Amazon tells me I bought this book on April 7, 2014, but all I remember is gobbling up this series in one month and then writing a blog post about it on Fiction Vixen. Do y’all remember when we did the “If you like… then you should read?” posts? Those were fun. This series, which focuses on reality TV competition shows (think Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother) is laugh-out-loud AND romantic. True romantic comedies.
This scene is one I think of even after 8 years. It’s a challenge that this couple undertakes right after they get to the island and as you’ll soon figure out, they are still in the enemies stage of their enemies to lovers romance, even if they are supposed to be a team. But don’t worry, they get to the sexytimes eventually.
“Ready!” called Chip. “You will have five minutes at the start of the competition… GO!”
At that, I heard the sound of a dozen paper packets tearing open and I tilted my head, trying to determine where my partner was.
“It’s a turtle,” Dean’s voice yelled in my ear, startling me so badly that I jumped and dropped my brush.
“You scared me–“
“Pick up your brush! Pick up your brush!!” Dean’s voice took on an impatient edge. “I can’t pick up your brush for you, Abby. Pick up your brush! It’s on the ground!”
Yeah, we were off to a great start. With my free hand, I knelt below the table, feeling around. No brush.
“Hurry up, Abby,” my partner said helpfully. “You need to draw this goddamn turtle.”
“I can’t find the brush,” I told him, trying to be patient.
“It’s on the ground–“
‘I’m on the ground, you ass, and I can’t find it. Where on the ground? I’m blindfolded, remember?”
He paused for a moment. “Left of your hand,” he finally instructed. “Now hurry up and grab it!”
After another infinitely long moment of searching, I felt the smooth length of the brush and wrapped my fingers around it, jumping up… and smacking the back of my head into the table so hard I almost blacked out. Pain shot through my head and stars lit in front of my eyes. I groaned in pain.
“Get up here! Come on!”
I shook it off and made a mental note to kill him. Slowly, I pulled myself back up again and tried to refocus. People were shouting and talking all around me, making it hard to concentrate on Dean’s grating voice.
“Turtle,” he repeated, his voice urgent. “Draw a turtle.”
I slapped the brush down onto the fabric and drew a circle.
“There’s no paint on your brush,” he barked into my ear. “You need paint for the turtle! Green paint!”
I was starting to see why this was a teamwork challenge and not just for kicks. Irritated, I touched the ends of the brush bristles. Dray as a bone. “So where’s the paint?”
“To your side,” he said. “Left, left, left,” he chanted as my hand reached for the paint. There was nothing for long, long seconds and then I found a big cup of something wet. I picked up my brush and started to dip it in.
“Wrong color,” Dean barked. “That’s red!”
“You’re supposed to tell me where to go, you idiot,” I yelled back at him. “I’m blindfolded–I can’t see the colors!”
“You need to ask, then!”
“I’m asking now!”
“And I’m telling you, not that one! Move up two pots!”
Oh sure! Easy for him to say. Gritting my teeth, I brushed my knuckles along the edges of the pots until I felt like I’d picked the right one and moved the brush inside again.
“I said green! That’s blue! You’re over too far! Two pots not three!”
Argh. Clenching my hand tightly around the brush, I shoved it into the pain. “You’re slopping it everywhere,” Dean complained in a rather impatient voice. “They’re going to count off for that.”
“I’m trying,” I said, and drew a circle on the fabric. “What is the turtle doing in the picture?”
“It has waves over its head, so you’ll need blue paint… no, not yet, you haven’t finished the turtle. Draw the legs, and draw the mouth open… open… I said open… Abby, the mouth is open…”
“–I’m drawing it open–“
“No you’re not–“
“You have one minute left, teams” Chip broke in, yelling over the constant murmur. “Work fast!”
The fabric ripped out from under my brush. “Move on,” Dean said irritably. “Go to the next one.”
I felt him lay down a new flag of fabric and patted it flat. “What do I draw for this one?”
“A red fish. Come on Abby, draw fast. A red fish–“
“Where’s the red–“
“Abby, hurry up and draw–“
“I can’t draw if you don’t tell me–“
“ABBY, DRAW,” Dean shouted, blasting my ears. “PICK RED AND DRAW. QUIT ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS AND JUST DRAW.”
I threw down my brush, grabbed the closest pot of paint, and lobbed it over the table at my partner. I didn’t hear it connect, so I grabbed the next one, and the next one, and heard the satisfying thwacks as they hit Dean (I hoped).
“Time!” Chip shouted.
This really is a fun series. And Dean doesn’t stay an ass, I promise.
Wicked Games by Jessica Clare (aka Jessica Sims aka Jill Myles)
March 4, 2011
Series is available on Kindle Unlimited