Today is Release Day for the newest Chemistry book by Andrew Grey, and I have to tell you, it’s sweet, funny, and yeah *sigh* just so Andrew! If you loved Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, then this is a MUST READ.
Take a moment to check out the great excerpt and my full review below!
♥ ✯ ♥ ✯ ♥ ✯ ♥ ✯ ♥
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Chemistry, #3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 2, 2014
Genre: M/M, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 164 pages
Source: Author in exchange for honest review
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Buy: Dreamspinner | ARe | Amazon
Science major Brad Jergens notices Jordy Fleming at school and at the grocery store where he works, but with the heat Jordy’s boyfriend emits, Brad doesn’t think he stands a chance. When Brad’s parents drag him along on a cruise, he and Jordy literally crash into each other, and the chemistry between them sends sparks flying. Unfortunately, as the weeklong cruise nears an end too quickly, Brad’s left to wonder if their mutual attraction will dissipate on a Caribbean breeze as soon as they return to dry land.
I KNEW I would always remember the first time I saw him. The only job I could get was at the Giant, and on weekends I had the graveyard shift. I got paid extra for it, and there weren’t a lot of customers, so mostly I stocked the shelves or manned the service desk. I got a lot of studying done because there really wasn’t that much work to do. Anyway, I was standing outside the front doors, taking a break, when he pulled into the parking lot in a green VW Beetle convertible. He zipped past the front of the store, “I Will Survive” blaring from the car speakers and him singing along at the top of his lungs… off-key. I couldn’t help smiling as sheer joy radiated in every direction.
The song ended, and then everyone within hearing distance was treated to an encore of Cher’s “Turn Back Time.” The exuberance continued, spreading like sunshine just breaking through thick clouds. When the song was over, I listened for another, but the parking lot grew quiet. After a few seconds, I realized I was holding my breath, waiting for more, but none came. The night returned to normal, the mundane returning after a moment of excitement. But I wasn’t ready to go back inside. Instead, I checked my watch and waited, looking at where the car had tucked in between two others. Then I saw him: a small, slight guy walking toward the store, swinging his hips like the music was still playing. I looked for an iPod or smartphone, but saw nothing. The music must have been in his head, and he was just loving it. Hell, so was I.
There hadn’t been many times in my life when I’d encountered a presence that exuded unapologetic and uncontained joy, but this was one of them, and it pulled me in its wake. Before I could think, he’d passed through the sliding doors, and I followed after him, because what choice did I have?
In the fluorescent light, he was stunning: slight, but well proportioned, wearing flip-flops on perfect feet. My gaze traveled upward past nice calves to a tight little butt that swung back and forth as he walked. He had a tiny waist, then his back expanded upward, widening at his shoulders, and his head was topped with a mop of unruly frosted hair.
“Brad,” Helen whispered, pulling me out of my daze. I blinked a few times and then hurried over to my station behind the service desk. The night manager, Rick—short for Richard, but we called him Dick behind his back because that described him to a tee—was heading our way. Most of the time we could do what we wanted as long as there weren’t customers, but we had to stay at our duty station, like this wasn’t a grocery store but the Starship Enterprise. There was one thing I knew: Rick was not, nor would he ever be, anything like Patrick Stewart.
Behind the desk, I watched as best I could. The guy bebopped down the fresh fruits and vegetables aisle, grabbing a bag of apples before moving on.
“You know Rick the Dick will throw a hissy fit of epic proportions if he catches you checking out one of the customers,” Helen whispered exaggeratedly from the first register. I already knew that, but I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He was just my type: cute as a button, attractive in a “not trying to look like he was trying too hard” kind of way. Of course I knew everything he wore was part of the persona, but he was definitely trying to look like he’d just thrown on the outfit. He certainly knew what looked good on him, because not everyone could wear a shirt with pink, purple, green, and white stripes, but he sure as hell could.
“I know,” I mouthed back. I pulled my thoughts to the old lady in front of me and helped her with the ad price on twelve cans of store-brand cat food. I smiled and made sure she was happy before thanking her and watching her leave. All I could think was how sorry I felt for the cats that were going to eat that.
Helen looked around and scooted over to the des
k. “He’s coming up the dairy aisle. I’m going to have a problem with my register tape, so you can ring up Mr. Cuteness.” She winked at me and then skittered back to her register just as Rick came around the corner. She looked innocent and smiled at him as he passed.
Rick wasn’t much older than I was, and for the millionth time, I wondered what he’d done to get this position. He must have been sleeping with someone, because he certainly hadn’t gotten the position on his ability, people skills, or math acumen. I swear, Rick could barely count to twenty with his shoes on. “There’s a cart of canned goods in the back,” he told me as he approached. “When it’s slow, go ahead and stock them.”
