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Really Something

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Overview

GETTING EVEN JUST GOT EVEN BETTER...

They say you can't go home again-and when home is Tempest, Indiana, "Litter Box Capital of the World," who'd want to? Not Allie Dean. She couldn't wait to leave the place that made her feel worthless when she was at her most vulnerable. Seven years later and 170 pounds lighter, Allie's back, scouting locations for an indy flick. It's the perfect opportunity to exact the sweet revenge that comes with looking ...

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Overview

GETTING EVEN JUST GOT EVEN BETTER...

They say you can't go home again-and when home is Tempest, Indiana, "Litter Box Capital of the World," who'd want to? Not Allie Dean. She couldn't wait to leave the place that made her feel worthless when she was at her most vulnerable. Seven years later and 170 pounds lighter, Allie's back, scouting locations for an indy flick. It's the perfect opportunity to exact the sweet revenge that comes with looking seriously hot. And the guy who broke her heart just happens to have made himself very available...

Duncan Henry isn't used to being stood up, though the gorgeous blond who just ditched him looks like she does it all the time. Still, Duncan's determined to win the stranger over, if only to get close to someone with no connection to Tempest. The truth is, Duncan hasn't had anyone he could really talk to since Allison left. Yeah, there are plenty of things the ex-jock-turned-weatherman would change if he had the chance-and maybe his chance is closer than he thinks...

Now, with Allie getting ready to shoot and Duncan trying to score, something's gotta give. The question is, who will give in first?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This disappointing contemporary from Jump (Pretty Bad) tells the story of a young woman returning to her despised hometown, where she endured years of emotional torture as an overweight teenager. Now thin and passingly glamorous, Allie Dean (formerly Allison Gray) is an aspiring screenwriter working on low-budget horror flicks when her condescending boss offers her the opportunity to make a movie in Tempest, Ind., the one place she's desperate not to go. Resolving to get the last laugh, Allie accepts the job and returns to Tempest incognito, begging her family to keep her true identity secret-especially from Duncan Henry, the boy who broke her heart. After an engaging first half featuring Allie and Duncan's steamy, burgeoning romance, the plot begins to spin out of control, as unbelievable scenarios with even more unlikely resolutions-Allie succeeds, for example, in changing the entire outlook of Duncan's despondent, paralyzed sister in a matter of days-start piling up. Though it provides some fun diversion, Jump's latest will strain all but the most generous reader's suspension of disbelief. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781420100358
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Series: Zebra Contemporary Romance Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.38 (w) x 7.04 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days eating, shopping and writing romantic comedies for Kensington Books as well as for both Harlequin NeXt and Harlequin Romance to feed her shoe addiction and avoid housework. A wife and mother of two, her sole mission in life is to humiliate her children in public.
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Read an Excerpt

Really Something


By Shirley Jump

ZEBRA BOOKS

Copyright © 2007 Shirley Jump
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4201-0035-8


Chapter One

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.

But Allie Dean, who knew what a good meal could do for-and to-a girl, figured she'd take it hot, cold, or à la mode.

She stood on the side of State Road 89, bouncing a smooth, round rock in her palm, contemplating a little malicious property damage. Before her loomed the Welcome to Tempest, Indiana, sign, the words written in a bright, happy-looking ivy-bordered script.

Beneath that sat a bright red footnote-Tempest: The Litter Box Capital of the World!

It wasn't much, as claims to fame went. But Tempest had greedily accepted the gift from the Kitty Kleen Litter Company, scoopable crystals and all-anything to restore the town and bring in tax dollars. Ten years ago, Tempest's claim to fame had been steel-belted radials. Then John Henry had bought the tire factory, run the rubber into the ground, and sold the building to Kitty Kleen.

In the process, he'd turned Tempest into a desperate laughingstock, which then earned the town a week in the sun of Jay Leno's monologues and not one, but three Top Ten lists from Letterman. Even Jeff Foxworthy had worked Tempest into his redneck routine, saying something about "you know you're a redneck if you're proud to be the second shift scoop manager."

But hey, at least the no-kill cat shelter did brisk business.

When Allie had left Tempest seven years ago, it had been with the express intention of never, ever coming back.

Who'd have thought she'd volunteer to return?

When Tempest had turned out to be a prime location for the latest teen horror film by her employer, Chicken Flicks, Allie had changed her mind. The movie would undoubtedly have a thin plot, a thinner budget, and be followed by thirteen even thinner sequels. In the process, she had to scare up a bunch of extras who didn't mind running around in NC-17-rated undies, covered with gore and trying to escape a furry killer wearing the complete set of Ginsu knives on her fingernails.

Not exactly Academy Award material, but hey, Allie was using this as a step up, not a ticket to a gold statue.

