Excerpt: You Again

Book 8 : Shelter Bay Series

You Again (Shelter Bay Series) by JoAnn Ross

After walking down a hallway lined with Native American art that echoed that on Dee’s sweater, Adam was nearly to the door of his classroom when his phone vibrated. The screen showed a name that was a decided blast from his past.After three months, he’d given up waiting for Meghann to respond to his email. What had he expected? His former tutor and fellow high school nerd was no longer that pretty girl who spent lunches sitting beneath a tree or at a table at the far end of the cafeteria, her cute little upturned nose stuck in a book.

Now she wrote books hundreds of thousands of teenagers and even many adults read. Including, he’d noticed, his own students. Her chatty YouTube videos were an internet sensation, and from what he’d read in the Shelter Bay Beacon, there was talk of a major movie deal in the works.

Hell, he’d told himself after three weeks had gone by, she probably didn’t even remember him. It wasn’t as if he’d been hot, like those jocks whose book reports she was always writing. He’d worn glasses for his nearsightedness before Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt had made them cool and carried a briefcase—kill me now, he thought with an inner cringe at the memory—crammed with books by Hubble, Hawking, and Sagan. That had been back in his astronomy days, before two weeks at Camp Rainbow with geography and ecology professor Fred Dalton had changed not only his view of the world but his life.

Realizing that if he stared at the screen any longer, her call would go into voice mail, he swiped the slider with enough force to bobble the coffee, which, despite the biodegradable plastic top Dee had put on it, sloshed over his hand and down the front of his jeans.

“Damn!”

Making a quick decision, he dropped the phone instead of the coffee. His junk was on fire, but even he knew you didn’t grab your crotch in the hallway outside a classroom filled with eighteen-to-twenty-year-olds. Once he’d gotten a handle on the cup, thus allowing for possible future generations of Waynes, he scooped the phone from the floor.

“Uh…hi,” he said. Great opening line, numbnuts.

“Adam?” All these years later, and her voice was as familiar as his own. Which wasn’t exactly all that surprising, given that he’d been hearing it in his dreams for the past three months ever since high school physics teacher, basketball coach, and hoops buddy Dillon Slater had pushed him into contacting her.

“Yeah. It’s me. Meghann?”

“You recognized me?” She sounded as surprised as he’d been to hear from her. Then, before he could respond, she said, “Duh.” He could practically envision her slapping her forehead. “Caller ID.”“
Yeah…” A pause began to stretch out. Not that it was awkward or anything. “I didn’t expect to hear from you.”

“I’m sorry.” She sounded sincere. “I tried to call you after I finally got your email yesterday, but I guess you were out.”

“Yeah. I was.” And damn, he’d been so wiped out when he’d gotten home, he’d forgotten to check for messages. And this morning had been too hectic. “I’m sorry I didn’t get your message. And you don’t have to apologize. You undoubtedly get a lot of mail for your people to wade through.”

“My readership demographic is very vocal,” she agreed. “Which is why, if I read all my mail myself, I’d never get any books written.”

“In which case you wouldn’t have to worry about reader mail. Because you wouldn’t have any. Which becomes a classic case of temporal causality loop.”

“Like Groundhog Day.”

“Got it in one. It also happened in the season five ‘Cause and Effect’ episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

“I missed that one.” He wasn’t surprised. She’d never been a fan of the genre, though she had once admitted a secret crush on Mr. Spock. “In the beginning of my career, I answered all my mail. I miss that feedback.”

Adam thought he heard a sigh. Which brought back that rainy April day in his bedroom when, as a joke, he’d had a Heathcliff was a Douche T-shirt printed at a shop on Harborview, and wore it to their tutoring session. While struggling to explain the concept of an anti-hero—which, thank you, having reached epic level in Dungeons & Dragons before he’d gotten out of middle school, he was well acquainted with, it was just jerks raised up as romantic icons he had a problem with—she’d exhaled a long, frustrated sigh.

They’d been face-to-face, so close he could see her eyes glitter like green dragon scales beneath a mega sun as they’d argued about the fictional guy who’d not only be considered a douche by today’s standards, but probably a psychopath.

Meghann had been so close that her breath had felt like a warm, minty breeze against his neck, which, despite what he’d learned in anatomy class, had become directly connected to his penis.Adam had always had a better than average memory, which was why that moment over a decade ago, was frozen in amber, like dinosaur DNA from Jurassic Park.