Hot AND nerdy? Genius! I am SO there! 🙂
Title: His Work of Art
Author: Shannyn Schroeder
Series: Hot & Nerdy (#4)
Word count: 35,000 (novella length)
Heat level: spicy (r-rated)
Reese Carter is definitely not your average college girl. She’d prefer to spend Saturday nights playing Hero’s Crusade than attending a wild frat party on campus. When she bands together with Adam, fellow comic enthusiast and illustrator, it appears that Reese has formed a dream team sure to propel her writing into the comic hall of fame.
Adam Hayes has never met a girl like Reese. She’s sassy, smart, and loves talking comics, although he can’t see why she’d choose DC over Marvel. He’s thrilled to finally put his artistic chops to use in their upcoming comic project. But this relationship is strictly professional. Or so he tells himself. When the two combine forces, they churn out magic in more ways than they had planned; they never expected to develop a steamy romantic sub-plot of their own…
“Wow! You’re actually good.”
Adam glanced over his shoulder at hearing Reese—words of surprise no guy ever wanted to hear—to see that she stood over his drawing table. Invading his space behind the counter. He thanked the customer in front of him and handed him his bag of comic books. He watched the customer leave before walking up behind Reese.
“Could you—” He gestured to the other side of the counter, the storefront for customers.
She shrugged. “Oh, sorry.” She moved to the other side, but continued talking. “It’s just that I see you drawing all the time. I wanted to check it out.”
Adam moved his panels and sheets of paper back to the order in which he had them. Even if he were to invite her to look at his work, he wouldn’t let her shuffle them like a deck of cards. Although she was now standing six feet away, he could still smell her lingering scent. Something soft, but he couldn’t quite place it. He found it distracting.
While he continued to straighten his table, he asked, “Is there something you needed help finding?”
It was a ridiculous question because she was able to find things in the small store as easily as he could. She’d been coming in at least once a week for months, ever since one of their competitors had shut down. Reese had strolled in looking for the latest Batgirl comic and his life hadn’t been the same since.
“So what are you drawing?”
“Nothing special. Just working up some ideas.”
“Those aren’t random doodles. I know a superhero when I see one. Who is he?”
Adam set his papers back on the desk. He rubbed the back of his neck, irritation grinding into his muscles. “He doesn’t have a name. Not yet anyway.”
“He’s pretty awesome. You need to name him.”
“Yeah, I’ll get right on that.” As if he hadn’t already spent his entire afternoon doing just that. He crossed his arms. “So what are you here for today? You picked up all of your regular issues earlier this week.”
“I came to see you.” She leaned forward on the counter in front of the register. “I have a proposition for you.”
At least these were better words to hear than her first statement. He joined her and braced his palms on the glass and waited.
“I have to do a senior project. My plan is to publish an anthology of comics.”
They’d talked about comics plenty over the months. They both had strong opinions, and he enjoyed arguing with her. He also knew that she was a writer, not that he’d ever read any of her stuff.
“And?” he prompted.
“I need an artist. I have most of the stories done.” She tilted her head side to side, her straight dark hair swaying with the movement. Squinting her eyes, she said, “Well, they need polishing and maybe some revising, but I figure they’ll get fine-tuned as we get to the storyboard phase.”
“We?” No way was she asking what he thought.
“If you agree to be my partner, yeah, we. I’m under a bit of a time crunch because I have to have things in place to start my crowd-funding campaign. So it’ll be a lot of work, but you’ll get paid. At least you will if the campaign gets funded. Plus, I figure we have holiday break coming up so we won’t have to worry about classes.”
“You want me to illustrate your comics?” The thought was a massive blur in his brain. Working together on a comic was intense. He doubted they could get along long enough to complete anything. They managed to argue about just about everything related to comics.
“Yeah. I had the idea a couple of weeks ago when I saw you working at your table. You were so passionate and into it, that it swallowed you. I get like that when I’m in the zone writing. I need that kind of partner.” Her stormy blue eyes focused intently on him from beneath her shaggy bangs.
“Do I really need to point out that we don’t get along?”
In truth, Reese was one of his all-time favorite customers. She was smart and argued with passion. It was almost enough for him to forgive her for choosing DC over Marvel.
“Who said we have to get along? I’m an excellent writer. From what I can see there, you’re an excellent artist. Together, we can put together a fabulous book. “ She leaned closer, almost to his side of the counter. “Afraid you can’t handle me?”
He chuckled. “Sorry to disappoint, but you don’t scare me. However, I don’t like to waste my time.”
She eased back. “How about this? You can read the story for the first book. Then make your decision. But it’ll have to be fast because I have to have everything in place before my campaign goes live. The book doesn’t need to be complete, but I have to have enough to entice people to back me.”
The idea intrigued him, but Reese would never have been his first choice for a partner. Getting paid to draw was exactly what he was looking for. And if her campaign got fully funded, he would have a publication credit to his name. Having experience like that would help as he started his job hunt after graduation. “Bring it by. I’ll take a look.”
Her face lit up almost as brightly as when she’d tried to convince him that Batman was better than Iron Man. “Excellent.” She reached into her messenger bag and pulled out a purple folder. “Here you go.”
He eyed the folder. “You were that sure that I’d say yes?”
She winked at him. “I was cautiously optimistic.”
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.
Web site — http://www.shannynschroeder.com
Twitter — https://twitter.com/SSchroeder_
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/shannyn.schroeder