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First pages

Chapter 1

Three Monks Seek Roommate

Seeking a roommate who is friendly, responsible, honest, and clean. Must be an employed, drug-free, non-smoker. Roommate should be respectful of monks’ vow of silence. Four bedroom, two bathroom home with shared common space. One parking space included. No pets allowed. Rent is two hundred dollars per month. Includes utilities. Conversation via email or text only. Contact Denny Davies at 555-432-1124 for more information.

Chapter 2

I’m not sure how you’re supposed to dress for an interview with monks. I don't own any veils or habits or long dresses that reach my ankles. I tried searching “what to wear for interview with monks” on the internet but came up with images of that television show Monk, which is no longer on the air, and a few fetish sites. There are some strange people out there.

Every item of clothing I own is out of my closet and splayed across my bed. Skinny jeans, low cut shirts and most of my dresses have been tossed to the floor. Not that I dress like a ten cent floozie, but I’m twenty-three-years-of-age, so most of what I wear probably isn’t monk worthy material.

I decide to pair a gray cardigan with a periwinkle t-shirt and white jeans. The outfit seems like a good choice for such an occasion. There are no rules in Florida about not wearing white after Labor Day. It’s hot year round, so we all flip the bird to the fashion rulemakers. I iron the t-shirt, cardigan, and the jeans. I know, I know, ironing jeans, who does that? I'm nervous and want to make a good impression: wrinkle-free jeans could do the trick.

I had no idea monks live in Orlando. I thought they all lived in monasteries on mountain tops in Tibet or in abbeys in Europe. When I first saw the ad, I thought it was a hoax. It’s easy to become paranoid after hearing about all of the serial killers who lurk the net, preying on poor, desperate recent college graduates who are in need of cheap places to live because they're earning substandard pay and have mounting student debt. (Psst: That’s me in case you didn’t catch on). But, monks are harmless enough, right? I've never heard about any monks who have gone on a rampant killing spree or done anything of a violent nature. After texting the monk to schedule a time for an interview, all of my worries about my potential demise at the hands of a monk wielding a sharp object were gone.

Hi, Brother Davies! (They didn’t teach me what the proper term for addressing a monk is in school, so I Googled “How to address monk,” discovering that “brother” is the most often used term.)

I saw your ad on Craigslist. I don’t smoke and am drug-free. So, no worries there. I come from a big family and never got a moment’s peace, so a vow of silence sounds perfect to me. I don’t have any pets. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to all living things. Not a Buddhist, either, but I try to meditate. I don’t go around killing insects unless they’re in my bedroom. I’m honest and rather clean. Not like Pig-Pen, per se, but tend to keep things somewhat tidy. Interested in learning more. Just making sure this isn’t a joke, right? If it is, you should take the ad down as it wastes people’s time. Best Wishes, Hadley Echols.

Of course, after I hit “send,” I instantly regretted my ramblings. A simple, “Interested in learning more about home,” would have sufficed. And, “Per se?” Ugh. “Best Wishes?” What was I thinking?

A few minutes later, my phone pinged.

Hello, Hadley! Denny Davies here. No need to call me “Brother.” We’re not so formal in this household. Rest assured this is not a joke. I appreciate your concern for other people’s time. That tells me you’re a kind person, so we’re already off to a good start.

When you say you’re allergic to all living things, do you mean humans, too, like John Travolta in that movie Bubble Boy? Because that could pose a problem. PETA would be thankful for your gallant efforts to spare the lives of so many insects. Rest assured, we have our home sprayed each month, so no heroic gestures on your part will be necessary. A former roommate liked to eat in his room - that’s why there was a need for an exterminator. So, now that we’ve had this chat, when will be a good time for us to interview you? We prefer face-to-face so that you can see the place and so we can check your aura and make sure it’s copacetic with ours. Just kidding. I don’t even know how to check auras. Since you wished me the best, I’ll do the same! Best Wishes, to you, too, Hadley Echols!

