Cover, Blurb & Excerpt Reveal
DEAR MR. BRODY
(For Him Series #3)
by A.M. Johnson
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 5, 2021
Enchanting Romance Designs
GENRE: M/M romance
TROPE: Slow burn, slight age-gap, student/professor, single dad, second chance, bi-awakening, hurt/comfort, HEA
I never meant for any of this to happen, to fall for you. It doesn’t matter that we’re both adults, or how much we want this to work. The college policy is clear. I can’t see a way around this without one of us getting hurt. If I would’ve known who you were when we met online, I would have never pursued a relationship. I’m new to all of this, and besides my daughter, getting to know you has been the best thing to ever happen to me. But I can’t make you hide again. I won’t. It’s not fair to either of us.
Dear Mr. Brody,
You’re right, we are adults. I’m twenty-four years old, and I think I can decide for myself what’s best for me. If this is about you losing your job, I’ll walk away. But if this is you trying to protect me, then you’re an idiot. I want you. I care about you. My past isn’t an issue. What we’re doing… it isn’t the same thing. If we have to hide, so be it. I’m not ready to let you go.
Your Lost Boy,
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A few students were already in their seats when I walked into the classroom. I probably should have nodded my head or something, but I walked past them without an acknowledgement, far too anxious to even manage a smile.
Not very friendly, professor.
The room wasn’t as small as I thought it would be. Six long tables divided the room and could seat five students. The odd number of seats per row niggled at my already amped up brain. What if there was only one seat left, and two students wanted to sit together on the same row? What if there was only one seat, and it was in the middle? Who the hell would want that seat? Not me, and Jesus Christ I needed to calm down. I told myself to take a deep breath and set my laptop bag under my desk. A little less frazzled, I unzipped the bag and pulled out what I needed. I could hear the classroom door opening and closing, the whispered conversations hummed around me. I kept busy fiddling with the papers I’d set out, and took my time, breathing, counting backward from one hundred in my head. Counting was a tool I used. It soothed me. Numbers never changed. I hadn’t been this nervous in a while, and as I connected the wire from the overhead projector to my laptop, I internally laughed at myself. Most people considered me laid back, and for the most part I was, but every now and then, all the worry and insecurities I figured we all had to fight every day, would stage a coup.
The time on my watch warned me I couldn’t delay any longer, and I inhaled deeply one last time as I raised my eyes and met the class.
“Good, afternoon everyone, I’ll try to make introductions as painless as possible.” Soft laughter sifted through the air, and I gained the confidence I needed to continue. I swept my gaze around the room, not lingering on one student for too long as I spoke. “I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but this is my first teaching job so go easy on me.” A blonde girl in the front row blushed when my eyes landed on her, and I averted my gaze. Shit I was awkward. “My name is Donovan Brody, and I’ll try to remember all of your names, but I can’t promise anything.”
One of the students near the back of the classroom raised his hand with a smirk. My heart rattled out a few unsteady beats as I braced myself for a smart-ass comment.
“Mills, sir. Parker Mills.”
His eyes, though I couldn’t decipher the shade from where I stood, twinkled with mischief. His features were classically handsome. A strong jaw, a sharp nose, full lips, and why the hell was I looking at his lips?
He ran a hand over his short dirty blond hair, his smirk turning into a lopsided smile before I looked away. “Can we call you Donovan?”
I racked my brain, trying to remember if any of my professors were okay with being called by their first names and came up blank. Parker chuckled at my hesitation and my face heated.
“I think Mr. Brody would be most appropriate.”
He tapped his pencil to his bottom lip. “Noted.”
I should have moved on. I had an entire speech prepared about my history with Bartley Press, and how writing was my passion, but for some damn reason I went off script. “How about we all take a second to get to know each other. Tell us your name, and something about yourself you’d like to share. Starting with you, Mr. Mills.”
The guy sitting next to him stifled a laugh, but I ignored it. Putting students on the spot hadn’t been my intention, these icebreaker tactics were my least favorite when I was in school. But writing was personal, and if I wanted them to create together, we had to get comfortable with each other.
“As you already know, my name’s Parker Mills, but call me Parker or Park, it doesn’t matter to me. I served four years in the Air Force. I’m getting a late start at college but I’m grateful to be here.”
