Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:



  ALL CLOSED OFF Coming 2016



ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!

Check out this message from Cora!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven't yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I'm not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

Hello beloved readers! 

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was "Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?" 

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They'd make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end... I couldn't envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again). 

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It's a wonderful experience, but in Stella's case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports. 

I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said... Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, "Mine. This is my story." I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn't take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn't want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn't mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, "Someone needs to tell this story. And I'm strong enough to do it. Let me." And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I'd been adamant wasn't right for her. Because as it turns out... Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren't so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before. 

So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It's about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It's about the way that kind of event can change everything-- how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It's about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you're still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light. 

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book… 


Stella Santos is fine. 

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same. 

But none of that matters because she’s just fine

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.  

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again. 



ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don't have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I'll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I'll be able to ensure that I'm able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won't be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you'll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links. 

Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella's story. When it's finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do. 

All my best, 

Cora Carmack 

*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…

Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her.  Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance.

If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard….

If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through….

If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours…

I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself.

So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening.

#WhenItHappened Google Form:

HeadshotABOUT Cora Carmack: 
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.      

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook **Newsletter **Author Goodreads







  z-InkSlinger Blogger


Thank you Ginger over at GReads for putting An Open Letter to My YA Self together and inviting me to take part.

Dear Teenage Jen,

If I could give you a few pieces of advice to help you through these years, I would tell you...

Be yourself. All the time in every situation. Stop trying to be who you think every one wants you to be. You'll only wear yourself out. There is only one you. Learn to love her, flaws and all. 

Guard your heart. In friendship and in love. I wish I could tell you those friends and that boy are still around, especially after promising forever, but they're not. And you're better off for it.* 

Look for the funny in every situation. Smile more. Life doesn't always go the way you think it will. Learning to laugh at yourself and the situation will make the painful times easier to bear.

Know when to ask for help. Teenagering is hard. So is Adulting. Weakness is not admitting a struggle or asking for help, that's bravery. You are only weak when you keep it all locked inside.

Don't give up on your dreams. Ever. They may change or be put on hold, but they aren't dead until you are. You still have time. (Except for that one where you ride off into the Boston sunset with Joey McEntire from NKOTB. You can kiss that one goodbye, because it's never gonna happen.)

Love often. Be the kind of person other people want to have around. And not just for the cupcakes.

*Whichever one of your friends told you it was a good idea to wear those pearl clip-on earrings lied to you.

You're not a reader---yet, but you will be one day.

The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
This term, DUFF isn't around yet, but it describes how you feel now and even when you're older. Know that you will never conquer the self-esteem beast, but you will learn to master it.

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) You will read this in a few years and very nearly pee your pants from laughing so hard. Why? Because it basically sums up your high school experience minus the STD. 

There You'll Find Me 
You are never alone, no matter how alone you may feel.

~ Schedule ~


Saturday, April 25, 2015

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Still Waters by Ash Parsons

Still WatersAuthor: Ash Parson
Publication: April 21, 2015
By: Philomel Books
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 

A gritty, powerful debut that evokes The Outsiders. You won't be able to look away.

High school senior Jason knows how to take a punch. Living with an abusive father will teach a kid that. But he’s also learned how to hit back, earning a reputation at school that ensures no one will mess with him. Even so, all Jason truly wants is to survive his father long enough to turn eighteen, take his younger sister, Janie, and run away.

Then one day, the leader of the in crowd at school, Michael, offers to pay Jason to hang out with him. Jason figures Michael simply wants to be seen with someone with a tough rep and that the money will add up fast, making Jason’s escape plan a reality. Plus, there’s Michael’s girl, Cyndra, who looks at Jason as if she sees something behind his false smile. As Jason gets drawn deeper into Michael’s game, the money keeps flowing, but the stakes grow ever more dangerous. Soon, even Jason’s fists and his ability to think on his feet aren’t enough to keep his head above water.

Still Waters is an intense, gritty thriller that pulls no punches—yet leaves you rooting for the tough guy. A powerful, dynamic debut.

* I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Dark, gritty, and captivating. I wasn't sure I was going to like STILL WATERS, but I'm glad a gave it a shot! It's different from my usual YA reads, but that's okay.

