The Truth About Jack by Jody Gehrman

The Truth About Jack

Release Date: 04/14/15

Entangled Crush

Summary from Goodreads:

Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she’ll leave behind the artists’ colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.

Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn’t quite go where she expects…

Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota’s letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.

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Dear Dakota,

First, let me answer your questions. They’re good ones. It seems only right to start our acquaintance there.

When it rains I inevitably think about my best friend, a guy who ODed a few years ago. There was a big thunderstorm the day he died. It was Sunday. I’d just finished watching a movie— Harold and Maude—when my mother walked in with the strangest look on her face, the phone still in her hand. It was one of those moody days when the clouds roll in for hours, ripe and swollen with rain. I remember after she told me, I stood there at the window for a long time, just watching the drops hit the glass, thinking, What a cliché—boy dies, cue storm.

Seven of my favorite words in order (from least to most): pogo stick (does that count as one or two?); Fahrenheit; anti-establishmentarianism; legato; whirl; gravitas; sprezzatura.

The three songs I hate most and why: “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone because, seriously? There’s never an excuse for that much cheese; “Baby” by Justin Bieber. Is this the voice of our generation? It makes me shudder; “Aliron,” a Spanish kids’ song I associate strongly with sour milk, though I don’t really remember why.

And now a question for you: if you could be anything in nature for just ten minutes, to investigate its internal life, what would you be and why?

About your bottle: for several weeks I’ve been traveling in California, and one of my cousins took me out on his boat today. I’m originally from Barcelona, but for now I wander this vast country, seeking adventure. When we pulled in the nets, there was your bottle, sitting amidst the fish and seaweed. When I read your note, I knew immediately that I had to write to you. Because yes, I do sometimes suspect I’m the only one who feels this alone. I, too, wonder where my “tribe” is, as you say, and when I will find them. I only hope my letter can bring you half the comfort your magical message in a bottle brought me.

I do not know how long I will be traveling, but if you would like to reach me you can write to my cousin at the address below. He will be sure I get it, wherever I am.

I sink into a chair, stunned. My fingertips trace the thick paper. This is really happening. He found my message. Alejandro Torres, from Barcelona! It’s almost too perfect to believe. I feel happier than I have in ages, like gravity has no hold on me, and I might just float up into the air. I sit there, my eyes drinking in the pale paper and the black ink, the careful penmanship, the perfect words.

Dad appears in the doorway. His eyes move to my letter. “So, who’s it from?”

“Oh, just something from a friend.” For some reason I don’t want anyone to know about my message in a bottle, or Alejandro, either. It feels too precious, too magical to expose.

“You want to sit by the fire, hang out?”

“No, thanks.” I get up, clutching my letter. I can’t wait to read it again. Maybe I’ll even try writing a response tonight. “I’m super tired.”

“Okay. Well, if you change your mind…”

I give Dad a quick kiss on the cheek. He studies me quizzically but says nothing as I head out the door. As soon as I’m outside, I begin to run, my heart beating frantically inside me. The cool air on my face feels like a caress, and the stars above me pulse with magic.

About the Author

Jody Gehrman is a native of Northern California, where she can be found writing, teaching, reading, or obsessing over her three cats most days. She is also the author of ten novels and numerous award-winning plays. Her Young Adult novels include The Truth About Jack, Audrey’s Guide to Black Magic, Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft, Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot Bettys in Love. Babe in Boyland was optioned by the Disney Channel and won the International Reading Association’s Teen Choice Award. Her adult novels are Bombshell, Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin. Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and L.A. She and her partner David Wolf won the New Generation Playwrights Award for their one-act, Jake Savage, Jungle P.I. She is a professor of English and Communication Studies at Mendocino College.

