Welcome to New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 96 hours!
Go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of Team Purple–but there is also a Team Green and Team Orange for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page.
LET THE HUNT BEGIN!
Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy. Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
For more information, visit www.abigaildrake.com
Social Media for Abigail:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01APJZR12/?tag=wendedikeccom-20
Samantha Barnes always dreamed of seeing the world, and only has a few months left before she starts a semester abroad in Japan. Enough time to say goodbye to her friends, polish up her language skills, and maybe even squeeze in a quick fling with handsome fraternity boy Dylan Hunter. All she wants from Dylan is something casual, and perhaps some mind-blowing sex, but things don’t work out as planned. Dylan wants a lot more from her than a hook-up. Before Sam realizes what’s happening, their relationship has become serious, something she never intended. And then she discovers Dylan is hiding a dark secret that makes breaking up with him nearly impossible. Sam is running out of time. She has to leave soon. She has no choice. But leaving Dylan could mean more than just the end of their relationship. It could also mean destroying him completely.
Buy Link: Saying Goodbye Part One
Here’s a sneak peek into Abigail’s book:
SAYING GOODBYE, PART ONE
Music pounded in my ears as bodies swayed and pressed against me, the smell of beer, sweat, and cologne permeating the air. I caught a faint whiff of vomit, too. Not a surprise. During freshman rush, all the frats filled with newbies who’d never been away from home, never had a taste of beer. Many of them couldn’t handle it, not that upperclassmen fared much better.
A seasoned sophomore, I sipped my tepid beer with a bored air of sophistication as I watched the crowd, my heels sticking to the mess on the floor and my mini-skirt pressing against my thighs. I’d grown a little tired of all of it. The parties. The drinking. The drama. But I continued to come anyway, mostly because there was nothing else even remotely interesting to do on a Saturday night.
I’d once Googled “Fun things to do on campus that don’t involve drinking.” The results included crafts and sporting events. Please. I’d rather drink than use a glue gun. I’d rather drink and use a glue gun. That actually would be kind of fun.
A mild buzz started coming on, and I grinned as a boy dancing next to me tried to impress me with his moves. I danced with him for a few minutes, not wanting to hurt his feelings, but drifted away when he tried to get too close. He reached for me, but I evaded him easily, skirting around the room until I stood with my back against a wall. I hadn’t come here for a hook up, and if I did it wouldn’t be a nameless freshman with a condom tucked hopefully into his wallet next to his shiny new student ID. I had better fish to fry, and I didn’t do one-night stands. Or meaningless make-out sessions. The first one was a rule. The second, more of a guideline, since the word “meaningless” could be open to interpretation.
My sorority sister Bethany approached from one of the outer rooms, a worried frown on her face. “Samantha. I’m so glad you’re here. I can’t find Gabriela.”
Bethany was our SS tonight. Sober Sister. Not an easy job on a night like this.
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s start upstairs.”
Gabriela had been my roommate freshman year when we’d pledged Kappa Alpha Theta together. I’d ended up in a single at the Theta house this year, and she’d moved into an on-campus apartment with Bethany, but we stayed close. The three of us. Los tres amigas, as Gabriela liked to say.
I’d spent last year keeping Gabriela out of trouble, and it looked like I’d be doing the same this year. Losing her virginity while trashed at a frat party would be a huge mistake, and I should know. I happened to be an expert at making huge mistakes. Lots of them. And they all had names.
Mistake Number One was Will. I met him at my very first frat party freshman year. A senior, he’d swept me off my feet and then slowly broke my heart. The last few months we dated had been a painful, ugly dance of me trying to hold on and Will trying to let go.
He was going off to grad school and didn’t want to carry the baggage of a needy girlfriend with him. And I was needy. And annoying. And I cried a lot. It seemed like I spent months with puffy eyes, a red nose, and a tissue in my hands. I was an emotional, ugly, weepy mess. Not my best look.
Eventually, he clipped the vine, refusing to take my calls or text me back. Painful, but the best thing he could have done for me. I hated who I’d become with him and vowed I’d never let myself act like that again. Ever.
Famous last words, right?
I met Mistake Number Two, Rob, while still mourning the loss of Will. I’d gotten an apartment at school for the summer so I could take a few classes, work, and otherwise distract myself. My parents understood, but worried about me because I was so sad. After the break up with Will, I drifted around their house like a ghost whenever I went home.
Rob snapped me out of it. He made everything fun and planned out dates, taking me to interesting places and treating me like a queen. We had picnics in the park, kissed in the shade of a giant oak, and swam at the pool, our legs tangling under the water and our skin smelling of coconut sunscreen.