“Thank you for your service,” I said, and he lowered his eyes, rubbing the back of his neck as he nodded, his humility surprised me. “And how about you?” I asked his friend.
“Name’s Marcos Basulto, I’m a design major, but this idiot made me take this class with him.” He elbowed Parker and he winced.
“Yeah, but I needed the extra humanities credit so…”
Marcos waved his hand dramatically for me to move on, and I noticed his nails were painted bright pink. It stood out against his tan skin, but the color suited him.
“Well, Mr. Basulto, I hope this class won’t be a waste of your time.” I hadn’t meant to sound as harsh as I had so I added, “I’m glad you’re here.”
It took about fifteen minutes for the whole class to introduce themselves. The majority of the twenty-three students were here for the humanities credits, only a handful wanted to be actual writers. It disappointed me what Anders had said might’ve been right, that most of these kids would write bullshit, looking for an easy A. My hopes had been high, but I refused to lower the bar. If they wanted an A they would have to earn it.
“Let’s get started,” I said, and Marcos raised his hand.
“What about you?” he asked, speaking before I had a chance to address him. “Aren’t you going to tell us some random facts about yourself? I mean it’s only fair.”
A quiet wave of smiles and laughter streamed through the room again, but Parker kept his eyes glued to the desk, slumping down in his chair as his friend beamed. Apparently making people uncomfortable was something he did for sport.
“You’re right, Mr. Basulto. It’s only fair.” I leaned against the desk. “I worked as a copy editor for most of my career until I started two years ago at Lowe Literary as an agent, helping writers to get published, and managing their careers. But I’ve always wanted to teach, so here I am.”
A young woman near the back shoved her hand in the air. “Do you work with famous authors?”
“Sometimes… and no I’m not at liberty to discuss which authors I represent,” I smiled as I picked up the course syllabus from my desk and started to pass them out. “Though this is a writing class, I’ll be requiring you to read three books over the semester.” A collective groan echoed throughout the class, and I tried not to laugh. “Come on now, three books in fifteen weeks isn’t a lot to ask.”
I made my way up the aisle giving each student at the end of a row a few handouts to pass down, when I reached Parker, he thanked me and grinned. This close it was easier to decipher the light sapphire color of his eyes. A familiar twinge warmed my stomach and I looked away. Swallowing, I found my voice as I made my way back to my desk. “It’s important, as a writer, to never stop reading, expanding your vocabulary. You may choose whatever three novels you like, but they must be fiction and they must not all be in the same genre.”
A student from the second row, Gerald if I remembered correctly, asked, “What’s a genre?”
I had to stop myself from cringing.
Was he kidding?
“It’s a type of book.” Another student answered for me.
“That’s correct,” I said. “Fiction is a genre, but within fiction there are other genres.” He chewed his lip as he furiously wrote down what I was saying. “Young Adult, mystery, women’s fiction, historical fiction… For the purposes of this class, I would like you to try and pick at least one classic.”
“Classic, like Hemingway?” Parker asked.
Though it shouldn’t have mattered to me, I wondered why he’d taken this class. Why he’d forced his friend to take it with him? Did he want to be a writer, or was he here for a quick three credits like most of his classmates?
“Sure… Bronte, Fitzgerald, or even Salinger are acceptable. There’s this marvelous thing called a library if you find you’re having trouble picking a book.”
“Ha-ha.” He smirked again and I found myself smiling as well. “I hear Google is great too.”
“Indeed, Mr. Mills. It is.” I held onto his gaze longer than I should have and a wide smile spread across his lips.
I couldn’t tell if this guy was a class clown or not, but despite his sarcasm, he seemed like he wanted to be here unlike his friend who looked half asleep at his side. As I spoke, I raised my voice and Marcos jumped. “Now for your first assignment.”
Another chorus of groans.
This was going to be a long semester.
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About the Author
Amanda lives in Utah with her family where she moonlights as a nurse on the weekends.
If she’s not busy with her three munchkins, you’ll find her buried in a book or behind the keyboard where she explores the human experience through the written word.
She’s obsessed with all things Austen and Oreos, and loves to connect with readers!
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