Not so long ago in a galaxy of single men ...
Rory Egglehoff is looking for her knight, but she seems to attract only nerds ... until Hunter Chase touches down in the office next door.
Her high-school crush and quintessential dream man, Hunter sends Rory's pulse into hyperdrive. Now all she needs is to get gorgeous Hunter to notice her, take her to their high-school reunion, and pledge his undying love.
But putting the Ultimate Jedi Plan into play is harder than it sounds. An unfortunate incident at the gym, a family straight out of "The X-Files," and some seriously suspicious pizza toppings all conspire to send her plan spinning outrageously out of control. And for one would-be princess, confronting the Dark Side is child's play compared with landing the perfect hero ...
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About the Author
Shane Bolks is an award-winning writer who loves historical romance and its edgier cousin, chick-lit. Two very different worlds, but she’s as happy with a cosmo, the latest edition of "Vogue", and Brad Pitt as with a ratafia, a copy of "La Belle Assemble", and "Beau Brummell".
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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Men I've Dated
By Shane Bolks
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Shane Bolks
All right reserved.
A long time ago, in a suburb far, far away ...
In my opinion, there are three truly great philosophers: Aristotle, Confucius, and Yoda. I didn't know about Aristotle and Confucius until high school, but I grew up steeped in Yoda's ideology.
My education began at age seven, when my step-father, Dan, and my mother, Sunshine, took me to see Star Wars. The first of two life-altering events that year, it set off a chain reaction, the effects of which still alternately inspire and irk me. It's been twenty-five years, but my memory of the first time I watched Star Wars is more vivid than this morning's commute on the el.
Those scrolling white words. That riveting John Williams score. The blackness -- the utter blackness -- of space in the first shot. Suddenly I was part of that galaxy. I was on Princess Leia's rebel cruiser. I was Princess Leia.
In the real world, I was a geeky kid with glasses and crooked teeth, living in the Chicago suburbs. But during those two hours in Star Wars world, I was a princess -- beautiful, witty, and poised. I was a rebel with a mission. I was part of the galaxy's last stand against the Evil Empire. I was --
"Rory? Rory! Are you listening to me?"
I blink, transported from saving the universe to saving room for dessert. Momentarily disoriented, I stare at the crowdeddining area of Cosí on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.
"Earth to Rory." The woman seated across from me, a titian-haired beauty who resembles a real-life princess, raises an annoyed brow.
"Sorry. I was daydreaming."
She snorts and digs into her salad, stabbing a cucumber with her plastic fork. "I'll just bet you were. And I know who you were dreaming about, too. I mean, of all the people to come walking into your office."
Hunter Chase. That's the second momentous event. On my first day of school, I tripped over a loose piece of carpet in Mrs. Allman's first-grade class. I went sprawling, my skirt over my head, my tin lunch box flung in a corner. All the kids howled, and I went beet red. But when I stood up, Hunter Chase handed me my lunch box. "You okay?" he said, and he wasn't laughing.
I fell in love. How could I not? But my adoration of Hunter was based on more than his kindness that day. He was one of those kids that teachers look at and say, "Now that kid is going to be someone."
In a classroom full of knobby-kneed, snotty-nosed, rambunctious seven-year-olds, Hunter Chase shone. Shone as brightly as the burst of light from the Death Star when it explodes in Episode IV, as brightly as the dual suns on Luke Skywalker's home planet, Tatooine. Like a tractor beam, his very essence drew me to him. Every day I waited for him in the back of the room, standing among the cubbies where we stored our lunches and the hooks where we hung our winter coats. When he walked in, my little heart beat faster, and I inevitably gravitated toward him.
Unfortunately, so did all the other kids. Five seconds after Hunter Chase arrived, a circle formed around him, shutting me out. As usual.
"So tell me again," Allison says now through a mouthful of salad. "What did you do when you saw him? Were you completely freaked out?"
That's the understatement of the millennium.
"I almost fell over. He was walking down the hall with Mr. Yates and some of the other account execs from Dougall Marketing, and when I saw him, I almost tripped over my feet."
That's not exactly true. I actually did trip over my feet, spilling hot French vanilla cappuccino all over my crisply pressed white Oxford button-down. I yelped when the coffee scalded me and slammed my leg into a file cabinet, snagging my pantyhose in the process. It was first grade all over again.
Hunter and Mr. Yates had glanced over at the commotion, but I didn't need my figurative lunch box handed to me a second time, so I'd ducked behind the file cabinet, hoping they wouldn't see me.
"You almost fell over, huh?" Allison says. Her eyes, trained by her years as an interior designer, assess me, taking in the rumpled jacket of the navy suit I've buttoned snugly over my stained white Oxford. "I think your reaction was a little stronger than that. You sounded like you were having an orgasm when you called me this morning."
"Allison!" I hiss, glancing around Cosí. "Keep your voice down, okay?" Creator! I hate it when people stare at me.
She picks up a breadstick and rolls her eyes. "Give me a break. No one here cares whether you have an orgasm or not." She grins, flashing perfect white teeth. "Well, except me. By the way . . . how long has it been since you've experienced la petite mort?"
"Not very long, for your information." I sit up straighter. "Just last night, in fact." Well, that's not exactly true, either, but there was the opportunity for an orgasm, so that pretty much counts.
Allison sits forward. "Ooh, do tell! Did you pick up some hunky mimbo at Bardo's, then drag him home and ravish him?"
Right. Like that would ever happen in Rory World. The guys who frequent bars like Bardo's don't go for girls with straight, limp hair, mud brown eyes, and a face that blends into the woodwork. "No," I tell her. "Tom came over. Tom. Remember him? My sort of boyfriend."
Allison sits back and picks at her lettuce. "I've actually been doing all I can to forget about Tedious Tom. God, Rory. How can you stand him?"
"Tom's not so bad," I mutter. I fumble for my veggie sandwich and take a small bite.
Excerpted from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Men I've Dated by Shane Bolks Copyright © 2006 by Shane Bolks. Excerpted by permission.
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