on her first day as The Senior Analyst was probably inappropriate. But it was 7am and no one else was in yet, so Bree turned the jug on and had a little boogie, shaking her tail feather and shimmying her other assets while it boiled.

This was her favourite part of the day. The office was library quiet, emptied of the ego and testosterone that usually drove it, the competitive spirit that made it the most exciting and exhausting job she’d ever had. When it was empty like this, she felt completely in control. In thirty minutes, the peace would be shattered, as would her belief she knew what she was doing. First to arrive would be the big boss, Bryan Petersen, grandson of the founder, and the smartest man in the room, any room. He scared the heck out of her.

Fortunately senior analysts had very little to do with the big boss and she only had to worry about her smaller boss, Doug, and the other analysts in the equities research team. That meant Anthony. 

She had to worry more about Anthony Gambese now that she was The Senior Analyst, because if pissed off had skin and could walk around, it was a tall, thick set, dark eyed, swarthy complexioned, sharp suit wearing, booming voiced, hunk of ridiculous, brooding man-boy of Italian origin.

She did a quick spin because it would be a cosmic joke if he was standing behind her. All clear. He rarely came in this early. He tended to slog through the other end of the day. Bree was turn the office lights on, Anthony was turn them off. They knew this about each other because on occasion the pattern got messed up and he came in early, but rarely as early as she did or she worked late, but rarely as late as he did.

On the whole this was a useful thing. It was easier to avoid Anthony when the entire team was in the office. Not that he was a bad guy. He was almost exactly the kind of guy she was attracted to, except he was a bit too intense, a bit too loud and confident. Unless he was mad about something. And then he was a lot too intense, incredibly loud and confident and scarily surly. Plus he was different to the other guys. He made working hard look easy.

And Bree had long ago sworn of tall, dark and surly men to whom things came too easily.

They’d been doing the almost territorial morning-evening ownership thing since they were hired, both of them keen to get through the traineeship, the probationary period as analysts and make it to senior analysts without getting bounced out of the program. Maybe a better word for what they were both like was determined. Though in Bree’s case her doggedness was based on being shit scared of failing and in Anthony’s... Ah, she had no idea, what drove Anthony to work like he did. He was the one everyone thought would get the senior analyst job.

She made a plunger full of coffee, filled her personal milk jug, grabbed a mug and danced her way to her workstation. When she next lifted her head out of weekend market reports the office was beginning to wake.

“So what happened at the track?” said Chris.

Christine Mason was the only other girl in the team of six, the only other girl in the whole office who wasn’t an admin assistant, and most definitely the only person of any sexual persuasion in the office who knew about Kitty Caruso and what she did on a flat track most weekends in summer.

Being in a Roller Derby League team called the Big Swinging Tricks wasn’t the kind of thing an up and coming Senior Analyst at Petersens did. An up and coming Senior Analyst at Petersens went to the art gallery or a foreign film on the weekend. She didn’t belt around a track on wheels aggressively trying to knock people over.

“We smashed ‘em.”

Chris laughed. She didn’t get Bree’s enthusiasm for roller derby but she was heartily amused by it.

She’d been threatening to come to a bout for the last six months, since the day she’d cornered Bree in the bathroom, grilled her about her bruises and found out about it. Bree knew there was very little risk of Chris giving up time with her new husband to attend a jam though and she was pleased about that.

Roller Derby and Petersens were like Aerogard and mosquitoes—mutually repellent. And it was best it stayed that way, and since Chris had never seen Bree as her derby doll alter ego it was kind of like a big joke between them, as though it wasn’t real and Bree was making up amusing stories about characters with outrageous names to entertain Chris on Monday mornings when they’d both rather still be in bed.

“Body count.” Chris always wanted to know the gory bits.

“One broken nose, a couple of dislocated fingers.” It’d been a surprisingly easy win against the Hurley Burleys, especially since they’d crushed the league table leaders, The Weapons of Mass Production, the week before. And everyone knew the Weapons were the team to beat.

Chris’ eyes went down to Bree’s hands still on her keyboard. “Not yours.”

“No, thank goodness.”

“What are you going to do if it’s your bits that get broken?”

“I’m that good, it won’t happen.”

Chris poked her index finger towards her open mouth and made a gagging sound. Bree laughed and gave a more realistic response. “I’ll lie.”

“And say what? You walked into a door?”

Bree opened her eyes wide and sucked in her cheeks, trying for the picture of innocence. “Do you think anyone will buy that?”

“Absolutely,” Chris deadpanned. “Not.”

“Let’s stick with answer A then.”

Chris said, “Whatever you reckon, Kitty,” and ducked the pen, Bree chucked at her. She knew damn well the name Kitty Caruso wasn’t for office consumption.

It’d probably been a mistake to tell Chris, but once she’d seen the bruises, it’d been hard to avoid it. She didn’t need anyone else jumping to conclusions or being in on the story. Fortunately, Chris was good fun as well as a heck of a talented analyst. She had a memory for facts and figures Bree was envious of and a way of expressing herself that made her reports interesting even when the spot price of rare minerals in Zambia was as boring as the conservative black suits she wore.

Pretty close to the same conservative black suits Bree wore, and nothing like Kitty Caruso’s roller doll uniform with its hot pink, butt grazing, tartan pleated skirt and skin tight fitted black singlet. Both of which were currently scrunched up in Bree’s sports bag, with her pink knee highs, fishnets and black sports pants with Bite Me printed across the bum. All of which needed a wash before next week’s bout.

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