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Future Crimes by Marc Goodman – GUEST POST REVIEW



a member of any of the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs (1811–16).
– a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology.
“a small-minded Luddite resisting progress”

  • futurecrimes_bookshot2Title: Future Crimes, Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It
  • Author: Marc Goodman
  • ISBN: 0385539002 (ISBN13: 9780385539005)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: Published February 24th 2015 by Doubleday
  • Genre/s: Non-fiction/Science Technology

SYNOPSIS – (From GoodreadsTechnological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways, but there is an ominous flip side. Criminals are often the earliest, and most innovative, adopters of technology, and modern times have led to modern crimes. Today’s criminals are stealing identities, draining online bank accounts, and erasing computer servers. It’s disturbingly easy to activate baby monitors to spy on families, to hack pacemakers to deliver a lethal jolt of electricity, and to analyze a person’s social media activity to determine the best time for a home invasion.

Meanwhile, 3D printers produce AK-47s, terrorists can download the recipe for the Ebola virus, and drug cartels are building drones. This is just the beginning of a tsunami of technological threats. In Future Crimes, Marc Goodman rips opens his database of hundreds of real cases to give readers front-row access to these impending perils. Reading like a sci-fi thriller, but based in startling fact, Future Crimes raises tough questions about the expanding role of technology in our lives. The book is a call to action for better security measures worldwide, but most importantly it will empower readers to protect themselves against looming technological threats before it’s too late.


“There is a gathering storm before us. The technological bedrock on which we are building the future of humanity is deeply unstable and like a house of cards can come crashing down at any moment. It’s time to build greater resiliency into our global information grid in order to avoid a colossal system crash. If we are to survive the progress offered by our technologies and enjoy their abundant bounty, we must first develop adaptive mechanisms of security that can match or exceed the exponential pace of the threats before us. There’s no time to lose.”
― Marc Goodman, Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It

If you are a Luddite, if you are a technophobe, then reading Future Crimes will further convince you that you’re right. Stay away from technology as much as possible – it will ultimately destroy you. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, Future Crimes will further convince you that you’re right too. Technology and its masters are watching and manipulating your every move, privacy is nonexistent, you cannot escape.

In just under four hundred well-researched, albeit somewhat repetitive pages, security expert and former FBI and Interpol official Marc Goodman explores his thesis: “currently in our world there is no such thing as trustworthy computing”. If it is connected, it is vulnerable. Despite the fact that he calls himself “irrationally optimistic”, he claims that “a horde of emerging threats…will be here much more quickly than anticipated”, coming from hackers, cyber-criminals and terrorists, and the examples he provides are staggering. Facebook has supposedly admitted that more than 600,000 of their accounts are compromised daily. McAfee claims that “82% of Android apps track your online activities”. A study by Verizon concluded that hackers are successful 75% of the time, usually within minutes. And it doesn’t seem to be too difficult. In 2013, personal data from 110 million Target customers was stolen, “apparently masterminded by a seventeen year-old Russian”.

Making the situation worse, according to Goodman, is that we are easy targets, oblivious to the threats around us. Facebook may be a victim of daily hacking, but, at the same time, they seem to also have their own dark side, evidenced by their Terms of Service which gives them the right “to turn on your mobile phone’s camera at any time without your consent”. The internet, with all its “free” services, is only free because every search we do, every website we visit, is tracked, saved, documented, and then the data is sold to brokers and marketers. And the internet we know isn’t the only internet. It’s just the public one. Deep in the digital underground is the “Dark Web”, only accessible through software that hides identity. It is supposedly “five-hundred times larger than the surface Web, unreachable by search engines like Google and Yahoo”. This is where terrorists and criminals go to source anything and everything illicit. Recently, a “dark” site called Silk Road was identified and shut down by the FBI. It was essentially an Amazon for criminality, peddling weapons, child pornography, hit-men and drugs and earning millions of dollars per year.

Only after 350 pages does Future Crimes begin to hint at Goodman’s “irrational optimism”. It’s not very encouraging. We can combat the potential impending doom. Be smart, change your passwords frequently, don’t open files you don’t recognize, encourage governments to spend more on cyber security, turn your devices off when you don’t need them. In other words, it appears it’s up to us to make the best of it. So when the machines take over and the energy and water grids are hacked and there’s no way to get money out of the ATM’s, I’m choosing to keep my pen and paper. I may be hungry and cold and poor, but at least I’ll be able to write about it.

