DEAR PROFESSOR - start reading for free!


© Copyright Blaire Drake 2015.

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Prologue

He watched her.

He knew that it was wrong, but he couldn’t stop. It was becoming an addiction, one that was starting to cost him a lot of money. He’d tried to stop—by God, he had. But, after the slog of grading papers and marking tests, he lived for the thirty-to-forty minutes when she’d be on his screen.

His cock strained against his pants as she bit her lip and removed her bra. Her delicate hands cupped her sizable breasts and massaged slowly. She teased her nipples, saying words he could barely register. He was mesmerized by her every movement, from the way her finger and her thumb pinched her pink, pebbled nipple to the way her raven hair fell around her shoulders.

I want you to touch yourself, he typed.

He knew the exact moment the message appeared on her screen because she paused. It was only momentarily, and he doubted that anyone else watching would have noticed. Not that anyone was watching. Oh, no. This show was for him and him alone.

He liked it that way. Loved it, even. Every movement was for him.

She lay back and raised her hips. She slid her tiny, black thong over her toned ass and down her long legs until she threw the scrap of material onto the floor. As she grabbed her pillow and got comfortable, he stood and unzipped his jeans. They fell to the ground, swiftly followed by his underwear.

His cock sprang free, and he sat back down, grasping the hardness with his hand.

On the screen, Darcy Hamilton eased her hand down her body and between her legs. There, he watched raptly as her middle finger zoned in on her little, pink clit. He watched her as her body jerked in pleasure at that one single touch.

Desire flooded his body. Fuck, how he wanted to be the one to do that. How he wanted it to be his fingers exploring her wet pussy, pumping in and out of it. How he wished her fingers were his cock.

Soon, a voice whispered in his mind as he stroked himself. Soon, she will be mine.

The thought made Professor Jordan Keaton smile.

Chapter One

Dear Professor, I should have known. Wouldn’t things have been so different? Xoxo, Darcy.

The sharp sting of his hand connecting with my ass cheek tingled across my skin.

I was in a severe state of indecision about whether or not this guy was giving me an orgasm or if I was imagining it. It felt like I’d been hanging on the thread that separates the ohgodyeah and oh…yeah for a good five minutes. Maybe longer—I’d lost track of time.

As far as fucks went, he was pretty good, if a little robotic. God only knew that my back was aching from all the arching: my attempt at getting him to do something other than thrust, thrust, thrust. I wanted to reach back, grab his hair, and whisper in his ear that he could roll the heck outta those hips, because those seven inches pounding inside me would be fucking heaven sent if he had any idea what to do with them.

Honestly, it felt like a bit of a waste. Seven inches of cock should not, under any circumstances, be wasted with a guy who banged a chick like he was banging a nail into the wall—carefully so he didn’t hurt his ickle, wickle fumb.

After another minute of his mindless thumping, I realized that the spank was a one-off and, if I wanted to come, I had to do it myself. Maybe he wasn’t comfortable with screwing on camera. I didn’t know, and I didn’t want to know. I just wanted that sweet hell over with—sooner rather than later.

I tilted my head toward the screen and saw the message right as it came up.

Touch yourself.

Now that I could do.

I dropped down to my elbows then reached beneath me, straight to the apex of my thighs. My middle finger found my clit almost instantly, and using the wetness of my pussy, I pressed down on the tiny bundle of nerves and circled it incessantly. After a minute or so, the sweet convulsions of my muscles signaled that what I was doing was working, and I moaned—mostly for the client’s advantage.

Good girl, came his message.

I smiled but bit down on my lip to hide it. Hell, if I was gonna do this a few times a week, at least someone had to get some enjoyment out of it. It was unfortunate that it happened for the client far more than it did me, but I couldn’t complain. I had known what I was getting into the day I’d stepped through the doors of Dalton House.

Pleasure sizzled through my body as I brought myself to my own climax. His fingertips tightened on my hips, and I clenched my pussy muscles extra hard.

It took him two seconds to groan and collapse on top of me.

My client clicked off without another word. It was always the same with this one. He watched me at least two times a week, just like clockwork. The show changed every week. Sometimes, it was solo; sometimes, it was with another guy. Sometimes, I got lucky with the guy my boss brought in.

This week was not that week.

I fought back a sigh as I shut the window down. It occurred to me then, as the guy behind me pulled himself out of me, that I didn’t even know his name.

Sloppy Seven-Incher would do. Names were far too personal for this job. There’s a reason porn stars, for the most part, don’t use their real names.

