Last year I read and loved Amy Fellner Dominy’s Announcing Trouble, so I’m excited to read the companion novel How to Quit Your Crush! And to celebrate its release, Amy is sharing a deleted scene with us!
A Deleted Scene from Amy Fellner Dominy
In How to Quit Your Crush, Anthony and Mai are trying to get over their feelings for each other. They decide to each plan dates the other will hate. The following scene was a date that didn’t make it into the book. Anthony plans this, a float down the Salt River, knowing that Mai would never waste a whole day on something so frivolous. Oh—and the other thing you need to know is that they’ve agreed to a list of rules. Rule 5 is No Kissing.
“This is it. This is all we do?” Mai’s head tilts my way. She’s lying in the intertube, a wet towel acting as a buffer against the hot rubber. Her arms are stretched across the tube, her feet propped up on the other side. Somehow, she looks graceful.
And beautiful. I’ve seen bathing suits that aren’t more than a couple of strings and triangles of fabric, but Mai in a white tank and loose black swim shorts is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. Her toes are polished. Red. It makes me think of her lipstick. Her lips. I’d like to break Rule 5, but it’s also nice just being here with her.
“This is it.”
She dangles her fingers in the cool murky water of Saguaro Lake. We shuttled to a spot I know and I got the tubes ready along with a floating cooler I’ve tied to mine. Now, the slow current will take us down to the spot where we rented the tubes and I parked the car.
“It’s not very fast, Anthony.”
“No, it isn’t Mai.”
“It must take all day.”
“Half a day, anyway.”
“And we just lie here? Like this?”
“All this sun isn’t healthy.”
“We have sunscreen on.”
“It’ll wash off.”
“I brought more.”
“Is that what’s in the cooler?”
“And bottles of water.” I pop it open.
She gasps. “And Cheetos.”
I lie back, smiling.
“You do have some redeeming qualities.”
I spin my tube just enough that I can reach hers. I pull myself closer and slide my fingers into hers.”
Again, her head tilts. Behind her sunglasses I can’t see her eyes, but I can read her smile. “I’m just holding your hand so you don’t get washed away by a huge wave.”
She looks around at the completely calm water, the smooth, gentle flow like bath water. “Right.” She lays back. “It does look dangerous.” But she winds her fingers in more closely.
Something feels different today though I’m not sure what. Maybe because we don’t have a clock ticking before the library closes. Maybe because it feels like a different world with only the two of us. Maybe because I’m going to be leaving soon and so is she.
Deeper feelings are bubbling up and I can’t help when my voice lowers, turns serious. “You ever get tired of it—of always striving to get somewhere else?”
“Sometimes. But not enough to change. It’s just how I am. There was always a path laid out. College. My doctorate. A profession.”
“And someone like Grant Ellison?”
“And someone like Grant Ellison.” Her gaze lifts to mine, not a sliver of apology in them. “This is me. This is who I am, Anthony. I don’t wander off the path. I follow the road that’s already been paved. I like that. It’s safer.”
I shake my head, a familiar lump filling my throat. “We’re never safe. That’s a lie we tell ourselves when we make plans.”
“You mean your dad?” Mai adjusts her feet, and I move to let her go, but she stops me. “No don’t.”
So I slide a hand around her ankles. She’s smooth and soft everywhere, but also so strong in so many ways. It makes me want to know her more, not less. “He liked plans, too. Didn’t keep him from getting prostate cancer.”
“I’m sorry,” she says softly.
I shrug. “I don’t see the point in making all those plans. Well. Except maybe a few.” I lighten the mood with a smile.
She smiles back. “Oh yeah? What kind?”
“Like kissing a beautiful girl floating on the river with sunlight in her hair.”
“Anthony.” She sighs. “This is not helpful. You need to be more annoying.”
“Yeah, I will,” I say. I lean closer. “I’ll start by breaking Rule 5.”
And I kiss her.
Thanks so much for hosting me today and thanks to everyone for reading! I hope you’ll look for How to Quit Your Crush and when you’ve had a chance to read, let me know which of the dates that made it in the book is your favorite! I love to hear from readers. You can always find other excerpts and giveaways by signing up for my monthly newsletter HERE.