Joel Howard -- arrogant, self-assured and all too aware of his sexual magnetism -- reminded Cassie of the unlikelihood of anyone ever loving her. She would rather have sold her soul to the devil than ally herself with him. So she entertained a proposal from his closest competitor, dangerously underestimating Joel's desire to take over her London-based computer-games company. "There's only one way I can be sure of your loyalty." Joel told her, "and that's by buying it, the same way Peter Williams intended to buy it by marrying you."