A sarcastic monk? I thought they were all about the chi and peace and love. I texted him a response:

I currently do not live in a bubble and am not allergic to humans. Although I do have an aversion to grumpy people. I don’t eat in my room, either. I’ve always followed the rule that you should never eat where you sleep and go to the bathroom. I’m free tomorrow morning. Could we interview then? And, out of curiosity, how will we be interviewing since you all are on a vow of silence?

After a few minutes passed, he texted me back: Good rule to follow, Hadley! Even if it sparkles, there’s no bathroom floor I’d been eating on. And no problem about grumps. Sometimes Sherman, (one of your potential roommates) can be a little moody when he hasn’t had his coffee, but otherwise he’s easy to deal with. So long as we have coffee in stock, you should be good. Tomorrow morning around nine o’clock will work. We’ll be interviewing via text of course. Our address is 1817 Acushnet Circle Orlando, FL. See you then!

 

I study my reflection in my mirror. My hair is pulled back into a ponytail. Outfit isn’t too tight. All important body parts are concealed. Simple and conservative. Just the look I want for a meeting with three monks.

“Do you have your mace?” My dad asks me on my way out the door. He bought me a bottle when I went off to college, like I was entering some warzone. It’s the same bottle, by the way, which probably means it’s expired and won't ward off any crazies.

“They’re monks, not Hells Angels members.”

“You never know, and I don’t think the Hells Angels are called ‘members’.”

“Well, they are members of an organization, so that’s not necessarily incorrect,” I argue, then acquiesce when I see he’s not convinced. I unzip my purse and show him the mace is lying safe and sound next to my wallet and cosmetics.

“What kind of monks live in Orlando?”

“These kind, I guess.”

“Hmm...” He forms a thoughtful expression. “Don't drink any juice if they offer it to you. Especially if it's Kool Aid.”

“I don't care for Kool Aid, so there will be no drinking of it if they offer. And, they’re not a Jim Jones cult, they’re just monks.”

“Hadley! Stand up straight!” Mom shouts from the other room.

This right here is a prime example of why I need to find a place to live, pronto. Although my posture has improved since I moved back home, I’m not fond of watching reruns of Seinfeld night after night or hearing comments about my poor posture or my overuse of my phone. According to my father, cell phones have brought on the destruction of America.

“Call me at the first sign of trouble,” he says.

“If there's trouble, I'll run out of their house, and then I’ll call you.”

He likes this answer, and I am given the clear to go.

After five long months of unemployment, I was finally offered a job at McKenna and Teague Public Relations. I’ll have a long commute from my parents' home to my new place of employment unless I find a suitable place to live. “Suitable” being the operative word in this case. The pay I’ve been offered is next-to-nothing, which means my choices of finding a decent (and safe) place to live are nil. But I can't be a complainer since there are no, and I mean no, jobs for recent college grads.

When I graduated, I thought I’d be living with my parents for a week or two—tops. Ha! That's a laugh. After going on interview after interview and having no luck, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to be stuck there for the rest of my twenties. It wore me down, and I began to doubt myself, wondering if all of that money I borrowed was even worth it. But then McKenna and Teague Public Relations called and scheduled an interview, and the rest is history. I begin my job as Junior Public Relations Assistant in three days. I’m not sure what the title means: Glorified Assistant. Gofer. Coffee maker. Errand Girl. I don’t care. A job is a job is a job.

I’m driving on the interstate, jamming to the tunes on my less-than-stellar radio. It came with the car, which doesn't have a CD player. What car doesn't have a CD player? A basic, no frills automobile that you buy on a salary from Tasty Treat.

I exit the interstate and wind up driving down a two-lane road in a fancy residential area. I turn onto Acushnet, a street lined with beautiful historic homes and manicured lawns flanking both sides of the brick road. Yes, the road is brick, and my low rider hates it. I thought monks took a vow of poverty. I’m not sure what religious sect or order these monks come from, but it must be one with lots of donations from wealthy benefactors.

