Romancing the R.A - By Ashelyn Drake

Chapter One

A little romance is good for the soul. At least that’s what my best friend Julia is always telling me. For once, I’m going to listen to her, take her advice. Sure college is supposed to be about learning, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun, too—especially the kind of fun that involves a gorgeous guy. No more immature high school boys who only care about who’s having the next party or how short my skirt is. Staring up at the brown stone buildings that make up Timberland College, I get chills and my heart flutters. In just a few months, I’ll be a college freshman. My whole life is about to change. I can just feel it. Something is waiting for me here, maybe someone.

“Can you believe this place?” Julia grabs my arm, squeezing it tight. We visited the school back in the fall, but somehow it looks different now. More official and full of possibilities.

“Where do we go first?” I ask, consulting the orientation schedule.

“Noelle.” Julia lets go of me and gives me the look. The one that shows every ounce of disappointment she can muster. “We’re on a college campus, with no parents and a ton of hot guys, and all you can say is ‘Where do we go first?’”

I see her point, but I don’t want to look like the lost little high school senior, either. In my mind I’m already done with high school. I certainly don’t want anyone here viewing me as anything other than a college student. “I promise no matter where we go, there’ll be guys. Look at the size of this place.”

“Then let’s find us a sexy college guy and ask him for directions.” She wags her eyebrows at me, and I can’t help laughing. A hot college guy beats a map any day.

Julia scans the area, and I can judge her reaction by the way her face scrunches or her eyes widen, but she gives me a running commentary anyway. “Too short.” Julia’s five nine, which makes a lot of guys too short for her liking. She’s always telling me that I have a wider selection to choose from since I’m only five six. “Too skinny!” That’s laughable. Julia’s as thin as they come. The one thing she’s always envied about me is my curves.

“What about him?” I point to an attractive dark haired guy leaning against the building with the huge “Welcome future freshman” sign on it. “Well, there goes that idea. It’s pretty clear that’s where we’re supposed to go.”

“Damn it!” Julia shakes her head. “Stupid higher education with their informative signs.”

“We’ll still get to walk by the hot guy,” I say, trying to bring back her smile.

She shrugs. “I guess you’re right. It’s not the same, though.”

“I know.” We walk over to the building and up the stone steps. I let Julia take the lead since this guy is more her type than mine. I have a thing for blonds.

“Hey,” Julia says to Mr. I’m-just-going-to-stand-here-looking-adorable.

He nods at us and goes back to reading his book.

I tug Julia inside the building, resisting the urge to laugh. It figures the first guy she’d try to hit on would be a bookworm.

“Do you believe that? Two gorgeous girls walk by him and he keeps reading?” She scoffs. “If this is what guys are like at Timberland, I’m transferring.”

“Relax. I don’t think you can judge an entire college by one guy.” I certainly hope not anyway.

In the lobby, we get in a long line of incoming freshman signing into orientation. My eyes scan the building. It’s definitely new. Everything is shiny and state of the art, from the archways to the curved windows. Excitement courses through me. I can already tell things will be different here—better. When we finally reach the table, I sign in and hand the pen to Julia. My eye catches a blond guy standing in the corner. His shaggy hair keeps falling into his eyes no matter how many times he shakes his head. He’s tall but not too tall—I’d guess five eleven—and muscular, but not overbearingly so. He looks my way, and I turn quickly toward Julia before I’m caught staring.

“You okay?” she asks, making me wonder just how red my cheeks are.

“Fine.” Julia stares at me like she knows I have a secret. “Let’s go inside,” I say. Of course going inside means walking past him. I keep my eyes lowered, but as we approach the door, he opens it for us.

“Good morning,