The Bookworm Crush

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“Ready to bookface?”

At the sound of Toff’s voice, Amy yelped and jumped, dropping her stack of books. Toff grinned as he stepped closer, his dimples and sky-blue eyes freezing her in place.

“Chill, Ames. It’s just me.” He squatted down to grab the books, a whiff of his soap filling her nose. Like a junkie, she inhaled deeply.

Stop it, she scolded herself.

He stood and handed her the stack of books.

“You’re late,” she said, instead of thank you, hoping to prevent herself from being sucked into his flirty whirlpool.

Toff chuckled and glanced at the Redhead Recs bookshelf. His eyes widened. “Whoa. You have your own shelf? Impressive.” He picked up one of her handwritten shelf talker cards, and her stomach clenched with panic. “‘All the feels,’” he read aloud. “‘Superhot alpha hero who’s not an alphahole!’”

Amy prayed to Saint Jane Austen for an invisibility cloak or an instant coma. Wake me up ten years from now,she begged Saint Jane, or beam Toff to the other side of the planet.

Unfortunately, Saint Jane was off duty.

Slowly, Toff turned to face her, lips smashed together. Amy tensed like she was standing next to a volcano, just waiting for it to explode—with laughter.

“What’s an alpha hero?”

“Navy SEALs,” she said, tossing her hair over her shoulder in a feeble attempt at swagger. “Fighter pilots. Spies like James Bond.”

“Got it.” Toff leaned against the bookshelf, smirking down at her. “Kickass dudes like me.”

“N-No. You’re not…like that.” He wasn’t a superhero alpha like Thor wielding a hammer. Maybe he pulled off unbelievable surfing maneuvers that made his fans go crazy. And maybe he had sponsors knocking down his door encouraging him to go pro. That didn’t make him…

Okay, it made him a low-key alpha.

Toff grinned like he’d read her mind. “So what’s an alphahole?”

“The worst kind of guy. Controlling. Using his hotness for evil.”


“Never mind.” She pointed to her recs shelf. “This guy’s an old-school alpha hero.”

Toff grabbed the Regency romance off the shelf. “He’s wearing a top hat. And a weird scarf. What’s that gold stuff on his boots?” He glanced up, lips quirking. “I don’t think a real alpha hero would dress like this.”