How does a straight-laced biology major and a by-the-books philosophy professor make a love connection? Read chapter three of my steamy new adult romance, Forbidden Heat, to find out.
Title: Forbidden Heat
The first standalone in the Firework Girls Series
I’d almost rather miss the first class than show up late, but with both Ms. Mason expecting me to go and Dean Jennings most likely overhearing her telling me as much, I decide to hustle across the green anyway.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been in Old Main, one of the oldest buildings on campus, and where several of the humanities classes are held.
I glance at the schedule. “Introduction to Philosophy. Professor Brooks. OM – Room 205.”
I’m not familiar with this professor and hope he’s not too fussy about punctuality. I check the time on my phone. Class started a minute ago. By the time I’ve crossed the green, climbed the stairs, and located the proper room, the class started some seven minutes before I walk in the door.
Approximately 25 heads swing up as I make my entrance. Everyone is either already taking a quiz or, more likely, filling out some pointless beginning-of-the-year questionnaire for the professor.
Said professor is standing behind the podium at the front of the class. Or… he would have been standing had he not been bending over to remove something from the podium’s lower shelf.
Two words, I guarantee you, I have never used when describing any of my professors’ rears. I consider the likelihood of thinking “nice ass” when Old Professor Baggy Pants bends over and nearly burst out laughing right then.
The man by the podium straightens and my breath catches in my throat. No wonder I was checking out his ass. He’s fucking gorgeous and isn’t old enough to be the professor.
At least, I don’t think he is. Is he a student?
We stare at one another for a moment and I at least have the wherewithal to realize my mouth is hanging open. I close it.
He blinks at me, apparently taken aback by the sudden intrusion into the class. “May I help you?”
A student assistant probably. That has to be it. Hartman College is known for small classes taught by actual professors, not underlings like a lot of the bigger universities. But there are a few of the larger undergrad science classes that are exceptions. Freshman year, my biology class had a hundred and fifty students. The professor gave the lectures, but if you had questions afterward, that’s what his student assistant was for.
My brain is trying to work out the possibility of an Intro to Philosophy class with only twenty-five students requiring a student assistant, but I’m really rather distracted by Student Assistant What’s-His-Face.
His gorgeous, gorgeous face.
And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone rock a blazer the way this guy’s doing. Aside from his age, he looks the part of a professor. The only thing his blazer is missing are the elbow patches.
“Miss?” he says again.
“Oh, uh, sorry I’m late. I just got put in this class.”
“Ah,” he says. He looks at me a second longer and I wish I could stand here and stare at him all day. With some popcorn. Sitting in a comfy chair. While he strips off his shirt and—
Apparently recovering from the surprise of my untimely interruption, he grabs the top sheets from a couple stacks of paper on the podium and holds them out to me. I start to move toward him and manage to trip on nothing, but catch myself and cross the room with burning cheeks.
He gives me an amused smile.
Wow, that smile.
I snatch the pieces of paper and retreat to a seat near the back. I’m usually a front-of-the-room girl, but I’ll make an exception in this case. I’ve drawn quite enough attention to myself.
I take a deep breath and try to get myself under control.
“Introduction to Philosophy” the heading on the top paper reads.
Right. This is why I’m here. Get it together, Isabella.
I glance back at the man at the front of the room. Our eyes meet immediately and I look back down, bending over my papers for good measure. My heart is racing and I can’t tell if it’s because he caught me looking at him or if it’s because of the way he looks.
Because he looks So. Freaking. Gorgeous.
I decide not to look at Distracting Sexy Student Assistant so I can concentrate on what’s in front of me. A syllabus and a questionnaire. I can only assume everyone’s busy working on the latter.
I’d dropped my bag on the floor next to me. I now bend over so I can spend, apparently, several minutes fumbling around for my pen. My bag is working against me, I swear it. I have to keep pulling my long hair out of my face with one hand so I can see what the hell I’m doing.
At last I manage to free a pen from the bowels of my traitorous bag and sit up only to find myself face-to-face with Mr. Distracting Sexy Student Assistant. I startle and put my hand on my chest.
“Sorry,” he says quietly, trying not to disturb the class. As if every girl in the room isn’t watching him. I know they have to be.
