November Spotlight, Excerpt & Teaser: Me & Mr. Jones by Lindsay Marie Miller

Book Blurb & Info

Finley O'Connell is a shy, reserved college student, who has no intention of ever trusting another man. At nineteen, Finley spends her Friday nights alone, studying clinical psychology to ease her mind of the abusive childhood she has yet to overcome. Her new professor, the young, charismatic Cabel Jones, begins to take an interest in Finley, whose first instinct is to run. But when an ordinary experiment turns to bloodshed, Finley must rely on Cabel, as the two hide away in a rustic, secluded cabin in the wilderness. Plagued by deception and fear, Finley soon finds herself in the arms of the one man on campus who can never truly be hers.

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Book Excerpt

I saw him before he saw me. It was cold, wet, winter, actually, and I’d come to campus without a jacket or umbrella. He walked with a smoother stride than I ever had, up ahead on the brick pathway leading to the dining hall. It was college, so I could care less who saw me staring. There were too many people around for just one to remember.
Looking down at my sneakers, I followed the pathway, already embarrassed by the squishing sound I knew they would make once I entered the classroom. It was the first day of class since winter break. And even though I already had one semester under my belt, it felt like a curse to still be considered a freshman.
I had finally declared a major: Psychology. But once I learned of the experiments that we would have to not only conduct, but participate in, my introverted nature began to cringe. I was blatantly shy, and happily so, though the subtlest bit of focus in my direction made my cheeks blush scarlet red. It tended to bring attention to the sparsely scattered freckles at the apples of my cheeks and along the bridge of my nose. They matched the dark brown hue of my hair and eyes, no matter how finite the tiny dots seemed.
After sidestepping a few mud puddles, I looked up, and he was gone. I felt a strange surge of disappointment overwhelm me. Though I had lost nothing, it somehow felt that way.
In a hurry to make it to class on time, I skidded along the last section of the brick walkway leading to the psychology department. As I fell to the slick ground, the $200 textbook, that I had been nestling beneath my arms, slipped out from under them and came crashing down, into a soupy puddle of mud.
“NO!” I yelled aloud, devastated. All I could think about was that book.
Already on my knees, I leaned over the wet pool of rainwater and picked the book up by the edge of its front cover, because that was the only way I could manage to grasp it. But the book was too heavy to lift by its front cover, so the hardbound text slid from my fingers once again, returning to the puddle with a loud, offensive splash that coated my face with dark, tepid rainwater.
“You need some help?”
Just as I began to wipe the water from my face, I looked up, and there he was. The same tall, blonde, blue-eyed image of the perfect golden boy. He must have been a senior. I could tell that much from the mature bone structure of his face. He certainly didn’t look eighteen.
“No, I’m fine,” I murmured. My cheeks should have turned scarlet by now, surely, if not for the murky puddle drops on my face. Of all the days I had chosen not to bring an umbrella.
“Freshman?” He squatted down before me, balancing himself around the perimeter of the puddle.
“Yeah,” I admitted, quickly averting my eyes from his.
He was dressed in formal clothing: a pale blue button-down shirt and navy slacks. I imagined him on the set of a fragrance commercial for Ralph Lauren, riding horses and drinking champagne. I watched him curiously, when he unbuttoned the sleeve around his right wrist and rolled the material up to his elbow.
He looked like he had lived in California.
He looked like he had been lifting very heavy weights.
He looked like he had outgrown this place a long time ago.
So what was he doing here?
Without a second’s hesitation, he stuck his hand into the filthy water and grabbed my textbook. I snapped out of my daydream, practically in a daze when he motioned for me to follow him under the shelter that extended outward from the entrance to the psychology building.
“Open your bag,” he requested, pointing to the satchel over my shoulder. Once I did, he removed a brand new psychology textbook from the backpack he was carrying and placed it in my bag.
“What are you-?” I stopped myself at the sight of him shaking out my filthy, wet textbook under the dry shelter.
“You use mine, and I’ll use yours,” he offered, cracking a crooked smile. I shook my head in confusion, distracted by the crystal clear look of his blue eyes. They managed to reflect the tiniest bit of light, despite the lack of sun.
“But I-”
“You could just say thank you,” he boldly suggested. I wasn’t used to this.
“Thank you.” I glanced down at the shiny new textbook in my bag, still in disbelief. He smiled, then walked towards the entrance to the psychology department. “Wait,” I called, relieved when he stopped and looked back at me. “You’re not a freshman. Are you?”
“No,” he answered, holding my gaze, “I’m not.”
“Well,” I stalled, thinking of something else to say. I didn’t want the conversation to end. “Why are you so dressed up?”
“I have a presentation,” he said. His tone remained somber, professional even, despite the slightest hint of a playful smirk at the corner of his mouth. I wondered how often he looked at other girls like that.
