What is the New Adult Scavenger Hunt?
basically … I’m your Lois Lane.”
Just once—would just once
be too much to ask for?—I’d like a boyfriend who didn’t, at some point,
spit those words at me like they tasted like sour milk. Sure, the words are a
little different from time to time—I got a “I’m your Mary Jane” once, must have
been a Marvel fan—but the sentiment is the same.
The guy I’m dating is my damsel in distress. Or what’s a
word for male damsel? Gentleman in grief. Chap in trouble. Fellow in
misfortune. I’m genuinely curious now, so I’m doing a thesaurus check on my
phone while he rants on and on, tossing his hands up in the air over and over
like he’s trying to grab hold of something.
“Joey, what are
you doing?” Nolan is standing in front of my face, snatching my phone out of my
fingers before I’ve finished my search for living-target-boyfriend synonyms. He
snarls, looking down at the screen. “At a time like this, you’re checking your—
Really?” He looks up and holds out the screen to me, and my Google search
results for “What do you call it when it’s a man who’s the damsel in distress?”
“Yes, really.” I
snatch the phone back out of his hand and toss it on the couch, almost hitting
Autumn, who’s sitting cross-legged on the small two-seater with her laptop on
mutters Autumn, giving the word an extra emphasis on the ‘o.’ She cradles her
laptop and tries to tiptoe around Nolan and me to get to the door. She can’t
help send me a sharp look as she bumps Nolan with her computer screen, since
the room is barely big enough for one human occupant, let alone the two the
school assigns there. Plus or minus two or more boyfriends at any given moment.
Nolan crosses his arms to match my crossed arms and I can
see his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down as he grits his teeth and waits
patiently for Autumn to exit. Poor Autumn. She’s witnessed this scene unfold
more than once. Better here than in public. Too many minds to wipe. Not that I
should even be exposing my dates to that, but better just them than half the Moon
Meadow population. And that’s only a slight exaggeration.
After the door has closed and Autumn’s retreated into the
dull din of college dormmates going about their business in the hallways and
the rest of the rooms—thank god for blares-her-music-way-too-loud-every-single-day in 106, she camouflages just about every noise that comes out of my
room—Nolan drops his death-glare and lets his arms fall limply to his sides.
Sighing, he runs a hand through those iced-blond locks, probably knowing full
well that drives me want-to-pounce-on-him crazy,
and looks out the solitary window in Autumn’s and my dorm room. I left it open
after I brought Nolan back here, and there’s a gentle breeze swaying the
“Why here?” he
asks. That’s another question they inevitably get to sometime during this
And they certainly have a point. In comic books and movies,
it’s like some unwritten rule: everyone with the superpowers congregates in the
metropolitan areas. Bad guys? Check. Good guys? Well, that makes sense if all
the bad guys are there. Maybe it’s the more people = more potential victims
theory. Perhaps nuclear/radioactive/cosmic ray explosions just happen there
more often. Or maybe they just all like being able to rely on public
transportation on those days when it’s too stormy outside to safely fly.
But you don’t enroll in Moon Meadow College without knowing
you’re kind of walking into what’s more or less Soar’s territory. I mean, he
and his little ‘Forfeiters’ group don’t exactly pay taxes on the land and have
the deeds to prove it, but there’s a reason why real estate is dirt cheap in
the county and tuition at MMC can’t be beat. Because you’d have to be crazy to
Or have a really damn
good reason to live here.
I take a deep breath and stop myself from explaining the
whole story. Not only because it takes a lot of time, but because it only makes
things worse. And the guys never remember it anyway. So I just say the one
thing I owe him, for putting him in harm’s way: “I’m sorry.”
Nolan chokes out a curt laugh, and it isn’t pleasant. As if
to flip me the bird, he runs his fingers through his hair for probably the last
time in front of me. “Yeah, I’m sorry, too. Sorry I ever got involved with
I can’t help myself. “Nolan, it’s not I wanted you to get captured. I tried
keeping it all from you—”
“But that’s just it, Joey.” Nolan points a finger at me
accusingly. “You shouldn’t keep
something that important from someone
I chew my lip. “We’ve only been going out two weeks—”
“What does that matter?” Nolan tosses his hands up again.
