Book Review of The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper
A Caspian University Novel
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The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper
A Caspian University Novel
File Size: 401 KB
Print Length: 208 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1461053749
Publisher: CreateSpace; 2 edition (November 27, 2012)
They say college is a lot of things; a haven, a four-year party, the place you met the girl – or guy – of your dreams. What they don’t tell you is, the best part of college is the drama YOU bring to the table! After all, that dirty little secret, that not-so-little white lie, and those texts you wish you could erase from cyberspace can’t stay hidden forever. At CU, someone’s always watching, and you better hope there isn’t a camera phone on hand when you get caught.
It’s the Spring Semester, but it’s not all fun in the budding sun for Jon and Franz. Follow them as they delve through the politics of secret societies, the inevitable drama of the F-word (that’s FAMILY, for the uninitiated), creepy Resident Advisors, creepier residents and girls who don’t always say what they mean. Who wouldn’t need two months to recuperate?
Cheers! And GL!
About the Author:
Etta King is the author of the Caspian University novels, a series chronicling the life and times of a group of wealthy teens who inevitably discover the various flavors of college drama. Etta writes from her personal experiences as a college co-ed and as the product of an all-girls prep school. Here she witnessed the very eccentricities and foibles which she depicts in her novels.
In a home filled with books, it was no surprise that Etta grew to be an avid reader, and that translated into writing when she was thirteen. She wrote simply for the fun of it, whatever would come to mind, from fantasy to thriller to romance, and shared her stories with her friends.
In 2010, at twenty-one and just as she was about to graduate from college, Etta began writing "The Life and Times of Elizabeth and the Duchess." This was a story which had first taken shape in 2008, after her freshman year, but had been put on hold. With graduation looming, Etta recalled the characters, and the events which had inspired them, and took pen to paper. Literally, as Etta enjoys writing out her stories before typing them out. Soon the first book had been completed and the series was born.
"The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper," comes as the sequel to "Elizabeth and the Duchess," and serves as the second semester of these teens' college saga. Etta is currently working on the third book, in what will be an eight-part series.
Etta King lives with her family in Westchester, New York.
The Life and Times of the Heir and the Keeper
All the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men…
Wasn’t a guy supposed to stay away from his best friend’s girlfriend? In a perfect world, there’d be a strictly enforced penalty for breaking this Golden Rule. Like a five year sentence spent watching a stream of commercial-free Lifetime Original movies. That sounded sufficiently horrible. I contemplated this appropriate punishment while watching Chadwick act as ski tutor extraordinaire to Elizabeth. My girlfriend. I should be doing that, but here I was, counting fur balls on my socks, in our cabin, with a sprained ankle. Sure, Chad’s ‘friend’ was with me, and had actually been attentive and kindly for all of ten minutes. But then she was also complaining non-stop about how Chad was “such an ass” for dragging her up here, only to abandon her with his friend. “No offense.” None taken. I myself was thinking the same thing about my friend who’d been giving me strange looks since Elizabeth and I arrived.
I’d told him I was bringing a friend – it was supposed to be a surprise – but now I wondered whom he’d thought I meant. And then he asked if Judith would be joining us. Why hadn’t he invited her himself? Not that I actually wanted her on this trip. I shuddered involuntarily as I imagined how awkward that would have been. Even more awkward than my best friend acting passive-aggressive/manic-depressive/just-plain-crazy. I was almost positive PSYCH 101 had mentioned a disorder involving those symptoms. Maybe I should set him up with a shrink when we got back. If I made it out of here alive. And I was only being mildly melodramatic.
I glanced down at my ankle and frowned. The x-ray hadn’t shown a break but I was still worried; I had lacrosse to think about. I didn’t want to say Chad had messed with my skis but he had been acting so noticeably suspicious and, why had he been so eager to help with them? I had wanted to believe he was finally getting over his madness. No such luck. Bloody hell.
I could see Elizabeth laughing as she made a wobbly progress over the snow. I looked away, feeling thoroughly pissed. I had said “oh no, don’t waste the day in here, go.” Now I wished I’d just played the poor, invalid boyfriend to her attentive, sweet girlfriend.
Jacqueline – Chad’s friend – had slumped into a love seat and was texting angrily with an equally angry look on her face. I took a sip of my still warm hot chocolate, put the mug down and closed my eyes. I knew they’d spend the day out there and I didn’t have the inclination to try and make conversation with the peeved female across from me. I could hear everything, in an annoying, loud cacophony. From the ticking of the grandfather clock in the corner, to Jacqueline’s manicured nails tapping furiously on her keys, to the crackling of the wood in the fire. Every freaking sound. I reached for my headphones, on the table beside me, and slipped them over my head. Turning on my iPod, I searched for something relaxing. Something relaxing… Something relaxing. I settled on my Straight No Chaser playlist and hoped I’d be asleep before it looped back to the start.