“Is it the one to the left as you enter the stock area?” I asked, and Rick nodded. “I tried last night. It’s overstock that was sent by mistake. We don’t need it, and Larry said to leave it for now when I told him about it this morning.” Larry was the general manager.
Rick looked at me like I had two heads. He always did that when I knew something he didn’t, which wasn’t difficult. He was about to argue, I could see the gears grinding behind his eyes, but the cutie approached, and Rick would never say anything in front of a customer. The cutie headed toward Helen, but she had her receipt tape printer cover open, so he looked around.
“I can help you,” I said cheerfully, and the guy headed over.
Dang if he didn’t have the deepest blue eyes on the face of the earth, and a perfect smile with lips that gave me wicked thoughts that I had to push away. Thankfully I was behind a counter. He set his items in front of me, and I began to ring him up. I had this guy right in front of me, he was adorable, obviously gay, and I didn’t know the first thing to say to him. I’d been watching him for fifteen minutes. “The apples are on sale if you buy two,” I said, and then I cringed on the inside. That was all I could come up with? Like my shopping acumen was going to impress him.
“Thanks,” he said and made no effort to leave. “One’s fine.”
I continued ringing him up, hoping like hell some spirited and interesting banter would pop into my head, but I had nothing. By the time I finished and had bagged his stuff, he was already pulling out his wallet. I told him the amount, and he paid before grabbing his bag and leaving the store.
“That was pathetic,” Helen said. “You mooned over him the entire time he was in here, and that’s all you’ve got? ‘They’re on sale if you buy two….’” She snorted with laughter. “No wonder you haven’t had a date. What’s your best pickup line? ‘Wanna polish my apples?’”
She hooted again, and I rolled my eyes. I knew she had a point. I’d never been good at talking to guys I was interested in. Mostly I’d watch them and stay away, so they never knew I was there and found boyfriends who weren’t me.
“Come on, you’re a great guy. You’re cute in a nerdy sort of way, and you’re smart. What you gotta do is engage people in conversation. You know all kinds of stuff, and if you’d actually talk to them, they might find you interesting.”
Now I really rolled my eyes. “Please,” I said, looking around and stepping from behind the counter when I saw that Rick wasn’t within earshot. “Have you taken a look at me? I’m skinny as a rail.” I turned around. “And I have no butt,” I added in a stage whisper. “My jeans go from waist to legs with nothing in between.”
“You do too,” Helen said. “It’s just hidden.” She lasted about two seconds before laughing. “You are kind of buttless in those pants. But it’s the pants. You need to get better clothes.”
“Yeah,” I said. “My folks have money. I don’t.” Mom and Dad had agreed to pay my tuition and room and board, but nothing else. Dad wanted me to earn part of my education, hence the job at the grocery store. If I wanted money for extras, I had to earn it. Not that I was really complaining. I was getting a great education at Dickinson, and I was earning part of my way. Dad had made his money himself. He was an ophthalmologist and had started his own practice that had grown to include multiple optometrists and a large office on Long Island. He’d built the business from nothing, and he wanted me to learn the same skills.
“You don’t have to have a lot of money to dress well. You just need someone who has the eye.” She smiled sweetly, and I returned it.
“That’s good, because I have something to ask you. My folks are going on a cruise over Thanksgiving….”
“And you want to go,” she finished. “Sure, I’ll help cover your shifts.”
“No,” I told her. “Actually I was wondering if you wanted to go. They got me a stateroom and said I could bring a guest. You’d have to cover your own expenses on the ship and get a ticket to Fort Lauderdale, but they’re only a couple hundred bucks.”
Helen’s eyes bugged and she squealed like a madwoman. Then she covered her mouth and did a little dance behind the counter.
“But you gotta help me look better,” I said.
“That’s such a deal,” Helen said with a grin.
“What has both of you so happy?” Rick asked, walking up the aisle.
“Brad and I are going on a cruise,” Helen said.
Rick paused. “You two?” He chuckled and then turned back to Helen. “You know he’s too light in the loafers for you.” Rick stepped closer to Helen. She was a pretty girl, thin, with long, raven hair that shimmered in the light. “Now, that’s not to say I wouldn’t be interested.”
“Please,” Helen retorted. “I’m not dating you.”
“Well, I can’t let you both have time off at the same time.” He sounded so smug I wanted to punch him. Helen simply smiled and leaned over the counter.
