A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...
Take a chance and change your life...
College is where Hannah Gregory plans to follow in her dad's footsteps as a chemistry prodigy-except she bombs her first test. And now her future isn't so certain. Worse, she's not sure she wants it anymore. Salvation comes from an unlikely place-a used bookstore and the sexy Ben Fisher, the passionate college senior who works there.
Ben is trapped in a life mapped out for him. Trapped in a future career as a lawyer to make his father happy. Trapped pursuing a girl he doesn't even like because she fits into a world he doesn't want but can't escape. But then he meets the beautiful and quirky Hannah. And for the first time, he knows what it means to truly want something.
So he gives in to being her friend. Then to wanting her. Then to kissing her. But freedom comes with a cost, and it isn't long before their carefully planned lives begin to fall apart...
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.52(d)|
Read an Excerpt
This Book Will Change Your Life
By Amanda Weaver, Stephen Morgan, Ava Jae
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Amanda Weaver
All rights reserved.
Eighteen: the number for Argon on the periodic table, the third most common gas on Earth.
Eighteen: the number of freshmen who were admitted into the Honors Chemistry Program this year.
Eighteen: the score I got on my first test in Honors Chemistry I.
That's eighteen out of thirty-four, so it's more than half right, but it's only fifty-three percent, so yeah, it's pretty bad. I've been staring at it for the past hour and a half, trying to figure out what I did wrong.
I mean, the red pen scribbled all over my paper shows what I did wrong, but why did I freeze up during the test? Why did I make such stupid errors? I know this stuff — Or at least, I thought I did, so why did I bomb my very first college test in my best subject?
I've been closed up in the library all morning, staring at my disastrous test while the rest of the campus enjoys their Saturday in beautiful Arlington. The letters and numbers are starting to blur together on the page. I can't take it anymore. I need to get out of here, take a breath, maybe take a walk downtown.
Ten minutes outside and the first raindrop hits me square on the nose — I'm in trouble. As in, I have a twenty-minute walk to my dorm, and my umbrella is still somewhere in the vacuum under my bed. I don't even have time to hope the clouds will hold back long enough for me to run back, because not half a step later the sky opens up.
It's a biblical downpour; big fat drops fall so close together it's like standing in a shower. Rain hits the ground so hard it bounces back up, soaking my shoes in dirty backsplash. I plaster myself against the brick building, but the tiny carved wooden eaves two stories up don't do a thing to shield me. This isn't working. I have to get inside.
I duck into the nearest shop, through an old-fashioned glass-paned door painted with the name "Prometheus Books" and stop, sputtering and dripping rain onto the dull wood plank floor. I'm in a small, quiet bookstore that smells like ink and paper. This place seems familiar. I think I've walked past here before, but I've never stepped inside.
A big square counter on a low platform sits near the front of the room. There might be a cash register on it, but it's hard to tell because it's stacked with books. More books are stacked on the floor all around it, leaning precariously, about ready to topple over. Up front, the shelves are only waist-high, so the windows facing the street are visible. The rain is still coming down so hard I can't see the other side of the road.
Air conditioning breathes over me, chilling my wet skin. I shiver and cross my arms over my shirt, which is plastered to my chest like a second skin.
"That's some downpour." A woman steps out from behind a bookshelf a few feet away and smiles at me before turning back to the shelf. She's probably in her sixties, but she's dressed like a hippie with a brightly colored patchwork blouse to her knees, loose pants, and a long, silver braid.
She cranes her head back as she reads the titles on the shelf from underneath red, funky glasses connected to a beaded chain around her neck.
"Yeah, I wasn't expecting that."
"They didn't say rain in the forecast this morning," she says. Big silver and turquoise bracelets slide up her wrist as she slips a book into place onto the shelf. She turns, this time ducking her chin to look at me over the glasses. Does she ever look at anything through the lenses?
"Might as well have a look around while you wait it out." She smiles. I return the smile awkwardly and wipe my damp hands on my jeans.
As much as I'd prefer to go back to my dorm room and brood over my bad grade, she's right. The rain's only getting worse. Like it or not, I'm stuck here for the foreseeable future.
The store is small and made smaller by the bookshelves reaching to the ceiling. They line the room, rows of them running the length of the store, front-to-back. They're all full — overflowing, really — with books.
With a sigh, I turn back to explore the store. Where to even start? A handwritten index card is taped to the end of each shelf, identifying what's on it — philosophy, science, western history (Europe 900 to 1900), western history (modern Europe) ... I work my way around the room, past literature, popular fiction, romance, science fiction, mystery, biographies, and politics. On the right side of the store, there's a wooden staircase leading to a half-floor above, like a loft.
"Hobbies and popular culture upstairs. Children's books, too," the woman calls from the depths of the shelves. How did she even know I was over here? Creepy.
Stacks of books on each step lean against the wall all the way up. I pause halfway up the stairs on the landing, crouch, and run my fingers over the dusty spines.