It's hard NOT to champion a character like Jason, even when you know he's going to make the wrong choice, repeatedly. For him, life is about survival and doing whatever necessary to protect his sister, Janie.

His relationship with Cyndra was complicated and often times extremely frustrating, but I got it. The last 1/4 of this book messed with my head in the best way possible, and I didn't see the twist coming at all. 


A dark, fast-paced, and violent crime drama about desperation and revenge that explores a complex moral dynamic… his narrative is stark and compelling.”
Publishers Weekly

STILL WATERS features well-drawn characters, realistic dialogue, and ethical dilemmas that many readers have already faced or might have to face in the future. A great choice for reluctant readers, fans of books with male protagonists, and lovers of survivor stories.”
School Library Journal




~ Author Interview ~

Thanks for joining me on the blog, Ash!

What have been your Top 10 Book Influences? 

I decided to focus on books I read in high-school and which stay with me to this day.  :D

    •    S.E. Hinton – I was constantly stealing my older sister’s books. Anything she read, I would usually draft behind her and pick up the minute she finished. The Outsiders was one of those books but she wanted to reread it before I was done. As I recall, there were arguments, and we each ended up with our own copies. I read and re-read everything I could find by Hinton. Tex was my second favorite. I loved her characters, I loved in The Outsiders, especially, the Greasers. I loved Ponyboy Curtis. I loved the introduction to Robert Frost. When I became a teacher, I saved The Outsiders for the hardest, most-tiring time of year (January and testing season) because the book did my work for me. It was a joy to teach.

    •    The Burke Series by Andrew Vachss. I read them out of order, and loved them all. They were Law and Order: SVU before that show existed.  Except Burke and the rest of his family-of-choice worked outside of the law – it’s gritty noir.  I wish someone would make a TV series of this. Blue Belle and Sacrifice were the first two I read. Amazing.

    •    I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. The first “that messed with my mind….I want to read it AGAIN!” book. I don’t want to spoil anything but I’ve had this conversation with writer friends…I don’t think anyone is doing this kind of work in YA anymore. Maybe The Bunker Diary? Haven’t read that yet. Not sure how Cormier got away with it, his stuff is soooooo dark. I would LOVE to write a Cormier ending, is what I’m saying.

    •    After Dark, My Sweet – Jim Thompson. The king of noir. I found his books through the movie, so in my mind they’re intertwined.  Collie will always be Jason Patrick. The movie is very faithful to the book, which is a plus. The ending of this book is perfect.  It’s perfect.  It’s perfect, perfect, perfect.

    •    The Vampire Lestat – This might seem like a left turn at Albuquerque, but I found this in the band room my freshman year of HS – what a cover! - and few of my reader-experiences have been as rapt. It was spell work, pure magic. Lestat’s voice is wonderful.

    •    The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas and ---

    •    Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore.   I have lumped these two books together because the same thing happened with each of them. I first found an abbreviated, illustrated “children’s edition” of each book in elementary school, and read and re read and re read them. Then as I grew older, I discovered other, longer editions intended for older readers. It was the best present ever, to realize that there was more to the story! Finally I topped out at the full, unabridged versions of each. I reread both of these every few years. They are flat-out amazing.

    •    The Harper Hall series by Anne McCaffrey. Went through a tremendous fantasy phase. Just inhaled the stuff. McCaffrey is the best going. Love her dragons, too, but Menolly’s journey is my favorite. I wrote a LOT of fanfic for this series, back in the day.

    •    The Belgariad series by David Eddings. Ditto above. I wanted to bleach a white lock in my hair so I could be like Polgara, the supreme badass.

    •     I have to stop at 10. It’s not fair. I will choose one I had to read for school. The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed it as a high schooler, but man. If you haven’t read it since high school, go read it again. It’s the best writing. The ending is the best ending in American Literature, IMO. Beautiful, beautiful writing. Just makes me want to knock over lamps and break crockery.

This has been fun to think about and remember all these books I love. Thanks for having me on the blog! 

~ About the Author ~

Ash Parsons teaches creative writing for Troy University's ACCESS program. Ash has performed at the Wolf Trap Center for Performing Arts, The Sarasota Opera House (Sarasota, FL), and in Auburn University Theater’s production of her play, Freakspiel. She lives in Alabama with her family.