I shut the laptop screen and reached for the towel I kept on hand. I wiped between my legs and across the tops of my thighs, removing any traces of come. What I couldn’t wipe away, however, was the feeling of yuckiness that remained there.

One more show. I hated doing the couple show first because it always made me feel vile for the second one, and there wasn’t always time between them to shower quickly. It didn’t matter that the second one was my solo show. That was the risky one because my face could be seen, but it was also the one that made the most money.

No law school in the country would accept me if they found out I was whoring myself out several times a week to pay my way. Most other girls I knew had a part-time job at a bar or waiting tables. Even in retail.

Fuck that though. You wouldn’t catch my ass in retail. I’d rather go broke. Three years working part time at the hardware store in my hometown and dealing with arrogant fuckers had put me off that shit for life.

No—my plan was tight. Cam girl my way through college. Then, when law school hit, I’d get a job in a law firm even if all I did was make coffee, take calls, and schedule appointments.

I knew what I wanted, and by fuck, I was gonna get it. I’d worked too hard to let anything stand in my way.

I slid my panties up my legs and over my butt. The slight ache from my fuck-buddy’s spank was still hanging around, but I forced myself to think past the sensation and focus on grabbing my bra and putting it back on.

“Hey.”

I paused, my bra half clipped, and turned to face him. My tits were still out, but really—what did I have to hide at that point? Not a lot.

“What’s up?” I asked him.

His nerves were palpable. I could taste them. They were strangely thrilling.

“Could I… Could I get your number?”

Oh, Jesus. I always hated it when they asked that.

“Sorry,” I replied, fully clipping my bra and twisting it. “I don’t give my number out.”

“That’s all right. Worth a shot, right?” He smiled as if he didn’t care, but I could see the hit his ego had taken.

As I stared into his dark-brown eyes, I felt the familiar snake of guilt overcome me. “Oh, what the hell?” I slipped my bra straps up my arms and reached for my phone. “Give me yours. Then I’ll call you.”

His eyes lit up like I’d promised him I’d give him a blow job and swallow.

I almost felt even guiltier for the trick I was playing, but hey. A girl had to be smart in this industry.

He reeled his number off, and I dialed it, hitting the green call button at the last minute. His phone vibrated in his hand, and I cut the call off. He grinned like he was the Cheshire Cat as he tapped away at his screen, clearly saving the number.

It’s a shame his call would never be answered. Ah well. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

He tucked his phone into his jeans pocket and stepped back for his T-shirt. Then, with his shirt in his hands and me still standing in my underwear, he approached me and leaned in to kiss me.

Whoa now, buddy.

I pressed two fingers to his lips and leaned back, lifting my eyebrow to ask him what the hell he thought he was doing. Someone had jumped the gun there, clearly, and it sure as hell hadn’t been me.

He’d just screwed me on camera, for another man to see, and now, he thought he could kiss me?

Uh, no, babe. If there aren’t flowers, there isn’t kissing. End of story.

He got the message, because he backed off with a sheepish look and scurried out of the room.

The room that happened to also be my bedroom.

Yeah. It wasn’t exactly a fact I tended to share with the guys who came there for the cam shows. If I wanted anyone to know, they’d know. I’d taken careful measures not to put anything too “me” on show in my room… At least, nothing that couldn’t be easily hidden under the bed.

It still stood that the sweetest moment of this job was the moment I could stretch out and slam my door behind the guy.

That was also the moment I decided to fuck the rules. I grabbed my towel from my laundry pile in the corner. Then I wrapped it around my body and headed straight for the bathroom I shared with the other girls at this end of the hall. It was mercifully open, and I twisted the lock with glee.

I didn’t care if I would be late for my next show. I’d stay under the hot spray for two hours if that was what it would take for me to get clean. Besides, surely a wet, naked body had to be better than a dry one?

That was my story, and I was sticking to it.

Ten minutes later, I got back into my room, freshly showered and feeling much better. I still had enough time between now and my second and final show to run downstairs and get out of my bedroom before I was confined for however long.

Before that, though…I dried off, threw on some panties, shorts, and a tank, and dropped to my knees in front of my bed. My hand instantly found the plastic tub, and I pulled it out. The solid, black color of it hid the contents perfectly, but I knew every single thing that happened to be inside it.

I cracked the lid open and pulled out the makeup bag containing various lubricants first. My favorite mini vibrator and full-sized one were the next things to come out, and I gently put them on my wet towel before resealing the box and sliding it back under my bed.

