Authors: Amber Finn
Her Prized Student
Professor Avery Jackson is fighting hard to resist graduate student Blake Emory, who is also her teaching assistant. Dating a student is taboo, but Avery and Blake are drawn together by an attraction that proves too powerful to resist. Blake makes Avery’s body burn with every touch, and the chemistry between them is undeniable. Soon, though, Avery realizes she’s fallen in love with the sexy TA, and she has no idea if he feels the same.
After an unexpected and complicated turn of events, Avery must choose to have a life with Blake or endure one without, but how can she make the right decision when she’s so unsure of his feelings?
HER PRIZED STUDENT
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Erotic Romance
HER PRIZED STUDENT
Copyright © 2011 by Amber Finn
E-book ISBN: 1-61034-404-9
First E-book Publication: June 2011
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2011 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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Her Prized Student
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For my family, who without even realizing it, gives me the support and the courage to forge ahead and follow my dreams simply by loving me unconditionally. It is that immense love that fuels me when my own strength does not.
Copyright © 2011
Avery Jackson stood outside the classroom door to her Argumentation Composition class and took several breaths in and out to try to calm her out-of-control nerves
PhD, she thought. Why didn’t that give her the confidence she thought it would? Instead, she felt the same bundle of nerves she did as a graduate assistant. The door was closed, but the shade was up, and she peered through the window to get a look at the students in her first class here at Cross University as an Associate Professor.
She caught the eye of an incredibly handsome student in the first row and inexplicably felt her cheeks flush, and her stomach now started doing somersaults as though she were in junior high. He smiled at her as though he knew exactly who she was.
Seriously, Avery? You’re going to add this now to the jumbled mess that calls
itself your brain at the moment?
She tore her gaze away from the dark-haired, blue-eyed student whose gaze had her heartbeat going way too fast and picked up her briefcase. She straightened her shoulders, opened the door with what she hoped appeared as confidence, and strode into the classroom.
There was a large desk in the center of the lecture room in front of the whiteboard, and she set her briefcase down on top of it.
“Good morning. Welcome to Argumentation 112. Please check your schedules to be sure you are in the right place before we begin.”
As usual, there were a couple of lost students who were in the wrong place, and Avery sent them on their way to the correct classrooms. As she was about to proceed, the dark-haired student from the front row raised his hand to speak.
Startled, Avery said, “Can I help you?”
“I apologize for interrupting, Dr. Jackson, but—”
Avery interrupted him, “You know my name?” She knew that English professors were listed as
on students’ schedules and was startled to hear him call her by name.
“Yes, I tried to reach you before the semester began, but as you are new to the campus, the department secretary said you did not have a phone yet. My name is Blake Emory, and I’m the graduate assistant assigned to your class.”
“Thank God!” Avery exclaimed.
The students smirked a little at Avery’s outburst. Realizing what she said and how she said it, she quickly added, “I mean, I was so worried I’d not be assigned an assistant this semester, this being my first semester here and all, as you said. I usually like to have my graduate assistants introduce themselves to the class on the first day. Why don’t you take this opportunity to do so before we begin?”
And I can go try to pull myself together before I make a complete fool of myself while
Avery sat at her desk while Blake stood in front, introducing himself to the class. When he was finished, Avery stood in front of the class to introduce herself and passed out the syllabus.
Blake took his seat in the front row. Avery could feel his eyes on her as she went through the syllabus with the class. She explained the course policies and the assignments for the semester. This was safe territory. She just needed to explain what was written on the page. How was she going to get through an actual lecture? When she even glanced at his direction, she lost her train of thought. Finally, the class period came to an end.
“Remember the two-page draft on the ‘I Believe’ assignment. Make sure it is your own belief, and be sincere! See you next time.”
The students filed out of the classroom as they put their backpacks on. Blake stayed at his desk. Avery was still sitting at her desk and looked up to see him there. Again, she felt the flush, and her heart began to race. “Anything I can help you with, Blake?” She tried to sound nonchalant but was convinced her voice cracked like a schoolgirl’s.
Blake smiled and stood. He crossed over to the desk and sat on the corner, clearly brimming with confidence. “I am very eager to learn. The department was very excited about your hire. When I saw you on campus during your interview and found out I was assigned to your class, I knew I got the best. Perhaps it would be a good idea if we planned on meeting to go over your syllabus and upcoming lectures? We could start tonight at my place?”
Stunned, Avery could barely find the words to respond. Her body was screaming yes. Her mind was screaming equally loud, “no way,” knowing they had to work together, and Blake was coming across as a major playboy. Although she was new to campus, she had already heard the rumors of his love-them-and-leave-them attitude towards women. Nevertheless, Avery’s body won.
“Sounds great. Why don’t you write down your address? Seven o’clock okay?”
“Good for me. See you then.” Blake handed her the address, turned, and walked out of the room.
Only at that point did Avery exhale, not realizing she had been holding her breath. What had she done? She was going to meet with a man she just met under the pretense of going over syllabus notes, but clearly, the physical attraction was overwhelmingly powerful. And then it hit her.
Blake may not be attracted to me at all
. This could all be one-sided. At the thought of this, Avery actually began to relax. If Blake wasn’t attracted to her, then his invitation to discuss the notes and assignments would be it.
Avery packed up her briefcase and headed home. Her office was not ready yet, so her office hours were there in the classroom for the time being. She stayed through those and then some, knowing it wasn’t likely students would be looking for her on the first day, but Avery was thorough and wanted to be sure.
She pulled up the driveway to her new home and felt the same sense of well-being and contentment when she saw it and purchased it on sight. A cape-style home that had been lovingly and beautifully maintained, it said home to Avery when she had spent almost her entire life moving around and never putting down roots. The lawn and flower beds were immaculate. But it was the inside that did it for her. There were three bedrooms, which admittedly was more than she needed.