I find their house and pull into their driveway. It’s a two-story arts and crafts style home fit for a Hollywood movie with an expansive front porch and natural wood columns covered in a coat of earthy green paint. A slate path leads to the porch. I turn off my engine and get out of my car, then walk to their front entrance. Even the rocking chairs look expensive – like they cost more than my vintage Volkswagen Golf. “Vintage” sounds so much nicer than “old clunker.”

I rap at the door and wait, fidgeting because I'm nervous, which is a bad habit of mine. I look like I have a tic or I need to pee. A shadow lurks behind the curtains, and I stand up straight, hoping they don't think I'm weaning off of the meth. Good thing I have nice teeth and clear skin, or there’d be a definite suspicion there with all of this scratching.

The door swings wide open, and a man with a shaved head wearing an orange toga or robe—whatever you call it— greets me. I get a little lost in his eyes. They’re the color of honey, warm and friendly - the kind that make you feel right at home. His lips turn upward into a nice smile, and I see he has a good set of teeth. Now I sound like I’m looking at a horse. Open up there, Mr. Ed. I just happen to notice people’s teeth.

He’s tan, too. Not I-use-fake-bake-style, but a natural shade of olive brown - the kind of complexion most people pay for at tanning salons. I see a hint of short brown hairs on his perfectly shaped head. Seriously, his head is the kind that artists would want to use as a point of reference for portraits.

I thought monks were pale, portly, old and homely. At least the monks I see in the movies are. They usually have a funky bowl cut with a big shaved spot on the top of their head. What is that for anyway? Or they look menacing, like in The Davinci Code. No, not this monk, though. He’s built all right—it’s evident by his bare right muscular shoulder, which is all I can seem to look at this moment. Tricep anyone? Is it wrong to check out a monk? I feel like I'm breaking some sort of cardinal rule. I am. He can sense it. He’s probably communicating this with his boss right now: sinner twelve o’clock in need of immediate assistance.

He peers down at his phone and types.

I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket but ignore it because I don’t want to appear rude. Got to make a good first impression after all. Can’t have him thinking I’m one of those people who is always checking her phone and dilly dallying around with her head down, staring at the screen. I’m desperate for a place to lay my head at night.

I’m smiling—a bit too much as my jaw is beginning to hurt—but hopefully not in a creepy manner, like I should be saying, “I have a puppy, and his name is George.” Odd people always smile too much and talk of their nonexistent puppies.

He’s not even paying attention to my overzealous attempt to appear peppy. He gestures at the phone in his hand. My face colors red since I must look like dense to him right about now. Vow of silence. Contact by text. Duh, Hadley. Duh.

I pull my phone out and read my text. Hi, Hadley! I’m Denny. Come in.

Chapter 3

Oak wainscoting, trim and tapering piers fill the home. The walls are a pale yellow, and the furniture is leather, tufted, and classy – the kind you expect to find in an estate home with a billiard room and salon. I imagine men dressed in tuxedos sitting around stirring their whiskey-filled glasses and smoking cigars, talking politics and other manly topics. There are landscapes hanging on the walls, but not so much it's cluttered, and not so few it's sparse. Architectural Digest called and they’d like their set back, please.

As I'm looking around, I feel my phone vibrate again.

Denny: Would you like some coffee?

I text him back. That would be great. Thanks.

I lift my head and make eye contact with him. He’s giving me a strange look. Oh, just great. Is something on my teeth? Do I have a booger in my nose? I hate it when that happens. No one ever tells you, either. They just stare at it and hope you get the hint. I wipe at my nose, then run my tongue across my teeth. Nothing. What is it then?

He nods and offers me a subtle smile, then moves his head to the side, motioning for me to follow him to another room. If this were a horror film, this would be where I get killed by a knife-wielding monk, but as it stands, I’ve not been struck and am currently facing two other monks who are wearing the same orange robes as Denny. No weapons in their hands from what I can see.

