Welcome to New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 96 hours!
Go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I’m a part of the TEAM PURPLE-but there is also a TEAM BLUE for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page.
***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my lucky book number. Collect the lucky book numbers of all the authors on TEAM PURPLE, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 30th, at noon Eastern Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
LET THE HUNT BEGIN!
***MEET JOY PENNY, AUTHOR OF TOUCH OF FONDNESS***
Joy Penny writes books, devours stories, and geeks out about everything from classic romance books to manga. When she’s not working as a freelance writer and book editor, she’s probably immersed in her favorite TV shows, period dramas, and anime series. She also writes YA speculative fiction as Amy McNulty, and one of her books, Nobody’s Goddess, won The Romance Reviews’ Summer 2016 Readers’ Choice Award for Young Adult Romance.
***TOUCH OF FONDNESS***
Four friends. Four college grads. Four people figuring out that life doesn’t always turn out the way you expected.
Brielle Reyes may not have post-college life planned out like some of her friends do, but she figures she’ll work for her mother’s home cleaning service while job hunting for something that makes use of her history and philosophy degrees. It’ll work out as long as she doesn’t fall in love. Her last relationship was a disaster and she has no idea where she’ll be in a few weeks, let alone the rest of her life. Since the only guy in her age range she sees now on a regular basis is cantankerous if handsome client Archer Ward, she probably won’t have a hard time sticking to that vow. Probably.
Archer Ward likes very few things: illustrating as a somewhat-celebrated comic artist and his privacy. When his meddling mother hires him a cleaning service on an almost daily basis because she doesn’t fully trust her son to live on his own with his disability, he’s at first annoyed—even if his house cleaner is the most beautiful woman he’s ever spent more than a few minutes with. When he realizes her dreams may take her far outside of his restricted orbit, he has to decide whether to stifle his interest in her or risk messing up her plans to explore if there’s something more between them.
Neither can deny they’re growing a little fond of each other, even if falling in love just now makes no sense whatsoever. But how often does love ever make perfect sense?
***EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: SNEAK PEAK!***
By the time she pulled up to the condo complex—conveniently only a few minutes’ drive from her house, so maybe she’d be able to get her Saturday half-days over with quickly—after lunch to meet the new client her mom had deemed “a handful,” she was almost giddy about how well the Mrs. Tanaka job had gone. She verified the condo number and checked the notes: Archer Ward prefers his own cleaning formulas, bring fresh sponges and garbage bags. He has a bagless vacuum to use—empty it every other day. His key is on Brielle’s ring, but expect him there most days.
Really? Expect him home in the afternoon in the middle of the work day? Brielle wondered if she was dealing with another retiree like Mrs. Tanaka, but then his mother would have had to be ancient, and he was still having her clean for him once a week. And if he’s there, why can’t he just answer the door? Brielle had a key to Mrs. Tanaka’s place, too, but she was always there, so Brielle just rang the doorbell and Mrs. Tanaka let her in. She didn’t like the idea of barging in on someone at an inconvenient moment.
Brielle found the right condo number, almost stumbling over what appeared to be a wooden ramp placed over the left side of the three stairs leading up to the two first-floor condos in the unit. She slipped her bucket down her arm so it hung over her elbow and pushed the doorbell.
No one responded. Guess he has a life sometimes after all? Brielle dug the key out of her pocket but wanted to make absolutely sure he was gone before she entered, so this time she knocked, shouting, “Scrubbing Cherubs, here to shoot your home with the arrow of cleaning power!” She hadn’t made up the slogan, obviously. And luckily, no one was ever home to hear it. (She didn’t bother saying it with Mrs. Tanaka—the woman always said it herself.)
She shifted her bucket again and moved the key toward the lock when the door swung open hastily.
“Don’t you have a key?!”
Brielle stared in shock, the key still in her hand out in front of her. It was almost perfectly lined up with the poor guy’s eyeball. He was in a wheelchair. One of those “sporty” types of wheelchairs with the wheels bent inward somewhat. There were two canes sticking out from the back of his chair.
And he was gorgeous. He couldn’t have been much older than her. His clipped sandy blond hair belied a slight wave to his locks. He had the shadow of a beard despite the relatively early hour and Brielle assumed he’d just gone without shaving for a day or two, but somehow the hair and beard came together for that too-perfect “messy” look.