I liked the way his face lit up every time he saw me. The feeling of being with someone who actually wanted to be with me was intoxicating at first, but it got old quickly. Rob had lots of good qualities, but he was as dumb as a brick. Compared to him, I was Einstein in a push-up bra. Not a nice visual, but accurate.
Rob was cute, though, and muscular, and he smelled good, so I got drunk one night and ended up in his bed. Yes, I set the bar rather high with that one. I slept with him because he smelled nice and I wanted a warm, naked body next to mine. Not my proudest moment. And I can’t even blame the tequila. I knew exactly what I was doing, or at least I thought I did.
I broke up with him the next day.
My friends called him Rebound Rob. I cried for a week after I slept with him, out of guilt and remorse and also confusion since I wasn’t sure whether we actually did the deed or not. I remembered before and after, but during was a little fuzzy. And I woke up fully dressed, which was kind of strange.
I took a vow and decided I’d never to do anything (or anyone) so stupid again, but vows are meant to be broken and only a few short weeks later I ended up with Max. Mistake Number Three.
Max needed me, the most seductive thing in the whole world. His life spiraled slightly out of control, and I wanted to help him. Save him. Sweet, funny, vulnerable Max, who smoked way too much pot and always seemed to be in trouble.
Max didn’t belong to Will’s frat, Delta Tau Delta, or to Rob’s frat, Zeta Beta Tau. I avoided both of those places like the plague. He was a Sig, as in Sigma Alpha Alpha, the rich boys who lived in the biggest house on Fraternity Row. His friends loved me and their girlfriends loved me, but Max and I figured out pretty quickly we really didn’t love each other. The sex was satisfactory, but uninspiring. We were better as friends, but we hooked up on occasion if the need arose. I saw nothing wrong with that. At least I wasn’t increasing my numbers, or making any new mistakes.
Bethany and I strolled through the second floor of the frat, knocking on doors. Eventually, we found Max in his room, sitting with a group of upper classmen and lighting his bong. He waved us in, and I shut the door quickly behind us. Freshman weren’t invited to the pot smoking sessions, and lately everything for Max had become a pot smoking session.
His friends called out a greeting. Pink Floyd played in the background, Max’s music of choice for getting high. I enjoyed the music, but not the fumes.
“Do you want a hit, Sam? For once in your life do you want to do something a little crazy?”
He always teased me, but preferred to keep me away from this part of his life. For all his faults, Max was oddly protective. That may have been one of the reasons I kept going back to him. Over and over and over again.
He winked at me. “I think you secretly like crazy. That’s why you dated me.”
“That’s why I broke up with you. I dated you because you’re good in bed.” That earned a happy grin from Max and some guffaws from his friends, not that they’d remember what I said in the morning.
Max took another hit on his bong. “The craziest people are usually the ones who seem sane.”
Several of Max’s friends nodded in agreement at his vast wisdom. They were all extremely high. I was getting high just being around them.
“Have you guys seen Gabriela?”
Most of them looked confused, but one girl, her eyes half shut, sat up and focused on me. “Is she the little Theta with dark hair? I think I saw her with Zach. Downstairs.”
I looked at Bethany and winced. This could be bad.
We found Zach and Gabriela in the laundry room. She sat on top of a washer completely naked, except for her socks. Zach still had his pants on, but he was in the process of taking off his shirt. We’d gotten there just in time.
Gabriela giggled when she saw us. “We were about to do some wash. Naked.”
Bethany brushed past Zach like a tiny, blond avenging angel. “No naked laundry tonight. It’s time for you to go home.”
Gabriela frowned. “Bummer. But look—I kept my socks on.”
Bethany tried very hard not to laugh. “You were supposed to keep your undies on, but at least that’s a start.”
Zach didn’t find it amusing. “Hey. We were just having some fun. You two can leave now.”
He tried to get to Gabriela, but I stepped between them. This made him turn a bright, ugly color from his neck up to his red hair. He got horny when he drank, and he also got pretty mean. He tried to push me out of the way, but I held my ground.
“You don’t want to do this, Zach. I’ll report you to residence life. I mean it.”
Zach and I met freshman year, when he’d hit on me rather aggressively and I laughed in his face. He’d hated me ever since. He seemed charming, but he had a nasty side, violence that bubbled just beneath the surface, and I didn’t trust him. I tried to warn Gabriela about him, but she refused to listen, perhaps secretly flattered someone as wealthy and as popular as Zach took an interest in her. I was less than impressed by Zach and his money.
