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What Happens in Carolina

What Happens in Carolina

a forced proximity office novella

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐250+ 5-star reviews

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When a hurricane closes our hotel, Plan A means I have face the sexual tension between me and my grumpy writing partner and share a bed. As for Plan B... Well, there is no Plan B.

Book Description

First, there’s only one office. Then, there’s only one bed.

I’m over the moon when I land my first-ever writing job on a new TV show that’s like, da bomb. So what if my old boss twisted her son’s arm to get me the job?

I’m not so enthused when I have to share an office the size of a broom closet with a grumpy guy who ignores me. I don’t care if he’s totally fly. I’ve got enough on my plate trying to come up with high concept storylines and punchy dialogue for hormone-filled teenagers—the actors and the characters—while being hazed in the writers’ room.

Things begin to heat up between us on a work trip to the gorgeous coastal filming location for our show, but when a hurricane threatens, sharing an office is the last thing we need to worry about.

Fans of TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer will love this throwback 1990’s forced proximity, partners to lovers, road trip romcom with an unconventionally geeky hero.

Look inside

Culver City, CA July 20, 1998 High: 74 ̊F, Low: 65 ̊F Precipitation: 0.00% Windspeed: 10mph

AS I PULL up to the booth guarding the entrance of the BW television studio, my heart’s in my throat and my eyes threaten to leak. This isn’t just hyperbole; I feel things hard. Hell, half the time I experience other people’s emotions more than they do. Today, I make the herculean effort to stay above the swell, because if I’m drowning in tears of joy/pride/terror, I won’t be able to park my car, let alone actually do the job that I’ve somehow landed.

I still can’t believe this is actually happening. When I studied creative writing at Barnard, my parents made me do a minor in education, so I’d have something to fall back on. However, instead of teaching grammar to kids after college, I found a job writing grants at a New York nonprofit. From there, a series of fortunate events leapfrogged me to my new position as a writer on an honest-to-god television show. My parents are still totally freaking out that I’ve moved across the country to grab the opportunity, but for some perspective, they were upset when I moved from New Jersey to Manhattan.

Of course, I have to make it onto the lot, to start the job and that is looking increasingly unlikely. As the gatekeeper returns my ID with a frown and asks me to pull over to the side to let the cars behind me go through, I wonder if I dreamed the phone call in which—based solely the spec scripts I mailed the show’s creator—he said he’d be “jazzed” to add a “fresh, young voice” to the team.

Perhaps the twelve phone calls I heard his mother, aka my former boss, make to him only had him caving in the moment and he’s now realized what a dumb idea it is to bring in someone so fresh and young that she had to check a book out of the library to figure out what a spec script even was. Just as I decide to save myself the humiliation of being fired before I can start, by turning my car around and crawling back to the little apartment I can no longer pay for, the grumpy attendant reappears, hands me a temporary parking pass and a high- lighted map and waves me through.

Dread takes a backseat to awe as I drive down the streets of the studio lot. It’s exactly like what you’d imagine. Facades of buildings line streets that could stand in for a small town or a New York street circa 1900. One of the 3-D buildings looks exactly like Tara in Gone with the Wind.

Not so many people saunter about in outrageous costumes like you see in movies about making movies, though. Instead, people whiz by in golf carts or on bikes, many of them barking orders on cellular phones. When I finally find the administration building, I’m slightly disappointed. A flat fronted brick building, it could be a dentist’s or a CPA’s office in my hometown.
Inside, the straight-out-of-central-casting blond recep- tionist gets mad at me when she can’t find me in her system. Several sighs and eye rolls and mutters (and apologies from me) later, she locates my name in one of the many printouts on her desk. By the time she hands me a temporary ID and a stack of paperwork, I’m exhausted, but I do have a destination.

But when I try to enter my assigned office, the door smacks into some sort of barricade. Sticking my head through the opening, I find a desk blocking the way and a man hunched over a legal pad. I clear my throat. When he still doesn’t acknowledge my presence, I say, “Excuse me?”

He startles, his hair sticking up every which way like a baby bird. A baby bird with thick, Clark Kent black glasses. If Clark Kent wore the 90’s grunge uniform of flannel shirt over faded graphic tee shirt, that is. I stop myself from picturing a Superman body underneath it all. No need to picture my co-workers in spandex.

