Lisa Burstein

This Be Where I Blog

We Did It! First Chapter of Sneaking Candy!

on December 4, 2013



We hit 500 adds on Goodreads last night & because I ❤ you instead of posting the first 5 pages, I’m posting the first 10! Which is the WHOLE first chapter.

I’ve also got some AMAZING blurbs to share:

  • “SNEAKING CANDY is fun, sexy and sweet, with a hero every reader will swoon over.” Monica Murphy, New York Times Bestselling Author of One Week Girlfriend
  • “Sneaking Candy lives up to it’s title, it’s a treat every time you pick it up!” Jennifer McLaughlin, New York Times Bestselling Author of Out of Line.
  • “With smart, strong leading characters, an original premise, and a plot that will keep you guessing until the end, SNEAKING CANDY is a breath of fresh air.” Lyla Payne, USA Today Bestselling Author of Broken at Love

To celebrate! I am giving away 10 E-Books from your choice of any of these authors’ books! See details here:

First Chapter below- ENJOY!

He sleeps next to me. His breathing is even with the dreams
of someone who has just had the life drained out of him,
poured into him.
I can’t sleep.
I think about his bottomless brown eyes tied to mine as
his tongue grazed my belly button. I run my finger over my
lips and feel the shadow of his. My body aches and throbs—
echoes of everywhere he has touched, everywhere he has
been, everywhere he has claimed.
I can’t believe I told him my secret.
I watch his bare back rise and fall in the dim light of
dawn and wonder how I will ever come back from this.
Wonder if I even want to.
He is the kind of man I have always wished for and now
he is here.
I just hope that’s enough.
Chapter One
I couldn’t decide if I was burned out, pissed off, in love, or
none of the above. I chewed on my pen, what I’d done the
last time Professor Dylan reviewed one of my syllabi in his
wood-paneled office.
What I could decide was that he made me nervous.
Obviously he made me a lot of things, but nervous was
pretty much the only one I was allowed to feel when it came
to him. There weren’t any specific rules at the University of
Miami about “relations” between teaching assistants and
the professors they assisted, but it was “frowned upon.” It
was a sexual harassment minefield. Considering Professor
Dylan was tenure-track, it was enough to make him see me
as someone with typhoid—sexual typhoid.
At least when he was sober.
I understood. It would take a hell of a lot for me to
mess up my academic career just to mess around with some
I watched his steel-blue eyes scan the document, grateful
they weren’t focused on me. That was when I felt more than
just nervous about what he would say—when instead I felt
a fever about what he might do—a heat in my thighs, which
blazed up to my neck, scorching everything in between like
a wildfire.
As a creative writing student, a creative writing teacher, I
got how cliché this situation was: falling for your boss, falling
for your professor, falling for an older man, falling for a man
who’d recently broken up with his long-time girlfriend.
It had more clichés than I could count.
The fact he liked my writing, thought I had real promise,
and chose me as his teaching assistant because he believed
I could actually be a successful author while my parents did
not, also added the ever-disgusting daddy-issue cliché to the
Weirder still, considering he was only twenty-six years
“This is a little female-heavy, Candice,” he said,
tipping his head up. His mouth was a straight line, like the
punctuation on his criticism.
I bit my lip. Professor Dylan could be as irritating as a
thong made out of sandpaper.
As irritating as realizing I was wearing a thong made out
of sandpaper and I had forgotten to do laundry and had no
other thongs to wear.
“Compared to what?” I asked, sitting up straighter in
the impossible-to-be-comfortable-in slick wood chairs the
university chose to adorn the other side of his desk.
The class was Contemporary Fiction 201 and, fine, maybe
I did choose to teach more female writers, but I was a female
writer. And I was also pissed off at how underrepresented
we were everywhere else.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t say any of that as a lowly
teaching assistant, so while I waited for him to answer my
question, I thought back to the day everything between us
changed. It was the start-of-the-semester department mixer
a week ago. Seeing him play sand volleyball on the beach
with the male grad students, his shirt off and army-style
swim trunks hugging his hips, was all it took.
I was done.
Pile on that as the sun was setting, he and I were sitting
on an ocean-worn log drinking beer and laughing as we tried
to one up each other with terrible watercolor-sky-inspired
