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Sneaking Candy

Sneaking Candy

by Lisa Burstein
Sneaking Candy

Sneaking Candy

by Lisa Burstein



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Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein. A new adult novel from Entangled's Embrace imprint...
One taste is never enough...
All I ever wanted was to make a name for myself as Candice Salinas, creative writing grad student at the University of Miami. Of course, secretly I already have made a name for myself: as Candy Sloane, self-published erotic romance writer. Though thrilled that my books are selling and I have actual fans, if anyone at UM found out, I could lose my scholarship…and the respect of my faculty advisor, grade-A-asshole Professor Dylan.

Enter James Walker, super-hot local barista and—surprise!—my student. Even though I know a relationship is totally off-limits, I can't stop myself from sneaking around with James, taking a few cues from my own erotic writing…if you catch my drift. Candy's showing her stripes for the first time in my real life, and I've never had so much fun. But when the sugar high fades, can my secrets stay under wraps?

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622662371
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 12/09/2013
Series: Entangled Embrace
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: eBook
Pages: 280
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is also the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever and Dear Cassie. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.

Read an Excerpt

Sneaking Candy

By Lisa Burstein, Stacy Abrams

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2013 Lisa Burstein
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-237-1


I couldn't decide if I was burned out, pissed off, in love, or none of the above. I chewed on my pen, what I'd done the last time Professor Dylan reviewed one of my syllabi in his wood-paneled office.

What I could decide was that he made me nervous.

Obviously he made me a lot of things, but nervous was pretty much the only one I was allowed to feel when it came to him. There weren't any specific rules at the University of Miami about "relations" between teaching assistants and the professors they assisted, but it was "frowned upon." It was a sexual harassment minefield. Considering Professor Dylan was tenure-track, it was enough to make him see me as someone with typhoid — sexual typhoid.

At least when he was sober.

I understood. It would take a hell of a lot for me to mess up my academic career just to mess around with some student.

I watched his steel-blue eyes scan the document, grateful they weren't focused on me. That was when I felt more than just nervous about what he would say — when instead I felt a fever about what he might do — a heat in my thighs, which blazed up to my neck, scorching everything in between like a wildfire.

As a creative writing student, a creative writing teacher, I got how cliché this situation was: falling for your boss, falling for your professor, falling for an older man, falling for a man who'd recently broken up with his long-time girlfriend.

It had more clichés than I could count.

The fact he liked my writing, thought I had real promise, and chose me as his teaching assistant because he believed I could actually be a successful author while my parents did not, also added the ever- disgusting daddy-issue cliché to the mix.

Weirder still, considering he was only twenty-six years old.

"This is a little female-heavy, Candice," he said, tipping his head up. His mouth was a straight line, like the punctuation on his criticism.

I bit my lip. Professor Dylan could be as irritating as a thong made out of sandpaper.

As irritating as realizing I was wearing a thong made out of sandpaper and I had forgotten to do laundry and had no other thongs to wear.

"Compared to what?" I asked, sitting up straighter in the impossible-to-be-comfortable-in slick wood chairs the university chose to adorn the other side of his desk.

The class was Contemporary Fiction 201 and, fine, maybe I did choose to teach more female writers, but I was a female writer. And I was also pissed off at how underrepresented we were everywhere else.

Unfortunately, I couldn't say any of that as a lowly teaching assistant, so while I waited for him to answer my question, I thought back to the day everything between us changed. It was the start-of-the-semester department mixer a week ago. Seeing him play sand volleyball on the beach with the male grad students, his shirt off and army-style swim trunks hugging his hips, was all it took.

I was done.

Pile on that as the sun was setting, he and I were sitting on an ocean-worn log drinking beer and laughing as we tried to one up each other with terrible watercolor-sky-inspired similes.

I was winning. "It's as pink and perfect as a baby's bottom."

"As pink and perfect as a baby's bottom rife with diaper rash," he added.

I laughed and our eyes connected — a sharp, soft jolt — a pause that clearly could either push his lips forward into a kiss or rewind them back.

Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on which side of the desk you're on — one of the graduate students he'd been playing volleyball with interrupted us. When the guy had ambled over during his survey of whether we wanted a hot dog or hamburger, he also put a pause on whatever might have happened.

With our almost-kiss floating between us like a bubble we were both afraid to pop, all those clichés lodged in my taught-to-hate-cliché brain. They floated up like Professor Dylan's trunks would have if they'd come off him as we'd bobbed in the ocean together ... which I also sometimes pictured.

It was all I could do to keep my chest from heaving when I thought about him.

Yes, I know: another cliché.

"It should be balanced," he said, waking me from my fantasy. "Don't you agree?" His wavy, hay-blond hair was slicked back. On the beach it had been loose, flying as he ran to spike the volleyball. I remember thinking the exact color of his hair was something sonnets could be written about. Of course, I'd had more than my share of Mike's Hard Lemonade, so I was feeling poetic — a scary proposition for any fiction writer.