It's as if Casper threw up all over this room. White cabinets. White walls. White subway tile. White, white, white! The appliances are stainless steel, and the table is a rich mahogany wood, but everything else in here is white.

Denny motions for me to have a seat across from the three of them. One is what you would call rotund or stout – to be politically correct. Fat just sounds so mean. I was chubby in elementary school and still cringe when I hear people making fun of obese people. Fourth grade was pure misery. They called me “Hadley the Fatty.” Not good for the self-esteem.

His pink skin is covered with acne scars. He offers me a toothy grin, showing me a mouthful of crooked teeth and a protruding underbite. His dark eyebrows move upward when he smiles.

The other one is gaunt and is wearing thick square-framed black spectacles, which are large in comparison to his tiny head. He’s pasty, but not scary pale, just in need of a good day’s sunshine. His cerulean blue eyes stare me down, and his thin lips move downward into a frown.

Denny: Augie is the one smiling at you, and Sherman is the one giving you stink eye. He hasn't had his coffee yet. You'll have to bear with him until the caffeine kicks in. Should be five more minutes.

I give him a nervous smile and sit back against the wooden chair. I fidget again and notice I'm crossing one leg over the other over and over.

I text Denny. I thought caffeine was forbidden for monks.

Really? That's all I can think to text? Not clever at all. So school marmy, too. Why not point out other rules they’re breaking? Like I even know what rules they have. It’s not like I’ve ever been a monk before. Can women be monks? Must Google this when I get home.

Denny’s lips lift up. My phone vibrates, and I see he’s texted me again.

Denny: Not for us, which is good since Sherman would possibly end up in jail if he had to quit caffeine. He wouldn't last more than a night. BTW, you don’t have to keep answering me with a text unless you’re on a vow of silence, too.

My face flushes in embarrassment, but I don’t say anything, and I certainly don’t text him back. The coffee pot beeps, and Sherman gets up and pours himself a cup. He doesn't add any milk or sugar, and when he comes back to the table I see it's black as coal. Augie takes a bite of his scone and tilts his head to a plate filled with other scones, eagerly pointing at them with his index finger.

I reach for one and find Augie splaying a napkin out in front of me. He nods encouragingly. Denny moves to the coffee pot, pours two cups and comes my way, placing one in front of me. He brings a carafe of cream and a bowl of sugar to the table.

“Thank you,” I say, and Denny smiles again, like he’s proud of me for finally figuring out I can speak. I’m surprised I don’t get a “attagirl!” text.

I bite into the scone, tasting fresh blueberries and loads of sugar. Crumbs fall to my chest and down my t-shirt. I brush them off and keep eating. I won’t be picking the crumbs out of my bra as that wouldn’t give such a great impression. Feeling up my boobies in an interview isn’t a good idea unless I’m auditioning for porn.

Denny: Augie made those scones.

I glance up and see Augie grinning from ear to ear.

“It was very good,” I say to him, and he seems pleased with my compliment.

Sherman continues sipping his coffee: permanent stink eye in effect.

Denny: So, what brings you to Orlando?

“I got a job,” I answer, then proceed to them all of the boring details about my job search and my doubts of getting a degree in public relations when a majority of college graduates are working at Staples. “I should have majored in dental hygiene. Everyone has teeth, and they always need to be cleaned. It would have been the more prudent choice.”

I tend to ramble when I'm nervous. That was part of the problem with me securing a job. In the few interviews I had, I came across as a Chatty Cathy. Add an I'm- too-big-for-my-britches applicant pool, and the offers were nonexistent.

Denny: Pfft. Who wants to put their hands in people's mouths all day?

“Not me,” I say. “I mean, teeth are important to one’s health, but the idea of actually touching another person’s teeth with my hands is not an act I would want to perform day after day.” I shrug. “So, public relations it is.”

