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Authors: Paige North

Dirty Professor

BOOK: Dirty Professor
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Dirty Professor
Paige North
Favor Ford Publishing

C
opyright
© 2016 by Favor Ford Publishing

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

NOTE

T
his edition
of Dirty Professor contains the following bonus content:
Panty Dropper
, a standalone romance novel by Paige North.

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Dirty Professor by Paige North

A
DDISON

"
Y
ou have to stop fangirling
," my roommate, Kensie says as we cross the Noland University campus. "Or else he'll never pick you."

"I'm not fangirling," I insist. "I just consider this confirmation that transferring here was the right thing."

"As long as you get into the class," Kensie says. "Which you totally will if it's based on your writing, and totally won't if you get in there and start screaming and telling him you want to have his kids."

"That's a possibility," I say, stepping around someone who decided to plop down on the lawn and let his legs spill over onto the walkway. He's one of a ton of students on the grass today, enjoying the sun. It's a spectacular day in western Oregon-- the clouds are poufy and white, as opposed to the never-ending gray we'll be seeing more of in a few short weeks. Noland is a smaller college, maybe six thousand undergrads, but the grounds are expansive and foresty, and I kind of feel like I'm in Narnia.

And that's okay, because the Narnia books were what made Chase Brooks secretly decide he wanted to write stories when he was a kid. And maybe this place, with its towering evergreens and snowy winters, is what lured him here to take up residence and teach a class.

The
Chase Brooks, bestselling author, phenom at like twenty-four, legend at thirty-one. Is teaching a class here. A sort of green beret writer class for badasses, I guess. I applied and my interview with him is today at three-fifteen.

I think I'm going to faint.

"God," Kensie laughs. "Addison, you need to chill. He can't be that amazing."

"Oh, he can. You know how most authors don't get recognized in public much? Unless they're Stephen King, or J.K. Rowling? Or--"

"Chase Brooks?" Kensie rolls her eyes, but she's smiling. "If I had to guess."

"And you know how so many writers are kind of... dorky? Awkward?"

"Let me guess. Not Chase?"

"Correct again." I could try to explain to Kensie, but I'm honestly not sure she'd get it, at least not fully. To really appreciate Chase's genius, you have to read at least one of his fourteen-- soon to be fifteen-- books, and Kensie only reads Cliff's Notes. If it weren't for a swimming scholarship, she wouldn't have gotten into Noland at all. But I like that about her. I don't feel like I have to keep up with the
Wall Street Journal
around her, the way I do when I'm at home. That's a big reason I left Portland State. Going to college in my hometown meant seeing my parents way too often.

"So what's the big deal?" Kensie asks, opening one of the massive doors to the dining hall. "So he's one of those smart guys who also happens to be hot, and can hold a conversation?"

"Conversations about biological warfare, while being able to talk about The Bachelor. I mean, this guy blends genres."

"I don't even know what that means."

I sigh. How do I explain that Chase Brooks is known for creating one of the most complex badass heroes ever? A character who went from Special Ops in the Iraq war to a molecular science lab to DARPA and the Department of Defense, kicking ass alongside federal detectives and curing-- or killing-- people with drugs he freaking made himself?

There's only one way. "The Bryce Bowker movies," I say, and Kensie gasps. "He wrote the books they're based on."

My roommate's mouth has formed an
O
. "That guy? The one who keeps dating supermodels?"

"Finally, you get it."

We load up at the salad bar and make our way toward the sea of tables. Noland's dining hall isn't enormous, but there are a lot of students in here right now-- just past noon on the first day of school, so everybody's probably starving.

And then my heart slams to a stop in my chest.

Not because the pizza guy is ogling the girls in his line. Because of the tall, toned figure perfectly accentuated in khakis and a collared shirt rounding the corner in front of the pizza booth. I don't believe what I'm seeing. Chase Brooks is striding through the cafeteria, looking deep in thought and every bit as gorgeous as he appears in Us Weekly. His shoulders are broad, his dark hair combed back from his face, the stubble on his cheeks giving the appearance that he was up all night, brooding over a new manuscript. Heat floods my belly and my pulse quickens.