“Was there a specific milestone where you were going to tell me? Our one-month
Nolan scoffs. “Then don’t try to talk yourself out of this.
You know what? I don’t care.” He thrusts his hands forward, palms outward, as
if to wash his hands of me. “I’m done. You’re
done.” He shifts slightly to get around me, but we have to awkwardly shimmy
past each other, bringing us in way too close contact—reminding me I’m never
going to jump him again—as our backs scrape against the two top bunk bed/desk
contraptions that take up the bulk of the space in the room. Nolan uses the
opportunity to sneer down at me, even as his arm brushes against chest. “I’m
going to warn every guy on campus.
No, fuck that, I’m going to sell the truth about you to the first media buyer—”
The window smashes—again—and
there’s a beam of white light pointed right at Nolan’s head and Nolan crumples
to the floor, although I swoop in to cushion the fall, wrapping in my arms and
guiding him down slowly.
“Really?” I ask toward the window, laying the unconsciously
newly-ex-boyfriend on my lap. “I left the
window open this time! Ugh!” I seize two huge chunks of my hair in my hands
in frustration. I don’t even care that I’ve made a mess of the thick black mop
now covering my eyes.
There’s a knock on the door, and I’m praying the RA didn’t happen to walk by and hear that. Well, if she
heard that, she’d be unconscious on
the other side of the door. But if she just heard my window smash for oh, the
tenth time or so since the school year started, I’m going to get another
“Josephine Diaz and Autumn Copeland: Exceeded reasonable property damage. $100
fine” letter in my mailbox. Because people totally smash their own windows just to annoy their RAs. And
get fined hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
Probably tired of waiting for my answer, Autumn lets herself
in, her laptop still balanced in one hand. She wrinkles her nose as she stares
at Nolan. “I’m not helping you move that one.” She balances her laptop over
her head and takes a giant step to step over poor Nolan’s collapsed body,
plunking herself back down on the couch after inspecting it for shards of
glass. Her slippered feet shattered a few pieces on the way in, and I’ve just
about had it with having to clean up by myself. She feels me glaring at her and
looks up from her screen for a second. “What? He said some pretty nasty things,
Jo. He’s a jerkwad.” She goes back to typing without a care in the world.
I sigh and step back, tucking my hands under Nolan’s
shoulders to get a good grip. Naturally, super strength isn’t something anyone
I know is blessed with. Although that’s actually a good thing, considering it
might be a problem for me if I didn’t exactly get along with whoever has it.
Nolan’s legs make a terrible cracking, smashing sound as I
drag them over the glass and I wince, praying none of the shards pierce his
jeans or shoes. I stop in front of the door and look over my shoulder and then
at Autumn. “Can you at least get the door?”
Autumn growls. “Argh. Fine!”
She practically slams her laptop down on a pile of glass on the couch beside
her and crunches her way across the room to slip behind me.
“After you,” she says mockingly, gesturing for me to exit.
Dragging my unconscious ex-boyfriend into the hallway.
Autumn doesn’t have a change of heart. The door slams as
soon as—or maybe she doesn’t even wait quite that long—Nolan’s feet clear the
doorway. I blow a wad of hair out of my face and keep dragging him, shuffling
my feet backward, praying no one opens their doors—
Music-too-loud-in-106 does just that, the very instant I pass her doorway. She has a
toothbrush handle hanging out of her mouth, and her lips are painted ‘en
toothpaste foam.’ I freeze and she does too, her eyes flicking from me to Nolan
and back again.
I try to smile. I know I look like a grinning, disheveled
madwoman when I do. “Drunk,” I say, like that explains everything.
