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Forks, Frozen Underwear, and Friends Who Shouldn’t Be Trusted
In high school, I was a sweet, shy, rule-abiding girl. I may have TP’d a house or two over Homecoming weekends during my teen years, but my good girl inclinations held me back from any truly great pranking.
My friends and siblings on the other hand…
I come from a family who pranked each other on a regular basis. When my cousin visited us, my sister ended up with all of her underwear and the lawn and her mattress—sheets, blankets, pillows and all—flipped upside down. The next time we visited our cousin, my sister removed all the lightbulbs from my cousin’s room in revenge—ceiling, desk, nightstand lamp, closet.
That sister of mine? Super creative in general. Instead of TPing houses, she and her friends set up elaborate scenes on each other’s front lawns for fun. After combing the curbsides on our town’s trash day, they managed once to set up an entire living room with sofa, coffee table, arm chairs, lamps, bookcase, a carpet even, on a friend’s lawn. Dissembling these miniature model homes was a huge pain in the butt, mind you.
Not as much of a pain as dealing with a lawn that’s been forked, however. My best friend moved to North Carolina after our freshman year of high school, and it was from her that I first heard of forking a lawn. Spelling a message with hundreds or thousands of plastic utensils in a lawn is one thing. Coating them with Vaseline first so they’re even harder to pull out of the dirt? Genius.
My favorite teenage pranksters grew up to be adults with majestic passion for fun. One of my sister’s friends is responsible for this video, in which poor Louie discovers how important it is to make sure that when you go out of town, you don’t leave your spare keys with prankster friends. Louie came home from his trip to find his friends had wrapped everything in his apartment in Christmas paper. Everything. They wrapped his mailbox and each piece of mail. His front door. His furniture, his TV and DVD player and each individual DVDs, his bathmat and shampoo and soap and his toilet. They don’t show it on the video, but I heard that they wrapped every individual item in his refrigerator and freezer. Poor Louie is probably still unwrapping his belongings five years later.
In NOTHING LIKE PARIS, Jack ropes Miguel into playing a prank for old times’ sake, one that involves a Batman, a grappling hook, and a rooftop. It’s not quite as elaborate as some ideas, but it’s a nostalgic moment for the two of them and it brings them a little bit closer once more. I hope everyone who reads NOTHING LIKE PARIS has a moment of nostalgia for their own childhood pranks.
Just remember: you can always revisit your youth by displaying your cousin’s underwear on the lawn!
Jack Tarkington’s life is in the toilet. He was supposed to be spending his junior year studying someplace cool like Paris or Rome. Instead, after taking out his anger on the campus “golden boy”, whose dad ripped off his parents, Jack is facing possible expulsion.
Sure, it’s all his own fault, but coming back to the small Iowa town he thought he’d escaped, after crowing about his admission to a prestigious school, has been a humbling experience.
When he runs into Miguel, Jack braces for backlash over the way he lorded it over his old friend and flame. Instead, Miguel offers him friendship—and a job at his growing farm-to-table store and café.
Against the odds, both guys bond over broken dreams and find common ground in music. But when Jack’s college gives him a second chance, he’s torn between achieving a dream that will take him far from home, and a love that strikes a chord he’ll never find anywhere else.
Warning: This book contains a humbled guy who’s on the brink of losing it all, a determined entrepreneur who seems to have it all together, apologies issued through banjo-picking duets, and two lovers who can play each other’s bodies like virtuosos.
Excerpt From NOTHING LIKE PARIS…
“Are we really doing this?” He had to clear his throat to get the words out. Something was stuck there.
Jack’s dick could be stuck there, his traitorous brain whispered.
“Shut up,” he snapped, and he flushed when he realized he’d said it out loud. Before Jack could protest, he tried to cover. “Sorry. Talking to myself.”
“Right. Sure.” Jack might was well have put his hand on Mike’s cheek, the back of his neck, and stroked, so sharp and physical was his stare from across the cab. Tiny little hairs all over Mike’s body stood on end and tingled, waiting for a hard hand to smooth them flat again. “And, yes. We’re doing this.”
“I’m not breaking in.”
“I know. That’s why I brought this.” Jack pulled his right hand up from where he’d kept it low and hidden by his hip. Mike glanced over. A black claw was wrapped about Jack’s fist. It took Mike a moment to recognize the item.
“Don’t tell me you’ve been hanging onto that since high school.” He couldn’t believe it.
“Stuck it in a pair of cowboy boots I left in my closet.” Jack turned his hand, staring at his fist. The grappling hook looked like a spider perched on his knuckles.
“God, I can’t believe you kept it.”
“Never know when a ninja grappling hook is going to come in handy,” Jack teased and bumped elbows with Mike across the bench seat.
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About Amy Jo Cousins…
Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.
Fun facts: Amy Jo can get back into a kayak in the open water if she falls out of it, taught herself and her son how to say I love you in seventeen languages, and once ran the table in a game of eight ball.
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