"God damn," Kensie whispers, eyeballing him in appreciation.

"What's he doing in the dining hall?" I hiss.

"Where's he going to go, Chili's?"

"I mean, shouldn't he have a butler or something?"

"Not if he wants to blend in." Kensie tugs on my sleeve, which is how I realize I've stopped dead in my tracks. "Come on. Keep walking."

I do keep walking. For approximately five more seconds. That's when my foot rams into a backpack that's sticking out too far from the table it's been plopped besides, my other heel slides out from underneath me, and I trip.

I used to think the banana peel fall was the worst, because you land on your butt and it's just classic. But falling forward when you're holding food?

You will be
wearing
your food. And some of it will be airborne, oh yes, but you'll get a ton of it all over you as well as the floor.

"She fucking ate shit!" some jerk announces to whoever he's with. "Did you see that?"

I feel a hand clasp my elbow. "Are you okay?"

“Yes,” I mumble. Then I look up at my rescuer.

Chase Brooks peers down at me with a faint look of amusement on his face. His eyes bore into mine, and my breath catches.

I freeze.

“Those heels,” he says, his full lips tugging up into a grin. “They’ll get you.”

I will burn these heels. I will incinerate them.

He gestures at the salad dressing splattered all over me. "Ranch?" he asks.

"Nonfat ranch," I mumble miserably. Oh my God. Leave, now. I'm out of here. I'm so out of here.

“Easy,” he says, helping me to my feet. His touch burns through me, his hands strong and capable. I can smell his cologne or his shampoo or deodorant, or just
him,
something expensive and masculine smelling that leaves me slightly dizzy. Somehow, I’m able to hold myself upright.

I dart past him, vaguely aware of grabbing my nonfat ranch-splattered purse off the floor, and make a beeline for the double doors.

**

I
t takes
all of my willpower to force myself out of my dorm room to go to my appointment with Chase, plus an almost literal push from Kensie.

"You have to do this," she insists. "Show him you don't let shit get to you." She runs her lint roller down my russet cashmere sleeve. (I'm not going anywhere near food in this sweater.) "This can only work in your favor, you know. You're tenacious, and you're tough."

"Right," I say.

I try to push the lunch incident out of my mind as I head downstairs and across the cobblestone path towards the Liberal Arts building, but the images keep crashing back. My salad flying through the air. The sound of those dicks jeering about me biting it. The look on Chase's face.

I still don't get why Chase Brooks was eating lunch in a cafeteria with people who live in dorm rooms. I mean, I know our small college town is exactly that, but maybe I should slip him a list of the two or three restaurants my parents go to when they're in town. If my dad, with his five-star tastes, likes those places, surely Chase Brooks would prefer them to our lame dining hall.

"Whoa," I mutter once I’m inside the Liberal Arts building. This is serious. And so are the faces of the people waiting ahead of me.

One guy is poring over his writing-- at least I assume it's his writing-- moving his lips, and scribbling last-minute changes.

A girl with deep black hair, black fingernails and black lipstick occupies the last spot in line, and turns around when I take my place behind her. "This," she breathes, "is going to be spiritual."

"Yeah," I agree, glancing at the guy coming out of the office with a dejected look on his face. I don't think it's going to be spiritual for him. He crumples up the papers he's holding and whips them into a nearby trashcan on his way towards the stairs.

"Another one bites the dust," someone murmurs ahead of us.

"The class or the interview will be spiritual?" I ask.

"Well, both. But the class, obviously."

"I wish I had your confidence," I tell her.
She gives me a smug smile. "Creative Writing or Lit?"

I must look confused because she says, "Are you on the Creative Writing track or the Literature track?"

Oh. "I'm not an English major."

"You're not?" She doesn't bother to hide her shocked expression. "Oh, shit."

"Is that bad?"

"I can't decide if I'm going to show him my novel or my album. Or my screenplay."

"Um, cool." I don't really have much else to offer her, unless she wants to hear how my stomach has butterflies on crack shooting around inside of it.

"Addison Simmons," the secretary calls, and I nearly jump with fright. I somehow put one foot in front of the other and enter the office. "He's ready for you."