He’s kneeling by my desk, an open folder on his leg and a pen in the other hand.
He’s even sexier up close. There’s just a hint of stubble coming out on his strong jaw bones. His eyes, which I thought were blue at first glance, are actually an intriguing mix of blue and green. His dark hair looks soft and touchable and my holy god, is that his smell?
Would it be inappropriate for me to lean over and sniff him? Would he report me to the professor?
He gives me another smile and, I’m embarrassed to admit this, I think I’m melting into a puddle right here at the back of the class.
“What’s your name?” he asks.
Anything you want, baby, what’s yours?
I think I’m channeling Sam’s spirit or something.
“Isabella,” I say. “Nikas.” It’s actually Isabella Procopio Caivano Nikas Maddox, but I don’t have enough functioning brain cells to go into all that. I don’t use the Maddox name on campus anyway.
Before I have a chance to spell the last name for him, he says, “Greek, right?” I blink at him. “N-i-k-a-s?”
I nod. “Are you Greek?” I ask stupidly.
He smiles and my heart does a little flutter. “No.”
I watch him write my name on the class roster in neat print. “Thank you, Miss Nikas.” He heads back to the front of the class without looking at me again.
Miss Nikas? What the hell?
Maybe I’ll try to sort out why he just called me by my last name after I’m done checking out his ass. It looks perfectly squeezable in his soft, black slacks.
He sets the folder on the teacher’s desk in the corner with a smack, then turns to face the class. Our eyes meet again. I look back at the papers in front of me.
What am I supposed to be doing again? I look around and notice everyone’s pretty much done and waiting for the next step. The class is on the young side, mostly freshmen from the looks of it. I’m probably the only senior in the room.
“Alright, let’s get started,” he says. “Welcome to Introduction to Philosophy. I’m Professor Shane Brooks.”
Professor? Did he say professor?
Oh, help me. I fumble for my schedule. There it is at the top of the page: Professor Brooks.
“I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from right here at Hartman,” he continues, “a Master’s in Philosophy from Tufts University in Massachusetts, and somehow managed to survive the snow. This is my first year teaching at Hartman and I’ll be working on my PhD here as well.”
My god, but he’s pretty.
“I’ll go over your syllabus in a moment, but first we’re going to take a few minutes to introduce ourselves. This class will be heavy with discussion, so I’d like us to start to get to know one another.”
Don’t think about how you’d like to get to know him, I chant to myself. Don’t think about how you’d like to get to know him.
“To begin, tell us your name, your year, your major if you know it, and why you decided to take this class.”
He circles the front table and most of him disappears behind the podium. Okay, that’s better. I can breathe a lot easier now that I don’t have to take in the full package.
Pull yourself together, Isabella!
I look back at the papers in front of me, pretending to read them, though I have no idea what they say. My hands are clasped tightly in front of me.
I’m supposed to look at this professor all year and actually concentrate? Maybe I should’ve taken that education class. I wonder if it’s too late to change.
I glance back up at him. Then again, a little eye candy could fall into the Major Bonus category. Once I get over the initial shock of his looks, I should be able handle his class okay.
I realize everyone’s looking at me. Professor Brooks’ arms are crossed and he’s watching me with a bemused expression.
Shit. It’s my turn. “I’m Isabella. I’m a senior with a double major in Biology and Chemistry.”
Professor Brooks nods. Damn. He’s so hot I’m actually starting to get wet. I hope I’m not blushing. Get it together, girl!
“And?” he says. He’s giving me that bemused smile again. Who knew a professor in a blazer giving me a bemused smile could be so hot?
I blink. “And? Oh. Right. I’m short some humanities credits for graduation, so here I am.”
“An endearing reason,” he says with a smile, before looking to the next student and indicating it’s her turn.
I’m glad he’s not looking at me anymore because I can’t seem to peel my eyes off him.
Now I know for sure. Taking this class was a horrible, horrible idea.
“Forbidden Heat was an amazing story of forbidden love, the chemistry between Isabella and Shane was off the charts and the side characters had me cracking a laugh.” – Stormy Day Reading Books
Finish reading Forbidden Heat, first standalone in the Firework Girls Series today: