Sweet sixteen and never been kissed . . .
That’s Aurora Skye’s big secret. And the way she wants it to stay. She’s not going to give away her first kiss to just anyone. Busy dodging suitors and matchmaking for her best friends, Aurora (not so) patiently awaits her prince.
But everything changes when Aurora is coerced into a lead role in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing. Which means she’ll have to lock lips with her co-star Hayden Paris—the smart and funny boy next door who also happens to be the bane of her existence, always around to see her at her worst.
Now Aurora is more determined than ever to have her first kiss with the one who’s truly worthy of it. But first she’ll have to figure out just who that person is.
Romantic and funny, Tara Eglington's How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a feel-good tale of finding love where you least expect it.
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How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You
By Tara Eglington
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Tara Eglington
All rights reserved.
operation stop kiss
How do you stop a guy from kissing you?
I know this sounds like a ridiculous question — obviously there are a multitude of options available to the almost-kissee. But Bradley Scott's lips were eight inches away from mine and I was seriously in search of an etiquette-appropriate response. Without, you know, resorting to physical shoves, screams, or other emotionally scarring options.
Normally I'm completely on my game when it comes to preemptive measures — that is, avoiding any situation that could lead to a guy going in for some lip action. Stargazing, fireworks watching, or even brief contemplation of a city nightscape has, in my opinion, a Stendhal syndrome–like effect — only, rather than fainting in response to the spectacular scene in front of them, boys seem to fall lips-first in my direction with little to no warning. I can't count the number of times a fireworks display has forced me to end a night early.
The other key moment to steer clear of is the awkward good-night ritual at the end of a date. Notions of "expected" first moves confuse the male mind, and no matter how clear a stay-away-from-me vibe a girl tries to give out, the majority of the species will make an ill-judged lunge for the lips. I've learned that the only way to avoid postdate fallout is to implement an effective avoidance tactic at the good-bye point. Having a person waiting at your front door (ideally giving a big friendly wave to your date as you arrive) works well, particularly if they're a parental. No teenage boy is going to want to go for the clinch while under keen observation by your relative. My other fail-safe is a phone call received just at the moment of romantic inclination, whether this is in your date's car or on your doorstep.
Unfortunately, this fail-safe option had fallen through for me tonight. I had sent a panicked text message at the usual spot — as Bradley Scott's car passed the corner store (exactly five minutes from good-bye time) — to my best friend, Cassie Shields: PUT OPERATION STOP KISS INTO ACTION! But the crucial time had come and my phone was completely silent. It was too late to employ Option 2: Evasive Maneuver (carrying a drink so you can take a sip as the lips approach), because I had no beverage available; and Option 3: Distraction, which involved asking a question (So, how about this election?) or pointing out something important (There's a spider on your shirt!), was also useless. Nothing would distract Bradley now except a nuclear bomb. No, this was the end of playing it cool and collected. I could feel Bradley's breath on my face, meaning I had approximately ten seconds before the torpedo hit the target.
As Bradley's arms moved to encircle me, I lunged for my seat belt, frantically pushing at the release button. The belt slackened and I threw open the car door, tumbling out just as Bradley's lips kissed the cool air where my lips had been, precious seconds before.
I felt an overwhelming sense of relief for a second — a wondrous second — before I landed with a tremendous splash in the ever-present puddle in our driveway that my father refers to as "Loch Ness."
The cold water must have shocked me, because I sat there motionless as the brown water soaked through my clothes, watching Bradley react to the disappearance of his hoped-for make-out partner.
He leaped out of his seat and raced around the front of the car. "Aurora! Are you all right?"
I couldn't speak for a moment. After all, it wasn't every day I found myself taking a twilight bath in my front yard.
I pulled myself together as Bradley reached down to haul me out of the water. This beyond-cringeworthy situation had only come about because of his darn touchy-feelyness, and I'd had just about enough of it for one evening. Pushing him out of the way (and leaving dirty handprints on his white shirt in the process), I wearily got to my feet, releasing the ten liters of puddle water that my used-to-be-white-before-this-epic-disaster dress had collected. The ringlets that I'd painstakingly created now lay flat and dripping down my back. I was close to tears.
"Bradley, thank you for an interesting evening." I pushed past him.
"Aurora, wait! Let me unlock your door or find you a towel or something!"
He followed me, right on my dripping heels. I summoned as much dignity as someone with gravel-encrusted knees possibly could and turned to face him. His misty blue eyes were showing complete confusion. Obviously, this wasn't your run-of-the-mill end to a date.