“Apparently you do. You’re just mystified as to how to use it.”
Right. The key. In her hand. Pointed at his light brown eyeball.
The man—Archer, Brielle assumed—shook his head as he gripped both wheels and backed up into the hallway, spinning around adeptly in the limited space and hightailing it down the hall to the living area. He didn’t so much as look back. “You can start in the kitchen,” he said, and that was that.
Brielle felt horribly embarrassed—she wished her mom had put something about his disability in the notes! She hadn’t meant to inconvenience him. This was off to a lovely start.
She sighed and closed the door behind her, dragging her bucket down the hallway. At the first opening, she could see the living room, which bled over into the kitchen. Archer sat in the living room against a table by the window, and Brielle headed for the small area with the stove and refrigerator. She wondered how he could easily maneuver in a kitchen so small. It looked like when the dishwasher door opened, it’d take up half of the area’s floor space. That was probably why there was a small stack of dishes in the sink. That wasn’t too odd for Scrubbing Cherubs to do. They did just about any household task that involved cleaning. She’d even been to a few houses and apartments without a dishwasher at all and had had to scrub the dishes herself.
She opened the dishwasher to see if it was empty or full.
“Dishwasher’s broken,” called Archer from across the room. He didn’t even look up from whatever he was staring at on the table. “I would have thought Deena would have told you that.”
Brielle grimaced and grabbed for the dish soap that sat atop the sink. She wondered how he could even reach the sink to do this himself if he wanted to. No wonder he had someone come clean every day. She felt bad for ever thinking poorly of him for it.
Brielle cleaned the dishes in silence for a few moments until Archer cleared his throat. “Where’s Deena?”
He hadn’t exactly given her a chance to introduce herself. “I’m taking over your home for the summer.” She shook a plate and grabbed one of her towels from her bucket to dry it. “My name’s Brielle. Brielle Reyes.”
“What’s wrong with Deena?”
Brielle stacked the dried plate on the counter, wondering if she should bother having him give her a tour of where everything went or if that would incite his anger and she’d have better luck simply peeking in all the cupboards until she figured out what went where. “Nothing. She just has other clients. I’ve been off the job for a while and I needed new clients.”
“You mean she complained about me and the new girl got stuck with the job no one else wanted.”
Wow. Suffer from self-confidence issues much? Brielle felt bad for thinking that. He was disabled, after all. He certainly had more going on than most jerks to excuse his behavior. Brielle felt bad for thinking of him as a jerk, too. “I haven’t even spoken to Deena. But I’m sure no one’s complained about you.” That was a lie. There had to have been something to get her mom to use the dreaded term “handful.” It was the absolutely worst term she’d used to describe any of her clients, and there’d been a few doozies that would have made Brielle resort to words of a much stronger flavor.
“Sounds like your company is a real team-driven effort. Great communication.”
Brielle put the spoon she’d grabbed from the sink down with a loud clank. What does that even mean? Is there no answer that would please this guy? She cleared her throat and picked the spoon up again, willing herself not to bore holes into the back of his head with her eyes from across the room. “I don’t know if that’s supposed to be some kind of insult, but it’s a great business. We’re all independent, but we also know we can go to the owner with any sort of issues.” She grit her teeth, trying to stop herself from hinting that he’d caused issues after all. “The owner just doesn’t believe in sharing her clients’ personal business unnecessarily is all. No need for the rest of the team to know everything. Some clients appreciate that.” She tackled the frying pan next. There was caked-on cheese, and Brielle wondered if he was really a grilled cheese kind of person or if the cheese was from a burger or something. She looked at the oven behind her out of the corner of her eye and wondered how he comfortably fried anything when his head would come only a couple of feet above the stovetop.
“I hope the owner is as attentive to her clients’ complaints.”
“Of course.” Brielle shook the pan over the sink and glowered at Archer’s back. Is he going to complain about the key thing? Mom will be disappointed in me, maybe, but she’ll understand when I point out how she didn’t fully explain the situation. So good luck trying to get me ‘in trouble,’ buster.