"Those aren't shelved yet," says a deep male voice behind me. "But if you're looking for something specific, I can help you find it."
I spin around to a guy sitting on a stool behind a square counter several feet away. I hadn't even noticed him until he spoke because he's half buried behind stacks of books. The blue glow of a computer screen in front of him glints off his glasses, making it hard to see his eyes.
I take a shaky breath and try to look normal. Books. I'm in a bookstore. Forget the stupid quiz.
I hadn't planned on buying anything, but maybe I should. He and the lady have both been really friendly. Loitering in their store to avoid the rain and then leaving without buying something would be rude, right? Except I have no idea what to get.
I shrug, my gaze running around the room, all the shelves, all the books. "Just looking for a book, I guess." Looking for a book. In a bookstore. Where they sell books. Genius.
He chuckles and looks at me for the first time. He has a nice smile. "Well, you're in the right place. What kind of book?"
I shrug again. "Um ... I'm not sure?"
His dark, heavy eyebrows arch up behind his glasses. "Well, what do you like to read?"
My face goes warm again. "I'm not ... much of a reader, I guess."
A pause. "Not much of a reader?" He frowns, like the very idea is incomprehensible. I've probably just offended him or something. Come to think of it, saying, "I'm not much of a reader" in a bookstore is kind of like swearing in church.
"I'm a chemistry major," I offer by way of explanation.
He pushes back from the computer. He's younger than I thought at first, probably also a student. Thin, with a mess of thick, dark brown hair that looks like it's trying to fight its way off his head. He's wearing a faded navy hoodie over a gray T-shirt. The glasses are black framed, a little angular, and emphasize his high cheekbones and his furrowed eyebrows.
He's cute, in a bookish kind of way, which is perfect, considering he's literally surrounded by them. He looks as much a part of this store as the books.
"Sooo ..." he says slowly. "Let's start at the beginning. Fiction or nonfiction?"
"Either. Fiction, I guess." I can't remember the last time I read something that wasn't for school.
"Fiction." He pinches his bottom lip between his thumb and forefinger. He's got long fingers and nice hands. His wrists where his hoodie sleeves have pulled back are weirdly elegant, and his lips are a little full for his face. He pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "And you really don't read? For fun?" His eyes are brown — dark brown — with really thick, dark lashes. I'm officially ogling him now.
Oh. He's expecting an answer. I wish I could say I was a voracious reader just so I could talk to him about books. I don't know why I don't read. I guess with science stuff taking up all my time — clubs, internships, homework — I never made it a priority. I shake my head in response.
"Wow, this is a challenge." He slides out from behind the counter. "Follow me."
He heads toward the back of the store, down an aisle between shelves, where I passed all the novels earlier. Maybe they have a book about a girl who implodes her first semester in college. So much promise. So much potential. Then ... nothing.
I cringe. Happy thoughts. Focus on happy thoughts.
Like Bookish Boy. He's taller than I would have guessed — maybe six feet — but it's a lanky, unimposing height. His hoodie clings to his shoulders and upper arms. The points of his collarbone where they join his shoulders and the angles of his shoulder blades across his back poke through the fabric. But he doesn't look bony, only spare. Lean.
He stops at the back wall, his eyes scanning rows of books. He runs his long fingers through that unruly mop of dark hair and clenches and unclenches his fingers. My stomach clenches and unclenches with him. I can't stop staring at him. He's just so ... so ...
"So a book. And you don't read," he murmurs. He pulls one from the shelf, then shakes his head and puts it back. He does the same with another, muttering the whole time. "Dickens? No, absolutely not. You'd never read again. Let's see ... probably something modern ..."
He's so absolutely focused on the books. It's like the only thing in his world right now. I should say something, engage him in conversation so I'm not just a hopeless girl who doesn't read. "What's your favorite book? Maybe I'll start there?"
He throws his head back and laughs. I smile — He has a great laugh. "Oh God, my favorite? That's like ... That's impossible. There's no way to have just one favorite book."
"Why not? Which one did you like the best?"
He looks at me, and my stomach plunges like I've fallen off a Ferris wheel, and I'm on the long, blind, breathless drop toward the ground. He's so cute. So cute.
"I love different books for different things. One book might make me think about something in a way I never have before. Another might make me feel something new. So which is better, thinking or feeling?"
He's waiting for me to answer, but I can't because I've never thought about it before, and his smile is kind of distracting, so I just shake my head.
"Exactly. There's no one answer. No absolute. In a way, I love every book I've ever read because I took something from every one. Except The Red Badge of Courage. I really hated that one. Utterly irredeemable. But this isn't about me. This is about you and the book you haven't read yet ..." He arches an eyebrow expectantly.
"Hannah. This is about the books Hannah hasn't read yet."
"That would be pretty much all of them, except the ones I had to read for English class."