Augie and Sherman give him a clueless look.

Denny: You mind if we do a group text?

“No, go right ahead.” I add a heap of cream and sugar to my coffee, making it a nice light brown shade. I sip and grimace from it's strength. I try to be subtle, but the three of them are watching my every move. I add more cream and a lot more sugar, and it finally tastes like it won't put hair on my chest.

Denny: Sorry. He makes the coffee way too strong.

Denny is side-glancing Sherman, who shoots him an evil look.

Sherman: I make it like it should taste, not watered down like yours. I guess Hadley isn't a coffee connoisseur.

“Oh, I like coffee,” I say. “Really, this is very good.” That's a bit of a stretch, but hopefully he can't tell I'm lying. I have another sip, forcing a smile. “Yum.”

Sherman eyes me skeptically. Are you a fan of Star Wars? We have already deduced that you aren’t a fan of properly brewed coffee.

He turns his head to the side, looking at Denny.

“Sure,” I lie. “Star Wars is great.”

His face lights up; then he texts me again: Which Star Wars character would you like to be?

Really? This is an interview question. I give his question some deep thought and try to remember the characters from the series. I'm not much of a Sci-fi geek. Too unrealistic if you ask me. And that Luke guy is such a whiner.

Who is that green alien looking being who talks backwards with the Miss Piggy voice? I struggle to remember his name, and am about to blurt, “Beetlejuice,” when I suddenly recall what it is. “Yoda!” I say it with so much enthusiasm that I cause Augie to sit back in his seat, like he's trying to avoid being struck. Sherman scrutinizes me, then finally nods with approval.I notice Denny and Augie smile at each other. I guess I answered correctly. I should call my ex-boyfriend Joey Dutton and thank him. It might be a bit strange to call him out of the blue like that since I haven’t talked to him since my senior year of high school, but he’s the only reason we “cough cough” saw the films.

Augie: Which do you prefer: agave or honey?

“Honey,” I answer. Is this what crosses the minds of American monks – whether or not I like honey or agave? Are they beekeeping? Maybe that’s how they make their money. Honey can’t be that profitable, can it? Well, I guess it could as honey is loaded with sugar, and sugar is highly addictive. I should know. (Raises hand. Hello, I’m Hadley and I have a problem with sweets. The problem being that they should be a part of the food pyramid.)

Augie seems satisfied with my answer.

Denny: What were three things you noticed when you walked inside?

The image of their living room flashes in my mind. “Well,” I play with my pony tail, then bring my hand back to my lap, trying to stay poised. Can’t look like a jitterbug. “There was a copy of Garden and Gun Magazine on your coffee table,” I say. Again, very strange. Guns. Monks. The two don't mix. “You have an orchid that is dying; you really should try feeding it.”

Not that I'm some type of green thumb, but it's obvious the poor plant either needs to be taken out of its misery or fed some plant food. “And,” I think for a moment, “I didn't see a television.”

Denny smiles and glances at Sherman and Augie, who seem like they're impressed with my photographic memory. The only reason I noticed these three things is because Mom has a subscription to the magazine, I watch tons of TV and was bummed when I saw they didn’t have one, and I love orchids but often kill them.

Sherman: If you caught your best friend's boyfriend cheating on her, would you tell her?

“She doesn't have a boyfriend. In fact, Allie tends to go from one boy to the next. Not that she's tawdry or anything. I mean, I'd call what she has a healthy appetite for the opposite sex.” They're looking at me with blank, unreadable expressions, probably thinking I'm a loquacious woman. “Anyway, if she had a boyfriend, and he cheated on her, I'd probably egg his car first, then I would tell her.”

Great. Now they think I have violent tendencies. Like those psycho females who go ballistic and burn their ex's clothes. But Allie is my best friend, and if her boyfriend cheated on her, I'd want to egg his car, mangle him, then tell Allie.

