We've got a juicy taste of Ali Hazelwood's STEMinist rom-com.

Enemies-to-lovers, but with a STEM spin!

Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis, is back with a new STEMinist love story, following Elsie Hannaway and Jack Smith-Turner. Read the official synopsis and an exclusive excerpt below!

The Love Hypothesis synopsis

"It's a rivalry as old as time: theoretical versus experimental physicists. Elsie Hannaway is firmly in the camp of theoretical physics—an adjunct professor by day, she toils long and hard to teach students about the laws of thermodynamics in hopes of landing tenure. But to make ends meet, Elsie takes on another role in her (very) limited spare time: fake girlfriend. In this career, Elsie can pretend to be anyone her client needs her to be… and while she's not supposed to go on more than one date with a guy, she develops a soft spot for one who really needs her help in front of his family. What could possibly go wrong? 

"Here is what can go wrong: her client has an older brother. A very hot older brother. And, on an interview for her dream tenure-track position in MIT's physics department, Elsie learns that said older brother is a member of the hiring committee. And he also just so happens to be the very same experimental physicist who ruined her mentor's career and is the reason why the entire science field views theoretical physicists as wastes of space. Did we mention that he happens to be terribly sexy? And he thinks that Elsie is a librarian who has been dating his brother? 

"Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage when her physics nemesis realizes that Elsie isn't who she had claimed to be. But…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she's with him? Will falling into an experimentalist's orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?" 

Ali Hazelwood's Love, Theoretically hits stores June 13, 2023, but EW has an exclusive sneak peek below.

Ali Hazelwood, Love, Theoretically
Credit: Justin Murphy; Berkley

The Love Hypothesis excerpt

From Chapter 3

"Calm down," Jack murmurs against the shell of my ear, like he knows that I'm on the verge of popping an aneurysm."

"They're from the MIT table," I whisper under my breath.

"Shh." His giant paws tighten around my waist, as if to contain me and my panic. They span my waist. Our size difference sits somewhere between absurd and obscene. "Settle down."

I feel dizzy. "Why am I standing on the toilet?"

"I figured you'd rather Dr. Pereira and Dr. Crowley keep on chatting about superpolynomial speedups and not see your heels under the stall. Was I wrong?"

I close my eyes, mortified. This is not my life. I'm a discerning scientist with insightful opinions onspintronic tech, not this blighted creature clinging to Jonathan Smith-Turner's shoulders on top of alatrine.

Oh, who am I kidding? This is exactly my brand. Improbable. Cringeworthy. Botched.

"Settle down," Jack repeats, gruffly reassuring. We're way too close. I want his breath to be garlic and sauerkraut, but it's vaguely minty and pleasantly warm. I want his skin to smell ridiculous, like mango tanning mousse, but all my nose picks up on is good, clean, nice. I want his grip to be creepy and knee-in-the-groin worthy, but it's just what I need to avoid slipping in the toilet. Argh. "Stop fidgeting."

"I'm not—" Pereira and Crowley are still talking physics—can't believe all the fuss with the quantum Hadamard transform—with the added background of a stream trickling. Oh God, they're peeing. I'm eavesdropping on one of the world's foremost solar neutrinos scholars peeing. I can't comeback from this, can I?

"Elsie." Jack's lips graze my cheekbone. "Calm down. They'll leave as soon as they're done, andyou can go back to the table. Laugh at Volkov's puns till he votes for you. Tell a few more lies."

"I'm not lying." I pull back, and our eyes are at the same level. The slice of blue in the deep brown is icy, weird, beautiful. "I can't explain, but this is . . . not the way you think it is. It's . . . different."

"From what?"

"From the way you think it is."

He nods. Our noses nearly brush together. "That was remarkably articulate."

I roll my eyes.

"Monica will love to hear about your secret librarian identity—"

"No!" I barely keep my voice down. "Please, just call Greg before you talk to Monica. He'll explain."

"Convenient, given that I can't get in touch with him while he's on his retreat, and he won't be backuntil your interview is over."

Crap. S---. I'd forgotten about Woodacre. "There must be a way to reach him. Can you tell him it's an emergency? That, um, he left his porch light on? You need his alarm code to go turn it off. Save the environment."


"Please. At least—""No."

"You're being absolutely unreasonable. All I ask is that you—"

"—you think about the girl? Hannaway, right?" one of the urinal voices asks. We both still and instantly tune in.

A mistake, clearly.

"CV's real good. Her two-dimensional liquid crystals theories . . . good stuff."

"I remember reading her stuff last year. I was very impressed. Had no idea she was that junior."