Apparently it does. 106 shrugs, keeps brushing and takes a
giant step to walk over Nolan, making her way without comment to the floor
I go back to shuffling backward, dragging Nolan through the
hallway. Damn, Nolan, maybe try not to
put on so much muscle. It’s not like it’d save him anyway. Not from anyone
who’s actually a threat in this small town of 3,000.
By the time I get to the common room, I’m sweating buckets,
probably yellow-staining my brand new blouse irrevocably. Not that the
Forfeiters didn’t already do a good job of utterly destroying it. It’s
practically only strips charred black at this point.
With one final heave, I drag Nolan onto the ratty, smelly
old sofa. I collapse backward in order to catch my breath a second, and then I
snatch the remote sitting on the chipped glass coffee table next to the piles
of newspapers, Kleenexes, and ew, that might be a used condom, and turn on the
old cathode ray tube, dropping the remote into the nook between Nolan’s arm and
side to make it look like he dozed off watching TV. Not that he’d have any idea
why he was watching TV here. No one watches TV here. That’s precisely why I can
always count on it to be a good dumping ground for mind-wiped boyfriends.
“In Moon Meadow, authorities are reeling from yet another show of bravado from known
domestic terrorist Derek Beitel, a.k.a. ‘Soar,’ and his so-called group of
Forfeiters.” The TV switches from a shot of the practically-bored
straight-lipped anchor to a helicopter view of downtown Moon Meadow, where the
streets are still glowing with white light energy. It looks like something out
of a Parade of Lights or Tron. Or a
typical Thursday evening when your boyfriend gets taken hostage. “The
Forfeiters left another message for rogue member of the group, former Forfeiter
member, Mutiny.” The camera zooms in for a close-up on the top of a smoking
building. The last of the fire extinguished there is still burning. I couldn’t
get it out. It was like wine on a t-shirt. The harder you rub, the more it
I’ve already seen it, but I still wince to see Torchlight’s
flames crackling my other name: “Mutiny, you were good to me. Now I’m going to
light up for all to see.”
That wasn’t Torchlight composing the message, of course.
Just writing it. And probably telling Soar how stupid every word was. She had a
I spare Nolan one last look of remorse, knowing that at
least getting it all out in the open will spare him from all that. What the
‘authorities’ don’t know is that Nolan was up there on that roof, tied up in
ribbons right next to the message. Ribbons that were catching on fire and about
to burn the poor man to cinders.
Dating really sucks when your first love was a super
Joy Penny is a pen name for a writer who adores books. She also writes YA under a different name. A Love for the Pages is her new adult romance debut.
Kiss. Marry. Kill. Nineteen-year-old June Eyermann has always known exactly which of her favorite Byronic heroes goes where. She’d kiss moody and possessive Rochester from Jane Eyre and marry prideful but repentant Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, leaving obsessive and spiteful Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights to be chucked off a cliff—but no. She couldn’t leave any of her heroes behind. She lives for her favorite fictional worlds.
But June is about to get a serious wake up call when she returns home for the summer after her college freshman year. Stuck somewhere between feeling like a kid again under her parents’ roof and being forced to start acting like an adult with worries about her future career, June looks at the library volunteer position offered to her as a way to keep her sanity for the next few months before she can go back to school.
What June doesn’t expect to find at the library is her favorite romantic heroes brought to life—all in the same man. Obstinate, prideful and even a bit rude, Everett Rockford shouldn’t exactly be “dating material,” even if June’s heart rate accelerates whenever she’s near him. But after discovering his enigmatic past and witnessing a few fiery moments of tenderness, June can’t help but see Rochester, Darcy and even Heathcliff in Everett. If she’s going to make it through the summer without becoming a tragic heroine in her own story, she has to separate the man from the ideals of fiction in her head. Because if there’s one thing she knows about Byronic love stories, it’s that they don’t always end happily ever after.
Purchase a copy of A Love for the Pages HERE.
*** Since you made it this far, I'm happy
to confess that my lucky number is 15.***
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