Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Groovy Kind of Love (The Bibliophiles Book 3) by Karen Berner Excerpt

A Groovy Kind of Love (The Bibliophiles Book 3) by Karen Berner

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Uptight British lit lover meets a free spirit at a book club and his world is turned upside down!

After placating to his father’s demands that he play Little League baseball and major in computer programming in college rather than his beloved English literature, Thaddeus assumed that several years into his career, he would finally get some peace and quiet.

Then he met Spring Pearson, the younger, free-spirited daughter of Hippie parents, at a book club meeting. Instantly smitten, Thaddeus finally worked up the courage to ask Spring out. But will an old college pinkie-swear promise Spring made fifteen years ago get in the way of this bibliophilic romance?

”A Groovy Kind of Love” is the third and final installment of Karen Wojcik Berner’s Bibliophiles series. Written as stand-alone novels, each book focuses on one or two members of a fictional suburban classics book club, revealing their personal stories while the group explores tales spun by the masters.

This edition contains a Reader's Guide and book club discussion questions.


Chapter Fifteen
River Forest, Illinois, 2000

Their university had a lovely tradition, a ceremony nearly one hundred
years old. On Graduation Eve, seniors lined up, dressed in their caps and
gowns and carrying candles to symbolize the wisdom they had received over
the last four years. Each senior chose a member of the junior class, who
held a yellow rose of friendship. The two lines processed through the
Cloister Walk onto the Quad, where the senior bestowed the light of
learning to the junior and received the rose to take out into the world.
Everyone would have a good cry, take pictures with their roses, and share
a glass of champagne with their parents. Then the parents leave, and the
campus would erupt into one huge party for everyone, including students,
faculty, staff members, and even the chaplain.
        Joshua Gable passed his candle to his best friend of three years, while
Spring Pearson handed him her rose, mustering a weak smile through her
tears, knowing that after the next day, the Dynamic Duo, as Phil called
them, would part ways.
        One minute after the parental exodus, dorm-room doors flew open, and
students across the campus cranked up the party. A deejay spun tunes in
the Social Hall, while everyone floated from party to party and drink to
drink, stopped downstairs to share dances with their favorite professors,
and repeated the cycle.
        Spring and Joshua hit Phil’s room first, where he was pouring a bottle of
Everclear grain alcohol into a massive plastic punch bowl filled halfway
with lemonade. “Hey, guys!” He’d ditched the cap and gown and was now
sporting an obnoxiously bold Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. He
picked up a small souvenir baseball bat from a Cubs game he’d attended in
April and stirred his potion.
        “Hope you washed that before you stuck it in there,” Spring said,
noticing a black stain over the Cubs logo.
        “That’s what she said.” Phil howled and high-fived Joshua. “No worries.
The grain alcohol will kill anything on it.”
        “It’s time to par-tay!” Ray burst into the room with Kit, Joe, and Julian
following closely behind.
        Phil spread his arms wide. “Welcome, my friends. Please help yourself to
punch or beer.” He flung the mini-fridge’s door open to reveal it was
packed with Miller Lite.
        Once each of them held a beverage of choice, Phil clanked his beer
bottle. “Excuse me. I’d like to say a few words on this momentous
occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, we came into these hallowed halls mere
babes, unknowing neophytes, and we leave tomorrow friends and scared
shitless as they throw us out into the real world. So tonight, we raise a
toast to our time together. The fun, the shit ton of work, and the
knowledge that wherever this life takes us, we will remember this night
and each other. Salut!” He gulped his beer. “Okay, enough of that. Who’s
up for tequila shots?”
        Joshua and Spring went from party to party, eventually ending up in her
suite, where the girls’ soiree was in full swing with their respective
seniors. Tony had, of course, picked Stacey for his rose, who now sat on
his lap and nuzzled his neck. Laurie, another early childhood education
major, had chosen Debbie. Both of them were playing beer pong on the
kitchen table with Kate and two guys who lived in the suite on the other
side of the floor, Mark and Mike. Jim and Pam were chatting with Debbie’s
advisor, while various professors stopped by to wish everyone well and
miscellaneous groups wandered in to share a drink and a hug.
        “I promised my mom I wouldn’t be hung over at graduation.” Joshua
giggled. “Whoops!”
        “Don’t think you’ll be the only one.” Spring glanced around the room.
“Besides, it’s tradition.”
Most college graduates were usually hung over, if not still inebriated
from the night before, on graduation. The pulverizing thought of being on
the precipice of reality, of leaving those four years of life in a cocoon,
was enough to make anyone want to consume large quantities of alcohol.
        At about two o’clock in the morning, Joshua and Spring again found
themselves tucked away in her room, drinks in hand, listening to music,
and deep in conversation.
        “I mean, it’s Georgetown. Holy shit, right?” He clinked her beer bottle
with his. “Cheers.”
        They both took long gulps.
        “Yeah, but you’re you, and you’ll do great,” she countered. “Come on. You
know it.” She leaned into him.
        He smirked. “Maybe.”
        “Do you need your ego stroked?”
        He nodded.
        Spring sighed. “Okay, here we go. Dean’s List every semester. Cumulative
grade point average of three point eight. Graduating magna cum laude with
honors. Need more?”
        “No.” Joshua puffed out his chest. “I am super poli-sci major, champion
of the universe. I am going to kick law school’s ass.”
        They drained their beers.
        “Nobody’s as cool as you, Spring.” He got up to retrieve two more from
the kitchen. “Be right back.”
        She put Green Day’s Warning on the boom box, their favorite CD when they
needed to chill.
        He handed her a bottle. “One last time, huh?”
        She nodded, unable to speak.
        He scooted up next to her on the bed and put his arm around her
shoulders. “We are one great team. Except for the sex.”
        She chuckled.
        “Here’s what I think. How about you and I make a pact? If we’re both
still single when I am, say thirty-five—thirty-four for you—let’s get
married. You know we’d have a ton of fun. And who cares about sex at that
age anyhow? What do you say?”
        “You’re not serious.”
        “Totally serious. Cross my heart. Swear to God.” He grabbed her hand.
“Pinkie swear.”
        “A pinkie swear is a binding legal contract. It’ll probably even show up
in one of my books at Georgetown. Come on, Spring.”
        She looked at him and pondered his words for as long as her semidrunken
state would allow. Then she raised her hand. “Pinkie swear.”
        “All right! I solemnly pinkie swear that if I am not married by age
thirty-five, I will seek out my best friend in the whole wide world and
ask her to marry me, provided she is still single too. So help me God.”
        They locked little fingers.
        It was official.

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