About the Author


Marc Goodman is a global strategist, author and consultant focused on the disruptive impact of advancing technologies on security, business andinternational affairs. Over the past twenty years, he has built his expertise in next generation security threats such as cyber crime, cyber terrorism and information warfare working with organizations such as Interpol, the United Nations, NATO, the Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Government. Marc frequently advises industry leaders, security executives and global policy makers on transnational cyber risk and intelligence and has operated in nearly seventy countries around the world.

In addition, Marc founded the Future Crimes Institute to inspire and educate others on the security and risk implications of newly emerging technologies. Marc also serves as the Global Security Advisor and Chair for Policy and Law at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, a NASA and Google sponsored educational venture dedicated to using advanced science and technology to address humanity’s grand challenges. Marc’s current areas of research include the security implications of exponential technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the social data revolution, synthetic biology, virtual worlds, genomics, ubiquitous computing and location-based services.


CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.

Sweet – Tammara Webber TEASER


Sweet – Tammara Webber

He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it.
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.

He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient; now she’s restless.

Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.

And one more trait he hides from everyone but her:



TammaraTammara Webber, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of EASY and BREAKABLE (Contours of the Heart series – NA), as well BETWEEN THE LINES, WHERE YOU ARE, GOOD FOR YOU and HERE WITHOUT YOU (Between the Lines series – YA/NA).I’m a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full-time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart, and I’m Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.




When I’m Gone by Abbi Glines NOW AVAILABLE!

We’re celebrating the release of 

WHEN I’M GONE by New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Abbi Glines! 


TitleWhen I’m Gone (Rosemary Beach)

Author: Abbi Glines

Publisher: Atria Books (April 7, 2015)

Amazon | iBooks | UK | AU | Barnes & Noble


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes the next new adult novel in the Rosemary Beach series, in which we meet Mase, a Texas heartthrob first introduced in Take a Chance who comes to Rosemary Beach to stir things up.

I had an urge to fix all her problems. Which was stupid. She was doing fine without me. But something about those big eyes…

Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…

Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different?


About the Author:

Abbi Glines is a #1 New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. She has a new YA series coming out in the fall of 2015 titled The Field Party Series . She never cooks unless baking during the Christmas holiday counts. She believes in ghosts and has a habit of asking people if their house is haunted before she goes in it. She drinks afternoon tea because she wants to be British but alas she was born in Alabama. When asked how many books she has written she has to stop and count on her fingers. When she’s not locked away writing, she is reading, shopping (major shoe and purse addiction), sneaking off to the movies alone, and listening to the drama in her teenagers lives while making mental notes on the good stuff to use later. Don’t judge.

You can connect with Abbi online in several different ways. She uses social media to procrastinate.

Facebook: AbbiGlinesAuthor


Twitter: abbiglines

Instagram: abbiglines

Snapchat: abbiglines

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins – A Review

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

The Girl on the Train

SUMMARY – (From Goodreads) Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.” ― Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

Have you ever had a memory that is just beyond your reach? Where you have hints of a name or a face or maybe even a smell, but you can’t quite remember where you know it from? It can be annoying, as your mind turns the glimmer of something bigger over and over again, until hopefully you get your “Eureka!” moment and the full recollection comes back to you. But what if it doesn’t come back? What if you are constantly plagued with knowing that there’s more to the story?

TGOTTNow try living like that day in and day out and knowing somewhere deep down in the recesses of your mind that hint of a memory is the answer to something big. Perhaps, that memory is the missing piece to solving a violent crime. Maybe, it’s the very thing that will save your own life. Welcome to Rachel Watson’s life.

