I’m super excited that we are hosting Autumn Piper this morning as she gives a little insight into her newest book Ripe For Trouble. She was nice enough to give me an advance copy so I’m sharing my thoughts on the story as well. Happy Friday!
Hometown Do-Over: Back for More, or Oh, Heck No?
For some people, their teenage/high school years were their glory days. Others are happy that time is behind them. For most of us, the memories are a mashup of good and God-please-let-me-forget.
Maybe because teenage romance is involved, homecoming stories are fraught with angst, humor and often, revenge. Going back to one’s hometown usually means strife from close contact with family members, but it could also involve running into any number of people: old teachers, friends, that one special…nemesis. Or, perhaps, an old flame.
As a writer, I love the fertile ground of the “going home” theme. Maybe because I’ve been both the person living in her birth town as an adult, and also the person who left (three times I moved out of state and still end up back here!).
So. If you’ve moved away from your hometown (and stayed away), would you go back there if you could?
In Ripe for Trouble, Ivy not only goes back to her hometown; she moves back there. This is an act of true bravery, because she never fit in with her classmates. So now she has to face her old fears, her old nickname, and also an old crush.
Things don’t go so well when they meet up again for the first time. She’s just come up behind and overheard him and a friend rehearsing cheesy pickup lines:
So this was what life looked like from under the bus.
Ridley cleared his throat and turned to face the pumpkin patch goddess.
Her hands were on her hips, her eyes narrowed. “You!”
“You,” he repeated. Couldn’t be. Of course it was. “Ivy? Ivy League—er, Leeds.” The girl who’d gotten away had returned.
She curled her lip, kept those eyes squinted on him. “Well, well. If it isn’t Ridley Tucker. So you graduated from using crappy pickup lines on every female in sight, to using them on guys now?”
They were just…goofing around. And she was the same too-good-for-him snot as always. He lifted his chin. “Looks like you graduated from Princeton so you could be a pumpkin farmer in Rifle, Colorado.”
“Yale.” If her eyes narrowed any more, she wouldn’t be able to see the light of day. But hey, at least he’d managed to make her turn red. And at least she wasn’t hiding her eyes behind those giant glasses like she had in school. “I’m here helping my uncle for the weekend, and I have a job in town starting Monday.” Probably some fancy-pants lawyer going to court against a big company or something. “It’s good to see you didn’t end up in prison.” She looked him up and down, probably surprised to see him in new, clean jeans with no holes and a real white t-shirt meant to be worn alone, instead of a wife-beater. “I better get back to work. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.” Her words said she’d help if he needed it, but her tone said she’d help him rot in hell if she could. She turned and strode away.
Sweet Jesus. She did not have an ass like that in high school. Same eyes, though. Like a clear sky on a warm September day up on the flattops. She’d definitely improved since her school days.
“Struck out, huh?” Miguel crossed his arms over his chest, and watched her walk. “Too bad. But you’re not givin’ up, right?”
Ridley blew a raspberry. “We…kinda know each other. Graduated together.”
“Yeah, buddy! Guaranteed score. Now you’re the rich guy with a TV show. You told her about the show, right?”
He shook his head. No point in playing that card. To Ivy Leeds, the smartest good-girl Rifle High had ever turned out, he’d always be Ridley Tucker, the fringe wannabe with a minor juvie record and unemployed parents who spent their days at the corner bar. She was right; it was amazing he hadn’t ended up in prison.
RIPE FOR TROUBLE
by Autumn Piper
The biggest mistake she didn’t quite make just sauntered back into her life.
When Ivy Leeds takes a publicity job in her hometown, few things have changed…but Ridley, the bad boy of her graduating class, has cleaned up his act. Or so everyone else thinks. After hearing him and his friend practicing pickup lines, she has her doubts.
Ridley Tucker can hardly believe his eyes when Ivy, the president of the Brainiac Club, comes back to town. Some things never change—she’ll barely give him the time of day, and she still looks as good as she did that night at Prom.
Living in a small town means avoiding someone is nearly impossible, and those most worthy of avoidance turn up in such awkward places…
Content Warning: High school flame revisited plus reformed bad-boy equals combustion suitable for adults only.
Born and raised in itty-bitty Rifle, Colorado, Autumn Piper studiously avoided trouble…but is now inclined toward it, particularly in her novels. She thinks the best things in life are funny, and the runners-up, romantic.
An admitted carb addict, Autumn writes, edits, manages two teenagers, one husband and many supersize houseplants, and does the cooking and cleaning when forced to.
I have to say that I really needed this book to be longer. I love the idea of it but there is SO much potential here. It’s one of those cases where I really liked the characters but I wanted to know more about them. We get a brief explanation of their history but it has so much more that could be explored. We also get a glimpse at them now, how they are different from before, but again there is so much potential on the transformation.
For a snapshot in time, though, it is great. At 35 pages, it is a very fast read and fun. I felt for both of them because they have that horrible history to overcome. And, although I totally understand where Ivy is coming from, I really wanted her to give Ridley a break. It’s been a long time since high school and he could have changed. I think a conversation or two with a local would have helped the situation … but then there wouldn’t have been a story.
Ridley seems sweet and honest and like he’s turned his life around. This is one of those places where I really wished we had more pages – I’m assuming that becoming a dad helped with that transition. His son is absolutely adorable and the love they share is so cute.
Ripe for Trouble is cute and fun and the perfect read when you’ve got about an hour to kill. You’ll get through it quickly and be looking for more.
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