I forced a smile onto my face. "Really, Bradley, I'm fine."
"You don't look fine," he said, taking in my increasing resemblance to a swamp creature.
My date was now repelled by my physical appearance. Could this night get any worse?
"Uh, yeah, happens to me all the time."
Was that really the best I could muster?
"For real?" Bradley was staring at his mud-splattered shirt. "I know Leos can be clumsy."
Oh, no. Now he was back to his favorite topic: astrology. I'd already heard an in-depth analysis of my star sign and his star sign and various planetary influences, all through our meal at La Bella Donna, an Italian restaurant in town. I'd barely been able to appreciate the tiramisu amid Bradley's insights about my moon sign and its apparent ability to make me an impatient and often selfish lover.
"Look, I think the stars have indicated that we should end our date here," I said, as convincingly as I could.
"My horoscope did say there would be a strong presence of water today," he mused.
You'd think that, along with all of his other insights into our future, he could have shared that one with me.
"Don't worry, Aurora." He grabbed my hands reassuringly. "For our next date, I'll make sure that Venus is in a favorable position!"
I pulled my hands away. "Great ... next time. Call me, okay?"
Bradley wandered back to his car, looking dreamily up at the heavens. I breathed a sigh of relief and hobbled up our too-long driveway. My mother had insisted on its length to give our place "atmosphere" (i.e., it made it look impressive).
What a night. So much for my aim to exude an Audrey Hepburn–like elegance. And why hadn't Cassie called me? I couldn't believe she'd failed me.
"Another successful date, hmm?"
Hayden Paris, my neighbor, former childhood playmate, and ever-reliable bane of my life, stood grinning on his side of the not-high-enough fence that separated our properties. His hazel eyes danced with amusement as he spun a basketball between his hands.
Was Hayden to be witness to every embarrassment of my dating life? Just three weeks ago, he'd seen Daniel Benis get stabbed in the eye when I'd employed Option 2: Evasive Maneuver as Daniel tried to kiss me on my doorstep — unfortunately forgetting that my drink had a second straw sticking out the other side.
"At least it was you that got injured, not your date this time, so he can't press charges."
Please. Daniel had been such a baby about it. He'd worn an eye patch for, like, six days afterwards. Bravery was now one of the crucial characteristics I was looking for in a date. At least Daniel had been so embarrassed about the cause of his temporary blindness that he hadn't breathed a word to anyone.
I rolled my eyes. "Funny, somehow I knew I could rely on Mr. Zero Compassion to humiliate me even further."
"Come on, Princess." He drummed the basketball against the ground, wearing his constant smirk. "You have to admit it was funny. Bradley kissing the passenger seat while his date tumbles into the water? His ill-judged attempt at chivalry resulting in a mud-covered shirt and a girl scrambling away from him? Priceless! Best part of all? His face when he realized that your white dress is see-through when wet —"
"What?" I screamed, looking down at my dress. The outline of my lacy white bra was plainly visible.
Hayden tossed me his jacket to cover up. "Mr. Bradley Yes-I'm-a-Sensitive-Sagittarius may say he focuses purely on the spiritual things in life, but I'd swear on my unblemished academic record that his mind was very much on physical things at that moment. I wanted to give him a piece of my mind."
"Enough!" I yelled. "Listen here, Hayden Paris. This unnatural interest in my dating life? There's a word for it: spying." I knew I must be turning red. I hated the way Hayden wound me up. It was like every time he opened his mouth I completely lost it. "How would you like it if I made it my special interest to offer a running commentary on your dates?"
Hayden raised an eyebrow. "I have a basketball hoop here, remember?" As if to prove his point, he sent the ball straight through the net. "How can I help it if I'm out here sinking a few baskets and accidentally witness your dramatics, using tonight as an example, exactly sixteen feet away?"
"Accidentally? Who plays basketball at ten p.m.? You can't even see out here!"
"Your logic's a little off tonight, Princess." Hayden sank another basket. "One minute you're accusing me of spying on you; the next you're claiming it's too dark out here to be witness to anything, accidentally or on purpose." He grinned, his impossibly perfect teeth showing.
"Well, all I know, Paris, is next time you have a date, I'll be sitting out here on the excuse of catching some rays at ten p.m., okay?"
"I'm afraid you won't have much opportunity," Hayden said. "I'm not dating at the moment. You could say I'm hyperaware of the dangers involved, both emotional and physical." He mimicked Daniel clutching his eye in pain.