“Oh,” was all I could manage. I glanced down at his shiny black dress shoes, doubting that they would squeak as loudly as my sneakers would once I entered the building. “Well, good luck.” I gazed into his beautiful, clear, liquid blue eyes and admired the seamlessly sculptured face around them, in case I should never see him again. Surely, fate couldn’t be so cruel, after being so kind.
“You too,” he replied, before opening the glass door and stepping inside.
Once the image of him had vanished, I entered the building in search of a bathroom. Fortunately, I was able to dry off in there with no one else gawking at me. All the stalls were empty, and I was the only one at the sinks.
My first class was on the fourth floor, so I headed upstairs in search of room 481. When I reached that level, I found the classroom just around the corner, at the end of the hallway. Anxious with the first-day-back jitters, I opened the door and hurried inside. As the door slammed shut behind me, I noticed that I had come through the front entrance of the classroom, which meant that over a hundred people were now staring at me.
Thankfully, the classroom floor was covered in dingy, gray carpet, so my shoes didn’t squeak as I searched for a seat among the crowd. There were only three seats left in the entire room, all of which were located on the front row, since that was the last place most students wanted to sit on a voluntary basis. Satisfied enough, I selected the seat in the middle and sat down between the only two chairs that remained vacant. Maybe I wouldn’t have to make small talk with anyone this semester, so long as the empty seats remained empty. Just as I removed the textbook from my satchel and placed it on my desk, the thought vanished.
“Oh, did you get the book already?” a candid, feminine voice wondered. I looked up to find that the girl sitting to the left of the empty seat beside me had leaned over in curiosity.
She had a small face, green eyes, and a pile of light brown hair that she had pulled back into a messy ponytail. The ends of her hair looked a little damp, not unlike the collection of water spots on her t-shirt that appeared to be in the process of drying. I assumed that she must have forgotten an umbrella as well and immediately sought her ought as an ally.
“Yeah.” I smiled, making my best attempt at polite conversation.
“Can I look at it?”
“Sure.” I handed the heavy book to her. It was a fifth edition clinical psychology textbook, complete with diagrams and pull-out charts for studying.
“I heard it was really expensive.” She flipped through the pages, briefly stopping when she came across a full color picture of Sigmund Freud. “How much did you get it for?”
“About two hundred,” I replied, wondering if that was the actual price he had paid for it.
“That’s ridiculous,” she huffed. “I’m not paying that!”
I forced a laugh, only to be nice, really. Once our conversation ended, all was quiet again, so I turned around in my chair to search the classroom for familiar faces. I did not recognize a single soul.
When the door clicked open, I looked back to watch another student enter the classroom. A teenage boy with big glasses, dish water blonde tresses, and a sloppy posture walked in and sat down in the empty seat to my right. He kept his gaze down to avoid all eye contact, probably just as nervous as the rest of us were for the new semester.
Just as the door was about to swing shut, a dark shoe wedged its way through, catching the bottom of the door before it could close. When the door opened, I widened my eyes in surprise. I never would have dreamed that he would be standing in the doorway. Cool and confident, the golden boy entered the classroom, gracing me with his presence for the second time today. I immediately straightened up in my chair, anxiously anticipating him. The only remaining seat was the one next to mine, and I knew he would have to take it.
I cocked my head to the side when his feet moved in an unexpected direction, and he set his backpack down on the large desk at the front of the classroom. What was he doing?
Noticing me in the front row, he smiled in my direction, his blue eyes twinkling with delight. Before I could comprehend what was going on, he opened his mouth and began.
“Hey guys,” he greeted, waving a strong, manly hand in the air. “Welcome back. My name is Cabel Jones, and I’ll be your instructor for this course. Any questions before we get started today?”


Author Info

Lindsay Marie Miller was born and raised in Tallahassee, FL, where she graduated from high school as Valedictorian. Afterwards, Lindsay attended Florida State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with an English Literature major, Psychology minor, and Specialized Studies in Markets and Institutions. Lindsay is the author of the romantic thrillers, Me & Mr. Jones and Emerald Green - the first a New Adult novel, the second a Young Adult novel. Emerald Green is the first installment in a four-part series, while Me & Mr. Jones will be accompanied by a sequel. In her free time, Lindsay enjoys singing, playing the piano and guitar, and writing songs. Lindsay currently resides in her hometown of Tallahassee, FL, where she enjoys summers under the sun, in the company of beloved family and friends.

Contact Links:
Twitter: @Lindsay_MMiller

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