Prequel: The Boyfriend's Back

In an exciting development that finally unites Writer Me and Geek Me, The Boyfriend's Back is being released as a special enriched edition eBook by Harlequin. Enriched eBooks include extra content not available in the print book. One of the extra pieces included with The Boyfriend's Back is a prequel set when JT and Hailey were in high school. It takes place on the day JT first asked Hailey out. The whole prequel is about 3,600 words or 14 pages long. I'm including an excerpt here. If you want to read the entire thing, it's available only with the enriched eBook edition at eHarlequin.

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Mrs. Manley, the guidance counselor, stopped in front of the table where Hailey and her best friend, Sarah, were selling tickets to the Homecoming Dance. Mrs. Manley had a tight perm, a bad set of fake pearls, and low self-esteem she covered up with a toothy smile. The smile fooled none of the students at St. Peter’s high school, meaning her life was pretty much a living hell of pranks, cruel graffiti, and crueler nicknames.

“You’ll want to start your essays this month, Hailey,” Mrs. Manley said.

Hailey nodded, but her eyes were fixed on the one long, black hair growing under Mrs. Manley’s chin. One of the guidance counselor’s nicknames was Man-less, and Hailey wondered how much the goat hair contributed to that situation. When she was feeling friendly, she thought she should mention it to the woman. Surely Mrs. Manley would pluck it if she knew it existed. Today Hailey was not feeling friendly. She hadn’t been feeling friendly at all recently. What she felt was strangled.

She’d thought starting senior year would be exciting but instead she felt trapped. The year was already mapped out from Homecoming through Prom and after that she’d be in college. Hailey wondered if she’d ever get to make one single decision for herself or take one single risk just because she felt like it.

“Your mom and dad said you visited several campuses this summer.”

“Yes, we did,” Hailey agreed. Her mom’s gushing had sucked the enjoyment out of each and every one.

“Good. With your grades and extra-curriculars, you’ll have no trouble getting into any number of excellent programs.”

Hailey chipped a flake of Pearlescent Pink polish off the nail on her index finger. One, tiny chip. One, tiny flaw.

“Come see me on Monday and we’ll get started,” Mrs. Manley said. She was three steps down the hall when she called back, “We should talk sometime soon, too, Sarah.”

Sarah made a face behind Mrs. Manley’s back. “It’s like I’m not even here. They’re all mesmerized by the Golden Girl.”

“Manley’s nuts. You know that,” Hailey said. She was beginning to think everyone was nuts. It was impossible to talk to anyone--her parents, teachers, even other kids--without someone mentioning college and applications and how they all needed to be perfect if they wanted to get in. She chipped another flake of polish off.

Sarah picked up one of the photocopied posters advertising the dance from the stack in front of her and held it in front of her face hiding her mouth as she said, “Don’t look now but the McNultys are totally checking you out.”

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