Coming May 25, 2012:
Fear is sabotage’s sweetest weapon.
Kate has no time for meaningless romantic charades, and definitely no time for hot college professors who are full of themselves and smitten with her. Constantly battling eviction notices, tuition she can’t afford, and a sick, dependent mother, the last thing she needs is to be distracted with someone else’s complicated baggage.
When she stumbles into Ryan Campbell’s creative writing class, he is only “Mr. Campbell” to her, until Ryan finds himself captivated by her writing and she is forced to face their mutual attraction. His cocky know-it-all syndrome is enough to send her running in the other direction, and his posse of female admirers and playboy reputation are enough to squander any odds in her favor.
But underneath Ryan’s abrasive facade is something to behold, and she can’t stay away for long. Ryan and Kate must decide who they’re willing to become and fight against their former selves if they want to make things work. That’s if academia, vicious vixens, old skeletons, and their own mastery at self-destruction don’t pummel their efforts first.
© 2011 Rachael Wade
This excerpt is ARC material. Please do not reproduce for purposes other than scheduled blog tour features.
That night, I made sure to arrive at the pool at my usual time. I didn’t want to stay a minute longer than normal, knowing Ryan would be showing up soon. The last thing I wanted was to get all flustered around him again like a total fool and feed his ego.
I did one final lap and ducked down to let the water rush over my head, slowly coming up for one more relaxing breath of air.
And there he was. Sitting on the ledge, looking over at me.
“Kate. Will you let me apologize for earlier today?”
“Ryan. You’re early.” I rolled my eyes and pulled myself up and out of the pool. As I stood to my feet, he slipped in.
“I didn’t mean to bite your head off like that. I’m sorry, really. I want to know what you came to talk to me about after class.”
I towel-dried my hair and began collecting my things, stuffing everything in my bag. Why not? Might as well tell him.
“I just thought I’d tell you that I’m going to be published.” I wrapped the towel around my torso, slinging my bag over my shoulder. “Not the piece you read, but something else. That’s it.”
“That’s it?” He flew out of the pool and lunged forward to hug me. “Congratulations! That’s really…well I’m not surprised. Your work is brilliant. It inspires me, actually.”
I jutted my head back, did a double take. “What? Inspires you?”
He put his hands on his hips and stared at me with bright, flickering eyes. They were on fire. “Yes, me.” He tapped my shoulder. “Just because I’m a professor doesn’t mean my students’ work can’t inspire me.”
I narrowed my eyes then glanced around, trying to understand his instant mood shift. His smile was blinding, wide and enthusiastic—unlike anything I’d ever seen.
“You look thoroughly disturbed.” He chuckled and crossed his arms. Wet. Dripping wet.
“You’re moody. I can’t figure you out, that’s all.” I let out an exasperated sigh. “One minute you’re really easygoing and nice to talk to, and the next…”
“I’m a total ass. Yes, it’s a part of my charm. You’ll have to forgive me.” He glanced down at his bare feet, sexy grin still intact. I refused to let my eyes wander to his tattoos. “I’m stubborn, get pissed if I can’t have my way, and I’m always guaranteed to make someone feel like shit at least once a day.” He shrugged. “But I admire and value good writing when I see it, and I don’t mean to treat my students that way. Especially you.” He held out his hand, waiting for me to shake. “Truce?” His hand hung in midair, the other perched on his hip.
Reluctantly, I slipped my palm into his and gently shook, noticing his gaze drift from my eyes to my lips. I stepped back. “You’re forgiven. And just for the record…you inspire me, too. That’s what I wanted to tell you this morning. You get this spark when you talk about my writing…well, writing in general. Your passion is inspiring. And sincere.” I nodded, tucking my hair behind my ear. “But if you’re an ass to me again, three strikes you’re out.” A small grin seized my lips.
He stood there, eyes soft, body wet, black ink calling my name. “Deal, Ms. Parker. So when and where is your work going to be published?”
“As far as I know, the spring issue of The Morning Theatric. It’s a drama-focused literary magazine.” The weight of my bag began cutting into my shoulder, and the temptation to lust after his body art was becoming unbearable. “But I better go; I’ll send you a copy when it’s published, okay?”
“All right,” he leisurely turned and slipped back into the pool. “I look forward to it.”
“See you around.”
I stopped and turned to him.
“Come see me after class again next week. I have something you might be interested in. You won’t be able to resist.” He smirked and deadpanned me, biting his lip.
“Oh? Okay, well we’ll see about that.” My eyebrows twitched in amusement but I worked to repress my own smirk, turning on my heel for the door. My instinct told me not to venture into his playful territory, but cue the Hallelujah chorus was all I could think.
I am so pleased to have been asked by the lovely Rachael Wade to reveal the sneak peek of Preservation on Fiction Fascination. I am so excited for the release of the book and I hope you will add it to your TBR list today. Also look out for some of Rachael’s other works: Amaranth, book one of The Resistance Trilogy and The Gates the second in the trilogy, out April 2012. You can see my review of Amaranth here and also my interview with Rachael here.