And best of all, after suffering through her teen years here, she had plenty of people in mind for murder victims.

Alone on the road, she stared at the sign, decades-old thoughts of revenge coiling in her stomach. Her grip tightened around the cold, hard stone.

The sign's square-shaped shadow teased at the edges of her toes. Her Prada heels sank into the half-dry mud at the edge of State Road 89. She was dressed head-to-toe in designer duds, yet standing at the town line, she felt like the old Allie all over again.

Tempest. How she'd hated this place.

When she'd been sixteen and nearly three hundred pounds-her mother's scale had stopped at two-eighty, making her feel like she'd leapt into some kind of category beyond acceptable human sizes-she'd been the size of a small sofa. The kids at Tempest High had treated her as an object to torture, to use as their own personal joke machine. Or worse, they'd looked away, ignoring her as surely as the puke green hallway walls.

She clenched her jaw and swallowed the lump in her throat, forcing those memories away. It didn't work. The years may have passed, but the sharp, biting sting still lingered.

In junior year, they'd read the Invisible Man and Allie had wanted to argue with Mrs. Anderson that Ralph Ellison's character had had nothing over Allison Gray. That she had been as invisible as air. As lonely as a single tree in the middle of lush farmland. And as powerless to turn her world around.

She reminded herself she wasn't Allison Gray anymore. She was Allie Dean, at least for a few more days, until the divorce was final. And she sure as hell wasn't invisible anymore, either.

They couldn't hurt her again. Because she wouldn't let them. And she'd come a long way-a hell of a long way-since then.

Allie chucked the stone as hard as she could at the sign. It pinged off the edge, denting the space just above the e in Welcome.

That one was for the cheerleaders who'd sat at the next table in the lunchroom. Laughing at her clean plate, her emptied milk carton. By junior year, she'd started skipping lunch, instead finding a corner in the stairway to consume her bologna sandwich and soda, like an incontinent dog banned from the living room.

She bent over, grabbed another rock, threw that one, then a third, a fourth, a fifth. So many that she lost track and the dents in the sign multiplied, one on top of the other. She saw their faces in the sign, heard their laughter at her struggles to climb the stairs. She threw another rock for the prom she had missed. One for the graduation ceremony too painful even to attend. A bigger stone for the gym class that had been pure torture. Tears started streaming down her face, a salty river filled with whale calls, snickers, and worst of all, disdain and disgust.

She picked up two rocks, bigger than the ones before, one in each hand, ready to fire them off, bam-bam-

"Hey! What'd that sign ever do to you?"

One rock had already flown forward, dinging the corner, leaving a permanent mark in the painted ivy border that danced around the edge. She jerked around, ready with her last piece of stone ammunition, half thinking of throwing it at the person who had interrupted her.

Until she saw who it was.

Oh, hell. Duncan Henry.

Of all the people she'd thought would leave Tempest on the first bus, Duncan Henry would have been at the top of the list. He was bound for bigger things, he'd always said, than this little spittoon of a town.

"So, are you mad at the sign or just looking for some target practice?" he asked.

"Darts," Allie said, thinking fast, swiping at her face, erasing the tears as he approached. All six-foot-two of him, lean and rugged. Dark hair with piercing blue eyes set off by the blue in his shirt. He had a way of walking, of commanding each step, that flipped a switch in Allie. A switch she'd thought she'd turned off the minute she'd left Tempest.

Obviously, it had just been waiting for Duncan to walk back into her life.

"Darts?" he said.

"Yeah. I couldn't resist the urge to hit a few bull's-eyes." She hid the second stone behind her back, her face hot.

Yeah, that was believable, considering the Swiss cheese she'd made of the welcome sign. If she hoped to make her time in Tempest work, she'd better beef up her lie-telling skills.

"New in town?"

She smiled. Friendly, out-of-town kind of smile. "Just arrived today."

He considered her for a moment. Did he recognize her? She waited, heart beating, but no recognition dawned in his blue eyes.

"If you're done beating up the sign," he said, jerking his chin toward the stones littering the grass in the shadow of the sign, "would you, ah, be interested in getting a cup of coffee? I could show you around, give you the scoop"-he gestured toward the sign's footnote-"no pun intended."

Allie had to look twice to be sure she saw interest in Duncan Henry's eyes, not the same twisted joke he'd played on her at the senior prom. The whole "pretend I'm interested and then dump the fat chick before the prom" thing.

But no, it was real, impossible-to-miss attraction. The kind that stirred an answering heat in her veins, the tribal music of desire.

In the last five years, she had met men-many of them-who had wanted to date her. Take her to bed. Some even wanted to marry her. She'd dated several. Married one. And over the years, her confidence had built until she could handle herself pretty damned well in the male-female sexual dance.

