Silk and Shadows

By: Lauren Landish

(The Virgin Diaries Book 3)



Dear Diary,

I’m doing it. I’m on my way to the top, just like I planned. Now, the university newspaper, and later, some serious investigative journalism. Business . . . or maybe politics? I’m not sure just yet, but I know I’m going to get there.

My focus is sharp, honed through an obsession with hard work and an unwillingness to fail that I learned at the elbows of two of the greatest men I know, my father and my brother.

Unfortunately, they’re the only men in my life. My sharp tongue and quick wit are usually a turnoff for most guys, their inability to handle a mouthy woman usually apparent before we even get to a first date. But I’m not going to change for anyone. The right man for me will match me word for word, biting retort for biting retort, and together, we’ll challenge each other to be better.

At least that’s the plan. But honestly, I’m not sure he even exists. If not, I’ll probably stay a single virgin forever, no compromise, no wavering. I’ll be true to who I am . . . even if that means I’m alone with only my work to fulfill me.

Chapter 1


To say I slept like hell last night would be an understatement. I love my barely off-campus apartment and the fact that I can live alone, unlike most sophomores on campus, but the building’s cheap walls are paper-thin. So thin that I might as well have a roommate, a freakishly loud one in the apartment next door who was moaning and groaning for hours last night. I mean, seriously, who lets their headboard thump against the wall while screaming ‘yes’ over and over . . . for hours? After that long, I’m thinking it’s not really gonna happen for you and you should give up so the rest of the world can get some sleep before morning classes. Inconsiderate skank. Yes, skank because the girl in question once shared, unprompted, mind you, that she learned to never yell the guys’ names because she got it wrong one time. Shudder. I can’t imagine not knowing the name of the person literally inside you. So yeah, inconsiderate skank.

But maybe I just wouldn’t get it? I’ve rarely dated and have only been to second base a time or two, but I most definitely know the names of those guys. When my neighbor had first moved in, it’d been a naughty tease to listen to her nightly play by play, and in the privacy of my own place, I’d quietly gone along with it, using my fingers or the occasional toy.

But now, I usually end up sleeping on my couch in an attempt to put more walls and more space between her auditory assault and me.

Hence, the reason I slept like hell. My couch isn’t that comfy, making me doubly grumpy from lack of sleep and an abysmally poor quality of sleep. My dad or my brother would willingly pay for me to stay at a nicer place where I wouldn’t have to deal with this, but I’m a stubborn girl.

So off to the school paper I go, the only possible bright spot that could shove me out of this funk. Or so I hope.

Those hopes are quickly dashed at Erica’s words.

“You want me to what?” I screech, though I’m trying to keep my voice down a bit so that the other employees don’t prairie-dog out of their cubbies to see what’s going on. They’d probably volunteer for any assignment Erica would throw their way. But not this. For the love of God, not this.

Erica, the editor at The Chronicle and better known as my boss, stares at me like I asked why I need to be the one to cure cancer. Honestly, I think curing cancer might be easier. “Look, Norma, I know it’s a big request, but you’re the best person for this assignment.”

This ‘assignment’ is tutoring the star quarterback of our football team, something completely out of my wheelhouse. Also, it’s something I don’t have time for with my own studies and constantly working to find stories that will get me bylines in the paper. I give her a bit of a glare, tempering it only because she’s the senior in charge and I’m a newly-hired and lowly sophomore.

“Seriously, the school got a major black eye last year when the star of the basketball team lost his eligibility right at the end of the season. That cost us big time. And Coach Jefferson isn’t willing to gamble like that. If the football team is going anywhere near a bowl game this season, he needs Zach Knight holding the ball. And for that to happen, he has to pass English.” She’s whispering, like the idea that a football jock might not be good in the classroom is some big newsflash.

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