Entry Nickname: Ivy League Sex Scandal
Word Count: 104,000
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
At 25, all Jocelyn St. James has to show for her life are three homecoming crowns, two blue lines on a stick, and a ton of regret. She’s cutting her losses and heading for grad school at Dartmouth. Leaving Texas is her only hope of hiding her pregnancy from the baby’s father.
She’s got seven months until her due date. Not enough time to get a master’s degree or figure out the whole motherhood thing, but if she can manage not to ruin anyone’s life, she’ll be off to a good start.
When her sexy professor locks eyes with her on the first day of class, her fresh start is the first casualty of his killer smile.
Best-selling author, Michael Kensington is no average academic. Brilliant and gorgeous, he could charm the pants off any grad student, even a former homecoming queen determined to outrun her past.
If Jocelyn doesn’t address the rising heat between them, she won’t have a prayer of focusing on school. But when things get way more intimate than either of them intend, Jocelyn not only falls in love— she kind of falls apart. He’s quick to blame her hormones, but she’s got bigger problems.
With rumors of their affair spreading, and her mom coming for a visit, it’s just a matter of time before Jocelyn’s pregnancy is big news at Dartmouth and back home. Kensington wants to know what she’s running from, but telling him the truth about the baby’s father is not an option.
If Jocelyn wants a future with Kensington, she’ll have to make a choice: lie to keep him close, or lose him to keep her secrets… Unless she’s not the only one with a past that won’t stay put.
First 250 Words:
I make him nervous.
His eye contact falters when he glances across the desk at me. Dr. Edna Moss’s teaching assistant clears his throat and taps his pencil. A flush creeps up his neck.
I’m not sure what he sees in me. The usual, I guess. My two-thousand mile road trip must not look as bad on the outside as it feels on the inside. Because inside, I’m struggling.
The office reeks of air freshener. The smell nauseates me. Lately, I’ve come to depend on breathing through my nose to keep from gagging, but the revolting scent makes breathing much harder than it has any right to be.
“How long will Dr. Moss be?” I ask, ending our awkward silence.
He glances at me with lit-up eyes and a shy grin. “Any minute now.”
I return his smile with as much grace as I can manage. “Tell me your name again?”
“Nice to meet you,” I say.
“You’re new to Dartmouth?”
“Dr. Moss says you’re a star.”
“Wow. Thanks.” I have zero desire to flirt with this guy, but I don’t want to piss him off either. It’s a delicate balance. As men are.
“What are your languages?”
“French and Italian. Some Portuguese,” I say.
He doesn’t ask it in a derisive way, but the question still manages to dredge up every insecurity I have about whether I’m good enough to walk the halls of an Ivy League school.
“Yeah,” is my brilliant answer.
Title: The Absence of Butterflies
Entry Nickname: Madam Butterfly
Word count: 80,000
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Will Kavanagh is the only one who knows the truth about the drug overdose that killed Christy Talbot. Not that he’s telling. The world famous actress may have starred in the film adaption of his novel, but that doesn’t mean he wants to go to jail for giving her illegal drugs. Troubled by a mounting sense of self-loathing and guilt, not to mention images of Christy’s lifeless face plaguing his dreams, Will returns to the only place he has ever felt something other than lost: home. Not that everyone in town is rolling out the red carpet for Cherrington’s prodigal son.
Following the unexpected death of her father, Jessica Locke needs something—anything—to keep herself busy, and fixing up a property for Will’s mother sounds like just the ticket. The only hitch is her ego-fueled ex-fiancé is back—the one who left her in the rear-view mirror on his way to literary fame in NYC. Will is the last person Jessica wants to talk about, let alone see. Repeatedly thrown together at the most inconvenient of times by Jessica’s matchmaker uncle, it isn’t long before things begin to heat up between them once again. Too bad Will, haunted by the knowledge of how Christy died, isn’t exactly relationship-ready. Neither is Jessica.
Each dealing with death in very different ways, Jessica and Will navigate conflicting emotions and their undeniable attraction to find something worth saving. Then Will realizes that unless he’s willing to reveal his secret to Jessica, fast, he could lose her trust—and her love—all over again. Because, as it turns out, Will isn't the only one who knows the truth behind Christy’s death.
On the drive from New York City, Will Kavanagh couldn’t stop thinking about the dead actress. All day little things triggered memories of her: a red Porsche, a cluster of violets on the side of the road, a movie poster.
And when he emerged from the coffee shop that evening, he was confronted with yet another reminder.
His legs seemed to move of their own volition, taking him off the sidewalk and over to the bookstore window. He would have been able to spot those red and gold splashed covers anywhere. Bold black letters at the top of each one proclaimed Now a Major Motion Picture. Underneath was a snapshot of the two main stars. The one on the right gazed back at Will, her full lips drawn into a seductive pout.
As he stood transfixed on the sidewalk, the world around him faded away. He didn’t see Christy Talbot with her arm around her leading man. Instead his mind burned with the image of the actress as she lay sprawled on the floor, a pill bottle upended next to her, her eyes empty. Those eyes had haunted him every day for the last two months.
The voice made him snap back to the present. He turned his head and saw a man standing beside him, holding out the bag that contained Will’s bagel. “I saw you drop this. You didn’t even notice.”
“Thanks,” he mumbled.
The man smiled. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
Will stiffened. “No.”