He shakes his head. "Tragic. Okay, so what to read first? God, a person could go crazy trying to choose." He ambles down the shelves, pulls books out, debates their merits and puts them back.
Finally, he hands me a book. "I'm not sure yet, but hang on to that one. It's a possibility." Then he hands me another. "This one, too. Wait. No, never mind." He takes it back, re-shelves it, and moves on. Every few minutes a book makes the "maybe" cut and adds to my growing pile.
I glance at the titles. What's in each one that he's considering? They all mean so much to him. These books suddenly seem like windows to alternate universes, places he's been to and remembers. Places I want to go.
Ten minutes and a ten-book stack later, he stops and examines the pile. Some he discards. "Thomas Pynchon for a neophyte. What was I thinking?" he mutters, setting the book aside.
After a couple more minutes of sorting, he smiles triumphantly and picks up a book. "Okay. Maybe this one." He looks at the book, then at me, and his smile gets even bigger. "Definitely this one. This book will change your life." I arch an eyebrow. "A book will change my life?"
"Any book can change your life if it's the right book and if you let it. Every book can change your life."
I turn it over in my hands. The Book Thief.
"I thought about Austen, but it's been done to death, and you'll find that on your own eventually. There's always To Kill A Mockingbird, but that's probably the one book you have read, in like ninth grade or something. At least, you'd better have or your English teacher should be fired." He rubs his eyebrow with his thumb and pushes his glasses back up his nose. It's adorable. "So yeah, The Book Thief. Serious, literary, but still very approachable. History you're already familiar with, a young heroine, solid supporting characters, and there's some good thematic stuff that kind of applies to your situation. So ... We'll see."
"Wow. That's a lot in one book."
He shoots me a quelling look. I get the feeling that picking this book out for me is the most exciting thing he's done today. His enthusiasm is contagious and — kind of miraculously — I'm desperate to start reading. I want to see all those things he's seen in it.
"You have to come back when you finish," he says over his shoulder as he leads me back toward the register. "I want to hear what you think about it. I'll even give you a discount, but you have to promise to come back and tell me about the book."
"I'll come back as soon as I finish." I have to summon my courage for the next thing I say, because flirting with guys is definitely not my thing, especially cute guys I just met. My heart thrums, but thankfully, my voice comes out normal. "When do you work? So I know you'll be here?"
"Oh, I'm here all the time. All weekend and most afternoons. And I'm Ben, by the way."
Ben. That's a great name. Ben. He told me his name. And he asked me my name. It feels like I've got champagne bubbles in my veins, making me float a few inches above the ground.
"Okay, Ben." I finish paying for the book. "I guess I'll see you around."
His smile is lopsided; the left corner hikes up, and his eyes go a little crinkly. That smile tingles all the way to my toes. "See you around, Hannah."
My stomach flips right over when he says my name.
The downpour has stopped as abruptly as it started, leaving the outside world dripping and soggy, and me with no reason to linger any longer in Prometheus Books. It's time to go. But I'm coming back. He asked me to come back, and there's no way I won't.
"See you," I say with a little awkward wave, clutching my book to my chest. The bell over the door rings behind me, and I turn just as another customer comes in, one he knows because he greets her by name.
"Hey, Alex," Ben says behind me. "Looks like you just missed the rain."
I don't hear what the girl says as the door closes behind me. I glance back through the glass and catch one more glimpse of Ben, smiling adorably and talking to the new customer, before I turn and hurry back toward campus. I can't wait to start reading.CHAPTER 2
Wow. Okay, so Hannah's cute. Gorgeous might be the right word. Normally, I'd roll my eyes at someone who says they've never read a book they weren't assigned in school, but she was so eager that it was kind of ... charming.
I'm still watching her leave, still off-kilter from the whole encounter when the bell over the front door rings and in comes another customer. Except it's not just any customer. It's Alex.
Alex and I have been dancing around each other for nearly a year now, ever since she started working at the coffee place across the street. I keep thinking it's inevitable that we'll end up together, but months have gone by and we're still not.
"Hey, Ben!" she says as she crosses to the register.
I straighten and smile. Alex always looks pretty without even trying. Her long, dark brown hair is up in a ponytail, she's barely wearing any makeup, and she looks great. She sets a coffee cup in front of me.
"A bribe," she says. "I need you to dig The Pelican Brief out of this mess for me. I know you've got a copy somewhere."
I wince internally. Grisham? Really? Okay, so maybe we don't like the same books, but I'm not going to give her grief about her love of lurid legal dramas. Everybody's got a guilty pleasure.
"You didn't have to do that. It's my job to find books for people."
"Yeah, yeah, but us customer service drones have to take care of each other, right? God knows nobody else will." Alex is a senior, like me, but unlike me, she hates her job at Coffee Oasis. "Rough day at the Oasis?"
Excerpted from This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver, Stephen Morgan, Ava Jae. Copyright © 2015 Amanda Weaver. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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