But none of those men had lived in Tempest, Indiana.

And none of them had been Duncan Henry.

The only guy who had ever been nice to her at Tempest High. The only one who had made her believe that maybe-maybe he'd cared no matter what she looked like.

"Uh ... coffee?" she said.

"Yeah. Hot beverage, lots of caffeine, little nutritional value." He grinned, the same familiar sexy grin that had flipped her stomach in high school every time he'd sat beside her in Algebra II or Trig and marveled over her ability to whip through an equation. Told her she was smart. Good with numbers. His saving grace.

That had been his nickname for her.

Grace.

The memory hit her, fast, quick, darting in, overriding the pain of his senior-year betrayal. "Hey, Grace, how are you?" A smile, then him sliding in beside her, his book next to hers, two peas, same pod. Pencils twinning, her heart slamming in her chest, wondering if he would ever want more from her than help figuring out what X was.

She looked at him now and realized the power of his smile hadn't dimmed over time. Something tingled in Allie's gut and the first few words she meant to say got lost somewhere between her throat and her mouth. "Coffee sounds ... good."

No, it doesn't. She wouldn't fall for Duncan Henry again like she had when she'd been twelve and trying on hormones with her training bra. She wanted closure. To show she was way beyond all that crap that had happened years ago.

Back in L.A., she'd told herself she was going to Tempest to find extras, to scout out a spooky house for the opening scene, a cornfield for the climactic moment. But she'd lied. She'd come here for revenge. For a comeuppance.

And to prove to every resident of Tempest that losing one hundred and seventy pounds had made her into someone totally different. Someone who didn't need the approval of a single damned soul in Tempest, Indiana.

Especially not Duncan Henry.

"There's a diner right down the street," Duncan said, "about five blocks-"

"Margie's," Allie finished, forgetting to play it dumb.

"You've been here before? Do you live in Tempest?" He bent forward, studying her, and for a second, Allie held her breath, sure that he would see past the size six dress and see the size twenty-six she used to be. That he wouldn't see big green eyes deepened by colored contacts, but plain hazel ones hidden behind dark-rimmed glasses. That he'd miss the sleek blond hair, and instead glimpse the mousy, curly brown.

That he would see three times the woman before him, and that he would turn away-

And laugh.

But he didn't. No spark of recognition showed in Duncan Henry's blue eyes.

"No. I, ah, saw the sign advertising it on the road back there." That much was true. The faded, peeling wooden billboard still read Margie's Eats-Come in And Dine on a Dime. A friendly, perpetually young woman, presumably Margie, was smiling and holding a pie beside the words. Margie's husband Dick had painted that sign back in nineteen seventy-four and it had stayed there, on the outskirts of town, ever since. Never getting a touch-up or a change, although Margie herself had always gone into the Curl Up 'N' Dye for regular tune-ups. Allie doubted anything on Margie's menu went for a dime-if it ever had. There was no truth in advertising, at least not in Tempest.

People who met the real Margie, who had all the warmth of a porcupine getting a rectal exam, found that out pretty quick.

"I'll take my car and follow you." Allie sent him a smile, a little helpless-girl wave of her hand. She needed the time to clear her head. Get out of the "Duncan Henry is the cutest thing on the entire planet" thinking and back into "I am a capable woman who is here for a purpose" mode.

"Sure." Duncan tossed her another grin, then headed back behind her rented Taurus, climbing into a black Miata. He zipped away from the shoulder, spitting pebbles in his wake.

Allie turned back toward the welcome sign. She raised her arm, closed one eye. She let loose the last rock in her fist, watching with satisfaction as it landed squarely in the middle of the word Tempest, compressing the circle of the p like a well.

"Take that, Duncan Henry." Then she climbed in her car and did the exact same thing he'd done to her seven years ago.

Blew him off.

Chapter Two

A half mile down the road, Duncan glanced in his rearview mirror and saw-

Nothing.

No red Taurus following him. In fact, as he watched, the Taurus flipped a U-turn and headed in the opposite direction, with a puff of exhaust smoke bleating a distant in-your-face.

He should leave it alone. Let her go.

But something about the woman-and the way she threw those rocks-had intrigued Duncan. That was no dart practice he saw back there. It had been anger, pure and simple.

An emotion he'd done more than shake hands with in the past few years.

Duncan braked, spun the Miata on the empty road, leaving a black streak on the old, pale tar, and headed after the Taurus. He caught up with her at a four-way stop between what passed for two highways in rural Indiana. She'd pulled into the Pump-N-Gulp gas station on the corner, a place that saw less business than a Texas Roadhouse in India.

He stopped his car behind hers, then came around to her passenger's side, opened the door, slid inside, and made himself at home. "What are you doing?" he asked.

