Word Count: 81,000
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
System(s) of Oppression: Abelism
Author's Identity: Hard of Hearing
As a college senior, Carli Reynolds' goals in life are simple: survive her classes, mask her hearing loss, and suppress her debilitating headaches. If she succeeds, no one will know her internal daily struggle. These goals all but combust when “Hot New Deaf Guy,” Reed, introduces her to a world where hearing loss is not a disadvantage.
Reed Sullivan has always enjoyed exposing others to ASL and the Deaf World, until the one-two punch of a disastrous ex and his father’s death. Something about Carli ignites a passion he’s hesitant to release. There are ghosts in his closet, including the mysterious letter he assumes is from a biological family member.
When Carli confronts her overbearing father about her hearing, the hidden horrors of her abusive past are exposed. She refuses to back down, leading to an increase in her headaches, her hearing further damaged, and an uphill battle with concentration. Reed must help her envision a future she can no longer fathom and opening up about his past may be the only way to help. Their pasts will consume them unless they let go and move forward, together.
The minute the professor opened his mouth I knew it would be a long semester. The muffled sound struck a vein deep inside my skull, vibrating tension destined to trigger one of my frequent headaches. I slid my hand under my long brown hair, scratched my cheek as a decoy, and then ran my finger over the microphone of one hearing aid. Static rang loud and clear, confirming my suspicions. My hearing aids were fine.
The professor was the problem.
His booming voice ricocheted an accent off the walls of the small classroom. An accent I identified as…not from around here. Dr. Ashen’s bushy mustache covered his top lip. Students shifted. Pages turned. Pens moved.
I flicked my pen against a random page of my thick book. Words spilled from his bottom lip and I couldn’t understand one fucking sound. Survival skill 101 of having a hearing loss: blend in. I’d grown skilled at blending, almost mastering the task of invisibility. No cloak required. Take that, Harry Potter.
I always, always, always heard my teachers. Until now.
Big Fuck Off Mustache + My Ears = Not Happening.
Mr. Scary Mustache glared my way. He tapped his textbook and went right on speaking.
I couldn’t see his book, tapping it didn’t help. Moron. I rolled my eyes and landed on my neighbor’s book. I scanned the words, hoping something, anything, would match. Nothing did. What a waste of a class. I shoved my book and slouched in my seat. No way could I keep up.