When Samantha finally got away from her controlling husband, she swore she’d keep her nose in a book until she got her degree in hand. Being a little older than the other college students made it easy for her to keep her distance, and her mind on her studies.
But that unusual girl from biology class keeps turning up, and Sam finds it harder and harder to stay focused–and to ignore the undeniable chemistry between them.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I like writing about people going through upheavals in their lives, and the ways they find to deal with change.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I make them up! Usually I steal a little detail from one person, another bit from someone else, and the rest from my imagination.
I never expected this. Here I am, thirty years old, back in school. I’m taking a staggering course load of science classes, cranking out the pre-reqs I need on my way to a nursing degree. It’s a massive amount of work and frankly I’m not used to that, but I’m doing okay. It’s good to work, right? Good for the spirit. I spent the last five years with a husband who wanted me to sit at home, his little princess, my makeup perfect, every material thing provided for.
Get that—every material thing. The other stuff a person needs (respect, for starters, and the list goes on) there wasn’t much of that happening.
One of the things I like best about school is being around so many people. At first I felt awkward and out of place, since most of them are so much younger than I am. But you know how it is, you get used to a thing. Boy do I know about that, and you can get used to good and bad things, so better choose good from the start.
So I started out here sort of shy, bringing my lunch and eating by myself. Didn’t go up to any groups of students hanging out and join in. I felt like they would be thinking what’s this old lady bothering us for, you know? It seemed like they all had so much in common. They looked the same, dressed the same, of course used all the same slang.
One day in bio this girl came in just before class started. She was a hot mess—dropping papers, pencils rolling under her desk, her hair looking like it hadn’t seen a brush in about a month. I smiled to myself because sometimes the students, I mean the girls, can seem so ridiculously turned out, like they’re spending all their time in front of a mirror and primping for selfies and not so much time actually studying. At my age you understand that college isn’t just a four year party, it’s a step on the way to somewhere better, and you’re gonna regret wasting it.
I kept my eye on her. She amused me. I’d see her around campus and it was always the same general deal with different details: her backpack stuffed to bursting with a broken zipper, mismatched socks, no makeup, carrying a book with her finger marking her place, once even glasses held together with duct tape. When I saw that last one, I thought hold on, she’s role-playing or something, no girl is that nerdy without playing it up on purpose. At least I wasn’t sure. I was wondering about it when I washed my dishes after supper that night.
My home now was a teeny little crappy apartment on the wrong side of town. If the world was fair, I’d be getting a decent settlement from my soon-to-be-ex, and living in one of those nice condos near campus where some of the students with well-off parents live. I’m talking pool, media room, exercise room that’s as good as any gym. One of them even has a sand volleyball court. Can you believe that?
But the world isn’t fair, I’m old enough to know that now. I can’t afford the kind of lawyer you need to squeeze money out of someone like my soon-to-be-ex. And it’s not only that. I know it’s pride talking, but part of me wants to put those years behind me and start a new life without taking anything from my soon-to-be-ex. No furniture, no money, no nothing.
Just make it on my own.
Mariana Lewis has worked as a server, a writer, a teacher, a cook, a hostess, and a reporter. These days she lounges around in silk pajamas, eating chocolate and drinking Prosecco.
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