August 18, 2012 by Anne Tenino
Love, Hypothetically will be released on Monday, August 27th—just over a week away. Can I get a “woot!” from the crowd? Thank you. 😀
In return for the cheering, you get a special, snarky treat for this week’s edition of Saturday Snark—an excerpt! Saturday Snark is a group thingy, so check out the other snark by going to see Marie Sexton’s blog and clicking on the links.
On with the snark!
This is the first thousand or so words from the beginning of the book, and it’s way snarky, I promise. In lieu of a blurb (which can be found here, if you want to read it), I’ll give you the simple set up: Paul’s a graduate student at a small institution in Oregon called Calapooya College. For reasons that have not previously been explained, he has a deep-seated dislike for jocks and frat boys. Not surprisingly, in Love, Hypothetically, we get to find out exactly why that is.
Without further ado, I give you one of the worst bitches at Calapooya College; Paul—
June, Present Day
When Paul showed up at work on Tuesday morning, he discovered his carefully nurtured routine had been disrupted. Routine would have been arriving at the Calapooya College Academic Help Center to find his schedule filled with students desperately seeking tutoring assistance so as not to flunk yet another class. Summer term was for the hardcore cases. Only the students on their last scholastic leg needed help then: the morons and the miscreants.
On the miscreants’ team were the hardcore partiers about to be kicked out of school, and therefore Daddy’s good graces—and wallet—if they couldn’t get their sorry, drunken asses off of academic probation once and for all. Or at least until next year. “And dude! I think he really means it this time,” was a common complaint. The miscreants mostly offered him money to provide them with the answers, and while he could use the funds, he didn’t want them at the expense of his personal integrity.
Paul’s popularity with the miscreants was low, but he wasn’t generally well-loved by the masses, so it didn’t bother him.
Personally, he preferred the morons—the people taking a class for at least the third time that they absolutely had to pass. They were rarely actually of sub-par intelligence; they just had things like mental blocks against certain subjects caused by traumatic experiences in their scholastic history. A high school chemistry teacher who used to hit on them, for instance, or a psychology teacher who picked his nose and ate it while lecturing. Helping the morons comprehend their material was rewarding. They often got it all at once, like a lightbulb coming on. When that happened, he felt as if he’d provided that one piece of knowledge that broke through the student’s brain cell logjam, and then a tidal wave of learning rushed out, smashing barriers with its momentum—a true sense of accomplishment, if a bit unpredictable.
But on Tuesday morning, Brutus the work-study receptionist—or whatever the hell his name was—yelled out, “Oy! Paul! Got a note for ya here.”
“I’m standing right in front of you, there’s no need to raise your voice,” Paul said, sotto voce.
“I’m not yelling!” Brutus hollered, rearing back in his seat and blinking at him.
“Are you familiar with the concept of an ‘indoor voice’?” Paul whispered.
Brutus blinked some more, then went back to digging through piles of papers on his desk. Paul shifted from foot to foot while he waited. He had to get to the staff lounge before that pseudo-bohemian from the Philosophy Department did, because he knew for a fact that there was only one packet of gunpowder tea left, and he aimed to get to it first. Dammitall, his life had really gone downhill since tea drinking had become a fad and every patchouli-doused, soul-patch-sporting “free thinker” with a college degree felt qualified to dunk his twig and berries in hot water.
“Oy! Here it is,” Brutus bellowed. He handed Paul a printout of an email to the Center’s general address.
“What is this?” he asked in his normal voice, forgetting all about behavior modeling.
“I dunno, read it.” Brutus went back to his computer, ignoring Paul.
So he took the damn thing and hurried off to the lounge, relieved to reach it before Kendall the Existential Tea Drinker. It wasn’t until he had dropped the tea bag in freshly boiled water that he looked at the printout.
It was a summons from the new Calapooya College women’s softball coach to appear before him, since Paul had apparently been assigned a number of his players as clients.
“I have a strict ‘no jocks’ policy!” he said aloud.
“Well, the rest of us are swimming in athletes to tutor,” Kendall said sulkily, standing next to Paul with his supermarket-brand tea bag. “You’re going to have to suck it up.”
“We’ll just see about that.”
He stomped toward the office of the Academic Center manager, where he was promptly told to suck it up. “You were specifically requested by the new coach. He asked for a list of tutors, and I guess he chose you based on your academic performance or something.” Paul could’ve sworn his boss muttered something about it not being on the strength of his personality.
He retreated to his corner of the center, mulling it over.
Quitting his tutoring job wasn’t an option. He had to move out of the dorms by the end of summer; therefore, he needed this paycheck. It was humiliating that he’d had to move into the dorms in the first place, but when one behaved as he had to his roommate’s boyfriend, one might rather suddenly end up without a place to live when said boyfriend moved in with said roommate.
He looked back at the dumb email printout Brutus had given him. The coach—who’d only signed the email “Coach”—wanted to see Paul to “discuss the future academic success of my athletes.” He had, it seemed, “concerns about their course of study.”
Paul absolutely did not want to think about what those concerns might be. Instead he dredged up everything he knew about the new coach. Next to nothing, as it turned out. At a double-A school like Calapooya, the sports program was, at best, an afterthought for much of the student body, so it was easy to miss the fact that a new coach had been hired.
It had, however, been hard to miss when the old coach resigned to run off to a love nest in Mexico with her star pitcher. The student cable news show had covered it as “breaking news” with one of those ticker-tape things running underneath for three days. Paul had heard that the new coach was a gay man—presumably he wouldn’t poach female student athletes—and he’d stopped listening after that.
He turned on his laptop, ready to do some quick research, when the printout from “Coach” caught his eye again.
Lovely. He needed to meet the man in nine minutes.
So… have you pre-ordered it, yet? No? Let me encourage you to do so, and here’s why—you get the book two days early, and you’ll be entered into the Riptide Publishing Free Books for a Year drawing (info here).
But wait! There’s more! For one day, and one day only, I will be awarding a random commenter a copy of Love, Hypothetically. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below, with your email address before midnight August 18, PDT (GMT – 7:00).
And, of course, if you just want to cut out the middle man (that would be moi), here’s the always lovely buy link.