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I am an avid reader, animal lover, devourer of guacamole, storyteller and the author of An Unexpected Obsession, A Dose of Reality, Witch Way, A Coven by Christmas, Love Spells, Summer Solstice (coming soon), Flirting With Death, Flirting With Murder and the rest of the upcoming Assassins Anonymous series. I attended Arizona State University (go Sun Devils!) and make my home in the Valley of the Sun with my husband and three pampered pets. I like to discuss everything funny, sexy, sassy and absurd. But mostly I like to talk about books... and shoes... and outrageously expensive purses... and Chanel sunglasses ...oooh, and anything sparkly... or fluffy! So, come on in and let's chat!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sample Sunday - An Unexpected Obsession, Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Cameron Sloane was spotted boarding a private plane this afternoon, destination unknown. After the phenomenal success of recent back-to-back blockbusters, the heartthrob is said to be taking some time off from big budget franchise films to prepare for his next role as Mason Ford. The role has Sloane playing a quirky literary recluse whose own fame came after his death. All we can say is; if Cameron Sloane is in the movie, we’re watching it.
We hope he doesn’t stay away too long.
-Gossip Magazine Online

I am not an obsessive personality. I just want to make this clear from the beginning. I like my life just the way it is. Happily content with the status quo, that’s me. I’ve never gone crazy over rock stars or designer shoes. I didn’t even hang posters of teen idols on my wall or devour copies of Tiger Beat as a teenager. So my reaction to the man walking into my classroom was completely out of character. Love at first sight? Nah, but there was definitely a heavy dose of lust running through my bloodstream with that first glance.
I had been forewarned that my class was being audited by an actor in preparation for his latest role. I knew that I was to ignore his presence and keep the students in line when he was discovered—and with the level of celebrity he had risen to, there was no way he would go unrecognized for long.
I’d heard his name of course, but really, I don’t get out much so I had Googled him immediately. Hot, was my first thought, followed closely by, he’s way too young for you! Regardless, I’d rented his first two blockbusters and could see the allure of his character—a tough assassin with a conscience and a protective streak a mile long. What girl doesn’t want to feel safe in the arms of a sexy, yet dangerous, man? And he certainly looked tasty on film. But oh baby, in person the guy was absolutely magnificent! Makeup and special effects were superfluous when a man was that flawless. Even from a distance, his perfection was mesmerizing.
Get your head in the game, I silently chastised myself, turning back to the eager students waiting to hear what I would say next. They sat patiently, unaware of the phenomenon that had just entered their sphere. I continued with my lecture, hoping my voice had not changed in pitch, but sure they would become aware of the subtle drop in tone.
I would ask you to allow me to introduce myself, but since you are reading this, I will assume you want to know my story.
My name is Ava Scott and I teach an elective course at Arizona State University called Literature Realities three nights a week. I do hold a doctorate in literature, because I’m one of those weirdo’s who actually liked school and didn’t really have a clue what I was going to do with my life after graduation. I’m not completely sure I’m qualified to lecture on any subject, but that’s most likely because I am also a writer and like many artists, I’m terribly unsure of myself.
Everything in publishing is so subjective. It still surprises me that my books have actually been published, much less purchased. But since I am a published author of children’s fiction, I try to gear my course toward the real world aspects of becoming a writer. My own career would have probably never gone anywhere if my mom—yes, my mom—hadn’t taken the initiative to send my first manuscript to an agent she knew, thereby jump-starting the machinations that I now attempt to teach.
So here I am and every year my class size grows and another of my books hits the shelves—and sometimes the best-seller list—apparently I am doing something right. And even though I make more than enough money from my writing, I come back year after year in an attempt to guide hopeful young authors through the beginning of their fledgling careers.
Deep down I think I do it mostly for the ego boost. I’ve always been a bookworm, shy and a bit awkward in social situations. A late bloomer, I still find it hard to reconcile the woman in the mirror with the gawky child I had been.
Bottom line, I’m a repressed, slightly neurotic nerd who is conquering her social awkwardness issues by standing in front of a room full of teenagers three nights a week. And I had been doing a pretty good job at it. But on that otherwise average Monday night, the sight of a movie star walking through the door of my classroom blew my train of thought so completely I nearly let my students go home early just to avoid making a fool of myself.