Nine more months, I reminded myself as I headed for my door. Nine. More. Months.

*

Jenna groaned as I put the mug of steaming coffee in front of her. Her only acknowledgment of my action was the way her hand slowly moved toward it and curled around the handle.

“Thanks, Darcy,” I said. “You’re welcome, Jenna.”

“Thanks,” she mumbled, forcing herself to sit up and propping her head up on her hand. She yawned, her nose scrunching as she did so. “Next time I do a late show before I have an eight a.m. class, fucking hit me, will you?”

“I tried to tell you,” I reminded her, putting my own mug under the coffee maker and hitting the button. “We had this conversation last week too.”

“I know, I know. But they pay so”—she paused to yawn again—“good.”

That much I knew to be true—especially if you did a late weekend show. That was when the guys who’d thought they’d get laid didn’t get laid and turned to us. They were also usually hammered, and if you got the rich boys with an ego problem and a bucket-load of demands you’d fulfil, they’d give you enough money that you could take a week off.

Not that I’d ever done that. I think I was the only girl who hadn’t. I didn’t pay off the majority of my student loans by taking weeks off. I guess I was one of the lucky ones though. I had a partial scholarship and an almost perfect GPA I worked my butt off to keep.

Fucked my butt off to keep it too.

“Lou can’t keep changing out her shifts because she leaves her studying until the last minute. We need to call Nisha,” I told Jenna and took the seat opposite her at the table.

“What for?” Bella’s sweet voice filled the room as she bounced in.

At a dinky five foot three with brown hair to her waist and giant, almond-colored eyes, she looked like she should be in a damn tree baking cookies instead of in a house for cam girls.

Her happy disposition made me want to vomit before coffee. I had no idea how she could be so…alive. I felt like I’d run ten 5ks every morning.

“What do you think?” I asked her.

“Oh fucking hell, Jenna. You did it again, didn’t you?” Bella instantly morphed from sweet and sunny to annoyed.

I loved it when she swore. It sounded hilarious coming from her cute self.

“I told you yesterday morning to change back with Lou.”

“I knowwwwww,” Jenna groaned, running her hands through her short, blond hair. “I did ask her. She has a test this afternoon. She said she’d be up at seven to do last-minute studying.”

I raised an eyebrow and leaned back in my chair. “You’re a sucker. Every time. She’s still in bed.” This I knew for a fact—Lou’s bedroom was right next to mine, and she snored like a pig behind a megaphone. “She was serenading me as I got ready this morning.”

Bella giggled and put bread in the toaster. “No shit. I thought we were being bombed when I walked past her room this morning.”

I smiled behind my mug as I sipped. Cute as a button, but as dirty as a sailor. That was our Bella.

“Bitch,” Jenna muttered. She grabbed her mug and took two or three giant mouthfuls. “I’m gonna put a cockroach in her pillowcase.”

“You can’t stand ants,” I pointed out with a snort.

“I swear to God, Darce, I will cut your favorite thongs into sewing thread.”

The very thought made me want to wince. My favorite thongs were my favorites for a reason. And that was because I wasn’t the only person who liked them, if you get my drift.

“All right, all right.” I finished my coffee and got up. Then I put the empty mug in the sink. “I hafta go. I need to go and see Professor Banks before class. I need her letter.”

“Is that all of them?” Bella asked, biting daintily into her toast.

I shook my head and swept my curly hair around one side of my neck. “No. Banks, then Keaton, then I’m done.”

“Keaton.” Jenna sighed and leaned forward again. “The man is dreamy.”

I rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t deny that fact. He certainly made history more enjoyable than it would be otherwise.

“I bet you regret not taking history classes now,” I said.

“Hardly.” Her dreamy demeanor disappeared like a flash. “I don’t like being reminded of what I did last week.”

“That’s because you found out the guy you went out with only asked you because he wanted a live show. In his bedroom. With his phone camera,” Bella pointed out.

That was helpful.

Jenna’s dark eyes narrowed as she fixated on the tiny brunette. “I could flick you and snap you. Do you know that?”

“Bitch, please. I’m like a fucking ninja. I’d just duck and then your fat ass would have to chase me.”

“Aaaand I’m out,” I said quickly, grabbing my purse from the back of my chair. “Try not to kill each other, okay?”

Their silence as I walked to and opened the front door wasn’t all that comforting.

Chapter Two

Dear Professor, well played, sir. Well played. Xoxo, Darcy.

