Picture a Reptile House. An enclosed space, just a guy and a girl. Low lights. Cool air. Soft music. Kind of romantic.
If not for the snakes.
If not for the fact that Mai is deathly afraid of snakes.
And if not for the fact that Anthony and Mai are both intent on crushing their crushes on each other.
Here’s a scene from How to Quit Your Crush. Happy Reading!
“I don’t like thinking about my future, but I like thinking about yours,” Anthony says. “Picturing you with Petri dishes and eyedroppers like in middle school.”
“Can they be really good Petri dishes–not the plastic ones?”
“They’re primo Petri. And you’re working late one night and all of a sudden, you stand up and cry, ‘Eureka.’”
“I have never once in my life cried Eureka.”
“Quiet. This is my vision.”
“Fine.” I gesture for him to continue. “What have I done?”
“You’ve cured cancer. All kinds of it.”
“In one Petri dish?”
“I said it was a really good one.”
“That’s quite the vision.” But I’m smiling because it really is. “And where will you be?”
“Like I said, I don’t like thinking about my future.”
“Give it a try.”
He shrugs. “I don’t know. A mountain somewhere. Sitting near the clouds, a yellow moon above me.”
“Anyone beside you?”
He pauses. “Nah. Just the moon.”
“And what did you do all day?”
“I hiked through a creek. Came across a family of beavers, broke up some ice around their lodge.”
“You saved a family of beavers?”
His dimple appears. “I read that in a book once. Sounded pretty cool.”
“Well, we have one thing in common.”
“Really? How do you figure that?”
“We both see a future where we’re saving a world.”
He busts up laughing. “If only we lived in a fantasy, we’d live happily ever after. You and me.”
“And the beavers,” I say.
It’s a silly joke, but beneath it I feel a tug of longing. As if I’m missing something, even though I know it isn’t real. There are no beavers. Only deadly reptiles.
Anthony’s muscles bunch and flex as he slides his hands in his pockets. “What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing.” I shake off my odd thoughts. “Your arms,” I add for something to say. “I like them.”
His slow smile erases the sadness. “They like you, too.”
“I’m objectifying you, Anthony. You should be insulted.”
“I am. Do it some more.”
Lord, I would like to kiss him right now. Instead, I check my watch. “We should get back.”
He slides his phone from his back pocket and checks the time, too. “Yep. Library closes soon. Wouldn’t want to make your parents suspicious.”
We walk back through the zoo, the lighted path leading us toward the exit. Each step puts more distance between me and the Reptile House and the strange part is I wish we could have stayed longer.
We’re quiet on the drive back. I’m not sure what to think about tonight. Except that I know I will think about it. About him. But not like I expected.
He slides his car into the spot next to mine, but leaves the engine running. That’s good. Anthony and me and long goodbyes are never a good thing. I unsnap my seatbelt as he turns to me. “So did you have a terrible time?”
He’s so perfect with his wavy hair and flashing eyes and the way his arm drapes over the steering wheel like some movie star from the 50s. If this were the spring, we’d be kissing across the console right now. My heart leaps.
My heart is so untrustworthy.
“The snakes were terrible,” I say, answering his question. “But you were a little too nice about the whole thing. Having good intentions and all that.”
“Yeah, that was a mistake.” He shakes his head wryly, hiding a smile. “Should I say something annoying now just to even things up?”
I brighten. “Would you? That would be excellent.” I face him. “Make it good. I mean, bad. I mean.” I shrug. “You know what I mean.”
He thinks for a second. One of his slow smiles lifts the corner of his mouth. “I don’t want to have an address.”
“I want to have a PO Box, not a real address, because I move around so much.”
My eyes go wide at the thought. “I would hate that. I could never live that way. No address?”
“Not all who wander are lost,” he says with a shrug.
“I’ve never liked that saying.” I lay my hands over my heart dramatically, but I really am relieved. “All good feelings are now gone. Thank you.”
His smile turns into a grin. “Any time.”
I reach for the door handle. “It’s my turn tomorrow night.”
“I’ll be dreading it,” he says.
(C) Amy Fellner Dominy, Entangled Publishing, 2020. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.
Mai Senn knows Anthony Adams is no good for her – no matter how hard she might crush on him. She’s valedictorian; he’s a surf bum. She’s got plans, he’s got his art. Complete opposites in every way. Vinegar and baking soda, they once joked. A chemical reaction that bubbled.
Yeah, they bubbled. Maybe still do.
Good thing Anthony’s got the perfect plan: two weeks to prove just how not good they are together. Whoever can come up with the worst date–something the other will seriously hate, proving how incompatible they truly are–wins.
Like taking a snake-phobe to the Reptile House at the zoo (his idea).
Or a cooking class where they don’t even get to eat the food (her idea).
It’s all about the competition, and it’s meant to help them finally crush their crushes. But it wasn’t supposed to be so hot. Or so fun. And when Mai’s future becomes at stake, will she be able to do the right thing and quit Anthony forever?
Young Adult Romance [Entangled Crush, On Sale: May 4, 2020, e-Book, ISBN: 9781682816004 / eISBN: 9781682816004]
About Amy Fellner Dominy
Amy Fellner Dominy is the award-winning author of books for teens, tweens and toddlers. An MFA playwright, Amy’s novels include The Fall of Grace; Die for You; A Matter of Heart; Audition & Subtraction; OyMG and the picture books series, Cookiesaurus Rex. Amy was recognized in 2017 by the Arizona Library Association with the Judy Goddard Award. Her novels have been recognized as Bank Street College of Education Best Book Selections, and OyMG is a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. Amy lives in Phoenix with her husband and a puppy who is training them.