Dearest Clementine

By: Lex Martin
About Dearest Clementine

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn't mind being called bitchy and closed off. It's safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a standalone with two companion novels. This new adult romance series is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

- George Eliot

- 1 -

My pen traces mindless circles in the margins of my journal as I stare out the window of the dusty common room.

This is what I’ve needed to find my footing, I think as I fight the nerves taking root in my stomach.

Down the hallway, the sound of squeaky wheels is punctuated by a groan and a thump as luggage hits the floor.

“Wait, what will happen if there’s a fire? We’re on the eighteenth floor,” one girl says, her vowels long and polite. A Southerner.

A deep male voice reassures her. “I know it’s a hike down those stairs, but don’t use the elevators. The last thing you want is to get stuck between floors. I’ll check each room to make sure you’ve evacuated.”

I can’t make out the rest of the conversation until two girls shuffle by the lounge.

“Holy shit. Our RA is hot!” a girl in a sundress tells her friend as she lugs an overstuffed duffle bag. “I wonder if he has a girlfriend.”

“He’s a senior or a grad student, dork. He’s not going to be interested in you,” the other one says, her accent softening her words.

Hitting on the resident assistant, the upperclassman paid to keep an eye on all of the kids in the dorms, was never my thing. My RA freshman year, Tao, was five two and into Jesus. Not my scene.

I can’t imagine who would want to be an RA. Tao was always rushing some poor slob to the hospital with random broken bits. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he found my friend Sarah passed out, piss-drunk, with a broken ankle. How she managed to vomit on all four walls of her dorm room before she went down is beyond me.

Tapping my pen, I shift in my seat.

I’ve spent the last three months trying to get in the zone, grappling with ideas, but I only ended up with a journal full of manic-looking drawings.

This has to fucking work.

I breathe deeply, the smell of stale Cheetos assaulting my nose.

If I can get into a writing routine again, I can do this. I’ve done it before.

I keep telling myself the same crap, hoping something clicks. All summer, I’ve tried to be positive, and trust me, that’s no easy feat.

My knee starts to jiggle, and just as I’m about to go into full-out crisis mode, a voice startles me.

“Darlin’, now you don’t look like a freshman.”

Turning slightly, I see him in my peripheral vision, leaning in the doorway. The RA.

“That’s because I’m not,” I say flatly.

“So what are you doing in Warren Towers? I mean, why would you willingly hang out here? I get paid to be here. What’s your excuse?”

He’s joking. I get it. But I’m not in the mood.

“Just looking for some white noise,” I say, returning to my journal. I feel his eyes on me, and my face starts to heat. “Look, I’m not some creeper if that’s what you’re getting at. I just need a little inspiration.”

I jot down random words, hoping something can pull me out of my writing coma: suitcases, hot RAs, condoms, diet Coke, donuts.

Trying to ignore the intensity of his stare, I gaze out the floor-to-ceiling windows.

I’ve always loved this view. Boston is alive with color, rich with the burnt sienna of brownstones that bake in the August sun. Walls of ivy ripple in the breeze off the Charles River, making me wish I could go for a run.

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