“I think you will, because otherwise your little proposition will be construed as sexual harassment. And I have a witness.” Helen straightened and stood tall. “So, Brad and I will both be gone the week of Thanksgiving, and you’re going to arrange it.” She smiled deviously, and I actually saw Rick shrink slightly. “We’d both be so grateful.”
Rick turned and I saw abject hatred in his expression. “You’re still never going to get anything from him.”
“Please. We’re friends, and he’s going to get farther with me than you ever would.” Helen flipped her hair back. “I can help you,” she said as a customer approached her r
egister. Rick stepped away, and Helen ignored him. I decided now was a good time to arrange the bags and supplies under the counter and hoped like hell that Rick went back to the office or wherever he spent most of the night. I didn’t really care as long as he wasn’t bothering either of us.
Once he was gone, Helen let out another squeal and then grinned. “Now all we’ve got to do is live with him until Thanksgiving. He’s going to be a pain in the ass, but I can keep him in line. It’s only three months away, and we can survive until then.” She looked around. “So tell me about this ship—is it one of those big ones?”
“Yeah. We’re on a big Royal Caribbean ship. It has everything—zip line, surf machines, all of it. We’ll be having fun for seven days straight.” I couldn’t help smiling. It was going to be so much fun. Yeah, I was bringing a girl, and my mother would take that as some sort of sign that I was over the gay thing. My parents loved me, but there were times when they were so oblivious. Like the time we went up to Maine when I was twelve, and Mom and Dad wanted to dig clams. Now, why anyone would want to do that was beyond me, but we went. We got a bucket, and Dad got these scoopy-shaped shovels. It was fun and I had a good time, until they actually expected me to pick up the clams. The shells were okay, but the other parts were slippery and slimy. In the end, I dug them up, but my dad had to put them in the bucket.
That should definitely have been a clue. Nope, Mom was ever hopeful she’d have a daughter-in-law someday and that she’d get to help plan a huge wedding. I tried telling her that she could still plan a wedding—there would just be two grooms—but she wasn’t interested. To her, weddings had brides, and it was all about the dress. I loved my mom dearly, but there was no way in hell I’d wear a wedding dress for anyone.
A customer came up and we had ourselves a minirush, then things quieted down and I left the desk to see what needed to be stocked in the back. The night shifts were quiet and could drag on forever, so the trick was to keep busy. I found a cart of things that actually needed stocking and wheeled it out to the canned goods aisle and got to work. I was just getting into the groove when I was paged to the front.
I lifted the section of counter and approached the customer service area to find the cutie looking over the counter at me. “I got the wrong thing,” he said and pushed a box of macaroni and cheese over the counter. The energy he’d exuded earlier was markedly absent, and he seemed incredibly subdued. “Apparently, there is some sort of difference.”
“What is it you need?”
“It has to be Kraft,” he said.
“Give me a minute,” I told him and hurried away. I knew what he wanted and went right to the aisle. I grabbed the blue-and-gold box and walked back to the desk. I saw him shuffling from foot to foot nervously. “Is this what you need?” I asked and handed him the box.
“Yes,” he breathed. “Who can tell them apart? I don’t eat this stuff, but I’m supposed to know that there’s a difference?” I rang up the exchange, and he paid me the twenty cents’ difference. “Thanks for your help,” he said and then turned and left.
Damned if I didn’t watch him the entire time until the sliding glass doors closed behind him. When I looked up, I saw Helen looking back at me, shaking her head. “Real memorable,” she said.
“What was I supposed to do?”
“I don’t know, offer to show him, maybe ask him what classes he’s taking. He was wearing a Dickinson polo, and it looked really nice on him. Chat him up, what could it hurt?”
It was too late now, so I shrugged and went back to work. But I kept thinking of him the rest of the night, and even in the morning, when I finally got some time all to myself.
What happens when you mix a short, cute, ex-dancer (who sings off-key) and a science nerd? Sparks, emotional and personal growth, and an HEA that will have you swooning.
Electrochemistry is book #3 in the Chemistry novella series by Andrew Grey and I have to say, it’s a great ‘coming of age’ story. I love both Brad and Jordy so much! Traveling along as Brad and Jordy dance around each other is both wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. Brad sees himself as ordinary and Jordy as beyond amazing. Jordy sees Brad as sweet, caring, and sexy. What each man has to teach the other is nothing less that wonderful, though and the secondary characters are too fun. (Hey, it’s a cruise, has to be fun, right?)
I recommend this story for any that love HEAs, ‘coming of age’ stories, or sweet and building love, then this story is for you.
ANDREW GREY grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.