Coming September 14th 2021
The Love Hypothesis
When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.
That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.
Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.
Keep scrolling for an exclusive sneak peek of The Love Hypothesis!
Exclusive Sneak Peak
In Olive’s defense, the man didn’t seem to mind the kiss too much.
It did take him a moment to adjust—perfectly understandable, given the sudden circumstances. It was an awkward, uncomfortable, somewhat painful minute, in which Olive was simultaneously smashing her lips against his and pushing herself as high as her toes would extend to keep her mouth at the same level as his face. Did he have to be so tall? The kiss must have looked like some clumsy headbutt, and she grew anxious that she was not going to be able to pull the whole thing off. Her friend Anh, whom Olive had spotted coming her way a few seconds ago, was going to take one look at this and know at once that Olive and Kiss Dude couldn’t possibly be two people in the middle of a date.
Then that agonizingly slow moment went by, and the kiss became . . . different. The man inhaled sharply and inclined his head a tiny bit, making Olive feel less like a squirrel monkey climbing a baobab tree, and his hands—which were large and pleasantly warm in the AC of the hallway—closed around her waist. They slid up a few inches, coming to wrap around Olive’s rib cage and holding her to himself. Not too close, and not too far.
It was more of a prolonged peck than anything, but it was quite nice, and for the life span of a few seconds Olive forgot a large number of things, including the fact that she was pressed against a random, unknown dude. That she’d barely had the time to whisper “Can I please kiss you?” before locking lips with him. That what had originally driven her to put on this entire show was the hope of fooling Anh, her best friend in the whole world.
But a good kiss will do that: make a girl forget herself for a while. Olive found herself melting into a broad, solid chest that showed absolutely no give. Her hands traveled from a defined jaw into surprisingly thick and soft hair, and then—then she heard herself sigh, as if already out of breath, and that’s when it hit her like a brick on her head, the realization that— No. No.
Nope, nope, no.
She should not be enjoying this. Random dude, and all that.
Olive gasped and pushed herself away from him, frantically looking for Anh. In the 11:00 p.m., bluish glow of the biology labs’ hallway, her friend was nowhere to be seen. Weird. Olive was sure she had spotted her a few seconds earlier.
Kiss Dude, on the other hand, was standing right in front of her, lips parted, chest rising and a weird light flickering in his eyes, which was exactly when it dawned on her, the enormity of what she had just done. Of who she had just—
Fuck her life.
Fuck. Her. Life.
Because Dr. Adam Carlsen was a known ass.
This fact was not remarkable in and of itself, as in academia every position above the graduate student level (Olive’s level, sadly) required some degree of assness in order to be held for any length of time, with tenured faculty at the very peak of the ass pyramid. Dr. Carlsen, though—he was exceptional. At least if the rumors were anything to go by.
He was the reason Olive’s roommate, Malcolm, had to completely scrap two research projects and would likely end up graduating a year late; the one who had made Jeremy throw up from anxiety before his qualifying exams; the sole culprit for half the students in the department being forced to postpone their thesis defenses. Joe, who used to be in Olive’s cohort and would take her to watch out-of-focus European movies with microscopic subtitles every Thursday night, used to be a research assistant in Carlsen’s lab, but he’d decided to drop out six months into it for “reasons.” It was probably for the best, since most of Carlsen’s remaining graduate assistants had perennially shaky hands and often looked like they hadn’t slept in a year.
Dr. Carlsen might have been a young academic rock star and biology’s wunderkind, but he was also mean and hypercritical, and it was obvious in the way he spoke, in the way he carried himself, that he thought himself the only person doing decent science within the Stanford biology department. Within the entire world, probably. He was a notoriously moody, obnoxious, terrifying dick.
And Olive had just kissed him.
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