Avery loved the original hardwood flooring throughout the whole house, and the previous owners had remodeled the kitchen and living area into an open floor plan that was much like a great room in one of the newer homes she had seen. She especially liked the fact that the garage was attached to the house, which would come in handy during the cold, snowy months. After she saw the house, Avery didn’t look at anything else and offered full price.
Avery put her car in the garage and walked into house. Setting her things down in the utility area, she could think of nothing else but a bath. Blake’s place wasn’t far from here, so she had time.
* * * *
Blake couldn’t remember when he had been this uptight about a woman coming over. He had to keep reminding himself this was for school and not a romantic visit. He was having difficulty separating the two, however, as he got hard just thinking of Avery Jackson. He hoped and prayed she wouldn’t find out the strings he pulled to get assigned to her class. When he saw her on campus the month before and found out she needed an assistant, he knew it had to be him.
Avery Jackson had filled his every waking thought since he found out he got the assignment. She had beauty and brains, a breath of fresh air compared to the dinosaurs he’d been assigned to for the last two years. Those professors had been enjoying their tenure a bit too long in Blake’s opinion. He felt his academic drive go stale and started putting out feelers at other universities in the hopes of younger blood, new ideas. Then Avery came to campus with her thick mane of golden blonde hair and the greenest eyes he’d ever seen, not blue-green but actually green. Her firm, full breasts filled out her suit, and her legs seemed to go on forever beneath the skirt that she wore just a tad too short.
Blake thought she was wonderful on sight. He read her bio and found out she’d been a Fulbright scholar and had already been published in several highly acclaimed journals. He really wasn’t quite sure why she took the job at Cross when Ohio State, Penn, Iowa, and Stanford were all pursuing her. He wasn’t one to argue, though, because she was here, and he was going to make the most of it. He wasn’t dropping a line on Avery when he said he was eager to learn. His looks sometimes got in the way of his academic goals as professionals in the academic world didn’t often take him seriously, thinking he was just coasting through on his looks. It was frustrating, but he worked hard and kept his nose clean, despite the fact that he knew rumors persisted about him and multiple women. He let them go because it kept interested women at bay so he could concentrate on his studies. This was working just fine for him…until Avery. Now he could barely concentrate. As if on cue, the doorbell rang, bringing Blake to the present.
* * * *
Avery was so nervous she could barely keep her knees from shaking. Blake answered the door just minutes after she rang the bell, not giving her any time to compose herself.
Blake stared a minute before speaking, “Wow, you look great. Come on in. I wish my English profs looked like you when I was an undergrad.”
Avery flushed with pleasure at the compliment. She chose her outfit carefully, wanting to look casual but not like she didn’t put any thought into how she presented herself either. She wore a short skirt and T-shirt with a plunging neckline that Avery thought showed off her cleavage without coming on too strong. Because it was August, it was still warm, so she wore matching sandals to keep it casual.
Avery watched Blake swallow audibly as he answered the door taking in her appearance. It gave her the chance to admire him and his physical attributes. His torso rippled with muscles from shoulder to abs that bulged through his T-shirt. She didn’t think he had an ounce of fat on him. He stood about six-foot-four, she estimated, well over her five-foot-six. His legs were strong, evidence that he was a high school, maybe even college, athlete. His quadriceps were clearly defined. Avery thought she could even see the blood coursing through the veins. She even dared a glance at his penis, and although she had only been with a couple of men, she could definitely say none of them looked like that in a pair of shorts. She pulled herself out of her daze and followed Blake inside.
Avery was pulling out the papers from her briefcase when Blake sat down beside her and offered her a glass of wine. “Oh! I, um, wasn’t expecting, well, okay, why not. Just one glass, though—don’t want to get too fuzzy, though.”
“No problem. I thought we might as well enjoy each other’s company since we’ll be working together for several months.”
Avery’s stomach started the somersaults again at the mention of working together for several months. This could be a problem if she developed a serious attraction to this assistant, especially if he was completely unaware. How was she going to deal with it? Should she be up-front about it? Should she ask for a new assistant? She stole a glance at Blake, who was reading over her notes on the upcoming lecture for the next class.
Avery exhaled loudly. This wasn’t going to work, she thought. She was so attracted to him physically she had no idea how to present her lecture notes to him. She was going to have to tell him that something just wasn’t clicking, and she was going to ask for a new assistant.
Avery set her glass of wine on the coffee table and turned to Blake to tell him her decision. As she did, she was met with Blake staring intently at her, papers dropped to the floor. Without another word said, Blake reached one hand to the back of Avery’s neck and pulled her to him. Avery leaned in to kiss Blake back, and he pulled her closer, straddling her across his lap. When Avery didn’t resist and placed both her hands on Blake’s face to deepen her kiss, Blake groaned and reached up underneath her shirt to cup both breasts. Blake slid his hands underneath Avery’s bra and flicked both nipples with his thumbs as they stood upright and taut. Avery gasped with pleasure and wrapped her arms around Blake’s neck.
Avery thrust her tongue into Blake’s mouth as she kissed him deeply and hungrily. She darted her tongue in circles around his and then stroked his tongue over and over as Blake moaned and unhooked Avery’s bra to grasp her breasts fully in response. Avery could feel his cock rising up against her, and suddenly, she realized what she was about to do! She couldn’t do this. Not with Blake Emory. Wasn’t he a major playboy? Wouldn’t he just break her heart? Avery pulled away and fastened her bra. “Um, I have to go. This, this can’t happen. I don’t usually do this.”