I was winning. “It’s as pink and perfect as a baby’s
“As pink and perfect as a baby’s bottom rife with diaper
rash,” he added.
I laughed and our eyes connected—a sharp, soft jolt—a
pause that clearly could either push his lips forward into a
kiss or rewind them back.
Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on which side
of the desk you’re on—one of the graduate students he’d
been playing volleyball with interrupted us. When the guy
had ambled over during his survey of whether we wanted
a hot dog or hamburger, he also put a pause on whatever
might have happened.
With our almost-kiss floating between us like a bubble
we were both afraid to pop, all those clichés lodged in my
taught-to-hate-cliché brain. They floated up like Professor
Dylan’s trunks would have if they’d come off him as we’d
bobbed in the ocean together…which I also sometimes
It was all I could do to keep my chest from heaving when
I thought about him.
Yes, I know: another cliché.
“It should be balanced,” he said, waking me from my
fantasy. “Don’t you agree?” His wavy, hay-blond hair was
slicked back. On the beach it had been loose, flying as he
ran to spike the volleyball. I remember thinking the exact
color of his hair was something sonnets could be written
about. Of course, I’d had more than my share of Mike’s Hard
Lemonade, so I was feeling poetic—a scary proposition for
any fiction writer.
“If there were more men, would you tell me to add
more women?” I asked. I was sure some of the frustration
we felt toward each other would have been washed away if
we’d been able to finish what we’d started on the beach. Of
course, who the hell knew what we’d be doing right now if
that had happened?
“I don’t know—give me a new one with the changes I’ve
requested and we’ll see.” He passed the paper back to me.
I didn’t respond at first, allowed him to think I was
considering what he’d said. I wasn’t. I was considering his
lips. Wondering how they could seem so soft and yet be so
He cleared his throat. I liked to think I made him more
than just nervous, too, or maybe when it came to me, nervous
was enough. I mean, he’d seen me in my black bikini top
and jean shorts at the department mixer, too. Seen my dark
brown hair wet and wavy-wild from the ocean water—the
kind of hair you can’t get if you’re trying.
“Are you saying I should add one of your books?” I
asked, feeling brave enough to lean toward him—to call his
You tried to kiss me. You tried to kiss me; admit it.
“I don’t think I said that.” He laid his hands on the
desk. They were so large I sometimes wondered how he
typed his manuscripts. “Though the sales would be nice.” He
laughed—a joke.
“Any other authors heavier on Y chromosomes you
might suggest?” I asked. I considered saying, Authors with
bigger balls than mine? but I needed this fellowship. It was
the only way I could afford to stay here.
Even with the desk between us, our bodies were close,
his fingers almost touching mine, my face just a neck’s length
away from his…
“You’re smart and talented, Candice. I’m sure you’ll
figure it out.”
…but then he ruined it by being a sandpaper thong
He sat back in his chair. I guess he’d noticed how close
we’d been, too.
Smart and talented—the curse of death for a writer, what
someone said when he couldn’t think of anything interesting
to say about your work. Something had definitely changed
after our moment on the beach, and like the daddy-issue
cliché I was stuck in, I guess I was still searching for his
At least he’d taken over for my parents. When I’d
decided to become a writer, they hadn’t approved at all.
They were surgeons, and that was what they had wanted me
to be. Choosing to be a writer, a profession they referred to
as indulgent and flighty, had been enough to make them cut
me off financially.
And in every other way, too.
“Fine,” I said, stuffing the paper back in my messenger
bag. He rarely checked the syllabus again after this first
meeting. I knew it would stay as is.
“Are you really going to change it?” he asked, like he
could read my mind.
“You told me to,” I said. “I heard you.”
“It’s not the same thing as yes.” His teeth waited like he
wanted to smile but was waiting to see what I would do first.
I sighed. “Yes,” I replied, and the word was heavy in my
throat with thoughts of ocean rendezvous.
“In time for class this afternoon?” he pushed. He picked
up a silver pen from his desk and started clicking it, click,
click, click, like he needed to give his hands something to do.
I knew the feeling. Sitting in his office, I sometimes had to
sit on mine.
“Isn’t that why we’re having our meeting this morning?”
I asked. He didn’t believe me and I didn’t care. It was my
class, my rules—as long as he never found out, that is.
