It started when I was in elementary school. Not many people, but a few, all of them grown-ups I looked up to—they’d sit back and shake their heads and they’d say: “Enjoy this, kid. You’ll look back on this one day as the best time of your life.”
At the time, I imagine I shrugged, not really understanding that kind of bone-deep nostalgia or that faint undertone of regret. In middle school, I openly scoffed. I was miserable, and adults were trying to tell me I’d look back on that time fondly? (Spoiler alert: I don’t.) In high school, more and more people started to repeat the promise to me, that in some distant future I too would wistfully remember my teen years. I was just as skeptical, and not much better at hiding my doubt.
But in college…In college I got that first little shiver of fear. Maybe the people telling me to soak it up were right.
The truth of the matter is, college was one of the best times of my life. I got married pretty young, and I grew up in a pretty strict household, so I remember those first few years when I was on my own with a rush. I experimented with all sorts of things, some of them good ideas and some bad, and all of it was exciting. I tried on a half-dozen different majors. I learned not to drink on an empty stomach. I figured out a little bit about who I was. And I learned a lot about love.
Sitting here in my mid-thirties, I look back on my college days with an undeniable sense of nostalgia. That said, I wouldn’t go back and relive it if I could. Sure, those were thrilling, heady years, but they were crazy, too. I was anguished as often as I was elated, and what I can reminisce on now as harmless experimentation at the time felt like flying on a high wire without a net.
And besides, why relive it when I can write about it?
Some of my very favorite stories to read and write take place in college. There’s so much to explore with characters who are just finding themselves, and when you pair self-discovery with that bright, impossible moment of discovering the heart of another person? Magical. And definitely worth reminiscing on.
She needs an escape…and he’s exactly what she had in mind.
College senior Ellen Price spends every spare minute studying to get into medical school. Until spring break yawns before her, as empty as her wallet.
With no money to hit the beach, she fills her empty to-do list with a plan: for just one week, she will become the kind of take-no-prisoners woman she secretly wishes to be, starting with the hot guy at the bar. It’s a no-risk situation: at the end of break, he’ll head back to his campus, and she’ll go back to hers. No muss, no fuss.
At first, Josh Markley isn’t sure what to think when the quiet, intense beauty from his pre-med classes approaches him for a night of casual sex. Even more mystifying, she doesn’t seem to return his recognition. But if she wants to play “strangers in a bar”, he’s game.
Their passionate night is a welcome respite from life’s stress, but afterward, Josh realizes he wants more—from himself, from life, from Ellen. Except she still thinks he’s a one-off she’ll never see again. Confessing the truth now—before she figures it out on her own—could shatter the fragile beginnings of just what the doctor ordered. A forever love.
Warning: Contains mistaken identities, a sometimes-glasses-wearing hottie, deep questions about figuring out what you want from life, and a red-hot college romance.
Jeanette Grey started out with degrees in physics and painting, which she dutifully applied to stunted careers in teaching, technical support, and advertising. When none of that panned out, she started writing. Her stories include futuristic romances and erotic contemporaries, and almost all of them include hints of either science or art.
When she isn’t writing, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog. She lives, loves, and writes in upstate New York.