This is a tour stop for BETWEEN THE SHEETS by Molly O'Keefe with an excerpt and a giveaway. This is the third book in the Boys of Bishop series.
My review can be found here
“We’ve been back for a week and he’s been in the office almost every day,” Colleen said, lifting her own mug—no cats to be seen—from the hot plate. “Fighting, mouthy, stealing from classmates.” She turned her giant chair back around to face the door and the computer, her kingdom. “And his father is a piece of work, clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from that particular tree. Mark my words: that boy is nothing but trouble.”
Mrs. Jordal taught fifth grade and had for about a hundred years. There wasn’t a problem or a type of kid she hadn’t seen a dozen times before. And Shelby really liked the fact that her class, no matter how many handful kids she had, was always calm. The kids were respectful.
It was tough at the beginning of every new year because something happened to kids between fourth and fifth grade. Some hormonal surge that made them all short-circuit. But by Thanksgiving, Mrs. Jordal had those kids in line.
Christmas break, however, caused some regression. Shelby took a deep breath, girding her loins, before she walked in.
“Hello, class,” she said as she entered the room. All the kids looked up from the free reading they’d been doing and some of them answered her. Some waved. Scott and John whispered behind their hands. One boy in the back with shaggy red hair blinked, slowly and worried-seeming.
Oh no, his expression said, before he schooled it into a predictable but ill-fitting sneer, not another new thing.
His whole vibe screamed “new kid.”
Mrs. Jordal stood from behind her desk and walked over, limped actually. She needed hip replacement surgery but was being stubborn about it. “Hello, Ms. Monroe,” she said. “Welcome back.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Jordal. Anything exciting in the fifth grade in the new year?”
“We have a new student.” “That’s what I heard.” “Casey?”
The redhead waved with one flip of his hand. Funny, that hormonal surge inspired all of the kids to walk that line between being respectful and being sent to the principal’s office to varying degrees. Even the good kids started fifth grade with a little attitude.
This kid was really trying hard to seem like a badass. “Nice to meet you, Casey.” Shelby set down her coffee and bag beside Mrs. Jordal’s desk, in front of the Regions of America bulletin board. “I thought, in honor of our new student . . .” Every eye in the classroom went to Casey and he shrank down in his seat, glowering. “We’re going to start on a new project today and it’s going to last for the next three weeks. It’s called Things About Me.” From her bag she took the stapled packets of paper and began to hand them out. “You get three images, but no words, to convey what you know to be true about yourself.”
“About anything?” Jessica Adams asked. She honestly looked terrified at the idea. Jessica was a girl who needed to be told what to draw. Most of the kids did, but that was the fun part of fifth grade—they were just beginning to realize they had ideas of their own. Largely inappropriate, but the ideas were tied more to identity than ever before.
“Like I know this is lame?” Scott Maxwell said, and John James high-fived him.
“If you think that’s true, sure.” She gave Scott the packet of papers and then stood next to him for a moment, her hand on his shoulder. Scott had been in her summer art camp for three years in a row and was doing an after-school class on Thursdays, working in clay. He was a good kid and she liked him as much as she imagined he liked her. The poor kid was just short- circuiting. “But you have to figure out how to draw it. How to convey it without using any words.”
A couple of the kids started to groan, realizing how hard this was going to be.
She took out two examples and taped them to the blackboard with masking tape.
“What do you think these mean?” she asked.
One was a picture she’d drawn in the manner of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. She stood in a field surrounded by beautiful swirls and explosions of color and texture. The other was a picture of her Art Barn, filled with kids who were part human, part foxes, all mischief.
“Is that me?” Scott asked, pointing to one of the kids in her picture.
She squinted at the picture. “You know, I do see a resemblance.”
“Are you saying we’re all animals?” “Not exactly.”
“She’s saying you’re all foxes,” Casey said.
She smiled at Casey, who beamed at her attention before he remembered he had a sneer he was trying to make stick.
I’m on to you, she thought, and felt that surge of affection she always felt when she saw past the too big veneer of the “problem kids.”
“Why do you think I picked foxes?” “Why do you think you picked foxes?”
Shelby blinked, not at his tone, but the way he’d re- phrased the question. She wondered if Casey with the shaggy red hair and freckles, slouching in his chair as if at the advanced age of eleven he’d seen it all, had spent some time with a psychiatrist.
“Because you’re all sly and mischievous and looking for trouble,” she answered. “But you’re still cute.”
“What about the other one?” Jessica asked.
The room was silent and Shelby turned to look at the picture again. The figure in the middle was clearly her, even though she’d drawn herself from the back. The blue tee shirt she wore said Art Barn across the shoulders, and any kid who took a class out at the barn got the exact same shirt.
“Art is everywhere?” Jessica asked, giving it her best shot.
“You need to get your eyes checked?” Scott said.
She bent forward, to look him in the eye. “Do we need to have a conversation in the hallway?” she whispered, and he blanched, shaking his head.
BETWEEN THE SHEETS Buy Links
Purchase the second book in the series - NEVER BEEN KISSED
Purchase the first book in the series - WILD CHILD
Molly O'Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.
She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn't looked back. She loves exploring every character's road towards happily ever after.
Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she's not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.