“I can’t believe I’ve never done this before! It’s so much better than sledding!” Liz had clearly enjoyed her second day on the slopes. Big surprise. If only I’d been there to see it. Okay Jonathan, now’s your chance to swoop in and take over this vacation. Forget the pity party and make this work.
“Have you ever been on a snowmobile? It’s pretty incredible,” I said, trying for just the right level of excitement. I had to sell this right, so I couldn’t sound as eager as I actually was. For some reason, sounding over-eager worried me.
“Well perhaps going on a ski lift…over the mountains…might be better,” Chad interrupted, looking up from his pasta with an exaggerated expression of innocence.
“That’s an excellent idea, Chad. Liz and I could do that on Thursday.” I smiled at him to let him know he wasn’t pulling any of that on me. “Maybe you and Jacqueline could do that tomorrow.”
Jacqueline didn’t even notice that she’d been mentioned. She was still texting furiously away, a small frown between her perfectly plucked eyebrows.
“I don’t think she’ll like that,” he muttered sparing her a glance. Why had he invited her, again?
“You might want to ask her first.”
“And you should probably rest your ankle.”
“My ankle is fine.” I bit out.
“Are you sure? You seemed to be in a lot of pain when you came in to dinner.” I’d winced. Once. Ass.
“My ankle is fine.” I repeated, feeling a strong urge to break his nose. “You could direct all that concern you have towards your unsociable friend here.”
Jacqueline chose that moment to tune in to the conversation.
How did girls manage to say that with so much indignation? And why had I said that? Although, in retrospect, openly texting at a dinner table was the height of antisocial behavior.
“Jonathan was just being himself, Jacquie, don’t mind him.”
In other words, I was just naturally an ass. Chad answered her question with an infuriating grin that just increased my desire to punch him in the face. Jacqueline just raised an eyebrow, got up and walked out of the room, her Uggs making padding noises as she headed to the living room.
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and reached for it while I glared at Chad. He had this cocky expression on his face that said he’d achieved something. But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the heck that was. Besides pissing me off royally.
I looked down reluctantly to read the text.
Liz: Um…what the heck is going on?
I didn’t even know how to answer that one. My friend has lost his mind? Or maybe I’d lost my mind and I was just imagining all of this?
Me: I have no fn clue…
Liz: You guys need to talk or something…I’m gonna go get ready for bed…
Me: K, I’ll see you soon.
What I wanted to say was, “noooo, don’t leave me with this maniac. I’ll come with you; there’re things we can do that have nothing to do with my ankle.” But I didn’t and just smiled as Elizabeth left the table. She smiled at both of us and I wished she had sent Chadwick a dirty look or something.
“Dude, what is your problem?” I asked, the second she was gone.
“What is your problem? Are you just an asshole or is this some kind of master plan you have?”
“Are you insane? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Do you even care about Judith? At all?”
“What does this have to do with Judith?”
“Do you know how she feels about you?”
Was he serious?
“I don’t think that’s any of your business, actually.” I honestly did not want to have the complicated conversation about Judith and me, with my supposed best friend.
“It’s my business when you lead her along like your personal attendant and hook up with whoever the heck you feel like on a daily basis. And now you have a freaking girlfriend? Let me guess, she doesn’t know about this yet?”
“Why does she need to know about me and Elizabeth?”
What was his problem? I planned on telling Judith…at some point. I just didn’t feel up to that talk and whatever else might come with it.
“Because for some incomprehensible reason, she actually cares about you.”
I wanted to ask, why that was my problem, but he didn’t need any more reasons to think I was an ass. Wait, was I?
“It’s complicated, Chad.”
“Oh don’t give me any of that clichéd bull. Don’t forget I actually know what it was like between you and Desiree. God, she fawned all over you. And what was her name? The other one who took her place?”
“That was different; Desiree and I actually went out.” Of course he would bring that up. And I didn’t even remember telling him about Bailey.
“Oh, I’m sorry, this time you’re not deliberately being an absolute douche.”
“I wasn’t being a douche, I was just sick of being called Delish every freaking morning.” I bit out, feeling my ears heating up.
“And yet you managed to keep that little tidbit to yourself for a whole year. You know I think you like being worshipped by unsuspecting females.”
To be absolutely and brutally honest, there was probably some truth to that. And yet, it was really difficult to not like that. I was only human.
“And you know what, that’s your own problem. But I’m not going to let you pull the same thing on Judith that you did with Desiree. At least she’s had the good sense not to hook up with you.”
Why, just why did he have to say that? And, on a side note, was there seriously any possibility that Desiree and I wouldn’t have hooked up? The dating happened after; an unplanned foray into the relationship zone. I actually debated telling him that Judith and I had had sex.