I licked my finger clean of the sauce leftover from the pizza. Bella wrinkled her nose as I finished chewing on the crispy crust. It was always obvious whose side of the pizza belonged to who, and not just because of the toppings, but because, by the time the pizza was gone, my side was empty and hers had a stacking of crusts in the corner.

“I don’t know how you eat the crusts.”

I leaned over, grabbed one of hers, then took a giant bite out of it. The disgust that crossed over her delicate features made me laugh, and I had to cover my mouth to stop myself from spitting the food out.

“You make me sick, you know that?” she questioned, taking the crust out of my hand with her finger and thumb. She dropped it in the box and then sealed it, presumably so I couldn’t make her feel any more nauseated than I already had. “What time are you on?”

I swallowed what was in my mouth and then grabbed my phone. “Ten minutes. Shit. You need to go.”

“Mhmm.” She jumped off my bed and looked at my legs. “That stocking has a hole in it.”

“What?” I moved my robe to the side and rested my ankle on my knee.

I saw it almost instantly—one giant fucking hole on my inner thigh. Not so bad if the color of the stockings was nude, but it wasn’t. They were opaque black.

I groaned. Great. Now, I was going to be even less ready because I had to change them.

Bella rolled her eyes. “Get some more, and I’ll throw these in the trash.”

With a grimace, I pulled my robe up to reveal the garter belt attached to them.

“Suck it the fuck up, buttercup,” she retorted to my silent protest. “You’re gonna have to go garterless. I love you, but I’m not getting that close to your pussy. If I’m not getting paid for it, I’m not touching it.”

That was reasonable. I wouldn’t do it unless I was being paid either.

“All right, all right,” I said. “Just go. I need to be ready and logged on, like, now.” I ripped the garter belt and stockings off. “Hey!” I yelled, balling the things up. Then I threw them at her with a grin.

She picked them up with another eye roll then shut my bedroom door behind her. Sometimes, it helped not having to live in total secrecy. Like when you needed your garter separated from your stockings pronto.

I opened my laptop, and while it loaded, I pulled a new pair of stockings from my drawer. I had little to no desire to do this tonight, but as soon as this was done, I had tomorrow free. My time would be my own. Which meant catching up on the studying I hadn’t done tonight and wouldn’t want to do after this show.

I managed to roll my stockings on and logged into the website exactly two minutes before my show. The private room told me that my client was already waiting, and I grimaced at that thought as I moved my lamp off the nightstand and replaced it with my laptop.

Then I clicked the button to turn my camera on.

His greeting was instantaneous. Jok_46897. Every week like clockwork for his private show.

I’d almost miss him when I left for law school. Maybe.

“Hey, handsome,” I cooed into the camera, flicking my hair over my shoulder. “What is it tonight?”

I knew what his answer would be. It was the same every time.

Jok_46897: I want you to touch yourself.

I cupped my breast with my hand and ran my finger across the cup. “Tell me how,” I said, looking into the camera.

Jok_46897: Take off your bra and touch your tits.

I reached between my breasts and undid the clasp. Then I slowly pulled the garment away from my upper body. “Like this?” I asked, grasping my breasts with my hands. Slowly, I toyed with my nipples with my thumbs.

Jok_46897: Yes.

Jok_46897: You’re making me so hard already.

I smiled and leaned toward the camera. Good—he should have been getting hard already.

“What else do you want me to do, baby?” My pussy ached as I continued to play with my nipples.

Jok_46897: Let me see your panties today.

I bit my lip and gave my nipples a gentle tug as I released them. Then I got onto my hands and knees. I maneuvered myself so my ass was facing toward the camera and opened my legs slightly. When I was sure he’d gotten a good look, I rolled over onto my knees and showed him the front. Sassily, I slipped my fingers beneath the waistband of them.

Jok_46897: Take them off. Let me see your pussy.

I climbed off my bed and, making sure I was still in full view of the webcam at the top of my laptop screen, turned my back to it. My thumbs hooked in both sides of my thong, and I slowly slid them over my ass. I bent forward as the material trailed down my thighs and dropped over my knees. I stepped out them, bending forward fully, aware of the fact that my pussy was fully exposed to the camera but not caring in the slightest.

I wish I could say I was ashamed of what I did. I wasn’t. I never would be. It was simply a means to an end.

I flicked the underwear to the side and got back on my bed. My hands slid up my stomach to my breasts once more as I asked, “What next?”

Jok_46897: Lie on your back and open your legs. I want to see you play with your clit.