She glared at him, all legs and frustration. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Finding out why you ditched me."

"Maybe I'm not interested." She stepped out of the car, handed the full-serve gas station attendant two twenties, then turned to go into the mini-mart. The attendant tipped up the brim of his ball cap and watched her go, all appreciation for those long legs and high heels.

Duncan, also a member of that club, followed. Behind them, the kid-who looked like he'd just started shaving last week-stared for a moment longer, then came to his senses and started pumping the gas.

Duncan caught up with her inside the door, where she was scanning the headlines from the paper stand. "Funny. I got the impression you were interested."

"I hope you don't make your living as a mind reader. Because you'd be collecting unemployment."

He chuckled. "Let me treat you to lunch, and to find out why you were really pummeling the Tempest sign."

Something flickered in her green eyes, gone before he could put a finger on what he'd seen. She pivoted, heading down the first of the three aisles in the small shop and stopping at the glass-fronted cooler. She withdrew a Diet Coke, then turned and grabbed a package of Baked Lays from the shelf beside her. "See? Lunch."

"That's not much of a lunch," he said.

"I don't need much."

"I disagree," he said, capturing her gaze when she turned. Fire and ice warred in the emerald-colored depths, as though she was debating between hating him-and kissing him. "You look like the kind of woman who has high expectations. And with high expectations comes a long list of wants and needs."

"Oh, I get it. You're one of those men who thinks he knows a woman just by looking at her." She slid her free hand down the hourglass of her waist, skimming along the firm curves. "All this must say 'please keep bugging me. I'm just playing hard to get.' Is that it?"

The bell over the door rang. "Uh, ma'am?" The kid who ran the gas pumps stood in the doorway, his IU ball cap in his hands, his voice a nervous, eighteen-year-old's stammer. "Your, ah, car is all ready."

"Thanks."

Duncan ignored the kid, smiling as he moved in closer, watching her inhale and exhale, and feeling a stir of desire that had long been silent. "I know one thing for sure. You're already regretting choosing this"-he took the chips and Coke from her hands-"over Margie's homemade meatloaf and me."

She took a step closer, so close he caught the light floral scent of her perfume, the soft vanilla of her shampoo, saw the flickers of gold in her raspberry lipstick. "I may have made a bad dietary choice"-she plucked back her soda and chips-"but at least I'll be with company I know I'll enjoy."

Then she spun on her heel, so close that her shoulder brushed his chest, sending a crazy surge of want through him. She tossed him a smile, her lips inches from his chin, then strode off, heels clicking on the tile. She dropped a couple bills on the counter before thanking the starstruck attendant and hopping back into her car.

The kid tugged his hat back on his head, watching until the Taurus had disappeared back in the direction of town. "Holy shit. She sure ain't from Tempest."

"What makes you say that?"

"They just don't grow 'em like that out here. I don't think we're using the right fertilizer."

Duncan agreed. And yet, a tiny part of him had to wonder. Because something about that woman-and her throwing arm-had awakened a powerful sense of déjà vu.

And a curiosity that he had thought died near this very same road five years ago.



Excerpted from Really Something by Shirley Jump Copyright © 2007 by Shirley Jump. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    A true transformation

    It seemed that the plot was all revenge based, and yet eventually also, see how far I've come. I think it took her a little long to realize that you can't give someone their comeuppance, until you have all the facts. I was happy for his sister, bit it seemed a little to easy. In a way the heroine and the sisters comraderie was understandable, due to their hardship, although the the girl in the wheelchairs angst and anger, was more sympathetic. Although I definitely can empathize with the heroines sadness, isolation and wanting to I'll show you mentality. I enjoyed the romance, the caring and the communication. The fact that he came to believe in his own capabilities. I don't want to give the ending away. So I will close.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Cloverwhsiper

    Runs in and sobs. She wouldnt kill her own clanmate. But who would believe her. She was just anoth warrior to get rid of. Well if they wanted to get rid of her fine. She could raise her kits as loners. They wouldnt care. They probably wanted to get me out of the way so that who ever did it could have goldentiger to themselves. She runs farther away(twelfth page sixth result) out side the territory away from her accusers and the person who framed her. She would never come back. Never. If they didnt want her fine. She dashed through the lush forest farther and farther away from her former clan. - cloverwhisper

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    Allie Dean is a changed woman, so changed few in her small hometown recognize her, which fits right into Allie¿s plan. She¿s in town to settle the score for the pain of her high school years, especially with Duncan Henry, the boy who hurt her most. But Allie discovers appearances are indeed deceiving and some things are far sweeter than revenge. I highly recommend Shirley Jump¿s REALLY SOMETHING, a heart-warming romance laced with wit and humor. Don¿t miss this entertaining read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

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