Denise Grover Swank
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Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After. Before she agreed to tutor Tucker Price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety disorder and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline. After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him. Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity. But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?
to whatever I have. You two are included.” I unbutton my coat and slide it down my arms. Anything to avoid having to talk to Kyle. I’m so awkward in these situations, and my awkwardness makes me even more uncomfortable. Talk about a vicious cycle. He reaches toward me. “Here. I’ll take that for you as long as you let me get you a drink later.” I nod and reluctantly accept. “Okay.” After he takes our coats, Tina turns to me and squeals. “I told you you’d be here less than a minute before a guy
be found in the apartment. Part of me is glad. He stirs too many uncomfortable emotions in me. But part of me misses him. A ridiculous thought. I’ve obviously lost touch with reality. *** On Monday, I leave my set and logic class and see Daniel in the hallway, leaning against the wall and looking down the opposite way. He turns his head toward me and smiles. “I told you I’d find you.” My mouth turns up into the barest of grins even though I’m beaming inside. I remember telling him I took
physical. Maybe I should make you recite the rules of distributive properties.” “Do you know how incredibly hard that would be for me?” “Nothing easy is worth having.” He stops in the track. I’ve walked several steps away and turn back to him. “Tucker?” He looks in awe, as though he’s had a revelation. “You’re right.” “What do you mean?” “Maybe that’s why I’m so unhappy. Soccer and everything that comes with it is too easy.” I shake my head. “That’s not what I meant.” “Maybe not, but
sweeps across Daniel’s face. “You’ve got to be shitting me.” His gaze moves to me and back to Tucker. “You don’t think you fucked enough of the girls on campus? Now you’re going after the academic type? Or are you just interested in the girls I want to fuck?” I don’t realize what’s happened until Daniel falls to the ground. He clutches his face as blood gushes from beneath his fingers. Tucker has just punched him. Tucker leans over him and points. “If I ever hear you talking about Scarlett like
roommate so he can keep an eye on you. He’ll never agree.” “So what? Fuck him.” “Jason hates me. He thinks I’m destroying your career. He’s not some random stranger or friend. It’s your brother. This will make him hate me even more.” “So what? You of all people should know that family doesn’t necessarily mean jack shit.” Irritation pinches his mouth. “What difference does it make? We spend all our time here anyway.” “You don’t—” Tucker’s phone rings and guilt washes over his face as he