He just blinks at me without saying anything, so I fill the air myself. “Um, sorry to interrupt. I was told this was my office?”

Noting that I’ve already done three things my mentor back in New York forbid—using “um” or “uh,” apologizing for my existence, and letting statements go up at the end like they’re questions—I stop, take a breath, and start over. “This is my office.”

He blinks slowly and points. After I squeeze through the excuse for a doorway, I’m able to see that his desk has a twin facing it.

“Oh, well, okay. I guess this is our office.”

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Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Tina & George

This novella is book 1.5 in Karen Grey’s Carolina Classics series. Some of the events are concurrent with those in book 1, You Get What You Give and also contains slight spoilers for it. Series is definitely best enjoyed in order.

Fun addition for fans of the series. I enjoyed George and Tina. They’re kind of opposites attract and find they have more in common than they realize. I admit I love forced proximity and “only one hotel room with only one bed” tropes, so this was great for me.

George is a bit of a gentle giant/quirky nerd and Tina is an empathic writer who is bucking her family’s vision for her life. Lots of laughs in this one as well as hunkering down during a hurricane. I adore that Tina loves what so many others have criticized George for.

They get a cute and somewhat open ended HFN. They’re an adorable couple.

Amanda H
Quick, fun audiobook

I had previously read the What Happens in Carolina novella, but it was so much more fun as an audiobook which is why I rated the audiobook 5 stars. Carly Robins and new-to-me Bradley Ford did an awesome job with the narration and made this a fun, quick listen. In written form, I prefer full length stories to novellas, but in audio, the novella length was okay. I would recommend listening to the audiobook.

The characters are fun, and many of the characters get full-length stand alone stories in the other books in the Carolina Classic series. I liked all the late 90s pop culture references and the guy/girl next door characters (no billionaires, sports stars, etc.).

I own the ebook, but I received a copy of the audiobook at my request, and the opinions here are my own.

Anni Reynolds
A great side story from the Carolina Classics series

If you’re looking for a great, quick read from a brilliant author, then look no further! I’ve actually read this one several times (beta, arc in Smartasses, and now arc before solo/independent release). I love it even more each time! This is an excellent addition to the Carolina Classics series, but not necessary to read it with the other books - works as a standalone. Karen Grey is awesome and everyone should pick up this novella, and pick up all of her works!

Two script writers for the new Lawson’s Reach series (takes place in ‘98, a “take” on Dawson’s Creek), from LA taking a trip to the Carolina’s where it’s shooting. A hurricane (and tornado) cause everyone having to evacuate, cause Tina and George to be forced into actually speaking, working together during the storm, getting to fully know each other, and realizing they actually like each other... George hides a personal quirk from Tina that people generally send him to therapy for, but she takes it in stride. Tina withdrew when George basically ignored her from the first minute, so it’s a big deal that they finally clear the air.

This novella takes place concurrently with book 1 in Grey’s Carolina Classics series, “You Get What You Give” (if you read the book you will understand the overlap, but in no way does either need to be read to understand the other).

Love it just as much with a second and third full read through! My second re-read was with a re-read of You Get What You Give. Third was on its own. And then a forth when it came out on audio in February (ALC), which was the best re-through of all! Amazing narrators - one of my very favourite gals around, Carly Robbins, was absolutely brilliant as Tina, and new-to-me Bradley Ford did an awesome job as George. Fantastic! This novella is great, but best on audio!

I received an advance review and listen copy of this book from Karen Grey, and Home Cooked Books Promotions, and this is my honest feedback.

I really enjoyed this funny, sweet and steamy story.

This is about Tina and George, the two new writers for Lawson’s Reach TV show, whom we met in the first book. They have an awkward first meet, but working together in their small space, and having different writing styles, make them a perfect writing team. They are attracted to each other from the start but this job is a big break for them and they don't want to risk this opportunity. When they are sent to Carolina to help with their writing for the show, they have one awkward, harrowing, and hilarious incident after another that causes them to finally address their attraction for each other. But what happens when they fall for each other, causing them to possibly having to choose between their dream job, and true love? I loved Tina and George and the quirky way they see life. I loved how Grey wrote this story with hilarious cartoonish descriptions that made me visualize everything so completely. This clever story is a great addition to the Carolina Classics series.