"If there were more men, would you tell me to add more women?" I asked. I was sure some of the frustration we felt toward each other would have been washed away if we'd been able to finish what we'd started on the beach. Of course, who the hell knew what we'd be doing right now if that had happened?

"I don't know — give me a new one with the changes I've requested and we'll see." He passed the paper back to me.

I didn't respond at first, allowed him to think I was considering what he'd said. I wasn't. I was considering his lips. Wondering how they could seem so soft and yet be so off-limits.

He cleared his throat. I liked to think I made him more than just nervous, too, or maybe when it came to me, nervous was enough. I mean, he'd seen me in my black bikini top and jean shorts at the department mixer, too. Seen my dark brown hair wet and wavy-wild from the ocean water — the kind of hair you can't get if you're trying.

"Are you saying I should add one of your books?" I asked, feeling brave enough to lean toward him — to call his bluff.

You tried to kiss me. You tried to kiss me; admit it.

"I don't think I said that." He laid his hands on the desk. They were so large I sometimes wondered how he typed his manuscripts. "Though the sales would be nice." He laughed — a joke.

"Any other authors heavier on Y chromosomes you might suggest?" I asked. I considered saying, Authors with bigger balls than mine? but I needed this fellowship. It was the only way I could afford to stay here.

Even with the desk between us, our bodies were close, his fingers almost touching mine, my face just a neck's length away from his ...

"You're smart and talented, Candice. I'm sure you'll figure it out."

... but then he ruined it by being a sandpaper thong again.

He sat back in his chair. I guess he'd noticed how close we'd been, too.

Smart and talented — the curse of death for a writer, what someone said when he couldn't think of anything interesting to say about your work. Something had definitely changed after our moment on the beach, and like the daddy-issue cliché I was stuck in, I guess I was still searching for his approval.

At least he'd taken over for my parents. When I'd decided to become a writer, they hadn't approved at all. They were surgeons, and that was what they had wanted me to be. Choosing to be a writer, a profession they referred to as indulgent and flighty, had been enough to make them cut me off financially.

And in every other way, too.

"Fine," I said, stuffing the paper back in my messenger bag. He rarely checked the syllabus again after this first meeting. I knew it would stay as is.

"Are you really going to change it?" he asked, like he could read my mind.

"You told me to," I said. "I heard you."

"It's not the same thing as yes." His teeth waited like he wanted to smile but was waiting to see what I would do first.

I sighed. "Yes," I replied, and the word was heavy in my throat with thoughts of ocean rendezvous.

"In time for class this afternoon?" he pushed. He picked up a silver pen from his desk and started clicking it, click, click, click, like he needed to give his hands something to do. I knew the feeling. Sitting in his office, I sometimes had to sit on mine.

"Isn't that why we're having our meeting this morning?" I asked. He didn't believe me and I didn't care. It was my class, my rules — as long as he never found out, that is.

"You're just more agreeable than I expected."

"I do what I'm told." Or at least, I let people think I did.

"Shame," he said, "I do love a good argument." He put down his pen and took a sip from his mug.

"Is there anything else?" I asked, suddenly needing to get the hell out of there. Fantasies could only take you so far when you had no idea if you'd ever achieve them — if you even had the chops to.

Anthony Dylan was a "literary force." What the New York Times said of his debut novel, published last year when he was twenty-five. Only three years older than I was now. It was unimaginable, all he'd done in four years: New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award nominee, tenure-track full professorship.

It made my stomach hurt, because it was everything I wanted for my life and it was sitting right across from me at the impossible age of twenty-six.

"Have you done all the reading needed to lead my discussion section for Modern Lit 301?"

I wished when he'd given me that syllabus, I could have told him to make it more balanced. It was dripping with penises — a Christmas tree adorned with saggy members instead of garlands: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce, and Faulkner, to name a few. It was a semantic sausage fest.

"Almost," I said.

He cocked his head, waiting for a better answer.

"I'll be finished this week," I said.

"Good," he replied. "I have a star student signed up for it, and I want to keep him a star." His usually minty breath was studded with a hint of cinnamon and coffee.

Coffee. I couldn't help but think of James, the barista at Buzzer's Coffeehouse I'd been crushing on for the last six weeks. Forget about the sonnets that could be written about Professor Dylan's hair — James's deep brown eyes were what the songs played in vans with steamed-up windows were written about. They were the cause of what happened in those vans.

I glanced at my phone, wondering if I had time for a latte before class.

"Are you still with us, Candice?" Professor Dylan asked.

I blinked and put my hand to my chin, checking for drool.

"Yes," I replied, "star student. Can't wait." He meant a guy he hoped to chisel into his literary image. Apparently, I wasn't eligible because I was a girl. It didn't matter how much promise he thought I had because I literally lacked the necessary equipment.

Meeting over, I walked out of his office, and heard the click of his keyboard keys behind his closed door. I hurried out of the department quickly, hoping to avoid Julia. The ex-girlfriend — the ex-girlfriend in a freaking office next door — and ten years his senior. How they could still work together I had no idea. How he could have been with her in the first place, I couldn't even begin to fathom. She was the classic hard-ass bitch — the kind of professor who, if you were a minute late to class, marked you absent and then made you write a freaking paper about it. People referred to her as the POed Poet.