Was I drooling?
I actually brought a finger to my lips to check. As if reading my thoughts (or probably my body language), his lips quirked in a grin that made millions of women swoon. I, on the other hand, felt an incredible urge to crawl in his lap. So wrong, on so many levels!
It took considerable effort to keep myself from staring at him, drinking in every aspect of his awe inspiring beauty. Silly, but there really is not a better word to describe him, the man is beautiful. Amazingly, I think I actually made it through the entire class without giving myself away and at the end of the hour the students began packing up their backpacks to go home as if everything were normal.
“See you Wednesday,” I reminded the students as they began to file out. Most waved or replied in some way to me as they departed. One good thing about teaching in a higher education environment is that, for the most part, the students actually want to be there.
I waited for the room to vacate, expecting the man to be mobbed at any moment. I was surprised when the area emptied of all but the two of us with him completely unmolested—until I realized he had strategically placed himself in a corner of the room that would not bring him to anyone’s attention as the students focused on their exit. His head was also buried in a notebook and a baseball cap hid his famous locks along with most of his face, there was no disguising that jaw line though.
His latest role involved a struggling novelist and his producer apparently recommended my class for research. I am honest enough to admit that I was flattered and a little excited by the prospect of meeting a real-life celebrity. And as an added bonus, a Hollywood producer actually knew who I was, yea me! I can also admit that it really worried me to think of the disruption his presence could cause to the students here to actually learn something that would aid them in their quest to become an actual published author. Yes, I know, I’m a bit repressed. I’ve already admitted that.
I was studiously putting away my notes when his voice, that lovely voice, said, “I apologize for being tardy. I wasn’t sure how you’d want to handle things and it seemed less disruptive if I wasn’t sitting here while everyone was finding a seat.” He surprised me with his nearness. The man moved like a ghost, fluid and without sound, utterly graceful.
I’m pretty sure my heart was no longer beating. It took several seconds, definitely a noticeable gap, to reply.
“I appreciate your courtesy.” God, could I sound any more uptight? And why couldn’t I work up the nerve to look at him?
“I know we can’t keep my being here a secret for long,” he said on a sigh, making it sound like a death sentence.
I finally looked up into his face and felt that fist of lust hit me with a force a thousand times that of the first glance. I heard an intake of breath and it took a moment to realize the breath hadn’t come from me and that his eyes were locked on my face, wide with surprise. He was so beautiful, wearing a look of innocent wonder curiously mixed with a touch of fear on his face. His reaction was so unexpected that I reached out to comfort him.
“What is it?” I asked.
His composure returned quickly and he immediately covered up the expression with a sexy grin. “I’m Cameron,” he said and reached out his elegant hand. “I just realized that I expected you to recognize me. How conceited is that?”
His laugh made me want to push the hand aside and jump him right there and then. And that thought, so utterly inappropriate, startled a laugh from me. “But I did recognize you, so it can’t really be considered conceited if it’s true, can it?” I asked, taking the offered hand.
Background time again; Cameron Sloane is the hottest new actor in the world. You don’t have to take my word for it, IMDB him and see for yourself. I did. I seriously doubt there is a woman—actually his largest (but certainly not his only) audience may be a wee bit young to be considered women—alive who has not seen his face, watched his movies, and felt a need for sex immediately. Okay, maybe I’m the only one who needs sex immediately, sue me, it’s been awhile. And here is where the ‘wrong on so many levels’ first comes into play…he is twenty-five-years-old. He’s practically a baby. And no matter how masculine and mature he may look, he’s still twenty-freaking-five-years-old! Cripes! I’m old enough to be his mother—well, maybe not, but still…
I am thirty-five-years-old. Not old enough to be considered a cougar, but for some reason the fact that I had thought of having dirty, raunchy sex with him at least seventy times since he had entered the classroom made me feel a bit like a pedophile. And then there’s the fact that I am technically his professor—I say technically because Cameron is here to audit my class only. He will not receive a grade. He is not looking for a degree, but to understand my area of expertise for a part he will be playing. Still, I think the school would definitely have something to say about me engaging in sexual congress with the kid, no matter that he is above the age of consent. And why is any of this even running through my mind? I might be blessed with his presence, but that didn’t mean the guy was going to become my personal playground. In fact, I’m pretty sure my contract states ‘no form of sexual contact allowed between an employee of this institution and a student’ or something to that effect.
