Review + Excerpt: Not So Nice Guy - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

“Oh my god. Who that?”
I get asked this question a lot.
“Oh him?” I reply. “That’s just Ian.”

Just Ian is the biggest understatement of the century.
Just the Mona Lisa. Just the Taj Mahal. Just Ian, with his boring ol’ washboard abs and dime-a-dozen dimpled smile.

Just Ian is… just my best friend.

We’re extremely close, stuck so deep inside a Jim-and-Pam-style friendzone everyone at works assumes we’re a couple – that is until one day, word spreads through the teacher’s lounge that he’s single. Fair game. Suddenly, it’s open season on Ian.

He should be reveling in all the newfound attention, but to our mutual surprise, the only attention he seems to want is mine.

He’s turning our formerly innocent nightly chats into x-rated phone calls. Our playful banter sports a new, dangerous edge.

I want to assume he’s playing a prank on me, just pushing my buttons like always – but when Ian lifts me onto the desk in my classroom and slides his hands up my skirt, he doesn’t leave a lot of room for confusion.

I’m a little scared of things going south, of losing my best friend because I can’t keep my hands to myself. So, I’m just going to back away and not return this earth-shattering kiss – oh who am I kidding?!

Goodbye Ian, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal!

Helloooo mister not so nice guy.

Book Type:

Romantic Comedy

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Review + Excerpt: Not So Nice Guy
By R.S. Grey

Review + Excerpt: Not So Nice Guy

Talk about the kind of book you can’t help but inhale. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, and I promise you, NOT SO NICE GUY is impossible to put down. With her signature sense of humor and her quick-paced writing, R.S. Grey draws you into the irresistible story of two best friends secretly pining for each other.

Ian and Samantha are two school teachers whose lives are so entwined they are like an old married couple, inside jokes and rituals long established…but sans the perks.

Everyone assumes they’re together, so when word gets out that Ian is actually single, everyone seems to start lining up for their chance at the science teacher with the washboard abs.

Suddenly, their friendship is upended and nothing is like before. Despite the enviable attention, Ian is pushing the boundaries of their relationship into dangerous territory.

It’s everything she’s ever wanted and it’s scaring her to death.

What if their relationship falls apart and she’s left without her best friend?

This charming, funny, fast-paced, friends-to-lovers romantic comedy should be read with your favorite cocktail in hand, devoured in a single sitting. It’s a weekend starter and a bad mood breaker… warm fuzzies and laughs guaranteed. I genuinely look forward to every R.S. Grey book release, because I know it’s the most fun, the most delicious kind of escape.

CHAPTER ONE
SAMANTHA

This morning, we’re having sex inside the army barracks again. It’s hot and heavy. The enemy is advancing—we might not make it out alive. Explosions rumble in the sky and in my pants. I’m sweating. Ian started out wearing camo fatigues, but I ripped them off with my teeth. That’s how I know I’m dreaming—my mouth isn’t that skillful. In real life, I’d chip a tooth on his zipper.

My alarm clock fires another warning shot. My waking mind shouts, Get up or you’re going to be late! I burrow deeper under my covers and my subconscious wins out. Dream Ian tosses me over his shoulder like he’s trying to earn a Medal of Honor and then we crash against a metal bunkbed. Another indication that this is a dream is the fact that the fleshy part of my butt hits the corner of the bunk yet it doesn’t hurt. He grinds into me and the frame rattles. I scrape my fingers down his back.

“We’re going to get caught, soldier,” I moan.

His mouth covers mine and he reminds me, “This is a war zone—we can be as loud as we want.”

A staccato burst of machine-gun fire erupts just outside. Heavy boots begin stomping toward the locked door.

“Quick, we’ll have to barricade it!” I implore. “But how? There’s nothing useful in here, just that standard-issue leather whip and my knee-high combat boots!”

He hauls me up against the door and we lock eyes. The wordless solution suddenly becomes clear: we’ll have to use our own writhing bodies as a sexy blockade.

“Okay, every time they kick the door, I’m going to thrust, got it? On the count of three: one, two—”

Just as my dream gets to the good part, my phone starts blaring “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Cool 80s country pop serenades me at max volume. There are synthesizers. I groan and jerk my eyes open. Ian changed my ringtone again. He does it to me every few weeks. The song before was another silly throwback tune by two old kooks.