“My pleasure,” I purred, knowing that it would be.

He got a thrill out of watching me make myself come. The one time I’d tried to fake it because I’d felt rude, he’d told me to lie back down and not get back up until I’d come.

I grabbed my pillows, put them behind me, and lay back. It was important he could see my face—it always was. I secretly thought they got as much pleasure out of my facial expressions as they did my actually playing with myself.

I trailed my hand down between my legs and rubbed two fingers across my pussy. I was already wet, so it took hardly any time for me to lubricate my clit. I circled the sensitive spot with expert ease, and the waves of pleasure started quickly. I usually slowed myself down, but I knew that this was what he wanted, even if it only took minutes. I barely paused as his newest message appeared on my screen.

Jok_46897: Fucking hell, I’m so hard.

Jok_46897: Get your vibrator.

That was a new one. That usually came after.

I leaned over and grabbed it from my bed. Preparation was the key to this, for sure.

“This one?” I asked coyly, biting my lip once again. I turned it on, and the gentle buzzing sound filled the air.

Jok_46897: Yes. Put it in your pussy. Right in.

It was so much hotter when they talked dirty. The best was that his was yet to come.

I sat up slightly and positioned the vibrator at my opening. Gently, I pushed it inside myself, and a tiny moan escaped me as the vibrations hit my sensitive flesh. As my muscles stretched to accommodate it, heat flushed over me.

Jok_46897: Farther.

Jok_46897: You’re making me so fucking hard.

I wanted to say something super hot back, but all I could do as I moved the vibrator inside myself was moan in response and buck my hips. Soon enough, my body was moving in time with my thrusts. My hips were grinding against the movements of the buzzing toy, and I was breathing heavily, but I made sure to keep my eyes on the camera.

Jok_46897: Fuck. Look at you. Fucking that vibrator like it’s my cock.

His words, although not said, only typed, heightened my pleasure.

“Mmm, you like this?” I asked. “Ohhh. You want me to imagine this is your cock, baby?”

Jok_46897: Yes.

Jok_46897: Fuck it like you’d fuck me.

With anyone else, it was tedious. But with him…it wasn’t. If it were possible to lust after someone I’d never met and never would meet, Jok_46897 would be that guy for me.

I did as he’d asked. I moved and pumped and ground until I felt my orgasm wash over me fiercely. It was a welcome reprieve from the faked ones I usually did.

Maybe that was why he was my favorite. He cared that I enjoyed what I was doing.

By the time I sat up, the vibrator resting on a towel, he was gone and the chat was dead.

Just like always.

*

“There’s an opening at the bar.”

I looked over at my dark-haired friend and shook my head. “Jake…”

He shrugged and tapped a finger against the side of his bottle of Coke. “I’m just sayin’, Darce. There are worse jobs.”

The pointed look he gave me with his midnight eyes raised my hackles.

I’d understood a long time ago that he would always have a problem with me doing what I do. It was part of the reason I’d turned him down—the other part was that Griffin’s death was still too raw. But, as Jake had accepted his place in the friend zone, he’d made his mission to get me out of performing and into what he deemed an acceptable job.

We had different ideas. His job was just a little extra dollar for him. After all, he had parents who could carry, and had carried, him through college. I had parents who looked after my seven-year-old, adopted twin brothers and couldn’t do that for me. I had dreams, and I was going to reach them, even if it meant doing what I did.

“Yeah, yeah. I get it.” I dipped a fry into some ketchup then bit one half of it off. “Thank you for thinking of me, but no, thank you,” I said to him as politely as I could. Which actually came out as snarky as opposed to genuine.

He dropped his gaze with a tiny frown and shook his head. I knew that look. It meant I should be ready for another one of his questioning sessions.

I was right.

“I still don’t get why you do it,” he said in a low voice. “You know the risks if anyone recognizes you.”

“I know,” I said back, equally as quietly but slightly more harshly. “I’ve done this for two years, Jake. I know more than you do, funnily enough.”

Guilt flickered across his face as he lifted his eyes to mine. I felt guilty too. I shouldn’t have snapped. He was one of my best friends, after all.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered, running my hand through my hair. “I just know, yeah? I live in fear of this every day, but I can’t stop. I need the money I get from this. Last night? Five hundred bucks. Standing behind a bar and being leered at by old men won’t pay me that.”

“Old men probably leer at you anyway,” he pointed out.

“True. But I don’t know for sure. I can imagine they’re all like…Liam Hemsworth or something.”