The Girl on the Train, is the story of Rachel Watson, who everyday travels by train into London. Each day she passes the same houses, and eventually she makes up a “happily-ever-after” story about a couple that she sees regularly as the train passes by their house. Rachel is going through a particularly rough time in her life and by creating a hopeful narrative for this couple that she does not know, she is able to lose herself a little and forget about her troubles. This little bit of escapism doesn’t last forever, because soon into the story, a violent act is committed and Rachel finds herself compelled to discover how and why it happened. This becomes more urgent when she realizes that she may have witnessed something crucial that could help solve the crime, but she can’t remember. Rachel can’t remember what happened to her on that fateful night because her other favorite pass time is to drown her sorrows by drinking herself into oblivion. As the story unfolds, we hear from other characters in the book that are connected to Rachel and we begin to understand the source of Rachel’s troubles. We also begin to get an inkling that Rachel has more of a role than she realizes in this unsolved mystery.

gone-girlBefore reading The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins, I saw lots of comparisons being made to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and to be honest, I was put off. When I was reading Gone Girl, I found myself hating both characters Nick and Amy Dunne, and felt that the two really did deserve one another.  This made reading the book difficult for me, and I certainly cannot say that I enjoyed the book. It was for this reason, when I saw continued references to Gone Girl, I didn’t pay The Girl On The Train much attention at first. But then I saw a comparison to Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, and knew that I needed to give The Girl On The Train a chance. I’m so glad that I did!

BeforeIGoToSleepHawkins has written a fantastic thriller, which will keep you wondering just what happened right until the end. It was very much reminiscent of Before I Go To Sleep, a story about a woman with amnesia who is unable to make new memories and wakes up each day missing the last 20 years of her life. I remember feeling the same sense of anticipation about what will happen next when reading The Girl On The Train as I did when reading Before I Go To Sleep. As this is Hawkins debut novel, I was very impressed and I look forward to reading more stories from her.


Sweet – Tammara Webber TEASER


Sweet – Tammara Webber

He’s the love of her life, but he doesn’t know it.
She’s his one moment of sacrifice in a lifetime of survival.

He was damaged and wild, but resilient.
She’s always been obedient; now she’s restless.

Home for the summer between college and med school, Pearl Torres Frank knows two things: Boyce Wynn is the embodiment of everything she should run from, and everything she wants to run to. Rebellious and loud. Unconcerned with society’s opinion of him. Passionate. Strong. Dangerous.

And one more trait he hides from everyone but her:



TammaraTammara Webber, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of EASY and BREAKABLE (Contours of the Heart series – NA), as well BETWEEN THE LINES, WHERE YOU ARE, GOOD FOR YOU and HERE WITHOUT YOU (Between the Lines series – YA/NA).I’m a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full-time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart, and I’m Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.




Shh! (Oxley College #1) by Stacey Nash GUEST POST & EXCERPT

shh tour bannerShh! (Oxley College #1) by Stacey Nash

Release Date: 02/23/15

Summary from Goodreads:

Nineteen-year-old Olivia Dean has the perfect reputation, the perfect boyfriend, and an increasingly perfect CV. She has it all, until Christian breaks up with her in public, calling her out as a self-gratifying sexoholic: the kind that plays solo. But Olivia doesn’t masturbate all night — the only thing she does is sleep … right? Now all the boys on campus seem to want her attention for the absolutely wrong reason — including resident hottie, Logan Hays. He’s pulling out his best moves to gain her attention, so resisting his sexy charm is hard work. With rapidly slipping grades, a disturbingly lurid reputation and demanding parents, Olivia must discover the truth behind her rumoured sleeping problem. If she doesn’t, the perfect life she’s worked so hard for may slip away, including the one person who has Olivia breaking all her rules — Logan.

What do you do when you’re asleep?

Buy Links

Goodreads | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Print Book



Sounds dirty, right? Like maybe it’s someone who can’t sleep because they’re addicted to sex.