One copy of STILL WATERS by Ash Parsons
U.S./Canada Only
Must be 13 years old to enter

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

RT TEEN Day Giveaway!

The Romantic Times (RT) Booklovers Convention is just around the corner, and a ton of YA authors will be there! Saturday, May 16th, is TEEN DAY at RT, and in addition to the Giant Book Fair, there will panels, games, and parties! If that's not enough, 100 Young Adult authors will be signing in YA alley at the Giant Book Fair! Trust us, you don't want to miss this year's amazing lineup. 

Some of the authors attending TEEN DAY include:
  •  Meg Cabot
  • Kiera Cass
  • Scott Westerfeld
  • Tamora Pierce
  • Lauren Oliver
  • Kami Garcia
  • Margaret Stohl
  • Richelle Mead
  • Jennifer L. Armentrout 
  • Melissa de la Cruz
  • Alyson Noel
  • Becca Fitzpatrick
  • And many more!
Fans will be able to purchase autographed copies of the author's latest books at the Book Fair. To attend this event, purchase a Teen Day pass. The cost of the ticket is $30. Check out the Full Teen Day workshop scheduleFor more information on Teen Day, please go hereDon't forget to register! Be sure to follow the Teen Day Instagram @RTTeenDay & Facebook page for photos, giveaways & interviews with your favorite authors!


To gear up for Teen Day at RT (Romantic Times Booklovers Convention) in Dallas, on Saturday, May 16th, I have a huge Teen Day prize pack to give away! One lucky winner will win everything you see in the photo above. This prize pack features over 19 books, signed bookmarks and posters, ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) & a ton of swag! Most of the books are signed by the authors. US entrees only.

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BLOG TOUR: Jack: The True Story of Jack & the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff

~ About the Book ~

Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Publication: April 14th 2015 
By: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 

Jack has always been told that giants are not real. But if that’s the case, how do you explain the huge, foot shaped pond in the yard, or the occurrence of strange and sudden storms in which the earth quakes and dirt rains from the sky? When his father is carried away in such a storm, Jack gives chase in the only logical way: by trading the family cow for some magic beans that will give him access to a land beyond the clouds. He arrives to find that the giants themselves have giant-sized troubles. With the help of an overachieving little sister, a magic goose and a chatty cook (who is not interested in grinding human bones into bread, thank you very much!) Jack sets out to save his dad and save the day.

~ My Thoughts ~

Very well done! I loved the characters, the setting, the subtle changes (ex. not all giants are evil), and how it ties into the original story while still having it's own unique vibe.

The audiobook is also a fun time!

~ Book Trailer ~


~ Author Q + A ~


Hi Liesl,

Thank you for joining me today!

What made you want to write a story about Jack and the Beanstalk?
My motivations for writing any given fairytale are generally two-fold. I have to have an affinity for the original tale, but it also has to have a certain element that doesn’t completely satisfy me. With Jack and the Beanstalk, I love the magic beans, the giant adventure, and the hen that lays golden eggs, but I wondered about young Jack. Here’s a boy who disobeys/ignores his mother, steals from an unsuspecting giant three times, and then when the giant comes after him, Jack takes him out. And he’s a hero because….? Though I didn’t have any interest in making Jack the villain of the story, I did feel compelled to explain and justify his behavior a bit more. 

Which character was the most difficult to write and why?
Jack was quite difficult. At first he came off as a little too naughty and unlikeable. I think I was channeling my memories of growing up with my older brother and the tortures he inflicted on me, but I forgot to include the good things, too. Though I knew Jack had to have a rascally sense of adventure, that needed to be balanced with honest, tender motivations in order for him to be a character readers could relate to and want to spend time with. It took several revisions to find that balance.

What is the last book you read and loved?
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. 

The best piece of writing advice you've been given is....
 “Don’t listen to advice. Not even mine.” —Karen Cushman 

I ask all of my blog guests this one: Brownies, cupcakes or pie?
Brownies! My best friend makes the best in the world, which is why she’s my best friend.


