When Cate arrives at Barnard College, the prestigious women’s school in Manhattan, she’s trusting, innocent, and maybe a bit too naïve. But she’s determined to use these four years to figure out who in the world she’s meant to be. At a school where she’s lectured not to identify herself by her gender, Cate is shocked by her own attraction to her very oppositely gendered professor. Alex is sexy and mysterious, having survived a recent tragedy. In fact, his presence on campus causes such a stir that soon Cate finds herself competing for his attentions with both another professor and a girl who may be her best friend or her worst enemy. But Cate and Alex’s connection is undeniable. It proves to be stronger than the rumors, backstabbing, and scandal that soon begin to swirl. But first it must be tested…
This was a bad idea. Alex stared at the blinking cursor before him and cursed himself for putting this huge obstacle before his work. And yet, he thought, Thomas was happy. Wasn’t that what really mattered? The boy had taken to Cate right away. She’d scooped him up and he went with Cate into his room without so much as a backward glance at his father. Cate, on the other hand, did look back over her shoulder to give Alex what was at once a sweet and most devastating smile.
After a couple of hours, he had managed to spit out nothing more than one small paragraph, but he was finally concentrating on the screen when he heard her voice, soft and yet assured, behind him. “Sorry to disturb you,” she said.
“You’re not disturbing,” he tried to say easily, though he was sure she’d noticed him jerk upright at the sound of her voice. He spun around in his chair. “Is something wrong?”
“No, everything’s great.” She smiled. “We were playing with his toy train and he fell asleep. I wasn’t sure if I should leave him there or get him in the crib, but I didn’t want to risk waking him up.”
“Let’s see what we have here,” Alex said, standing up and wiping his hands, which were just a little bit sweaty, on the front of his jeans. He went to lead the way into Thomas’s room, but the passageway out of the makeshift study area was too narrow for him to pass through without bumping into Cate. He stopped when he reached her, but she stood still, looking up at him instead of moving out of the way.
They stood in that close space for a moment, looking at each other, before Alex managed to tear himself away. “Shall we?” he said, placing his hand on her lower back lightly, almost imperceptively, to guide her out of the room.
Sure enough, Thomas was sound asleep on the floor with the caboose of his favorite train clutched in his pudgy, outstretched hand. Moments like this, when he saw his son looking so completely helpless and vulnerable, made Alex feel inadequate, as if all of the parenting he’d done up to this point had been a complete and utter sham.
“He looks like you,” Cate said, softly breaking the silence.
“Really?” The question was rhetorical and Alex was glad that Cate did not respond. “All I see when I look at him is his mother.”
“What happened to her?” Cate shifted her gaze from the boy on the floor up to Alex.
He swallowed. This part was always hard. “She died,” he said.
“I’m so sorry.” This is what people always said, but when Cate did it, she simultaneously reached out and touched Alex’s hand, which had been resting on his hip, and looked at him with pure, watery emotion in her eyes. He gripped her hand reflexively; it was soft and warm with a pulse beating rapidly beneath her skin that reminded him how alive she was. Cate looked at him unblinking, unflinchingly directly, as if she were looking straight through his eyes and seeing something more. What he felt wasn’t quite sexual; it was more of a bittersweet sensation, but his reaction to it was still to bend down, slowly, and kiss Cate on the lips.
It wasn’t magical at first, that kiss, but it was something. Right away his lips registered the shock on hers that made him feel unsure, but before he could pull away and apologize profusely, the words already forming in his mind, she softened, and he could feel her releasing herself to the kiss in her lips and her entire body as he put his arms around her.
She took one small step forward and their bodies came together, relaxing into each other as if they were holding each other up. Alex lost himself in the moment, thinking of nothing but the touch of her hand on the back of his neck, the feel of her curves pressing gently into him, and the way she tasted, improbably, like lemons – tart, savory, and fresh.
Praise for Fresh Women:
“FRESH WOMEN is the smartest, sexiest, funniest fun I’ve had reading in I don’t know how long. Read it immediately.” – Rachel Shukert, author of the Starstruck series
“Fans of both New Adult romance and chick lit will love Lipper’s sexy and irreverent tale of friendship between outspoken and endearing girls on the cusp of womanhood.” – Zoe Fishman, author of Saving Ruth, Balancing Acts, and the upcoming Driving Lessons
Jodi Lipper is the co-author of the bestselling “Hot Chick” book series (How to Eat Like a Hot Chick, How to Love Like a Hot Chick, and Live Like a Hot Chick). These inspiring, girlfriend-to-girlfriend self help books are sold throughout the world, have been translated into half a dozen languages, and have been featured on the Tyra Banks Show, Extra!, Good Morning America Now, and in Jodi’s regular appearances on NBC’s Today Show. Jodi’s writing has been featured in Time Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Essence, OK Magazine, USA Weekend, Star Magazine, Women’s Health, In Touch Weekly, the Huffington Post, Maxim Magazine, Complete Woman, Galtime, Pop Sugar, and many other print and online publications.
Jodi is also a prolific ghostwriter who has collaborated with numerous experts and celebrities on books in a wide variety of genres. Before becoming a writer, Jodi worked at Atria Books/Simon & Schuster with #1 New York Times bestselling authors such as Jodi Picoult, Brad Thor, and Vince Flynn. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two young daughters. Fresh Women is her first novel.
GIVEAWAY!! ($20.00 Amazon Gift Card or Autographed Paperback Set of the HOT CHICK Series by Jodi Lipper)