“First of all, I didn’t pull anything on Desiree. We broke up, it was not working. Second, Judith and I have never gone out. I have – believe me, I have – tried to explain that that is not going to happen.” Well after I confirmed that fact for myself.
“Third, why all this disapproval now? If you cared so much all this time, why have you never said anything?”
“I care because she’s my friend. Because you actually think her feelings are irrelevant. Because I thought you would get a freaking clue and actually make her happy, despite your propensity towards general assholery.”
“Okay listen, Galahad, stop calling me an asshole. Do you like Judith?” Because that would explain all this madness.
He looked like he was about to say something and then stopped himself, jerking out of his seat.
“Why would you even ask that? That’s not even… That’s so far off what we’re talking about.”
“Look it’s the only thing I can think of…besides you just going crazy.” I said, leaning back into my chair and crossing my arms. How would he answer that?
“Or besides you actually being a huge ass.” He muttered casting me a dark look. “And me trying to do the decent thing and keep a friend from getting hurt.”
“Yes, besides your sainthood and my devil spawn tendencies,” I replied oozing sarcasm, but I felt a twinge of hurt. Seriously? Did he think I was that bad?
He was silent for a few minutes and I thought he was just going to ignore the question. I shook my head and pushed my chair back. He could stay down here and stew about the evils of Jonathan Reinhardt; I had a girlfriend waiting for me in my bedroom.
“I didn’t think it would turn out like this.”
I was already standing and his cryptic statement just annoyed me. I should just keep walking, I thought. But, of course I had to ask him.
“Didn’t think what would turn out like this?” I was barely keeping the irritation from my voice. He sounded miserable and, while his mood swings were tiring, he was still my friend.
“You were supposed to make her happy.” I frowned at the statement that sounded like something out of a daytime soap opera. I wouldn’t pretend I didn’t know what he was talking about.
“Because she chose you! For some inexplicable reason, she chose you! It’s not like she doesn’t know I feel something for her.”
“She just doesn’t care; she wants you. And don’t tell me you didn’t know it.”
“I do know it.” I said carefully, wondering how to explain this.
“So what are you waiting for? You can’t tell me you don’t want her.”
“I like Elizabeth.” I said, with some emphasis. And let’s not forget how insulting this conversation is to her, my mind told me with a frown.
“And you really don’t know Judith like I do.” I finished, hoping I wouldn’t have to go into detail about how much and in what way I knew Judith. At least not yet.
“I’ve known her for years.” He was looking at me like I was talking rubbish.
“Yes…but not the same way…I’ve known her.”
“What do you mean ‘the same way’?” He was frowning now, as though expecting me to divulge some hideous secret about Judith that he could vehemently refute.
“You think she tells you things she doesn’t tell me?” He demanded.
“Look I’m not saying you two aren’t close,” I began, trying to diffuse his building wrath. “I just know things about her that you either haven’t seen or refuse to acknowledge.”
“And you, of course, are one to judge her?”
“I never said I was perfect, for God’s sake.” I snapped, my patience thinning again. “I just know the two of us wouldn’t work out.”
“Of course you two wouldn’t work out! You’re an ass!” He said it like it made all the sense in the world. And I’d had enough.
“Of course.” I agreed drily.
I turned and left him standing in the dining room. He had looked, for a moment, like he wanted to say something before I turned away, but I didn’t really want to hear it. Why he insisted on seeing Judith as a perfect angel was beyond me. It might do him some good to feel the hand of Miss René-Channing steering him along. Then again, he might actually like it. Idiot.
I practically stomped up the stairs and had to stop halfway when the pain shooting up my leg overrode my irritation with Chad. I’d gotten crutches from the health center, but I’d be damned before giving my friend the satisfaction of seeing me in them. Plus I had a – yes, probably misguided – feeling the crutches were complimentary and were more suggestion than prescription. I also didn’t want to belie my enthusiastic ability to actively participate in anything else on this trip. Elizabeth had asked me, last night, if I wanted to go home and I’d laughed it off. I didn’t want her to ask again. I was limping down the corridor and almost laughed at how ridiculous my brave front would look if Liz chose that moment to come out of the room we shared. Or if Chad decided to come upstairs. I wondered if Jacqueline was in the living room and if she would comment on my limping progress. She might raise an eyebrow and shake her head. Why had Chad invited her here? If he’d expected Judith, did he really think someone like Jacquie would make her jealous? Duch ate girls like her for breakfast and that was on the off chance that she actually recognized her as competition. And for Chad? Did Judith even like him that way? Objectively, he was decent looking. But so were half a dozen other guys who Judith was friends with. Plus, if he’d made no effort to hide his feelings from her, he was probably already doomed to failure. Once upon a time, I’d realized Judith wasn’t attracted to devotion.
