Hi everyone. In case you didn't hear, Hazards is releasing early! It's new release date is May 21st, only six weeks away! I thought it was a great time to share the prologue. I hope you guys enjoy your first introduction to Juliet!
Skinny dipping was the last thing on my list. Of the five items, it was the hardest one for me. It wasn’t a bucket list or anything like that—I wasn’t thinking about death. It was a things-to-do-before-college list my cousin, Amy, made for me.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is going to be one of those stories about the death of a loved one spurring a girl down a path of self-discovery. It’s not. My cousin is alive and well, and at the time of this story was in Malawi with the Peace Corps. The list was her way of preparing me for the wilds of college (her words, not mine). Amy was under the impression that I was entirely unprepared for the life of a coed.
I still remember her exact words. We were hanging out in her room at her parents’ house while she packed. “Juliet, sweetheart, you know I love you, right?”
I glanced at her apprehensively. “Yeah…”
“So know that, when I say this, it’s out of love.” She tossed a huge pile of t-shirts into her large black duffel.
I tensed. “Should I be scared?”
“No.” She smiled her million-dollar, brings-guys-to-their-knees smile, and I knew I should actually be terrified.
“Okay.” I clasped my hands together, refusing to look at my chipped nail polish.
She flipped long, dark hair off her shoulder. “I’m worried about you.”
“I don’t want you to totally drown next year.” She shoved a small, pink envelope into my hand. “Here, don’t open this until after graduation.”
“But you won’t be here. You leave tomorrow.”
She gave me her signature ‘duh’ look. “I’m well aware. Just open it, and do exactly what it says.”
“This kind of feels like the beginning of a YA novel.”
She laughed. “No. Trust me. The contents of this letter are not YA appropriate.”
My stomach dropped. What was Amy getting me into?
I brought the envelope home and stared at it about four times a day for the next two weeks. Obviously, I could have just opened it, but I’m usually kind of a rules person. Each time I started to tear open the envelope, I chickened out. I kept picturing Amy’s perfectly made up face yelling at me. I know that description doesn’t quite fit with a girl who joined the Peace Corps, but if you knew Amy, you’d understand. She was just Miss Perfect. It wasn’t until I got home from a graduation party at a friend’s house that I finally opened it. As I unfolded the pale pink paper, a Georgia driver’s license saying I was twenty-two fell into my lap. I set aside the fake ID and read the note.
Juliet’s Must-Do Before College List
1) Get drunk (and no, a buzz from sugary drinks does not qualify as drunk).
2) Go to a bar. Any bar will do, but you need to at least know what they look like inside.
3) Wear something you know would give your father a heart attack if he saw it.
4) Kiss a random guy, and don’t let it go further.
5) Go skinny dipping.
I’m sure you expect me to detail how I crossed the first four items off my list, but this story isn’t about the first four. It’s about what happened when I did number five.