Lucy on the Wild Side Read Online Kerry Rea

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 113
Estimated words: 105085 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 525(@200wpm)___ 420(@250wpm)___ 350(@300wpm)

A charming and wildly funny new romantic comedy by Kerry Rea, author of The Wedding Ringer.

Lucy Rourke has two great loves in her life: the gorilla troop she cares for as a primatologist and the laundry list of reality TV shows she watches to escape the fact that her actual love life doesn’t exist. And like a reality contestant gunning for the final rose, Lucy’s laser-focused on one thing: getting promoted to head keeper. So when a wildlife docuseries hosted by hotshot TV personality Kai Bridges chooses her zoo as its summer filming location, she sees an opportunity to showcase her beloved gorillas to the world and land a starring role in her department.
When Kai and his film crew arrive, however, it’s obvious to Lucy that Kai cares more about sky-high ratings than the gorillas, and he considers her a camera-averse know-it-all whose wardrobe consists entirely of khaki. But she’s surprised to discover there’s more to him than his rugged good looks and cheesy catchphrases… and that maybe a promotion isn’t the only thing she wants. But when secrets from their pasts threaten to complicate everything, Lucy discovers that happiness and success aren’t the same thing—and that finding joy just might mean getting a little wild.


Chapter One

I wish I were a Humboldt squid.

Everyone thinks chameleons are the best camouflagers, but a Humboldt squid can change its colors as fast as four times a second. If I could do that, I’d transform myself into the rain cloud gray shade of my office walls. That way, Elle wouldn’t be able to find me and remind me of my four p.m. assignment.

But I’m not a squid, and I jump when my office door bangs open.

“Lucy.” My best friend Elle pops her head inside the doorway, a mass of black curls framing her face. “You cannot hide from the children.”

I sigh and shut my laptop, where I’ve been updating the daily feeding log. The gorillas ate their regular afternoon snack of popcorn, cereal, and sunflower seeds, with peanuts added in as an extra treat. As a keeper, part of my job is maintaining detailed records of the gorillas’ dietary intake, social interactions, sleep habits, and vital signs. I’ve got at least an hour of data entry left today, but that will have to wait.

I don’t want Elle to kill me.

“I know you hate doing the Critter Chats, but they’re important. I’ve got twenty-six second-graders out there who can’t wait to learn about primates,” she says, sticking her neck farther into my shoebox-sized office. It’s so tiny that between my cluttered desk and stuffed mini fridge, I can’t lean more than three inches back in my chair without smacking my head against the door. Elle has no chance of getting in.

“Did you say twenty-six?” I ask in disbelief. “That’s a fuck-ton of kids.”

When she raises an eyebrow at me, I grab a fresh can of Diet Coke from the mini fridge and pop the tab open. I’m going to need a serious caffeine fix to make it through the next half hour.

“And it’s not that I hate the Critter Chats,” I continue, letting the cold deliciousness of my drink soothe me. “It’s that I hate the four o’clock Critter Chats.”

Three times a day—nine a.m., one p.m., and the dreaded four p.m.—a zookeeper from the primates department hosts an educational Q and A in front of the outdoor gorilla exhibit. I enjoy the Chats most of the time, since they’re a great way to share my passion for gorillas with the public. During the morning and early-afternoon sessions, the kids who attend are in cheery, inquisitive moods. It’s early enough in the day that the zoo is still fun for them, and they’ve got a day full of camel rides and ice cream Flamingo Pops to look forward to.

But by late afternoon, the excitement and sugar highs have faded, and the exhausted children have sunk into cranky moods. If they’re little, they’ve gone all day without their usual naps, and if they’re teenagers, it’s late enough in the day that their phone batteries are dead and they have to suffer through the oppressive June heat without access to TikTok.

It’s not a great situation.

“I know they can be challenging, but you’re the only primate keeper available today. Jack’s assisting over in Asia Quest, and Lottie has to go to her grandmother’s funeral. Plus, it’ll get you extra brownie points from Phil.”

I clear my throat. “It’s Lottie’s grandmother’s cat’s funeral,” I clarify, narrowing my eyes at Elle. “And I bet she could make it back in time.”

Elle’s dark brown eyes flicker with exasperation. “You know I don’t assign keepers, Luce. I just make sure that somebody’s out there to educate the children.”

She’s laying it on a little thick with that whole educate-the-children line, but she’s not wrong. As an associate activities director, Elle’s responsible for coordinating events for the public, including Zoo Camp, the painting-with-penguins fundraiser sessions, and Critter Chats. If I refuse to be a good sport, I’ll be making her job harder. And because we’ve been best friends since the first day of ZooTeen volunteer orientation fourteen years ago, that’s not an option for me. Plus, she has a point about my boss, Phil. He’s looking to promote a junior primate keeper to senior sometime this year, and I want that job more than anything.