Olivia Dean, the main character in Shh! is a sexomniac. She doesn’t love sex any more than the next hot blooded nineteen-year-old, nor does she fall asleep while doing the horizontal tango. What she does is perform sexual acts while she’s sleeping. Yep, while completely knocked out, in the deepest non-REM cycle, she masturbates.

But self gratification isn’t the only way sexomnia—or sleep sex as it’s more commonly known—shows itself. It is, however, the most common presentation in women. Other sexomniacs might initiate sex with their bed partner, vocalize, or even have intercourse while fast asleep. It’s a rather scary condition, because like sleepwalking, snoring, or talking in one’s sleep, it’s something the sufferer has no recollection of, or control over. Because of this, there have been several rape cases where men have claimed sexomnia, but that’s a whole different story. Today, I want to talk about Olivia’s condition.

Sexsomnia – initiating or engaging in sexual activity with a bed partner while asleep — was reported by almost 8 percent of patients at a sleep disorders center and was nearly three times more common in men (11 percent) than in women (4 percent), according to a new study.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, June 7, 2010. Via,

Up to 30 per cent of all adults suffer from a parasomnia.

Like other parasomnias, there are no known causes of sexomnia. However, stress, alcohol, and sleep deprivation are known to trigger episodes in sufferers. Although studies into the sleeping disorder are relatively new and limited, it appears that there is no cure.

When I first stumbled across sexomnia, I was fascinated by it. By the fact people could experience an orgasm while asleep and not wake up, but as my research deepened, I realized that it’s a very embarrassing disorder that makes the suffer doubt himself or herself. Thus Olivia was born.

In a way I decided to write Shh! because sexomnia is one of those issues that’s almost taboo. With the exception of a few high profile cases that hit the media, it’s not a sleeping disorder that’s widely discussed.

Have you ever heard of sexomnia?



Shh! by Stacey Nash

At five p.m I was starving. After just the muesli bar for breakfast, I’d skipped lunch to avoid a potential repeat of this morning, which meant my stomach had jumped into full riot mode. Nervous about facing my fellow students, I pulled my big girl panties up and marched myself to the dining hall. It was early, so I wasn’t all that brave, if I were being totally honest with myself. The place should have been near empty.

There were half a dozen people in the common room, watching some crappy reality television show. I scooted around the back of the seats and up into the dining hall. Dinner smelled delicious—burgers—if my senses served me right.

Twirling my meal card around my fingers, I strolled right up to the servery and stood in line. The girl in front of me turned and I tossed a confident smile her way. She smiled back. The line wasn’t moving yet as dinner hadn’t officially started, but people began flowing in, increasing the number of voices in the room. I swiped my clammy hands on my jeans. This was the first time in more than a year that I’d come down to dinner alone. Generally I came with Christian and being alone was a little daunting. It was all cool, though. Savvy should turn up soon, then I wouldn’t look like a loner. She never responded to this morning’s text and I hadn’t seen her since Saturday night, but that wasn’t uncommon if she’d hooked up with a guy. Especially with how busy I’d be this year. She knew my Sundays were reserved for study, so she didn’t usually bother me then, and today we’d been at classes. Still, it was a little weird. She could have at least called to chat about Christian, surely she knew like everyone else.

My tummy grumbled like a truck moving at high speed. I glanced at the clock; it read five thirty p.m. The line started moving, thank the lord. I glanced over my shoulder, and surprisingly the line curled all the way around the edge of the hall. Everyone had to be famished tonight, not just me.

I kept my eyes to the front and walked through the servery  where I built my own burger: meat, egg, tomato, beetroot, no lettuce, and a slathering of tomato sauce—perfect. As I emerged out the other side, my gaze slid over the line, looking for someone who might join me, and the weirdest thing happened. Not a soul met my gaze. It was like they all deliberately looked the other way, or were engrossed in such deep conversation that they didn’t see me.

I’d never had problems with friends. People just … well … they liked me. It had always been that way. I liked everyone, and they all liked me back.