And yes, I know I previously stated that he wasn’t technically a student, but in my sex fogged mind I wasn’t in any condition to be making the distinction.
So…I was basically screwed, and not in the good sense of the word, and needed to get my nearly middle-aged mind out of the gutter.
But then Cameron did something that literally stole every thought from my mind. He took my hand, his eyes never leaving my face, and slowly raised it to his lips. The earth stopped spinning as I waited. Then he turned my hand over and placed the softest, sweetest lips I had ever felt in the center of my palm.
Unconsciously, I moved into his touch. I searched his face for an explanation of what was happening. Was this just his way? He has been in the news enough that I seem to remember hearing that he was exceedingly debonair, especially for someone his age. Then I felt an insane stab of jealousy at the very idea that those lips had ever touched another woman’s flesh. Okay, now I’m jealous and irrational.
He swore softly, his breath cooling the moist remnants of his gesture. Then he began to apologize. “I’m sorry, totally inappropriate, I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” he declared, shaking his head.
I shook my own head and dropped my gaze to the floor, too many emotions and inappropriate thoughts bombarding me to think coherently. “That was an experience,” I stated. Lame, but I wasn’t exactly Mensa material at the moment.
“Who are you?” he asked.
Still lacking the ability to string two brain cells together, I answered inanely, “Professor Ava Scott.”
His bark of laughter echoed throughout the empty classroom. I raised my eyes to decipher the source of his amusement, but couldn’t get past the perfection of his chiseled jaw line. “I know your name. I received the syllabus for your class after all. I’m just wondering why you are having this insane affect on me.”
That snapped me out of my stupor. I was affecting him? I’m not stupid, or blind, so I know that I’m attractive, but he has been filmed, up close and personal, with leading ladies who grace the covers of magazines and are revered for their beauty. Then there’s the fact that I’m kind of bitchy when I have full use of my mental faculties and tend to go around with a look of strained patience on my face that makes me appear constipated. In addition, I’m not very good in social situations, tending to feel claustrophobic and out of place. Did he really expect me to believe that he was somehow so overcome by all those lovely qualities that it was affecting his behavior? Not likely!
Suddenly, I was angry—by his comment and by the way I was reacting to him. My natural bitch instinct reared its ugly head. Was he practicing his next character on me? Was I to be his diversion while stuck on location in the middle of the desert? Once again; not likely!
 There were plenty of beautiful, young coeds who would be more than willing to fill those shoes and they wouldn’t have to worry about losing their job and professional reputation over a brief affair. And why did that thought cause another wave of insane jealousy rushing through me, making me even angrier at this divine creature standing in front of me? And why was my mind going straight from ‘He’s really pretty’ to ‘I want to get with that’?
I stepped back, far enough to ensure I couldn’t reach out to reclaim the warmth of his body. The maneuver unfortunately backfired, as my ass was now pressed firmly against the desk I had been using to organize my notes. If I retreated any further, I would be on top of the desk and wouldn’t that be perfect. Well…
Hmm, I’d never had sex on a desk.
Oh my God! When had I turned into a pervert?
Incredibly, his eyes seemed to reflect my own deviant thoughts right back at me. I saw his intent to move closer and meant to reach out my hand like a traffic cop in the international gesture for ‘stop’, I really did mean to, but somehow that same hand grabbed a fistful of his t-shirt and pulled him to me. My mind completely disconnected from the rest of my body and without reason another instinct I keep deeply buried took control. Hello, Mrs. Robinson. You always hear people say something is surreal, but this really was. I don’t act like this and movie stars don’t blurt out strange declarations to me on a regular basis—read: never.
His blue eyes locked onto mine and I could smell the spearmint gum on his breath. His lips were slightly parted and he used his tongue to moisten them, drawing his lower lip between his teeth. He had really red lips, the bottom lip fuller than the top and unbelievably kissable. I moaned—don’t judge, you would have too! The most alluring man in the universe was inches from me, sizing me up like some decadent dessert, and we were only moments away from…something delicious.

**Please note that An Unexpected Obsession contains sexual content that may be offensive to some readers.

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