I refused to respond to his mockery of my maimed date. "Well, the female populace is safe for now. Excuse me while I spread the good news." I gave him a little wave and turned and walked away with dignity. Well, as much dignity as I could manage with squelching shoes.
I was almost at my front door when he called after me. "Hey, by the way, Princess? Your mascara's not waterproof. Just thought I'd let you know."
I slammed the front door. I'd never get the last word with Hayden Paris.
Once inside, I stopped and did the covert listening thing, praying that the NAD (New Age dad) wasn't home. As of right now, only three people had witnessed my date-turned-nightmare, and I wanted to keep it that way. Luckily, there was no sign of him.
My dad's been going through a midlife crisis thing that involves, as he puts it, "a critical examination of my core values and the societal construction of my self-identity." He told me this when I caught him destroying his interior-designed bedroom and office. He called it "freeing himself from baggage," which seemed to involve tossing out a large number of personal belongings, including several Ralph Lauren jackets and some Tiffany & Co. cuff links. I'm grateful I've been able to keep him away from the rest of the house. I mean, the minimalist look can be stylish, but the NAD's taking it way too far. Since he stripped his office of all its furnishings, he's been forced to do any after-hours work sitting cross-legged on a hemp cushion, with his laptop perched awkwardly on his knees. Personally, I consider the laptop to be a complete contradiction of his new philosophy, but when I asked him about it, he muttered something along the lines of "the unavoidability of conformity in the modern world," while his new CD played soothing whale sounds in the background. Conformity must be the reason he's still wearing his Armani suits to work at the advertising agency, where he's a creative director. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the changes are just a NAD fad and everything will return to normal, including the decor.
Seeing the NAD was out, I could dash straight to the bathroom. As I caught sight of myself in the full-length mirror, I let out an involuntary shriek. Without Hayden's jacket, my dress was undeniably see-through, my modesty barely preserved by the sporadic sprinkling of the small pebbles and blades of grass I'd picked up in the puddle. The look was topped off by massive black rings around my eyes. I looked like a waterlogged panda.
When I stepped out of the shower, it was like I'd been on one of those makeover shows, except it was the old me — sans mud and dishevelment — staring out from the mirror.
I generally try not to think too much about my appearance — okay, that's a slight lie. I am a teenage girl (sixteen and six months, to be exact), so a fair amount of my time is spent on grooming and choosing outfits. But I like to focus on my inner self and improve what really matters — mind, heart, and soul. What's the point of a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head, right? I want to know who Aurora Skye really is.
That's my full name, and it totally sounds like the NAD was responsible for it, but it was my mother who named me. She likes herself (her name is Avery) and anyone associated with her to stand out from the crowd. Despite the schoolyard teasing that inevitably comes with standing out from the crowd, I like my name. It means "dawn sky," which sounds very poetic and inspiring. It's also a great name for an author, which I plan to be. Lately, I've been thinking of penning a self-help book for teenage girls, since — as you can see from my sad example — our lives are fraught with peril, and the answers to our most important questions about love, life, and meaning don't get taught in school.
As I made my way up our thickly carpeted stairs to my bedroom, my presence was met with two meows.
"Hello, my precious pumpkins!"
I picked up Snookums, my marmalade tomcat, and his purr motor started on cue. Bebe, my Birman, wrapped herself around my legs.
"How are you guys doing?"
I worry that my cats, due to being left alone all day, may feel deprived of mental stimulation. I recently saw this great ad for a DVD with over three continuous hours of fish and bird scenes to engage the feline mind. I think it would fast-track Snookums's and Bebe's synaptic development, but I haven't worked up the nerve to ask the NAD for something new at a time when he seems to be parting with just about all unnecessary (in his opinion) material possessions. I don't want to interfere if he's at the crux of self-realization.
Snookums (obviously not named by my mother) has been my pal since I was six. One morning I found this tiny bundle of orange fluff meowing his hardest at our front door. We were only supposed to keep him till he could be relocated (as my mom called it), but I wasn't letting my furry friend go anywhere, and I begged until my mom agreed he could stay, "but only as an outside cat." Snookums now sleeps in a satin-lined basket in my bedroom. Dad bought me Bebe when he and Mom split up. That was four years ago. One Sunday, Dad and I came home from bonding time at the mall and Mom wasn't there. I figured she was at Yogilates or the beauty salon or something, but as we found out from our answering machine, she was actually in London. She said she needed to breathe.
It sounds weird, but the first thing to come out of my mouth was, "Couldn't she just have gone down to the park for some fresh air?"
My dad got the strangest look on his face before he let out an odd, choke-like laugh.