I reach out for my phone and bring it beneath the covers with me.

“Yeah yeah,” I answer. “I’m already showered and heading out the door.”

“You’re still in bed.”

Ian’s deep, husky voice saying the word “bed” does funny things to my stomach. Dream Ian is blending with Real Life Ian. One is a hunky lieutenant with arms of steel. The other is my best friend whose arms are made of a metal I’ve never had the pleasure of feeling.

“Dolly Parton this time? Really?” I ask.

“She’s an American treasure, just like you.”

“How do you even come up with these songs?”

“I keep a running list on my phone. Why are you breathing so hard? It sounds like you’re over there fogging up a mirror.”

Oh god. I sit up and shake off the remnants of my dream.

“I fell asleep to reruns of M*A*S*H again.”

“You know they’ve continued making television shows since then.”

“Yes, well, I’ve yet to find a man who titillates me like Hawkeye.”

“You know Alan Alda is in his 80s right?”

“He’s probably still got it.”

“Whatever you say, Hot Lips.”

I groan. Just like with Major Houlihan, that nickname annoys me…kind of.

I sweep the blankets aside and force my feet to the ground. “How long do I have?”

“First bell rings in thirty minutes.”

“Looks like I’ll have to skip that 10-mile morning run I was planning.”

He laughs. “Mhmm.”

I start rummaging through my closet, looking for a clean dress and cardigan. Our school’s employee wardrobe requirements force me to dress like the female version of Mr. Rogers. Today, my sundress is cherry red and my cardigan is pale pink, appropriate for the first day of February.

“Any chance you filled up an extra thermos with coffee before you left the house?” I ask, hopeful.

“I’ll leave it on your desk.”

My heart flutters with appreciation.

“You know what, I was wrong,” I tease, affecting a swoony lovesick tone. “There is a man who titillates me more than Hawkeye, and his name is Ian Flet—”

He groans and hangs up.

OAK HILL HIGH School is a five-minute bike ride from my apartment. It’s also a five-minute bike ride from Ian’s house. We could make the morning commute together, but we have drastically different morning rituals. I like to roll the dice and push the limits on my alarm clock. It thrills me to sleep until the very last second. Ian likes to wake up with the milkman. He belongs to a gym and he uses that membership every morning. His body fat percentage hovers in the low teens. I belong to the same gym and my membership card is tucked behind a beloved Dunkin’ Donuts rewards card. It leers out at me each time I make a midday strawberry frosted run.

Those barbaric contraptions at the gym intimidate me. I once sprained my wrist trying to change the amount of weight resistance on a rowing machine, and have you seen all the different strap, rope, and handle attachments for the cable machine? Half of them look like sex toys for horses.

Instead of subjecting myself to the gym, I prefer my daily bike rides. Besides, there’s really no fighting my physiology at this point. I’m a twenty-seven-year-old woman still riding the wave of pretend fitness that comes naturally with youth and the food budget of a teacher. The only #gains in my life come from binge-watching Chip and Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper.

Ian says I’m too hard on myself, but in the mirror I see knobby knees and barely-filled B cups. On good days, I’m 5’3’’. I think I can shop at Baby Gap.

When I make it to school (ten minutes before the first bell), I find a granola bar next to the thermos of coffee on my desk. In my haste to make it to school on time, I forgot to grab something for breakfast. I’ve become predictable enough that Ian has stowed snacks in and around my desk. I can pull open any drawer and find something—nuts, seeds, peanut butter crackers. There’s even a Clif Bar duct-taped under my chair. My arsenal is more for his own good than mine. I’m the hangriest person you’ve ever met. When my blood sugar drops, I turn into the destructive Jean Grey.

I scarf down the granola bar and sip my coffee, firing off a quick text to thank him before students start filing into my classroom for first period.

SAM: TY for breakfast. Coffee is LIT.

IAN: It’s the new blend you bought last week. Are your students teaching you new words again?

SAM: I heard it during carpool duty yesterday. I’m not sure when to use it yet. Will report back.

“Good morning, Missus Abrams!” my first student sing-songs.