I saw our reflections in the glass door to the laundry room. I stood just as tall as he did, although I teetered on my heels to reach his full six feet. My brown hair hung in soft waves past my shoulders, and my legs looked awfully good, although my mini-skirt was definitely an inch or so too short. I tried to push it down unobtrusively, never breaking eye contact with Zach. He was like a snake. If I didn’t stare him right in the eye, he might lash out.
He swayed, trying to focus on my face. “It’s consensual.”
“Gabriela’s too drunk for it to be consensual.”
I looked over at Bethany and she nodded as she tried to get a rather uncooperative Gabriela back into her clothing. “Back off, Zach. Sam’s right.”
He squeezed my arm so hard I gasped and tried to jerk away, but he wouldn’t let go. I thought he might actually try to hurt me. Although we were in a somewhat public place, and my friends stood right next to me, he frightened me.
I lifted my hand, ready to smack him, even though I knew it would just escalate things. I couldn’t help it. He scared me, and it really pissed me off. When I got pissed off, I tended to react rather than think.
He looked at my raised hand, his face turning an even angrier shade of red. “It’s none of your business.”
I tried to yank my arm out of his grasp again. “I won’t let it happen. I won’t let you touch her.”
I know. I have issues. And the innate ability to make a situation go from bad to impossibly worse in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, I was sort of saved from myself when another brother stumbled into the room with a drunken girl on his arm.
“Yo. Zach. We’re getting raided. You’d better get out of here.”
Zach let go of me, but still seethed. “This isn’t over yet, Sam. Remember that. I always get what I want.”
“Not this time.”
I flicked my hair over my shoulder with more swagger than I actually possessed. Zach took off, cursing me under his breath, and I turned to Bethany, rubbing my sore arm. The music had stopped, replaced by the echo of footsteps as people raced down the stairs. I grabbed Gabriela’s jacket.
“This isn’t good. We have to get her out of here.”
She could barely stand and we were all underage. Bethany hoisted her up, half dragging her to the door.
“You’re right. Let’s go.”
As we started toward the exit, Bethany gave me a panicked look. “I left my purse behind the bar. My ID is in it, and my keys.”
“You take care of Gabriela. I’ll grab it and meet you. Just head straight for the Theta house.”
I went back into the frat, pushing against the crowd like a salmon swimming upstream. I made it to the bar, and reached over it, straining to grab Bethany’s purse on the shelf next to the keg. Max stood by the door.
“Sam? What are you still doing here? The police are on their way.” He pushed me toward one of his brothers, a tall, lanky guy I’d never met before. “Dylan, get her home and make sure she’s safe. I have to go back to my room and take care of…stuff.”
I knew exactly what he meant by “stuff.” Max had enough pot in his room to raise his trouble range from moderate right up to high. No pun intended.
Dylan nodded, his dark hair falling over his forehead. “Sure. Come on, Sam.”
We left through the back door and snuck out an alley just as the police arrived. The sirens wailed in our ears and we stayed to the shadows, moving quickly. I tripped over something and Dylan took my hand, leading me through the dark streets. When we reached a point far enough from the frat, we both heaved a sigh of relief. Between the incident with Zach, and the raid on the frat, my heart rate had accelerated. It took a few minutes for it to get back to normal, and for my breathing to slow down. When it finally did, I looked at Dylan curiously.
“I thought I knew all the Sigs. Are you a transfer or something?”
The shadows from the streetlights made it hard to see him clearly, but I made out a square jaw, dark eyes, and silky hair that hung past his ears and touched the collar of his shirt. Although we’d reached an area closer to the main part of campus, Dylan still hadn’t let go of my hand. It felt kind of nice.
“I wasn’t here last year. I went…away.” He paused, a funny catch in his voice.
“Were you in Spain?” A few of the Sigs had gone for spring semester, but I hadn’t talked with any of them yet.
A whisper of a smile played on his lips. “No. I wasn’t in Spain.”
“Sorry. I don’t mean to be nosy. I’m going to Japan next semester for a study abroad, and I was just curious. I’m leaving in January.”
This caused him to stop walking and look down at me, his eyes searching my face. I was tall for a girl, but Dylan towered over me. His body fit his height, though. He wasn’t too thin or too bulky. Like the porridge in “Goldilocks,” he was just right. And yummy.
“Japan? Why Japan?”
I tucked my hair behind my ear self-consciously. “It’s my major. I’m studying Japanese.”
I never knew how people would react when I told them what I planned to do with my life. I didn’t “look” like a language major. I looked like someone who would eventually be a secretary or a stay-at-home mom or a kindergarten teacher.