The answering machine message was followed by a series of postcards from various points across the globe, with hastily scribbled explanations such as I felt stifled or Being a wife or a mother never came naturally to me. None of those statements — totally at odds with the cheery scenes depicted on the postcards' fronts (Greetings from Ibiza!) — made my dad or me feel any better or any less confused, but perhaps they helped Mom to heal. For ages after she left, I had this weird fear that one day I'd come home and my dad would be gone, too.
Anyway, a month after the Answering Machine Incident (as it became known), Dad came into my room holding Bebe, a purebred seal point Birman (a beautiful longhaired cat with chocolate tips and white paws). She was crazy expensive — a fluffy guilt gift, I guess — but taking care of her resplendent-bordering-on-excessive hair and making sure she was happy (she's a very fussy cat) was an effective distraction. I slowly stopped feeling so sad. After all, my mom had never been very maternal. Most of the time she'd been preoccupied with new home furnishings.
After she left, Dad replaced just about everything in our Spanish-style house. Freedom Furniture's profits must have soared that year, since every time the thought of my mom crossed his mind we'd head on down there and load up a new couch or lamp. Now, four years later, my mom had returned with a Spanish boyfriend, and Dad, the NAD, was off-loading everything.
Despite the attentions of Snookums and Bebe, I was starting to feel a tad down after my disastrous date. I was thankful when the phone rang.
"So, did it go fabulously? You have to tell me every single detail, okay?" Cassie cried, before I'd even said hello.
I sighed. "Does that include an unwanted kiss, an almost-drowning, and an ego-crushing run-in with Hayden Paris?"
Excerpted from How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington. Copyright © 2016 Tara Eglington. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Table of Contents
1. Operation Stop Kiss,
2. The Glide-By,
3. Contact Established,
4. Finding Religion,
5. The Get-Over-Him Party,
6. He's So into You,
7. Death, Dragons, and Dating in the Medieval World,
8. An Ill-Fated Audition,
9. Taking the Lead,
10. Crossing Paths,
11. Undesirable Aura,
12. The NAD's Big Date,
13. Lady Disdain,
14. Cupid Is Understaffed,
15. Valentine's Day,
17. There Is No Romance Between Us!,
18. The Fraud of Men was Ever So,
19. Seeing Stars,
20. The Depths of Despair,
21. The Chain of Destiny,
22. Fighting Fate,
24. Running Out of Options,
25. The Big Moment,
27. It's a Date,
29. Facebook Fiasco,
30. I Don't Exist to You,
32. The World's Greatest Romance,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
HOW TO KEEP A BOY FROM KISSING YOU is a cute, clean YA romance that adult chick-lit fans are bound to enjoy too. The heroine is funny and warmhearted and someone you can easily see as a friend or, if you're older, would be proud to have as a daughter. Eglington writes with such humor and wit that you can't help but keep turning the pages even though you already know how the romance will ultimately turn out. There are a couple of timeline discrepancies, but other than that this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a contest.
This books is from the view of Aurora Skye's view point. We see how she feels about relationships, especially her friends, her parents, her neighbor (Hayden) and her trying to find the perfect prince. In the process of trying to find her prince, in an effort to please her mother, she tries out for the school play. While in one of her usual fights with Hayden, she gets the lead for "Much Ado About Nothing". She feels like she has to play matchmaker for all of her friends, making sure they are all prince material. I found Aurora a bit whiny at times, but I firmly believed that she was in high school. I have heard similar things come out of high schoolers' mouths. This book is perfect for the YA group. I loved that it subtly told readers that you can choose who you kiss (or do more with) and who doesn't. This is something that I am not sure this age group is really taught anymore. But, with school and family, you don't always get what you want. Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the digital ARC of this book!
Awww. Such a sweet and downright adorable romance. I loved Hayden! He was such a sweetheart of a character, despite the fact that Aurora thought he was a jerk. Aurora was also a fun lead for this and a great match for Hayden. The banter between these two was a blast and had me chuckling whenever they were sparring. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of Shakespeare and this story. Nothing in this surprised me, which I think was the point. Like one of the Bard's comedies, we the audience are privvy to things the characters re not. It made for a great read where I grinned at what I was seeing with my "insider's eyes." The characters were very Shakespearen/Oscar-Wilde-esque as well, with their own, albeit shallow, dramas. I think that it translated well to high school and was very charming. I also thought the kiss was cute and, as a hopeless romantic, thought the build up of the first was great. The one thing I wasn't big on was the "rules" and game playing that happened, though that was very "comedic play" trope. And very naive high school girl matchmaker, so I could let it slide. This is a fantastic story for anyone who enjoys Young Adult Romance with a bit of a Shakespearean twist!