It’s Nicholas, the editor-in-chief for the Oak Hill Gazette. He’s the kind of kid who wears sweater vests to school. He takes my journalism class very seriously—even more seriously than he takes his crush on me, which is saying something.

I level him with a reproving look. “Nicholas, for the last time, it’s Miss Abrams. You know I’m not married.”

He grins extra wide and his braces twinkle in the light. He’s had them do the rubber band colors in alternating blue and black for school pride. “I know. I just like hearing you say it.” The kid is relentless. “And may I just say, the shade of your dress is very becoming.

The red nearly matches your hair. With style like that, you’ll be a missus in no time.”

“No, you may not say that. Just sit down.”

Other students are starting to file into my class now. Nicholas takes his seat front and center, and I avoid eye contact with him as much as possible once I begin my lesson.

Ian and I have drastically different jobs at Oak Hill High.

He’s the AP Chem II teacher. He has a master’s degree and worked in industry after college. While in grad school, he helped develop a tongue strip that soothes burns from things like hot coffee and scalding pizza. Seems stupid—SNL even spoofed it—but it got a lot of interest in the science world, and his experience makes the students look up to him. He’s the cool teacher who rolls his shirtsleeves to his elbows and blows shit up in the name of science.

I’m just the journalism teacher and the staff coordinator for the Oak Hill Gazette, a weekly newspaper that is read by exactly five people: me, Ian, Nicholas, Nicholas’ mom, and our principal, Mr. Pruitt. Everyone assumes I fall into the “if you can’t do, teach” category, but I actually like my job. Teaching is fun, and I’m not cut out for the real world. Hard-hitting journalists don’t make very many friends. They jump into the action, push, prod, and expose important stories to the world. In college, my professors chastised me for only churning out “puff pieces”. I took it as a compliment. Who doesn’t like puffy things?

As it is, I’m proud of the Gazette and the students who help run it.

We start each week with an “all-staff meeting” as if we’re a real, functioning newspaper. Students pitch their ideas for proposed stories or fill me in on the progress of ongoing work. Most everyone takes it seriously except for the few kids who sought out journalism for an easy A—which, off the record, it is. Ian says I’m a pushover.

I’m talking to one of those students who falls into that second category now. I don’t think she’s turned in one assignment since we got back from Christmas break. “Phoebe, have you thought of a story for next week’s newspaper?”

“Oh, uhh…yeah.” She pops her gum. I want to steal it out of her mouth and stick it in her hair. “I think I’m going to ask around to see if the janitors are like, banging after hours or something.”

“You leave poor Mr. Franklin alone. C’mon, what else you got?”

“Okay, how’s this…School Lunches: Healthy or Unhealthy?”

Inwardly, I claw at my eyes. This type of exposé has been done so many times that our school’s head lunch lady and I have worked out a system. I keep students out of her kitchen, and in return, I get all the free tater tots I want.

“There’s no story there. The food isn’t healthy. We all know that. Something else.”

There are a few snickers. Phoebe’s cheeks glow red and her eyes narrow on me. She’s annoyed I’ve called her out in front of the entire class. “Okay, fine.” Her tone takes a sassy and cruel edge like only a teenage girl’s can. “How about I do something more salacious?

Maybe a piece about illicit love between teachers?”

I’m so bored, I yawn. Rumors about Ian and me are old news. Everyone assumes that because we’re best friends, we must be dating. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. I want to tell them, Yeah, I WISH, but I know for a fact I’m not Ian’s type.

Here are four times this has been made clear to me:

-He once told me he’s never imagined himself with a redhead because his mom has reddish hair. HELLO, MOST GUYS HAVE MOMMY ISSUES! LET ME BE YOUR MOMMY ISSUE!

-He’s only ever dated tall broody model types with wingspans twice as long as mine. They’re like female pterodactyls.

-We’re both massive LOTR fans and guess what—SAM IS THE BEST FRIEND, NOT THE LOVE INTEREST.

-Oh, and then of course there was that one time I forced myself to dress up as slutty Hermione (his weakness) for Halloween and tried to seduce him. He told me I looked more like frizzy-haired Hermione from the early years and less like post-pubescent Yule Ball Hermione. Cue quiet meltdown.

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