It’s been a contentious few days here at BadGirlzWrite, and here’s why. Our very own Jeanette Grey and Sophia Henry have dueling book releases this week.
Jeanette’s book, When The Stars Align, is a new adult romance about summer students completing an astronomy internship in beautiful Puerto Rico. It features a hot nerd hero who both solves physics equations and manages to look like this.
While Sophia’s book, Delayed Penalty, is the story of a college student scrambling to make tuition by translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player — a jock with a whole host of scars who just happens to look like this.
It’s a classic battle of nerd heroes vs. jock heroes, and we need you to help settle the score. Check out an excerpt from each of the books below, then scroll down to the bottom to cast your vote!
Excerpt from When The Stars Align by Jeanette Grey:
Scene Setup: Adam and Jo are college students doing a summer internship at an astronomy observatory, and they got off to a rocky start with each other. They’re currently pulling a graveyard shift, manning the telescope together in the middle of the night.
Her adviser headed off, leaving Jo and Adam by themselves. Jo tapped her booted foot against the linoleum, her throat suddenly tight. Adam was sitting a respectful three or four feet to the side—close enough to see the monitors but far enough away that he wasn’t encroaching on her space or her experiment. It suddenly felt like he was sitting right on top of her, though, her skin buzzing and pulse humming with the promise of proximity. The possibility of contact.
She looked over at him, meeting bright blue eyes, and for the longest moment, their gazes held. Heat bloomed up and down her spine, because there was something about his stare. Something that made her think he was really seeing her.
Except then he seemed to remember himself and tore his gaze away, directing it outward, toward the window.
The room suddenly felt even more silent than it had a minute before.
She’d brought a bunch of articles with her, but it was after midnight, and the idea of really concentrating on the text made her temples hurt. She dared another glance over at him, and then another, and she bit her lip. She wasn’t going to break. He was the one who was supposed to give in and fill the quiet, not her. That was how it always went. For once, she actually wanted him to, and the fact that he didn’t made her skin itch.
Who the hell was she kidding?
“What are you working on?” she asked, pushing her papers and any pretense at disinterest away.
He arched a brow. “I’m sorry. I thought I wasn’t supposed to be distracting you with small talk?”
Mock-glaring at him, she waved her hand. “It’s more of a no speaking unless spoken to kind of thing.”
“Oh.” His smile got awfully smirky, but there wasn’t any malice to his tone. “In that case”—he shrugged, looking up—“it’s just some background calculations for my project.”
He licked his lips, distracting her from his eyes with the soft pout of his mouth. She wondered how it would yield beneath her teeth. How his equations would taste on her tongue.
She blinked, refocusing. His voice had that quirk to it, like he was saying her name for the second time. Like she was the one who hadn’t been paying attention. “Hmm?”
He tapped his pencil against the paper and pushed it closer so she could see. “Did you want me to take you through it?”
He scooted a few inches closer. After a quick glance at the monitor, she did the same.
His voice got softer as he ran through the lines of letters and symbols scrawled out across the page. It wasn’t difficult to follow, and half of it she’d seen before, if not quite in the same configuration, but he explained it nicely, answering the couple of questions she interrupted with.
At the end, he frowned. “It’s not quite working out right, but I think I’m pretty close.”
She traced his calculations back a handful of steps, leaning in even closer. She paused in her scanning and tugged at the corner of the notebook, then without thinking, reached over and grabbed his pencil out of his hand, brushing his skin as she did.
“You dropped this term,” she said, circling it, then looking at him.
He’d somehow ended up almost on top of her, their chairs bumping, his knee warm where it pressed to hers. His lashes were impossibly long against the fall of his cheek. He inspected the page, mumbling to himself. When he lifted his gaze again, it was with the most brilliant, beautiful smile on his face.
“How did you catch that?”
“I don’t know. Just did.”
The compliment made her warm inside. People didn’t say that kind of thing to her very often. Probably because she usually shoved their mistakes in their faces instead of quietly pointing them out. She quirked her shoulder up but didn’t move away.
He was so close, and it was the middle of the night, and he’d been looking at her. Maybe if she pushed just a little…
His grin faltered as their elbows bumped, and oh yeah. The darkness in his eyes wasn’t her imagination.
WHEN THE STARS ALIGN is a steamy, summery, new adult romance. It releases September 1, 2015 from Grand Central’s Forever Yours.
Excerpt from Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry:
Scene set up: During winter break of her junior year in college, Auden Berezin’s grandfather sets her up with a job translating for a Russian, minor-league hockey player. Upon meeting her client, she realizes it’s the crazy-haired hottie who hit on her at a bar the night before. In this scene, Aleksandr’s agent, Evgeny (Zhenya) Orlenko, introduces the two.