"Right? Makes you wonder how much of it is her mentor's." A vague hum of agreement that has my hands tightening around the balls of Jack's shoulders. None, I want to scream. It was my model. "She's young and beautiful. Which means that she'll get pregnant in a couple of years, and we'll have to teach her courses."

It's like a punch in the sternum, to the point that I almost slip butt-first into the toilet. Jack stops me with a hand between my shoulder blades, arm contracting around my waist. He's frowning like he's as disgusted as I am. Though he's not. He can't be, because Pereira, or maybe Crowley, adds:

"Doesn't matter. I'm voting for Jack's candidate. He's got influence, and he hates theorists."

"He does? Oh, yeah. Can't believe I forgot that article he wrote."

"It was brutal, man. And hilarious. Wouldn't want to be on his bad side."

A hand dryer goes off, muffling the rest. Jack's still holding me, eyes on mine, foreheads near touching. My nails dig into his chest—made of some granite-Kevlar blend, engineered by a task force of experimentalists to exude heat. He's a sentient weighted blanket, and I—

I hate him.

I've never hated anybody: not J.J. Not the Film Appreciation 101 professor who nearly failed me for saying that Twilight is an unrecognized masterpiece. Not even my brother Lucas, who had me convinced that I was adopted for over six months. I'm mild mannered, adaptable, unobtrusive. I get along with people: I give them what they want, and all I ask in return is that they not actively dislike me.

But Jack Smith. Jonathan F---ing Smith F---ing Turner. He's been hostile and unpleasant and suspicious since the day we met. He has shat upon my field and destroyed my mentor, and now stands between me and my dreams. For that, he lost the privilege that I afford every human being: to deal with the Elsie he wants.

The Elsie he's going to get is the one I care to give him. And she's pissed.

"I want this job, Jack," I hiss over the hand dryer. I actually need this job, but—semantics.

"I know you do, Elsie." His voice is low pitched and rumbly. "But I want someone else to get it."

"I know. Jack."

"Then it seems like we're at an impasse. Elsie." He articulates my name slowly, carefully. I'm going to lean forward and bite his stupid lips bloody.

No, I won't, because I'm better than that.

Or am I?

"You do not want to come at me," I hiss.

"Oh, Elsie." His hands on me are incongruously gentle, and yet we're on the verge of the academic equivalent of nuclear warfare. "I think it's exactly what I want."

The dryer turns off into silence and saves me from committing aggravated assault. "They left," I say. "Let me go."

His mouth twitches, but he deposits me on the floor in some ludicrous reverse–Dirty Dancing move. His hands on my waist linger, but as soon as they leave me I'm scampering out of the stall, heels clicking on the tiles. I nearly lose my balance. With Jack's scent out of my nose, the stench of the place hits me anew.

"Talk to Monica if you want to," I bluff, turning back to him. "You'll see the good it does you."

"Oh, I will." He's clearly about to smile, like the angrier I get, the more amused he becomes. A never-ending vicious cycle that can end only in me holding his head in the toilet bowl.

"It's my word against the word of the guy with a decade-long agenda against theorists, after all."

He shrugs. "Maybe. Or maybe it's a physicist's word against a librarian's."

I scoff and stalk to the entrance, suddenly confident in my stilt shoes, determined not to be in his presence a second longer. But when I reach the door, something ticks inside me. I whip my head back toJack, who's standing there like the K2, studying me with an interested frown, like I'm an exotic caterpillar about to pupate.

God, I hope he has itchy, purulent ass acne for the rest of his natural life. "I know you have despisedme since the very first moment we met," I spit out.

He bites the inside of his cheek. "You do?"

"Yes. And you know what? It doesn't matter if you hated me at first sight, because I've hated you long before we ever met. I hated you the first time I heard your name. I hated you when I was twelve and read what you'd done in Scientific American. I've hated you harder, I've hated you longer, and I've hated you for better reasons."

Jack doesn't look so amused anymore. This is new to me—talking to others like the me I really am. It's new and different and weird, and I freaking love it.

"I'm really good at hating you, Jack, so here's what I'm going to do: not only am I going to get this job, but when we're colleagues at MIT, I'm going to make sure that you have to look at me every day and wish that I were George. I'm going to make you regret every single little jab. And I'm going to single-handedly make your life so hard that you'll regret taking on me and Monica and theoretical physics, until you cry in your office every morning and finally apologize to the scientific community for what you did."

He is really not amused now. "Is that so?" he asks. Cold. Cutting.

This time I'm the one to smile. "You bet, Jonathan."

From LOVE, THEORETICALLY published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin RandomHouse LLC. Copyright © 2023 by Ali Hazelwood.

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