“You’re just more agreeable than I expected.”
“I do what I’m told.” Or at least, I let people think I did.
“Shame,” he said, “I do love a good argument.” He put
down his pen and took a sip from his mug.
“Is there anything else?” I asked, suddenly needing to
get the hell out of there. Fantasies could only take you so
far when you had no idea if you’d ever achieve them—if you
even had the chops to.
Anthony Dylan was a “literary force.” What the New
York Times said of his debut novel, published last year when
he was twenty-five. Only three years older than I was now.
It was unimaginable, all he’d done in four years: New York
Times bestselling author, National Book Award nominee,
tenure-track full professorship.
It made my stomach hurt, because it was everything I
wanted for my life and it was sitting right across from me at
the impossible age of twenty-six.
“Have you done all the reading needed to lead my
discussion section for Modern Lit 301?”
I wished when he’d given me that syllabus, I could have
told him to make it more balanced. It was dripping with
penises—a Christmas tree adorned with saggy members
instead of garlands: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce, and
Faulkner, to name a few. It was a semantic sausage fest.
“Almost,” I said.
He cocked his head, waiting for a better answer.
“I’ll be finished this week,” I said.
“Good,” he replied. “I have a star student signed up for
it, and I want to keep him a star.” His usually minty breath
was studded with a hint of cinnamon and coffee.
Coffee. I couldn’t help but think of James, the barista at
Buzzer’s Coffeehouse I’d been crushing on for the last six
weeks. Forget about the sonnets that could be written about
Professor Dylan’s hair—James’s deep brown eyes were what
the songs played in vans with steamed-up windows were
written about. They were the cause of what happened in
those vans.
I glanced at my phone, wondering if I had time for a
latte before class.
“Are you still with us, Candice?” Professor Dylan asked.
I blinked and put my hand to my chin, checking for
“Yes,” I replied, “star student. Can’t wait.” He meant a
guy he hoped to chisel into his literary image. Apparently,
I wasn’t eligible because I was a girl. It didn’t matter how
much promise he thought I had because I literally lacked the
necessary equipment.
Meeting over, I walked out of his office, and heard the
click of his keyboard keys behind his closed door. I hurried
out of the department quickly, hoping to avoid Julia. The exgirlfriend—
the ex-girlfriend in a freaking office next door—
and ten years his senior. How they could still work together
I had no idea. How he could have been with her in the first
place, I couldn’t even begin to fathom. She was the classic
hard-ass bitch—the kind of professor who, if you were a
minute late to class, marked you absent and then made you
write a freaking paper about it. People referred to her as the
POed Poet.
She was the last person I needed to deal with today.
I headed down the hall and into the stairwell toward the
basement copy center to make copies of my syllabus as is.
There was no way in hell I was changing it. But, I couldn’t
tell Professor Dylan that—or anything else I felt about him.
Why can I only be assertive and sexy in my writing?
Well, not the writing I shared here, but still.
It was so much easier to be strong and fearless and free
on the page than to say the words.
Why couldn’t I have told him to stuff his changes to the
syllabus? Why couldn’t I have fed it to him piece by piece
while he was tied to a bed with my fishnet thigh-highs? Only
when I was writing erotic romance as Candy Sloane could I
do that. When the two of us were in his wood-paneled office,
I wished I could be more like Candy.
But he could never find out about her. No one at
the university could. As much as I loved her, she had the
possibility to make everything I was working toward vanish.
Professor Dylan would be furious. Not because of Candy
specifically, but because Candy represented everything he
thought was wrong with the publishing industry now. He
and his literary brethren weren’t too happy with the success
of self-published romance writers like Candy.
On the beach, drunk enough to forget himself, he’d
complained about that being the reason his newest book
wasn’t making the bestseller lists. Of course, the critics had
their own term of endearment for what had happened to
him: “sophomore slump.”
I knew being an erotic romance author wasn’t an actual
offense, but writing popular fiction when I was studying to
be a serious literary writer absolutely would be, according
to him.
Candy had to stay my secret.

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