First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
- Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
- Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
- Finally… reveal the book
Mallory Fredrick crossed her legs and swung her right foot into a rocking motion, trying to calm the nerves that had plagued her for a week. Iker, the human resources director, clicked absently through a set of electronic forms, the computer screen illuminating his face in odd patterns of a white-washed glow. “This is not a situation I’ve encountered before.”
“That makes two of us.” Mallory’s stomach felt as empty as her nearby classroom.
“We’ve got some options.” Iker’s directorial tone was mechanical, as if he delivered lines like this any time there was an emergency incident regarding a faculty member. Still, his lack of emotion coupled with little eye contact left Mallory unconvinced. She continued to swing her foot, settling into a rhythm to expend some of the frustration that had mounted between the time she discovered the threat, her meetings with the college’s police department, and now human resources.
Because this meeting with Iker involved her future and her paycheck, it was even more intimidating than her time with the Santa Fe College police chief.
Iker reviewed the faculty handbook, a document Mallory herself had referenced multiple times over the last week. Policies, protocol, and procedure were in place to protect both students and faculty, but even these rules didn’t quite cover Mallory’s situation. Because when it came to social media use by college students, that was a rather gray area to enforce in regard to conduct.
Iker read words Mallory had nearly committed to memory. This was nothing new.
And The Book Is..
College professor Mallory Fredrick loves her job in a city that feels like home, but after a student attacks her on social media, she loses her peace of mind and confidence. When her college offers a sabbatical, she jumps at the chance to escape to her hometown in Texas.
Entrepreneur Alec O’Donnell specializes in helping people in crisis. He’s built his company and career on packing up lives as people start over. It’s just business until he meets Mallory. Something about the beautiful and fragile woman who still manages to hold on to her sense of humor affects him. As feelings develop, he realizes he’s not ready for her to move out of his life.
Can Mallory find peace, or will a second setback keep her from coming home for good?