I walk into the office, past the secretary, and head through the open doorway, which is the only other door in this office, so I figure that’s where I’m going.

He’s standing in front of his desk, leaning against it. He’s changed since lunch – he’s wearing jeans now, jeans that hug his ass perfectly, and his dark hair almost demands someone to come along and run her fingers through it.

“Addison Simmons,” he says, holding out his hand.

I shake it. His hand is huge, and it envelops mine as electricity zings through my fingers. “Hi.” I wonder if I should say something about what happened in the cafeteria, but before I can decide, Chase moves on, all business.

He’s got the application I sent in a few weeks ago in his other hand, and glances down at it. “You’re interested in writing enough to sign up for a very focused class?”

“I think so,” I say. “I mean, I am.”

"I'll cut to the chase," he says. I smile, thinking he's making a pun out of his name, but he doesn't smile back. He just looks down at my application and writing samples again and frowns like they offend him. "You're a business major?"

I nod. "That's why I transferred here."

"And where did you go to school for your first two years?"

"Portland State."

"I see," he says in a tone that says he might not actually see. "What, if I may ask, prompted you to declare a business major?"

"It, uh." I hesitate, then decide to just be honest. "It got my parents off my case."

For now.

His face lights up without fully smiling. His eyes flare up like blue flames, and for a second I think he's going to warm up to me. Who can't relate to parents being on your ass?

"So you've charted your higher education course just to please your parents," he says. "That's unfortunate, because you’re a talented writer. Raw, but talented."

I blush. “Thank you.”

He doesn’t reply, just lets the silence stretch between us until it becomes uncomfortable. His presence is intimidating, and I remember the way his hands felt on me earlier as he helped me up. The same heat settles in my belly, and I can feel a slight pulse between my legs.

"My parents have really backed off since I got into Noland," I tell him, trying to focus. "They used to give me crap all the time about what major looks good on a resume, and, you know. Success, all of that. And--" I trail off. Chase doesn't look too understanding.

"You know," he begins, running his fingers through his hair, "I had a couple of theater majors come in here earlier trying to get in, but so far no one from the business school has dared." His eyes bore into me. "Until now."

Dared.
He says it like I'm dissing him or something, just by being here. The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. "Drama isn't acceptable either?" At least drama is artsy. If that's not relevant enough, how screwed am I?

If Chase is miffed by my boldness, he doesn't show it. "They just thought that aspiring to someday be in a Bryce Bowker movie somehow qualified them to be in a class of legit writers." He sits back in his chair, still staring at me. "I told them otherwise. This isn't Hollywood."

"Well, I'm not trying to make it in Hollywood."

"You're just trying to make it up the corporate ladder."

I flinch. The truth is, that is the plan. But it's not a plan I'm entirely stoked about. I'm not even sure I'd say it's a plan that's mine.

He's waiting for me to answer. I try again. "I just want to take a class that I enjoy--"

"So you think that's what this is?" His strong jaw tightens. "One of those just-for-fun courses?"

"No!" Oh God, I really am insulting him. "I mean, I did think it would be enjoyable, sure, but that's not the only reason. Or even the main reason."

"Then what is the main reason?"

"I'm very interested in writing. I want to explore it."

"This isn't an exploratory sort of class, Miss Simmons." He softens a little when he says my name, but his voice remains serious. "This is an intense, focused workshop for those with noticeable talent who truly want to excel in the craft. The kind of student I'm looking for has known she wants to be a writer for a long time."

I have.

I just haven't been able to say it. Not to my parents-- God, no. Not to Kensie, who actually would probably only have good things to say about it. Not to myself. And not now, not to Chase, who's watching me fidget with the cuff of my sweater sleeve with an imploring look on his face, like he's trying to figure out just how I got the audacity to walk into his office.

I feel like I've wiped out on the floor for the second time today. Being here takes more energy than getting back up after knocking the wind out of myself earlier today. "I.. I really do love to write." I pinch my lips together. Do not cry. Do NOT. "And that's literally the most honest thing I can say. I brought my samples."

He shakes his head. "That won't be necessary, Miss Simmons. Thank you."

I feel my shoulders slump. "But... that's it?"

BOOK: Dirty Professor
10.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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