~ About the Author ~ 

Liesl Shurtliff was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the mountains for her playground. Just like Rump, Liesl was shy about her name, growing up. Not only did it rhyme with weasel, she could never find it on any of those personalized key chains in gift shops. But over the years she’s grown to love having an unusual name—and today she wouldn’t change it for the world!
Before she became a writer, Liesl graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in music, dance, and theater. She now lives in Chicago with her husband and three young children, where she still dreams of the mountains. Rump is her first novel. 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 



~ Giveaway ~ 

U.S./Canada Only
One copy of Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Must be 13 years old to enter. 
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Monday, April 20, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Need Me by Tessa Bailey

~ About the Book~

Author: Tessa Bailey
Publication: April 21, 2015
By: Avon Impulse
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 
4.5 Stars!
When Honey Perribow traded in her cowboy boots for stilettos and left her small Kentucky town to attend Columbia University, she never expected to find a dirt-cheap apartment or two new best friends. No stranger to hard work, Honey’s sole focus is a medical degree...until she sees newly-minted Professor, Ben Dawson, and her concentration is hijacked. Honey is fascinated by her gorgeous, young English professor and vows to find a crack his tweed-wearing, glasses-clad exterior. 

While at an off campus party, an accident lands Ben in a dark, locked closet with a sexy-sounding southern belle...and their chemistry is explosive. But when he discovers that the girl in his arms is the same beautiful student he can’t stop thinking about, he is stunned. Student-teacher relationships are strictly forbidden…yet no matter how hard he tries, Ben can’t stay away from Honey. 

And when his attempts to fight their attraction nearly ruin the best thing that ever happened to him, Ben will do anything to prove how much he needs her. 

  **Due to content, this book is recommended for readers ages 18+**  

~ My thoughts ~

I now have The Police's, "Don't Stand So Close To Me" playing on a loop in my head. And I want to be a member of the Supergroup. I blame Tessa Bailey. :P

One of the reasons I enjoy the <i>Broke and Beautiful</i> series so much is because it makes me laugh while reading. So much so, I often have to stop and try to explain to the whoever is staring at me (mainly my husband) WHAT is so funny. And also why my face is so red. Because steaminess like whoa.

Seriously though, the characters, the settings (both NYC and small town Kentucky in this one), the romance, the writing, and especially the humor. I love it all!

I'm excited to read Abby and Russell's story next!