I’m pretty sure there were only two ways Crazy Hair could have looked better than he had at O’Callaghan’s. The first was as he did right now: sitting on a bench in the locker room wearing nothing but the lower half of his uniform, including his skates, sweat rolling over his sinewy pecs and creating a happy trail all the way into his hockey pants.
The second way—I can only assume—would be if he were completely naked.
“Aleksandr, this is Auden Berezin. She will be your translator.”
“I don’t need a translator.”
I almost laughed, because he’d said he didn’t need a translator in Russian.
“You must talk with the media at some point, Sasha. They’re riding my ass to get better answers from you than ‘was good game.’ ”
Aleksandr Varenkov, hot Russian hockey god, laughed, showing the perfect set of white teeth I’d noticed at the bar.
“You have your teeth in, but you haven’t even showered yet?” Orlenko asked.
Was Orlenko a mind reader? I sure hope not, because I would be fired for thinking about my client naked.
“I wanted to look good for pictures.” Aleksandr winked at me. Then he stood, and drops of sweat raced down the hard planes of his chest.
I’d never been so envious of perspiration in my life.
“Sometimes I talk in the shower. Will she translate for me in there?”
My cheeks began to burn, so I averted my eyes, lowering them to the black Cyrillic script tattooed down his sides, then thought better of that line of sight and studied the soiled beige carpet below my feet.
“Aleks—” Orlenko sighed, rubbing his forehead.
“Zhenya,” Aleksandr began. “You know I’m kidding, yes?” He shoved a towel onto the shelf above his nameplate and walked away without waiting for an answer.
“Yes,” Orlenko hissed. He’d said it under his breath, but I heard him and wondered what my grandpa had gotten me into. “Well, that was Aleksandr Varenkov, your client. He’s a talented player and a good man. But he can be a little—”
“Douchey?” I offered in English. I shouldn’t have said it, considering Grandpa’s professional reputation was in my hands. Then again, Evgeny Orlenko was Grandpa’s friend first, so maybe he wouldn’t be too hard on me. Besides, Grandpa knew what kind of mouth I had, and he’d sent me for the job anyway.
Orlenko laughed, and continued in Russian. “Wild was the word I was looking for, but your adjective may not be that far off.”
“I’ve got it, Mr. Orlenko.”
“Are you sure?” He inspected me through thick black-rimmed glasses that were too small for his puffy face.
“As a college student with an active social life, I’ve learned how to handle arrogant douche bags.”
This time I was being paid to handle one.
“I shouldn’t be having this conversation about one of my clients,” Mr. Orlenko said, his lips quirking up, then back into a tight line. At least he was trying to keep a straight face. “You’re like a breath of fresh air, Audushka. I hope you stay that way even with his off-ice antics.”
Off-ice antics? What the hell did that mean and why would I have to deal with them? “Will I have to hang out with him outside of the arena? I thought I was here to translate for media interviews after games and some practices.”
“Aleksandr speaks very little English. He’ll need your assistance in all aspects of his career; interviews, community service. At least, until he gets acclimated. Vitya said you were here for the month, is that correct?”
“Yep. All of winter break.”
“You’ll be putting in a lot of hours.”
“I’m a hard worker. And I need the cash. Got cut from the soccer team, and I have to replace the scholarship money I lost.” I was running my mouth again. Maybe I did need to tone it down.
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. The being-cut part.” He cleared his throat. “Here’s my card. I wrote my cell number on the back. If you have any trouble or if Aleksandr makes you uncomfortable in any way, please give me a call.”
“Thanks.” I scanned the card wondering if I should try to memorize his number now, since I wasn’t sure how stable this client sounded.
After Orlenko left the locker room, I realized I hadn’t asked him what I should do next, and he hadn’t given me instructions as to where I should wait while Aleksandr showered. Since I wasn’t part of the media, I was extremely aware of being the intruder standing in a room of half-naked men. A shower shouldn’t take very long, so I dug my e-reader out of my messenger bag and sat down on the stool that Aleksandr had just vacated.
“Ewww.” I jumped up and skimmed my palm against my damp backside. Hadn’t even thought about any runaway sweat that might’ve dripped from Aleksandr’s lean, hard body onto the stool.
Stop. Just stop thinking about the shiny, wet flesh covering his impeccably carved frame.
DELAYED PENALTY, the first book in the Pilots Hockey Series, releases on September 1st, 2015, from Random House Flirt.