"How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You" is the light-hearted, comedic tale of Aurora, a 16-year-old who has dedicated her energy to playing matchmaker and making sure she only receives a kiss from her Prince Charming. She is incredibly oblivious to others around her and pretty stubborn. The book mostly centers around the school play, "Much Ado about Nothing" and her relationship with Hayden, the boy next door, mirrors the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick (the characters they play). The book is very cute and I loved Hayden and Aurora's relationship- it was a very, very slow build (I wanted to shake her and tell her the obvious at times)! The book also deals with her absentee and neglectful mother, who left years ago to get some space and only visits Aurora to convince her to go into modeling. Her father, the NAD, is doing his best, but Aurora knows the mother-daughter relationship is important (though she learns to stand up for herself by the end). Aurora has a funny voice and accurately portrays a somewhat mature (but in other ways naïve) 16-year-old with some accuracy. It's a fun and light-hearted romantic read, great for younger teens (clean and straight-forward- you won't find more than a kiss). I found it somewhat reminiscent of "Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging," but better for an even younger crowd (though even as an adult, I found this to be a fun read)! Please note that I received an egalley of this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Aurora Skye tells a charming tale of a girl who wants to meet her Prince, and gift him with her very first kiss. In the meantime, Aurora doesn't want any frogs stealing that kiss away, and that includes her infuriating neighbor--and former best friend--Hayden Paris. See, at 16, Aurora wants a real true love, not like her parents marriage which dissolved horribly when her mom up and left one day four years ago. Oh, mumzy's back, as of a year ago, with her Spanish boyfriend and little time to call Aurora, unless it's to check and see if she's ready to begin modelling. Aurora wants to help all her friends find their Perfect Prince, too, and decides that going for the school play might help couple up her best gal, Cass, with Scott, a new boy who's friends with Hayden. Hayden is a perennial thorn in Aurora's side. He's always seated near her, and is ultra-competitive, and basically in her face, even witnessing her graceless attempts to keep her dates from swooping in for The Kiss. While Aurora wants a secondary part in the MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING production, she and Hayden are cast as the leads--with a kiss in the script! How will Aurora deflect this? And why is Hayden suddenly being so nice to her? Is it because she has a secret admirer? I liked the back-and-forth of this one. Aurora, for all her desire to be a Love Coach, is a blissfully ignorant young girl. Her quaint idea of having a special first kiss is endearing, and sweet. I liked how she and Hayden had a troubled history, that was partly explained by Aurora's dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Her father's given up on the materialistic aspects of his life, becoming New Age Dad (NAD for short), and is currently dating a horror of a woman, much to Aurora's chagrin. There are some fun bleed-throughs of the Much Ado storyline into the book, with the cattyiness, rumor-mongering and issues with True Love. I will also say that I found the idea of only giving kisses (or any affection) to a partner who is worthy of you to be a very sex-positive and life affirming message for teens. One of the main messages is: you can CHOOSE who gets a piece of you, which is a lesson I feel is underrated in society today. It's readily apparent that Hayden is a decent guy, and his continued attempts to befriend Aurora eventually bear fruit. He's her constant defender against nasty boys trying to sully her name, and a super-duper cat finder when she needs one. The detached parentals were a little convenient, and the lack of proper grounding of the story was a bit irritating to me, as I'm all about setting. I pretty much had to guess that she was in Australia, based on some buried clues, which later became rather nutty--her dad's going to NYC for a business trip and returning in a day? Not bloody likely, mate. I really enjoy books set in other countries, and felt the generic descriptions detracted from what could have been a lush read. That said, the book makes up for poor setting with sweet romance. Aurora does meet her Prince, but really, it's not when she wants. See, she's already fallen for Hayden before her Secret Admirer can step forward. Can she accept a kiss from someone she hardly knows--even with his splendid poetry and taste in flowers? Or, should she follow her heart and kiss Hayden before anyone else can get in the way? Aurora makes the only choice she can--and I liked how lovely it all was. Quite the storybook romance for these previously star-crossed love birds.
Youre self centered...
Thanks for the advice :) its cuz a LOT of boys like me and i really dont want to be uncomfortable around them. Ps. My crush likes me... well sort of. I am i pretty, athletic, smart, and a kind girl im also cool. I love this life :)
Shout out to alll the ugly boys plz keep them away from meeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!"""!!!!!!!!