“I don’t think Liam Hemsworth needs to log into Dalton Cam Girls.”

“How do you know? You have an account.”

Jake’s cheeks flushed the tiniest amount, and he pinned me with his steely gaze. “I have it to check up on you.”

“You log in and watch me play with my vibrators? Nice.”

“Actually, I try not to watch. Last time I did that, you were in an uncomfortable position and being fucked the hell out of.”

I raised another fry also covered in ketchup and pointed it toward him. “That’s my job.”

“If you were anyone else, I’d call you a cheap whore.”

“That and you have a crush on Bella.”

“I don’t have a crush on Bella. I’d actually crush her if we ever went that far.”

“So you like Jenna.” I paused when he didn’t respond. “Oh my God. You do.”

He still didn’t respond, so I kicked him under the table. Hard.

“Bitch,” he hissed, reaching down and rubbing his shin.

I grinned, giving absolutely no fucks at all.

“She’s hot, yeah? You’re all hot.”

My lips twisted into a side smile. “You’ve watched her show, haven’t you? Jake Haas, tell me the truth right now!”

“Once.” He smacked my foot with his. “Swear to God, Darce. Shut the fuck up, yeah?”

“I wanna know everything!”

“We have to get to class.” He gathered my tray up, even going as far to steal the fry right out of my hand. “Let’s go.”

“So tell me on the way,” I pushed him.

He had another think coming if he thought I was letting this fucker go. Not a damn chance. I waited until he’d discarded of the leftovers of our lunch and grabbed his arm. I looped my arm through his and leaned into him.

“Come on, Jakey. You can tell me.”

“Jakey?” He glanced down with one eyebrow raised. “Seriously, Darce. You’re seriously fucked in the head.”

I released him then punched him. “Tell me, asshole, or I’m gonna tell her you videoed her and jerk off in the—”

He clapped his hand over my mouth, his other cupping the back of my neck. I shrieked into his palm then promptly stuck my tongue out to lick it. It had the desired effect, because his muscular, six-foot-three frame jerked away from me as if I’d just given him rabies or something.

“All right,” he muttered. He reached down and grabbed my hand.

I giggled as he dragged me through the building and into the next, directing me to our classroom. Jake literally hauled me through the open door and up the steps to where we always sit for history.

“Sheesh, Fred Flintstone. You can stop manhandling me now.” I shook him off me and dumped my purse on the desk.

“What’s up, Haas? She still won’t go out with you?” Louis Peters asked from the doorway.

Jake started forward, but my arm shot out to stop him.

“What’s up, Peters?” I asked, tilting my head to the side and pouting. “Still being a dick to make up for the one you don’t have?”

Louis’s steps faltered as he walked across the room, and the sound of several barks of laughter and snorts rang out from our classmates already in the room. Louis—smartly—declined not to respond to me, instead settling for a look that could kill.

Jake dropped into his seat and glanced at me. “One of these days, you’re gonna let me punch that guy.”

“Yeah, but this isn’t the time or the place. You’ll get your chance, my friend.” I patted his thigh as I took my seat. “Now, tell me about Jenna.”

He snapped his head up, resignation slowly creeping on his face. I guessed he’d finally figured out that I wasn’t gonna give up on this.

He rubbed his hand across his mouth and looked at me. “I clicked on her once, yeah? I was checking in to make sure yours didn’t have any assholes, and I saw that she was on. I was…interested.”

“I bet you were.”

“Darce.”

“Jake.”

“Leave it now, yeah?”

I pursed my lips, but at that exact moment, Professor Keaton walked into the room, his laptop and books tucked under his arm. Jake was lucky. When Keaton walked in, silence reigned whether it was the start of the class or not.

He was the hardest professor I’d ever known. You only ever spoke if you were spoken to. His grading process was brutal. His tests almost impossible. I somehow wondered how I was still maintaining the GPA I needed for law school, but that paled in comparison to the fight I knew I’d have to get my letter of recommendation from him.

It wahen dy did this. :)to his palm,these out sthe first word is I and stunts the flow of the overall ss exactly why I’d left him until last.

It didn’t help that Jenna and Bella were totally right with their crush. The man was fucking gorgeous. I sometimes wondered, in the middle of class, when I was procrastinating on my work, if Zeus had shit him out and left him here.

He had the darkest hair that always shone when the light caught it. His shapely jaw was always lined with a thick coating of stubble that looked well-trimmed, and the lips that were almost always turned down in a look of helpless disdain at his students’ incompetence were plump and pink. Perfect kissing lips, really.