~ Excerpt ~

When choosing the perfect panties for a seduction, one couldn’t be too selective. Careful consideration had to be given to the cut, the style, and, most importantly, the almighty color. Honey Perribow rifled through her underwear drawer from her position on the rug, picking up and discarding undies with the efficiency required of premed students the world over. Red silk was a little too on the nose. It didn’t give the guy any credit. Blue? Hinted at mood swings. Yellow with a strawberry pattern…what am I, five?
There was no help for her. She had to call in the big guns. “Roxy!”
Her roommate of one month propped a hip on the inside of Honey’s door a moment later, biting into a piece of toast. “Did you lose your indoor voice in that pile of underpants?”
“What color would you wear if you wanted to seduce your English teacher?”
The toast paused halfway to Roxy’s mouth. “Aw, sh*t. Today is the day?”
Honey took a deep breath and nodded. “I’ve finally worked up the nerve. No more hiding under my hoodie in the back row. Professor Dawson is going down to Honey town.”
“How long have you been waiting to say that?”
“A while. How was my delivery?”
“Not too shabby.” Roxy shoved the remainder of the toast in her mouth and plopped down onto the floor, cross-legged, eyeballing the mountain of panties. In the month since they’d become roommates in one of the oddest interview processes of all time, they’d formed a friendship that sometimes seemed as if they were feeling their way in the dark. Honey could still sense some hesitancy on Roxy’s part to open up completely, but Roxy’s new boyfriend, Louis, seemed to be unlocking a new part of her. Considering Roxy had hidden out in her room at the outset, commiserating over panties was a vast improvement. “All right. So, we know he’s studious. He teaches Intro to Literary Theory. How does he dress?”
Honey hid her swoon by turning and pressing her face into the rug. “He has this tweed jacket. It’s like a greenish-brown, which should be ugly, but it looks so dang amazing on him. If I got up close, I bet it would smell like honest-to-goodness man mixed up with old book leather. He keeps candy in the pockets, too. I can’t tell from the back of the room which kind of candy he always pops into his mouth, but if I had to guess, I’d say butterscotch. So the jacket might have a hint of butterscotch smell going on, too.”
“Are you telling me tweed inspired all that?”
“It’s crazy, right? I know it. I can hear myself.” Honey rolled back over and stared up at the ceiling. In the few weeks since she’d started courses at Columbia University, Professor Dawson had wiggled his way under her skin like a splinter from a yellow poplar tree. No one back home in Bloomfield, Kentucky, would ever have accused her of being shy. In fact, they would have laughed over the very suggestion. She’d won first prize two years in a row for mud wrestling a pig at the county fair, after all. Shyness and pig wrestling simply didn’t add up. But the day she’d walked into the lecture hall, a mixture of confidence and nerves, and seen Professor Dawson, quietly gorgeous, in his tweed jacket and black-rimmed glasses, she’d slunk into the back row like a scolded basset hound.
Then. Then he’d spoken. Good Lord, she still remembered the shift of energy in the room. Each and every female student had leaned forward and propped their chin on their hands. Spellbound. There was no other word for it. His voice filled the room like sexy fog, rich and nuanced. It held a subtle hint of New England, not an all-out Boston accent, but occasionally he would drop an R in a way that made her shiver. It wasn’t just the sound of his voice, either. His passion about the subject material came across in every word, every endearing head scratch or thoughtful chin rub. She’d been more of a science girl in high school. Give her physics or chemistry any day of the week, but English had become her favorite subject with enough speed to inflict whiplash.
Since she’d been bitten by the shyness bug, talking to the object of her nightly fantasies directly hadn’t been an option. Yet. Oh, and there was that teensy little issue of college professors not being allowed to fraternize with students. But she’d cross that rickety bridge when she came to it.
All her life, she’d lived in a small town where the most exciting thing to happen was a fistfight between two grannies at the Dairy Queen. She’d purposely applied for universities with strong premed programs in New York City because she wanted, needed, excitement. Needed to take life by the short and curlies and tell it who was boss. She loved her parents and her hometown dearly, but she wanted more. Starting small wasn’t an option, either. She wanted to start with something so far outside her wheelhouse she needed binoculars to see it. This was her life, and it was time to live it.
Starting today, she would seduce Professor Dawson. Just the thought of it raised goose bumps all over her arms. From the back of the room, he looked like a movie star. Something she watched on a screen from a safe distance. What would he be like up close?
“If you rub your thighs together any harder,” Roxy broke into her thoughts, “this pile of panties is going to turn into a bonfire.”
“Sorry.” Honey pushed some unbrushed blond hair out of her face. “Let’s focus on the matter at hand.”
Abby, their third roommate, breezed into the room. “What are we focusing on?”
“I was focusing. She was fantasizing about tweed.”
“Tweed is still in style, but elbow patches are out,” Abby stated offhandedly, taking a spot on the floor. Of the three of them, Abby was the one gainfully employed in a corporate gig downtown, which explained her tailored black pantsuit at eight in the morning while Honey and Roxy, an aspiring actress, were still in pajamas. “What’s with the panty mountain?”
“I’m beginning the seduction process this morning.”
Roxy rolled her eyes. “Try not to make it sound so sexy, Perribow.”
Honey threw a pair of plaid panties at Roxy. “I’m not you. I can’t just flash a little leg and leave a trail of man-drool in my path.”
“Have you tried?” Roxy asked, looking smug when Honey stumbled over a reply. “Look, you’re not going to flash him your panties in class. That’s not your style. Worry about the top layer first, drag him back to your cave later. Worry about the panties then.”
“I agree.” Abby nodded. “This is premature panty picking.”
“Of course I’m not going to flash him.” Honey shrugged. “I was thinking it might boost my confidence a little if I had something sexy underneath my jeans. Might give me an extra boost so I won’t chicken out.”
Abby gave her a warm, encouraging look. She fished through the pile with one manicured hand and picked out a silky, mint-green thong with lace detail. Still with the tags on. “Wear these. They’re unique and subtly brilliant, just like you. You won’t chicken out.”
“And you’re not wearing jeans,” Roxy added, standing and dragging Honey to her feet. “To my closet, Batgirl. Where you will behold the wonder of humankind’s finest invention.”
Honey shot a nervous look over her shoulder toward an amused Abby. The brunette practically skipped along behind them down the hallway. “What would that invention be?”
“The strapless maxi dress,” Roxy breathed. 


~ About the Author ~ 

Tessa lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn't writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.




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