She was the last person I needed to deal with today.

I headed down the hall and into the stairwell toward the basement copy center to make copies of my syllabus as is. There was no way in hell I was changing it. But, I couldn't tell Professor Dylan that — or anything else I felt about him.

Why can I only be assertive and sexy in my writing?

Well, not the writing I shared here, but still.

It was so much easier to be strong and fearless and free on the page than to say the words.

Why couldn't I have told him to stuff his changes to the syllabus? Why couldn't I have fed it to him piece by piece while he was tied to a bed with my fishnet thigh-highs? Only when I was writing erotic romance as Candy Sloane could I do that. When the two of us were in his wood-paneled office, I wished I could be more like Candy.

But he could never find out about her. No one at the university could. As much as I loved her, she had the possibility to make everything I was working toward vanish.

Professor Dylan would be furious. Not because of Candy specifically, but because Candy represented everything he thought was wrong with the publishing industry now. He and his literary brethren weren't too happy with the success of self-published romance writers like Candy.

On the beach, drunk enough to forget himself, he'd complained about that being the reason his newest book wasn't making the bestseller lists. Of course, the critics had their own term of endearment for what had happened to him: "sophomore slump."

I knew being an erotic romance author wasn't an actual offense, but writing popular fiction when I was studying to be a serious literary writer absolutely would be, according to him.

Candy had to stay my secret.


I sat at the desk at the front of the lecture hall waiting for the students to pile in. I think college campuses might have been the only places on earth with clocks still on the walls, considering people had so many other ways to see what time it was. I guess it was because the students were actually paying good money for our time.

Not that I got much of it.

My teaching fellowship only paid for my tuition. To cover my rent, food, and essentials from Bliss cosmetics and Zappos, I had to invent Candy Sloane. It was either that or shoveling slop at one of the dining halls for the undergrads.

When I was an undergrad, I hadn't had to work at all, before my parents went all tough love. That was actually a kind way to describe what they were doing. Really, they were completely incommunicado, which felt a lot more like no love.

I'd solved the money problem, at least, by self-publishing as Candy. It was a hell of a lot more fun than a campus job and was paying the bills quite nicely. I just had to make sure she remained in the closet when I was at school. They didn't teach Writing Erotic Romance 101 here — or on any college campus, for that matter.

At least not yet.

Everyone studying creative writing here wanted to be the next Gillian Flynn or Khaled Hosseini — taken seriously, but wildly, commercially successful.

I guess, writer or not, it was what everyone wanted.

"When's your class start?" My roommate Amanda's voice echoed from the doorway of the lecture hall. She was a Marine Biology fellow, which made her continually tan and taut from all the dives she went on. I was her antonym: epically pale and usually stuck in a classroom, a library, or hunched over my laptop.

"Ten minutes," I said, glancing at the clock. I guess people actually did use it, but only because it was there.

"Nothing like being early," she said, walking down the long, gray-carpeted aisle in between the rows of seats.

It had been Amanda who'd given me the idea to write as Candy when I first moved here three months ago. I was lamenting how I would have to beg for change on the overpass to pay my rent past October. I'd had a padded bank account when I got to Miami, thanks to college graduation gifts, but that would only last so long.

It was Amanda who had said, "Duh, you're a writer. Why don't you write a book?"

"It can take years." I breathed. "To get an agent, a publisher to take you on; I don't have years."

"No." She shook her head. "Like one of these."

We were sitting next to each other on the couch in our living room. She'd clicked on her phone and passed it to me. Her Kindle app was filled with book covers featuring guys with abs as taut as stretched rubber bands or that highlighted a sexy item like a knotted tie or a Martini glass.

I kept scrolling and found covers with couples who looked like they were about to do it and couples who looked like they just had, twenty-seven times in a row.

"You can write it yourself and sell it yourself. Lots of people are," she said.

"What are these books about?" I asked.

"What else? Trying to have sex, having sex, having more sex." She grinned. "And falling in love. You know, the good stuff."

I continued scrolling. There had to be a hundred books, all with covers that screamed in their own way, Let's get it on.

"You really haven't heard about these?" She frowned.

I guess I sort of had, but I was also a writing student — we tended to do our best to ignore what the public was actually reading. "What if no one buys it?" I asked.

"Get out your notebook and a pen." She sighed and leaned toward me. "I have a few stories in my fornication files I know would sell."

I spent the night taking notes and two weeks devouring as many books as I could on her Kindle. With my muse fully aroused, my first book, The Reality O, was written and self-published in two months.

The Reality O, inspired by Amanda's love of reality shows and orgasms, was about a librarian picked to live in a house with fifteen contestants and chose one of them Bachelorette-style to provide her with an inaugural-O.


Excerpted from Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2013 Lisa Burstein. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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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