Almost as if he felt her eyes on him at that moment, he backed up and turned around, wheeling himself closer to the kitchen. He nodded at her as he pulled beside her. “Because you’re lucky I’m not allergic to animals.”
A chill ran through Brielle’s body as she gently put the pan down. What is he—? She looked down at her Scrubbing Cherubs shirt, ignoring how tightly it clung to her moderate curves for once, to see what Archer must have noticed: It was covered with cat hair. Covered with cat hair, all the way down her chest.
“Oh! I’m so sorry. I have a lint roller in my car, I should have—”
“It kind of says something about a cleaning company when the cleaners themselves are untidy.”
Brielle felt as if she’d been slapped. He had a point. But he was also being so rude about it. Still, her mom would kill her if she lost a six-days-a-week client like this. Brielle’s gaze wandered over Archer’s head as she examined the place. It was nice enough but pretty small. She wondered how he could afford $50 a day. “It was a client’s cat,” she said, nervously taking in the living room. She knew there was no excuse, that she was just sloppy, that the time away from the job, her distracted mind, had made her less sharp when it came to the details. She’d even gone to lunch like that. Yuck. “I came here afterward and—are those sketches?” She zeroed in on the table where Archer had spent the past few minutes.
Archer scrambled back across the living room, far faster in his wheelchair than Brielle had ever thought possible. “I’ll thank you for not gawking at my personal effects.”
Well, excuse me. “I’m sorry,” she said, taking a deep breath. “I just thought it was interesting. So you’re an artist?”
Archer crouched over his table and picked up a pen. “Yes.”
“Well, that’s neat.” Brielle was glad that despite Archer’s clipped tone, she seemed to have shifted the conversation away from her slovenly appearance. She stepped out and looked around the living room, spotting a few framed works of art—one of a pretty fall country scene, the other of a beautiful woman looking over her shoulder. “Did you paint those?”
Archer looked up from the table. “No.”
“Oh.” Brielle dried her hands on her apron. She took a survey of the room as she walked around, watching for areas that might need dusting and trying to pinpoint the garbage cans. There was one next to the kitchen area and one overflowing with crumpled up paper between his drafting table and his computer desk. Brielle felt stupid for wondering why there wasn’t a desk chair in front of the desk at first. In fact, there was only one small loveseat, period, in front of the TV. Even the small dining room table only had one chair, and it was shoved against the wall, out of the walkway. Brielle shook her head. “I’m going to run to my car, get that lint roller—”
“Don’t bother. You’ve already spread the fur and dander all over. What’s a few more strands?”
Brielle bit her lip as she stared at the back of Archer’s head. He had hair that was perfect for ruffling. Daniel had hair like that, although it was a much darker color.
You told yourself you never thought about Daniel without reason, didn’t you?
Brielle removed the roll of garbage bags from her apron pocket and pulled out a single bag, preparing to empty the trash bins. She crouched beside Archer to grab his overflowing basket. “Should I recycle these or—?”
“Good god, woman!” Archer jumped in his chair and slammed the pen in his hand on the table. He scowled down at her. “Can you not sneak up on me?”
“Okay…” Brielle raised an eyebrow despite herself. She’d just been talking to him; he knew she was behind him. “Sorry?” She started grabbing for the papers that had fallen out of the basket. A strange drawing poked out of the corner of one of them—it looked like a huge fist. She unfolded it quietly and saw what looked like the rough sketch of several comic panels featuring a man in a superhero outfit in combat with a large, bulking alien. “Oh my god!” she said, before thinking better of it. “You draw comics?”
Archer reached over to snatch the paper out of her hand. “Personal effects, remember? Just do your job!”
Brielle frowned. Part of her felt like he got extra sympathy points for being in a wheelchair, but she also felt like he was working overtime to destroy those extra points and obliterate the empathy she had for anyone until they proved unequivocally that they were a jerk. “I’m sorry,” she said, shoving the rest of the crumpled papers into her garbage bag. “I just thought it was interesting is all.”
Archer snorted and picked up his pen again.
To enter The grand prize giveaway, you need to know that MY lucky book number is 13.
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on TEAM PURPLE and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
Enter to win a $15 Amazon.com E-Card: Click here to enter (Rafflecopter).
***CONTINUE THE HUNT***
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Cadence Rae!