Oddly enough, out of all the guys I’d dated, only Rob realized I had a brain beneath all the fluff. Of course, Rob had the IQ of a doorknob, so it wasn’t really a good example, but other people looked at me and saw boobs and a pretty face. Nothing else. Even my high school guidance counselor had tried to convince me to study something more practical. Of course, I didn’t listen.
Dylan handled it perfectly. “You’re an interesting girl, Sam.”
I couldn’t tell if he was being sincere or sarcastic. “Not really, but I’d like to become interesting. Someday. I want to be a translator, like at the UN, and see the world. I’m applying to the Translation Studies Program at the Institute of Applied Linguistics here on campus, but I don’t know if I’ll get a spot. It’s super competitive, and…I just don’t know.”
“If you really want it, you’re going to do it.”
“How do you know that?”
“There are basically two kinds of people. Those who just sort of fall into things, and those who set a course of action and make things happen.” He gave me a long, steady look. “You make things happen. I can tell. I’m observant about things like that.”
I wondered at first if he’d meant it as a joke, but he seemed sincere, something completely new for me. I couldn’t tell if he was strange or adorable. Maybe he was a combo of the two.
He held onto my hand until we reached the front of my sorority house, a giant, red brick Georgian mansion with white painted accents. Theta was the oldest sorority on campus, and the most popular. We stood outside on the stone walkway, the wind rustling our hair. Dylan stared at me, his gaze hypnotic as his dark eyes searched my face.
“I’m Dylan Hunter.”
He held out his hand to me, like we met for the first time and hadn’t just walked half the campus together. I shook his extended hand, feeling an unexpected tingle of lust curl deep inside my belly.
“Well, that is oddly formal,” I said. “Hi. I’m Samantha Barnes.”
“As in the bookstore?”
I had to smile. In typical Sig fashion, he assumed I came from money. Big money. “Not exactly, although I do love books.”
He touched my cheek. “You have dimples.”
“You’re right. You are observant.”
“And brown eyes.”
“Yes. Two of them. They came as a set.”
He chuckled, stepping away from me. “See you soon, Samantha Barnes.”
“You just might.”
He watched as I walked into the Theta house. After I closed the door, I pushed the curtain aside and peeked out the window. I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to see if he was still there.
He stood exactly where I’d left him, illuminated by a streetlight, with his hands shoved deep into his khakis and a slow, sexy smile spreading across his face. I let the curtains drop, but not before I smiled back at him.
Bethany sat on a couch in the front room. Gabriela slept next to her, curled up in a little ball. I grabbed a blanket and covered Gabriela before handing Bethany her purse.
“Thanks, Sam. I’m glad we left when we did. She threw up twice on the way home. I managed to get some water and ibuprofen into her before she passed out.”
I ruffled Gabriela’s hair. “Close call tonight. If we hadn’t found her…”
Bethany nodded. “Zach McGaffrey is a pig. I don’t understand what she sees in him.”
“Agreed, but, eventually, she’s going to have to learn to take care of herself. I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear from Zach. You made it personal tonight. If the raid hadn’t happened…” Bethany sighed. “How did you get here, by the way? You didn’t walk by yourself, did you?”
I sank down next to her on the couch. With Gabriela curled up on most of it, there wasn’t much room, but I managed to wiggle in.
“Dylan Hunter walked me home.”
Bethany frowned. “That name sounds familiar.”
“Tall, dark, handsome, funny. A little weird.”
I put my head on her shoulder. “He’s friends with Max.”
“That could be complicated. Why don’t we know him?”
“He wasn’t here last year.” I frowned. He’d never answered my question about that. “It doesn’t matter. I’m leaving soon. The last thing I need is a boyfriend right now. The last thing I want is a boyfriend right now. But a little farewell fornication might be fun.”
“Famous last words.” Bethany yawned. “And nearly an alliteration. Can I crash on your floor? I’m too tired to go home.”
We stuck a pillow under Gabriela’s head and went upstairs. I pulled out a futon mattress I kept tucked under my bed, and gave her a blanket and a pillow.
“You’re a good friend, Sam, but you can’t take care of everyone all the time.”
I pulled on my jammies and slid into my bed. “I’m just trying to take care of myself at this point.”
I turned off the light, my mind filled with images as I tried to remember the details of Dylan’s face. I still felt his hand in mine; strong, warm, and solid, but most of what I’d seen of his face had been in shadows. I wondered what he’d look like in the sunshine.
Sighing, I pulled my comforter up to my chin. I barely knew him, but I knew one thing for sure. I shouldn’t get involved with him, but I never listened to my own good advice.
Dylan Hunter was going to be Mistake Number Four.
To enter, you need to know that my lucky book number is 8.
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on Team Purple and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Jessica Gunn!