My tummy churned for reasons not associated with hunger. What the heck had I done wrong? I walked over to one of the many empty tables and set my tray down, then flicked my phone out of my pocket and pretended to check my texts. Savvy had replied and I’d missed it.

Sorry I missed breakfast. Catch you at dinner.

A string of girls who I knew—we’d all been freshers together last year—walked right past me, talking softly as if they thought I couldn’t hear, but when people are talking about you, it’s not hard to tell. And those girls were most definitely doing just that. The glances my way every few seconds were a dead giveaway when everyone else in the room was deliberately avoiding my gaze.

I ducked my head, and studied my phone again. Whatever was going on, it was weird. I was the captain of Oxley’s hockey team, netball team, in the social committee, and even campaigning for the university’s student council. I had lots of friends.

Savannah’s giggle sounded like it came from somewhere behind me. Thank gosh. I really needed to talk to her and figure out what was happening. The whispers and stares, the fresher at uni this morning, Dane on Saturday night, sexploits—Oh my gosh. Christian. I glanced over my shoulder, raising my hand to call Savvy over, but my heart dropped into my stomach.

Savvy was attached to Dane’s hip. Her arm hung around his waist and his rested on her shoulders. Christian walked in step with them and the two guys wore massive grins. I hadn’t seen Christian that happy since … well, since I couldn’t remember. I suppose now that I thought about it, lately he’d been kind of cranky and tired. Always tired.

I swung back around in my seat, hoping they hadn’t seen me, and there someone had sat in the chair opposite me: the tool from this morning. He stared like I was some porn star he’d just paid to watch. And he smelled like a brewery; not to mention his eyes looked a little glassy.

Those same eyes locked on my mine and he placed his flattened palm on his chest like he was about to dive headfirst into a heartfelt apology. Which frankly, he owed me. His hand circled over his left pec, going for his heart, but then it moved to the other side and— ohmygod did he just tweak his nipple? My heart pounded a little faster and I glanced away. The entire dining hall looked at us. But he was like a train wreck. I couldn’t stop my gaze sliding back. His hand trailed down his chest and disappeared under the table in the general direction of his groin. He moaned, then his arm started moving slow at first and increasing in speed, all the while his dark eyes held my gaze. Then the crazy guy rolled his eyes back in his head and yelled, “Yes. Aaa—aa—ash. Yes!”

Someone clapped.

He arched his back. What in hell’s name was this freak doing? It was like that old nineties movie where the chick faked an orgasm in the middle of a café, except this was some dude in the centre of the Oxley College dining hall and I wasn’t entirely sure he was faking it.

Spent, he flopped in the seat, his arms hanging beside it, then snapped his head forward again and his face split in a stupid grin as he pushed his chair back, placed an arm across his waist, and freaking bowed.

Everyone laughed.

The whole room full of people thought this idiot was funny. I couldn’t move.

It was as if the air had frozen around me and I was a statue unable to even blink.

“My impersonation of the one and only Olivia Dean,” he shouted, loud enough for the whole room to hear.

Couldn’t the ground just open up and swallow me already? My cheeks burned so hot they should have caught fire. Blood rushed past my ears so loud that I couldn’t hear anything; my stomach lurched.

I was going to throw up.

I needed to get out of there, right now. Whatever held me in place snapped free. I shot to my feet and high-tailed it out of the dining hall, past a million staring faces. The common room was no more than fuzz at the edge of my periphery, Front Courtyard much the same. I cut across the back of block F and made a beeline for K, then darted up the stairs and into my room.

Whatever was going down, it looked like I was the centre of a joke I didn’t find funny or nice.
Young couple lying on grass against clear sky


Stacey Nash writes adventure filled stories for Young Adults in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. She loves to read and write books that have a lot of adventure, a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance, and KISSING! Hailing from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, she loves nothing more than immersing herself in the beauty and culture of the local area. Author of the Collective Series and the Oxley College Saga.

Author Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

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