Man, I sure have been revealing a lot of covers lately, but I think they’ve all worked out pretty well, don’t you? Aaaand I think we all know the reason for that is the fabulously talented Maggie Hall. But of course, as gorgeous as BEHIND THE SCENES and UNDER THE LIGHTS are, for LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, we needed something completely different – it’s a completely different book, in a different category, with a different tone, and it needed a cover that would wholly reflect that.
Before you see the cover, here’s a little refresher on the book itself:
Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.
But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.
Until he does.
Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.
Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.
Aaaaand…. here’s the cover!
SO MUCH LOVE to Maggie Hall for delivering for me yet again, with something completely different. I love that it totally says, “This is NA” (which it so very much is) without saying, “Here are two white people getting it on.” (Well, Lizzie is half-Filipina, so this was never actually an option for this book anyway, but…yeah.)
I also love that it’s Lizzie by herself. Yes, this is a Romance, but a lot of the book isn’t Lizzie and Connor – it’s Lizzie and her best friends, Cait and Frankie; it’s Lizzie and her little brothers, Max and Tyler; and, most importantly, it’s Lizzie on her own, learning how to balance that with learning how not to be.
Plus, she would so totally wear a sweatshirt and nothing else.
In honor of Lizzie’s solo cover, here’s a little snippet from the first scene in Last Will and Testament in which Lizzie is completely alone, hiding out from the crowds at her parents’ house on the day of their funeral:
I excuse myself to my dad’s old study. It smells like rich leather and musty books. He loved that smell, almost as much as he loved the smell of cigars. I close my eyes and inhale deeply, remembering the way I used to play with the globe in the corner while he would read in his chair and randomly announce facts, like, “Did you know the male seahorse carries the baby?” I can still hear ice cubes clanging in his highball, and when I open my eyes, they’re burning with tears, and I need to taste that scotch ASAP.
I don’t even bother filling a highball, just chug straight from the bottle. It burns like hell on the way down, but it feels purifying, like liquid fire. After a while, tears spring to my eyes and my stomach turns and finally I have no choice but to pull the bottle away from my lips. I’m not even sure how much I drink before I finally put it down, but my first thought when I see that the level has conspicuously lowered is Shit, Dad’s gonna kill me.
And then the laughter starts. Loud, hysterical laughter that brings footsteps running toward the study. I’ve locked the door, but someone knocks anyway, and says, “Honey, you all right in there?”
I have no idea who’s talking, only that it isn’t Nancy, Tyler, or Max, so I say, “Just peachy!” until I hear a deep sigh and then footsteps retreating.
I never was a favorite of the neighbors.
I take the bottle and wedge myself into the big leather seat. I expect it to be warm and somehow feel like a hug from my dad, but it doesn’t even mold to my body; it just kind of sticks. It’s so depressing, I take another drink. And another.
By the time Nancy comes to shake me awake, the house is empty.