It was his eyes though. They were the most electrifying blue. They were so bright that it sometimes felt as though when he looked at you, he was simply tearing through you with his gaze. He could put such terrifying power behind them that even the most fleeting of glances were intimidating.

He scared the shit out of me, but I couldn’t deny how goddamn handsome he was. No matter how much I wanted to. He was by far my least favorite professor—and I think he knew it.

The last few students dragged themselves in through the door. Professor Keaton slammed the door shut after the final one entered, making her jump. His bright eyes scanned the room, and maybe I was imagining it, but I swore his gaze lingered on me for a second longer than it should have.

Maybe he knew what I was going to ask him after class. Maybe he was thinking of all the ways he could just say no.

I bet he’d fucking love that, the bastard.

God. I kind of really hated him.

“Good afternoon,” he said sharply. The deep tone of his voice rumbled through the room. “Are you all prepared for today’s test?”

The low murmur of affirmation echoed.

“Good. You know the rules. I trust I don’t have to tell you that at this point.” He grabbed a stack of sheets off his desk and walked toward the front row. “Take one at the end and pass the rest along. Your test is a mini essay. One thousand words minimum. Wi-Fi has been disabled until the final five minutes of the class, so Google is definitely not your friend today.”

That was that as he counted the sheets with the question on them and handed them out. I kept my head down as he handed them to the girl sitting next to Jake. I had to nail this test. I knew exactly what he’d say: I and the other handful of law undergrads in the room would have to pass with flying colors before he’d so much as consider giving us our letters.

Fuck. This had just gotten a shit-ton harder.

I was still gonna try though. I didn’t have much choice left. I was rapidly running out of time, and I was determined to eek the letter out of this coldhearted bastard if it was the last thing I did.

I would literally die trying.

I hadn’t worked this hard and made myself into a webcam slut for him to say no.

“Time starts…now. You have ninety minutes.” Professor Keaton took his seat and opened his laptop with those words.

Fuck.

I rubbed at my forehead and started my laptop. I grabbed the sheet and read the question over. I could do this. No problem. I’d been reading up on it just two days ago. It was fresh enough in my mind that I’d be able to get the one thousand words in no problem.

Luckily for me, I could type as fast as the Road Runner runs. It was like my fingers were on crack when I got going.

I started the second my Office app opened. I had no time for screwing around. Not in class, so I typed furiously. The minutes wore on as I focused on the screen in front of me, on answering the question. I was determined to nail this essay. I had no other choice.

I wrote until my wrists seized up from the strain of my quick typing. Then, after a quick massage, I wrote the final paragraph and hit save for the final time. I glanced up at the clock. I barely had time to send it to Keaton before the time ran out. It was no wonder, either. I’d written more than the designated word count—not that I was at all surprised.

Scholar by day, slut by night.

What could I say? I was an enigma.

“Did you do it?” Jake whispered, leaning over.

“Yes,” I hissed back as quietly as I could. “And don’t think I didn’t notice you trying to read what I was writing.”

His groan was almost silent, but I knew that it had happened because I knew the look on his face. That dejected, hopeless fuck-it-all kind of look.

“I’m so failing,” he said. “The guy’s a fuckin’ shark.”

I shrugged a shoulder. Jake had a point—Keaton was the harshest grader I’d ever come across, but I’d never given him any reason to give me anything less than an A-minus, and I wasn’t about to, either.

Yeah. I had been handed a good bunch of determination the day I’d been born.

Professor Keaton’s voice rang out through the room. “Miss Hamilton and Mr. Haas, please see me before you leave.”

Jake groaned again.

“What was that, Mr. Haas? An agreement?”

“Yes, sir,” Jake replied through gritted teeth.

“Nice one, asshole,” I muttered, jerking my foot out and kicking him.

“Pleased try to refrain from bodily harm in my classroom, Miss Hamilton,” Professor Keaton barked. “I trust you both finished your essays?”

“Yes, sir,” I replied almost simultaneously with Jake.

God, there was no correlation between looks and manners with this man. He was full-steam-ahead asshole.

“And the rest of you?” he asked, looking around.

A chorus of yeses echoed through the room.

He nodded, resolute. “Make sure I have them within five minutes. As soon as I do, you’re welcome to leave.” His eyes traveled back to me and Jake and hovered on me. “Except the two of you.”

“We get it,” I said under my breath.