They don't seem bothered by my response. I guess I'm not the only woman in America prone to egging a cheating louse’s car.

Denny: As you know, we're on a vow of silence.

I glance at the wall and see one of those “You Might Be A Redneck” calendars by Jeff Foxworthy. My dad loves that type of humor. I guess monks do, too. A date is outlined in red Sharpie with the words, “Vow of Silence Begins!” written in bold capital letters.

“So texting and email are fine, then?” I ask them. It seems strange to me that these tools are an acceptable means of communication yet actually speaking isn't. I mean, texting and emailing are conversing. How is that not bucking the system?

Denny: Yes. We're taking this vow very seriously. We ask that you help us in keeping this promise. We'll need you to let us know if one of us isn't keeping his word.

“So, you want me to be a tattle tale of sorts? Wouldn't your own conscience rat you out? I mean, you are monks.” I snort, then discover they aren’t laughing along with me.

Sherman: Yes, but even monks are human.

Augie: We worry about some more than others.

Augie side glances Sherman, who lets out a long winded sigh.

Sherman: HE has more potential to break this vow than I do! So, can we count on you?

I shrug. “Okay.”

What am I going to say? I need a place to live, and if these monks want me to be their conscience, then so be it. I'm up for the job. I can be the hall monitor.

“The rent is really only two hundred per month?” When I read that it was this low, I thought it was a misprint. Even places on Orange Blossom Trail, where prostitutes and pimps call home, probably charge more by the hour than this measly amount per month.

Denny: Yes.

“I guess monks aren't capitalists, are they?” I smile, and the three of them laugh, which gives me a little comfort since this is the first time I've seen Sherman not look like a bug is up his butt.

Augie: When can you move in?

“As soon as possible,” I say. I squint and give them a thoughtful expression. Denny is the first to notice.

Denny: Is there a problem?

“Not a problem,” I say. “Just wondering... you're not flagellants, right?”

I receive three smirks (some more subtle than others) in response.

“I guess that answers my question, but it really wasn't out of line if you've seen The Da Vinci Code.”

Denny: Terrible film.

Augie: Not Hanks' best.

Sherman: Gives monks a bad name.

I let out a laugh, which perplexes them. “Sorry. It's just funny to hear monks critiquing that movie. Do you also critique Gregorian Chant CDs?” I snicker again, and Denny smiles at me, but it's more out of politeness since I've got the humor of a twelve-year-old.

Denny: We keep our whips down in the basement.

I give them a worried frown.

Denny: Gotcha!

The three of them laugh. I don't know if I should be offended or relieved that we feel this comfortable with each other.

“Could I see my room and get a tour of the place?” Not that I can be too choosy, but I want to make sure I'm not moving into a shoebox.

They finally stop laughing, stand and gesture for me to follow them.

Chapter 4

Sherman emphatically points to the “Keep Out” sign on his bedroom door. He uses lots of exclamation points in his texts and has the audacity to write in all caps when trying to make a point. Who does that? There’s a simple rule of courtesy out there about refraining from the use of all caps as it is rude. He obviously does not know this social nicety.

“I have no interest in poking around anyone else's rooms,” I assure him.

This is a lie. As I’ve already sinned today by ogling a monk, a white lie to another monk is going to send me over the edge. Who have I become? Anyway, I'm curious about what he's hiding in there, but I don't possess the ninja skills to sneak around without getting caught. I’ve never been a good sneak. My brother Henry is, though. He did it often when he was in high school. Mom and Dad never suspected a thing. I did it once and got caught. Murphy’s Law I guess, or it could’ve been the fact that my best friend at the time had a pain-in-the-neck-big-mouth little brother who decided to tattle on our whereabouts: we were at a party. So, I’ll have to find some way to see what Sherman is hiding in his room.

Denny opens the door to my bedroom, and it’s much larger than I thought it would be. The walls are painted an egg yolk yellow, and lace curtains hang above the wood framed windows. I’ll have enough space for a bed, dresser and a chair. And hopefully a television, too, since they seem to lack in that department.