I got to the door and debated knocking; I’d seen Elizabeth…all of her, but she got weird sometimes about random nudity. I settled for turning the doorknob extra slowly to announce my arrival. She was on my MacBook Air, plugged in, tuned out and looking over something. I didn’t mind her using my computer; it wasn’t like I had pictures of other girls…or porn…stashed on there. Ahem, anymore. I’d made the prudent move to clean it up after she’d spent all day on it once.
She looked up, probably from the light shining into the room.
“You have to see this!”
“What?” I tried not to be so obvious with my limping as I moved toward the four-poster. She was too engrossed in whatever she’d seen to notice, however.
“It’s a gossip site! And CU is on here!”
“What? What’re you talking about?”
“Here, sit.” She scooted over and moved the blanket to make room for me. I made a surprisingly graceful transition into the bed and edged closer. She’d put the laptop down. Raising my swollen foot, she slid a pillow under it.
“Thanks,” I said, and I meant it.
“No problem,” she said, wriggling closer as I put my arm around her shoulder. She smelled like jasmine and sandalwood. I could feel my body reacting to her closeness and I made an effort to quell it.
“Okay, so my friend sent me the link on iFace. It’s called JuicyCollege.com and has basically every campus in the US listed.”
“It’s a gossip site? Like Us Weekly?” Yes, I knew what Us Weekly was...and I was a little confused.
“No, no; under each campus site is a forum. Well it’s like a forum, people post threads on various topics and other people respond.”
“What kinds of topics?”
“Kay, so I’m on the Caspian forum,” she said, showing me the white and blue interface with our school’s name in cursive script at the top of the page. Below it was a string of threads with every title from “Who’s the easiest girl on campus?” to “What frat has the cutest guys?”
“Yeah, I know! The first thing I did was search to see if I was listed anywhere.” I’d have been surprised if she was. Liz was politician’s wife clean; she’d probably never kept a library book late.
“Although, you’re listed as one of the cute guys on campus and on some other threads.”
She said it in a ‘not quite as enthusiastic as I would have expected’ way.
“Hah! People don’t have any time on their hands.” I mean, what was I supposed to say to that?
She didn’t seem to be listening as she clicked on a thread that had the highlighted look of a previously visited page. It was a “Best guys to hook up with on campus” thread and I felt a creeping feeling of unease.
The thread was sixty-five impressive pages long and she went straight for page twenty-eight. And there I was, in all my Internet fame.
“J. Reinhardt: so good! Here’s a guy who knows how to use his hands…and *cough* *cough* other things. Rumor is he’s done with Desperate D. So line up! Behind me, of course.”
“Yeah,” she said, with just the slightest hint of accusation in her tone.
I had several thoughts running through my head. One, I knew exactly who it was who’d posted that, with those asterisked coughs. Two, did everyone know my business with Desiree, for Christ’s sake? Three, I was forever immortalized on the Internet as being good in bed. Not too shabby.
“So…?” She seemed to be waiting for some kind of reaction.
“Hey, what’re you going to do?”
“That’s all you’re going to say?”
“You want me to say something else?”
“Um…look when she posted this.”
I squinted at the time stamp under the outrageous accolade: January 5th 12:47 EST. I wasn’t walking into this one willingly.
“So, why would she post this then? When did she get to find out how good you are with your hands? And other things?”
She was staring at the screen with a tiny frown between her brows. Funny, I hadn’t noted this accusatory vibe when she’d called me over to see this site. No, not called, lured. Hah!
“Last Spring, before finals. Her name is Ilana Tennyson and you probably don’t know who she is.” I tried, but there was probably a bit of a “Ha!” in that response.
“Yes, oh.” I mimicked, extricating my Mac from her hands. I closed the browser and shut the lid, putting it to sleep.
I said nothing, letting my silence speak for me.
“Sowwy.” She was playing with her fingers and looking away. I found it oddly amusing, but I held back my laughter and let her squirm a little. “So, when she said other things, what did she mean exactly?”
Okay, so much for squirming. I didn’t feel inclined to drag it out.
“Well, it’d be better if I showed you.”
“Okay, so show me.” She said, perking up and turning partly toward me. I had to smile; her enthusiasm was catching.
“You’re going to need to lie down.”
This book jumps from one person’s perspective to another’s. Since I didn’t read book one, I had to keep looking back at the list of characters to remind myself who was whom. This made it difficult to maintain the continuity of the story. There are also several different story lines going on at the same time.
The author does an incredible job of keeping the stories straight and yet intertwined. I enjoyed getting to know the cast of characters and look forward to reading more about them in the future.
I give this book 3.5 out of 5 clouds.
This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.