If anyone could bring out my inner toddler, it was him. Fuck. He had it down to an art form just by existing.

“Something to say, Miss Hamilton?” His voice seemed to carry over the hum of everyone packing their belongings away.

“No, sir,” I answered with a sweet smile. “I just knocked my thumb against the desk.”

His eyes told me that he knew I was lying, but I didn’t care in the slightest. It was what it was.

Slowly, everyone filtered out of the room, leaving me and Jake behind. I grabbed my bag and followed him toward Professor Keaton’s desk. Keaton was lucky I had a free next period or I would have been pissed. I didn’t do being late.

“How long have you been in my class?” he asked almost as soon as we approached his desk.

“Three months,” Jake responded.

“And how much do I appreciate talking in my class?”

“Not at all.”

Keaton barely looked up from his laptop. “Your essay appears to be three hundred words short, Mr. Haas. You have two hours to write them.” Finally, he looked at Jake. “I’m sure that’ll be enough time, don’t you agree?”

I wouldn’t have put a bet on it, but Jake nodded. I was sure to get a frantic text from him asking whether or not he could throw in an extra “very” or “just” here and there. For here and there, see: everywhere.

“You better make sure you do, Mr. Haas, or your grade will be lowered,” Keaton threatened. “You can go now. Miss Hamilton, I’d like a moment longer of your time.”

“Of course.” I smiled tightly but did my best to make sure it looked genuine. Felt it, at the very least. Who the hell was I to know?

Jake shot me a look, but he backed out of the classroom without another word. I gave him my own look that told him I’d be okay. As he shut the door behind him, I wasn’t so sure.

Keaton’s eyes seemed to focus on me with the most intense scrutiny. It honestly made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t used to being so torn apart by someone’s gaze, and it was unnerving. I could feel the shivers as they cascaded across my skin with relentless intent.

“You wrote the most out of everyone,” he told me, sitting back in his chair. His gaze never wavered as he clasped his hands and rested them on his flat stomach. “Why so many words?”

“I have a tendency to work the hell out of the words ‘and,’ ‘but,’ ‘just,’ ‘so,’ and ‘that.’ It’s a curse,” I retorted smartly—and also a little honestly.

I’d swear he almost cracked a smirk.

“I spoke with Professor Banks yesterday,” he said. “I believe you have something to ask me.”

I ran my tongue across my top teeth as his words hit home. I did. He was right. But I didn’t want to.

“Yes, sir.”

He waved his arm.

I guessed that that was my cue. “Well, I’m getting ready to apply to law school. I was hoping you’d provide me with my final letter of recommendation.”

“Interesting. Which is your first choice of school?”

“Harvard.”

His eyebrows shot up. “Are your grades high enough?”

“Why don’t you check? I’ve maintained my GPA and continuously get As.” The words came out sharper than I’d intended, but I hated it when my intelligence was brought into question. “I have the entry requirements. I just need my letters of recommendation to help me with my interview.”

His piercing eyes studied me for a second longer before he sat up. He rested his elbows on the desk and touched his fingers together, hooking his thumbs beneath his chin. I couldn’t move beneath his paralyzing gaze. I’d never been this close to him, but since I was, I could see the tiny imperfections on his skin.

The slice through the corner of his left eyebrow, scarred white. The hint of a dimple in his right cheek. The rough edge to his stubble as it curved down over his cheek.

“No.”

I jerked my gaze up from his hands to his eyes at his words. My heart pounded dangerously painfully.

“No?” I repeated. My voice was void of strength. The only thing I felt was shock, and I felt it everywhere.

No? Fucking no? Was he kidding me?

“No,” he confirmed, never letting up with his eyes.

They weren’t as mesmerizing when anger was flowing through my veins.

I heaved my bag back onto my shoulder and stared him down. “Are you kidding me right now? I’ve had the highest grade in the class since the start of the year. I’ve hardly had anything but a perfect score on all of your tight-ass tests, and I’ve worked my ass off to make it that way. Now, you’re sitting in front of me and telling me no?”

He didn’t say a word.

“Don’t worry,” I said, turning away. “I don’t need it. I’m sure the others will be enough. It’s not like you have grounds for refusal if I’m asked why you refused.”

I shrugged and headed for the door. I was so fucking angry that I could feel the tight tendrils of fury wrapping around my veins and heating my blood. I was shaking just about everywhere as the emotion took hold and I grasped the door handle.

“Let go of the door, Miss Hamilton. We aren’t done here.”

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