When it comes down to acclaim in the yearbook, my class rank would probably earn me my only entry, but very little else. I don’t wear cosmetics, do my hair or really give a damn about my appearance in general. I don’t need to be cool, and I’ve managed my high school career navigating all the different groups from the nerds to the jocks to the theatre kids and the band geeks.
Kicking off senior year, my only focus is to make every AP class count and keep my grades up. Shouldn’t be hard, particularly with my so-called untouchable status. Oh yeah, imagine that—I had a reputation. Hadn’t been a blip on my radar until the end of junior year when one of the girls’ dropped that little nugget on me. Apparently, the guys at school considered me the best girl to hang out with for fun or homework, but nothing else.
While I’m not looking for a date, it’s a little hard to swallow that I ranked as the best bud and tutor, but would definitely never fall into the Girl Most Likely To Get Asked Out.
Pfft. What did I care? One more year and I was off to college, so what if the numbers of female friends I used to have drifted off and I’d scored a permanent seat in the friend zone. I had subjects to study, grades to maintain, and colleges to get into. Fine, I didn’t care about the rules or status before, and I wouldn’t now.
181 class days to go, and I’ll graduate. No problem, right?
About the Authors:
USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family.
She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Heather is best known for her 20-book paranormal romance series Wolves of Willow Bend, which begins:
Prequel: Wolf at Law
1: Wolf Bite
2: Caged Wolf
3: Wolf Claim
3.5: Wolf Next Door
4: Rogue Wolf
5: Bayou Wolf
6: Untamed Wolf
- Website: http://www.heatherlong.net
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Excerpt of Rules and Roses by Heather Long:
“Frankie,” Mom called. “You’re going to be late.”
“I’m not going to be late,” I yelled, not bothering to straighten from where I was digging under the bed for my shoes. I had one, the other was just almost out of—got it. Fingers hooked into the heel of the sneaker, I yanked it out and then pivoted to sit on the floor so I could put on my shoes.
Tiddles eyed me from his perch on my windowsill. He paused mid-groom as though I’d disturbed him with my antics. Shoes on, I stood and gave the black feline a scratch under his chin. He purred his approval then resumed his grooming as I snagged my backpack, made sure my wallet was secured where it went, then checked for my keys before giving the room a once over.
Bed not made. Clothes still in the hamper because I didn’t have time to do laundry over the weekend. My uniform stuck out of the top with its ugly ketchup stain prominent as if giving me the bird. Fine, I’d do laundry after school. I didn’t work again until Wednesday, anyway.
I scanned the floor—I’d vacuum before Mom noticed, had an aneurism, and ripped my head off. Course, that depended heavily on if she noticed. Backpack over my shoulder, I pulled the bedroom door wide and left it that way. Tiddles would spend ninety percent of his day in my room, but if I shut him in there, he’d shred the door or the carpet. As Mom always said, we needed the pet deposit back someday.
Speaking of Mom, she stood in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee. As I approached, she pushed a sealed tumbler of coffee toward me along with two twenties.
I eyed the money then her. “Thank you,” I muttered, claiming the coffee. I had a car and the school was less than ten minutes away by car, but I always went in early. First day, new year, and I had six AP classes and a TA period. No time for slacking, senior year or not.
“Take the money, too.” Mom held up a hand before I could open my mouth. “Not a word, Frankie. Put the money in your wallet. I don’t care if you never spend it, but you’re going to have pocket money.”
I made my own money. I worked at the fast food joint two blocks from school—Mason’s, home of the Big and Thick, known for its big burgers and thick shakes. Yes, it sounded dirty, but I’d gotten over blushing about it years ago. I still snickered, though. Course, every penny I earned was currently being poured into a savings account.
One I’d dipped into to fix my car two weeks earlier, but I still had to have air conditioning and a car that didn’t overheat. It was supposed to be over a hundred today and would stay about that for the next week or so. Back to school did not mean fall weather in Texas.
“You’ve been working your butt off, missy, and instead of cruising through your senior year—which you could be doing—you’re overachieving, again.” Madeline Curtis, Maddy to her friends, Mad Maddy to her family, and Mom to me, shook her head.
“Every AP exam I ace equals one less college class I have to take a loan out for.” Since I had my eye on an out of state university, I needed all the help with that tuition I could get. I’d done two classes in my sophomore year, five in my junior, and this year was all AP classes. I only needed three of those classes to finish my credits for graduation. “I really don’t mind.”