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I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. How many "romance" novels do you read where the protagonist is male, or even where the author is male? At first, I thought that was going to be the unique focus of this story. I was pleasantly surprised, though. The "Sparks" character was a completely unique take on things. Also, I tend to be one of those people who frequently predicts the endings of books and t.v. shows, etc., but I hadn't seen the ending of this story coming. It was a quick and easy read (which was just what I needed right now) but with plenty of intelligence and creativity woven into the story. I think I can say with confidence that even my teenage son would enjoy it, as well as my Mom. Looking forward to the next installment in the series. Definitely not what I expected from a romantic comedy novel, but in a good way! Can't wait for the next one :)
Ollie sat in his history class thinking about his future. His eyes darted from one pretty face to another, wondering which girl Sparks would be setting him up with. Sparks, who sat next to him, was smug. He had expected Sparks to have informed him by the time class started, but that didn’t happen. Of course. He’s maximizing his investment in my misery.
The professor began talking about Tiananmen Square. Ollie decided he couldn’t wait any longer. He put the back of his hand to his mouth and whispered out the side of it, “Tell me who.”
“What? I can't hear you.”
A little louder, “Who’s the girl?”
“Huh? Speak up.”
Ollie pretended he was clearing his throat. “AH-Who?!” People heard him that time, and some turned to give him looks. He flushed crimson.
“I was just kidding,” Sparks said. “I heard you the first time.”
“Jerk.” Ollie said it much too loudly. Half the class, including the professor, stopped to look at him. “Sorry,” he said. “Those Chinese army guys were jerks. You know,” he gestured to the slideshow image of the student confronting the tank in Tiananmen Square.
Class went on.
Sparks leaned in. “That's not going to help you catch the girl. She heard you loud and clear with that one.”
Ollie forgot about the history lesson and scanned the room again. She must be sitting somewhere close. He knew she would have to be attractive, or Sparks would never feel confident in what he was doing. In thirty seconds he narrowed his investigation down to two suspects.
He looked at Sparks and then pointed to a beautiful curly- haired brunette one row in front of him and 4 chairs to the right. He raised his eyebrows as if to ask, Is it her?
Sparks nodded, and Ollie felt a jolt of excitement run through him. He wasn’t sure whether or not Sparks would tell him who the girl was, even if he guessed right. He felt like something was going to happen in his favor for once. His future finally had a face. And it’s gorgeous! A smile spread itself luxuriantly across his face.
He spent the rest of his class time studying. But not history.
He carefully observed the way she chewed her bottom lip as she concentrated. He memorized every curl in her long brown hair. He took mental notes on every tiny detail.
Hearing other students start to rustle around, Ollie looked up at the clock and saw that the bell was soon to ring. Ollie didn't move. There was only one person in the class who was still listening to the lecture and she was the only other person who hadn't begun to pack up her books, waiting for the bell to ring. So he sat and studied her some more.
“You're going to need to stall a little,” Sparks said after the bell finally rang. “She's planning on sticking around after class to ask the professor something.”
“I'm going to meet her right now?” He was getting nervous.
Ollie waited just outside the classroom, trying to look nonchalant. He watched as students from other rooms and lecture halls began pouring into the hallway. He was tall enough to be able to monitor the many heads tightly packing in together as the stream of students gradually grew larger and larger, flowing toward the exits. From his vantage point he eventually saw a familiar curly brown head slip into the stream, so he bravely dove into the current that swept toward the doors where it opened up outside into an ocean of college students.
Author Russell Elkins
Russell Elkins has become a leading expert on open adoption through first-hand experience that he now shares in Open Adoption, Open Heart. Russell regularly contributes to Adoption.com. He also writes his own blog at russellelkins.com to educate others in the struggles and beauties of open adoption. Russell has always been a family man at heart, looking forward to the day when he could be a husband and a father. It took him a little while, but eventually his eyes locked onto a beautiful blonde, and he has never looked away. Russell and Jammie were married in 2004. They had the same goals for their home and didn't want to wait too long before starting their family. However, filling their home quickly with children wasn't in the cards, and they found themselves weighing their options to overcome problems with infertility. Their lives changed dramatically the day they decided to adopt. Russell and Jammie have adopted two beautiful children, Ira and Hazel, and have embraced their role as parents through open adoption. Both are actively engaged in the adoption community by communicating through social media, taking part in discussion panels, and writing songs about adoption. Russell was born on Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1977. Along with his five siblings, he and his military family moved around a lot, living in eight different houses by the time he left for college at age 17. Although his family moved away from Fallon, Nevada, just a few months after he moved out, he still considers that little oasis in the desert to be his childhood hometown. Even after leaving home, Russell always stayed close to his family. He shared an apartment with each of his three brothers at different times during his college career. They formed a band together back in the 1990s and still perform on a regular basis under the name of the Invisible Swordsmen. After nearly a decade of college and changing his major a few times, Russell received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He later graduated from Ameritech College where he learned the trade of being a dental lab technician. Russell now owns and operates Elkins Dental Lab located in Meridian, Idaho.
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