Arouse on First Sight Saturday
This week on First Sight Saturday I welcome Nina Lane with Book One of her Spiral of Bliss series, Arouse. With a name like that it should come as no surprise that it is a contemporary erotic romance, but at 406 pages there is plenty of story there too. The cover here is a little steamy but I promise that the following excerpt of the first meeting between hero and heroine is rated PG.
SET UP: Undergraduate Olivia Winter is struggling to straighten out her coursework with an unhelpful employee at the university registrar’s office.
EXCERPT: “Look, Miss Winter.” Mrs. Russell pushed the papers back toward me. “We can’t retroactively allow your credits to transfer.
“I’m not asking you to do it retroactively!” I said. “This is my first semester here, and I’m trying to get my courses in order. If I have to take another foreign language translation class, then I’m already behind.”
“The courses you took aren’t equivalent to the requirements for your academic program.” Mrs. Russell glanced pointedly at the line of students behind me. “I’m afraid I can’t help you.”
I blinked back tears, refusing to budge. “Why would they have told me the credits would transfer if they’re not equivalent?”
“Can I help with this?” A tall, handsome man approached from another section of the office, his dark eyes fixed on me, his deep voice rolling over my skin like a wave of heat on a cold winter night.
My breath stopped in my throat. The sight of him jolted something loose inside me, and for an instant I could only stare at him, struck by the sharp, masculine planes of his face, the steadiness of his expression, his aura of complete control and self-possession.
He was wearing black trousers and a navy blue shirt open at the collar to reveal a V of taut, tanned skin. His hair shone under the fluorescent lights, and I was seized by a sudden urge to tunnel my fingers through the strands to see if they felt as thick and soft as they looked.
Unnerved, I jerked my attention back to Mrs. Russell, who was explaining the situation to him. She called him “Dr. West.” Likely a professor, then. I wondered what he taught.
Dr. West listened patiently, glancing at me every so often. “What classes are you trying to take?” he asked me.
“She’s a library sciences major, and she has to register for foreign lit translation and intro to biology,” Mrs. Russell said.
“But I shouldn’t have to take those because my credits should transfer,” I persisted.
“Make an appointment with a guidance counselor, Miss Winter,” Mrs. Russell suggested. “That’s all I can tell you.”
“By the time I do that, classes will already have started.”
“You have a couple of weeks yet to finalize your courses,” she continued. “I’m sure they’ll help you sort this out.”
I knew by the tone of Mrs. Russell’s voice that she wasn’t going to give in, and the hopelessness of the situation crashed over me.
“The professors can—” Dr. West started.
“Never mind.” Because I didn’t want to start crying in front of him, I grabbed my bag and left the office.
Halfway down the sidewalk, my vision blurry with tears, I tripped on an uneven piece of concrete and went sprawling onto my hands and knees. My open satchel thumped onto the ground, papers spilling out.
“Are you okay?” Then he was there, crouching beside me to pick up the papers before the wind caught them. He reached out a hand but stopped an inch from my arm, his fingers brushing the sleeve of my gray sweatshirt.
He could have touched me. He was close. Close enough that I caught a whiff of him, a clean, soapy smell that settled in my blood and loosened the knot of frustration stuck in my throat. Close enough that I noticed the size of his hands, his long fingers and the dark hairs dusting his forearm where his sleeve inched up.
Awareness shot through me. I dusted the grit from my palms and straightened. He stood between me and the street, waiting in silence for me to collect my composure. A few people passed behind me, forcing me a few steps toward him.
He held out my satchel, his gaze moving over me, eliciting a surge of heat. I pushed strands of hair away from my face and looked at him. My heart hammered, my chest pooling with warmth. I was shaken all over again by the way my body reacted to him, with this hot pull of attraction I had never experienced before.
“Thank you.” I took my satchel from him and straightened the papers. All I had to do now was turn and walk away.
I didn’t. He was still looking at me, his hands in his pockets, his hair ruffled by the breeze.
“Are you a professor here?” I asked.
He was big. Not all bulky and heavy, but tall with broad shoulders, long legs, and that air of self-control that made him seem in total command. The wind flattened his shirt over his muscular chest, and I had a sudden image of folding myself against that chest and feeling his arms close around me. Safe. Protected.
Nothing to fear. Not from him.
I stepped back, not having felt this way before and not knowing where it was all coming from.
“I’m a visiting professor for the year,” he said. “Medieval history.”
He was a medieval history professor. For whatever reason—the sheer dorkiness of the field?—this admission eased some of my tension.
“Oh.” I hitched the satchel over my shoulder and folded my arms across my breasts. “Well, thanks for your help back at the registrar’s.”
“The professors of whatever classes you need to take can approve your transfer credits,” he said. “You don’t need to go through the registrar’s office first. Get the course syllabus and bibliography from your previous college, and bring them to the professors to see if it fits their curriculum. If it covers the same ground, they should approve the transfer as a direct course equivalent.”
“Why didn’t Mrs. Russell tell me that?”
“She probably didn’t know. Professors have a lot of power.”
I almost smiled. “Even medieval history professors?”
“Especially medieval history professors,” he assured me.
“Knights on horseback and all that?”
A responding smile tugged at his mouth. “And damsels in distress.”
END OF EXCERPT
Well, I never met any hot medieval history professors in my undergrad days. I guess I chose the wrong major. Click here if you’d like to check Arouse out on Amazon, and if you want to know more about Nina Lane, visit her at http://www.ninalane.com.