We amble to the hall bathroom, which I will share with Denny. The floors are a basketweave black and white Cararra marble, and the subway tiles in the shower are white with black pencil thin tiles as accents. There is plenty of counter space. Denny opens the vanity drawers, showing me they are empty.

Denny: These are yours. Just please don’t clutter the counter with cosmetics or toiletries.

“Easy enough,” I say, and we proceed to the backyard.

Sherman opens a set of French doors leading to the backyard. Teak chairs sit around a fire pit on a stone covered patio. Tropical plants in terracotta pots are scattered throughout the patio. The golf-course-like grass is emerald green, and a wooden fence borders their property, providing plenty of privacy from their neighbors. If there was a pool, it'd be perfect, but I guess swimming and sunning aren't high on monks' priority lists.

Sherman points to the raised garden boxes. Those are mine. Stay away from them.

“Sure,” I say. “I tend to avoid gardening. Manual labor and I don’t see eye to eye on things. I mean, I’ll work if I have to, but gardening is such hard work. Why not just buy the food at the store?” Rambling again.

Denny: I agree with you completely, but Sherman says his tomatoes are better than the stores.

“I’m sure they are,” I say.

Denny sends me a private text. Don’t worry about trying to win Sherman’s approval. He is snarky to everyone. Just relax and be yourself.

He smiles at me, and I grin in return, thankful to have an immediate ally. In all, I feel pretty good about my new living situation. It isn't bad, a bit unorthodox (ha, ha, pun), but overall it will be a safe and drama-free place for me to live for the time being.

We finish up the tour, and Augie gives me a few scones to take home. They follow me to the front door and wait for me to get in my car, then wave as I drive off.

I call my dad to tell him I am safe and sound, then call Allie and tell her to meet me downtown for drinks. Allie lives in Orlando in a studio apartment. She offered for me to room with her, but there's no way I'm sharing that confining space with her. A dorm room was bad enough. She's a slob and snores and makes strange noises when she's hooking up with a guy. We had to get a two bedroom apartment our last two years of school. Otherwise, our friendship would have ended.

I beat her to the bar. She's always late. I find a high top (as a shorty I like high tops because it lets me see things from a tall person’s point of view) and have a seat, then order a mojito – my favorite. I'm not one for the bar scene, especially when the drinks cost more than a few dollars, but tonight I feel like celebrating. I have a job. I have a place to live. I am no longer living with my parents. I can slump all I want, and I don’t have to watch anymore reruns of Seinfeld. Life is looking up.

Allie enters the bar and receives more than a few lingering stares from the opposite sex. Did I mention she's drop dead gorgeous? Blonde. Blue eyes. Big boobs. Long legs. The works. I, on the other hand, lack in the chestacle department. My hair is brown, and not an exotic brown like chestnut or burnt sienna, nope, it's just brown, like the Mississippi River. My legs are short because I am, too. So, there you have me in a nutshell. I've been told I have nice eyes, though. They're green, not hazel.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Shannon McCrimmon is the author of several novels, including The Summer I Learned To Dive and Kiss Me Hard Before You Go. She currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and toy poodle. She'd love to hear from you. Connect with her at shannonmccrimmon.com

Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
Don’t Talk, I Love You is book 1 in the Brilliant Babes Book Club Series and follows Hadley Echols, a feisty brunette who is living with three peculiar monks who are on a vow of silence. Book 2, which is scheduled to be released this fall, continues to follow Hadley in her many adventures.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
A.
I'm a romantic at heart and have always loved romance in movies and books. My favorites are romantic comedies because I love to laugh and think humor adds to a great romance. I enjoy writing about characters who begin as friends and eventually fall in love.
Q. Why do you write?
A.
I love to write. It’s as natural as breathing and satisfies my soul. I can’t imagine living my life without being able to express myself this way.

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