At thirty-five, Ava Scott has settled nicely into her quiet life. Successful author, college professor, what does it matter if she doesn't get out much? Passion really is overrated, isn't it? Everything in her life is running smoothly until Cameron walks into her classroom.
Twenty-five and the hottest movie star to hit the big screen in years, Cameron Sloane has it all; Looks, fame, women, money. So why does his life feel like just another role he's playing? Can a chance encounter with a shy bookworm awaken his sleeping heart?
Can Cameron break down the carefully constructed walls Ava has built? Can Ava survive Cameron's overwhelming fame and having her life exposed in the tabloids? Will he find the life he never realized was all he really wanted? Will she discover a dream she has been too afraid to wish for?
Sex, love, betrayal: It all begins with an unexpected obsession.
*This book contains some erotic subject matter.
Read on for a sneak peek of An Unexpected Obsession:
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 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 weirdos 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.
I don’t know what would have happened—there were so many possible outcomes—if one of my students hadn’t chosen that exact moment to return for a book she had accidentally left behind.
Several scenarios had already run through my head, including Cameron and I naked on the desk, under the desk, on the chair—so many possibilities they were endless and all of them including Cameron naked. Fortunately, or maybe I should say unfortunately, Cameron heard her before she saw us, quickly retreating in the opposite direction and turning his back to the approaching student.
I found his innate ability to conceal himself tragic. He had done it twice now and I had been in his presence for less than two hours. I couldn’t imagine how hard he had to work to maintain any semblance of anonymity. I wondered what he had been like before his stratospheric rise to fame. A pre-teen, that’s what, I reminded myself.
“Hi, Professor Scott!” the bubbly brunette chirped as she hurried down the aisle. I vaguely remembered her from the student roster, when normally I would have been able to recall her name, GPA and birthday.
I waved without speaking, afraid my voice would telegraph every impure thought in my head. Besides, I couldn’t remember her name…something that started with an ‘S’. At the moment, forgetting a student’s name was way down the list of my real—or imagined—professional indiscretions. I had actually been contemplating getting down and dirty with an actor, who was also my student, after knowing him for all of two minutes—on university property!
“I forgot my journal, if you can believe it.” She waved it at me as if for proof, “See you Wednesday!” she said, bouncing her way back toward the door. I should have realized there was a problem brewing right then. Nobody, no matter how youthful, was that perky after a three-hour lecture.
Cameron turned around, but I was already holding up the hand that hadn’t obeyed me the first time. The look in his eyes said, ‘you really don’t want me to stop, do you?’ Did I? Once again, I would be left wondering if I would have broken every rule in the book to fulfill my sinner’s dreams. Because at that moment I heard an excited scream and about fifteen girls invaded my classroom.
The look on Cameron’s face immediately changed from playful to that of a cornered animal. His eyes darted around, looking for a means of escape. The arm that I had intended to use as protection from his charms, now shot out to halt the progress of the mini-riot of star-struck teens.
“What exactly do you think you’re doing?” I demanded.
“Do you realize who that is?” Sarah—Ha! Her name did start with an ‘S’—said. She pointed a finger at Cameron as if accusing him of a crime.
I felt Cameron move closer to the mob, but still behind me. He must have realized that the only way out was through the doors that were momentarily the portal for a mass of young women demanding his attention. All eyes pivoted to him and at least fifteen camera phones began snapping pictures.
“Will you pose with me?”
“What are you doing here?”
“Can I get your autograph?”
The noise level was getting out of hand and I shivered at the thought of how frightening it must be to walk around and have so many people wanting a piece of you. And how was I any different? I was ready to jump his bones just a few minutes ago. Was it because I felt a deep, spiritual connection with Cameron? Hell, no! I wanted to get him naked, plain and simple. And my reaction had more to do with the way he looked than who he really was, just like these girls. They didn’t know him or even want to know him. They were infatuated with the idea of him.
Cameron moved around in front of me, his body effectively shielding me from the mass of female anatomy that was growing by the second. Suddenly afraid that this was going to get crazy very quickly, I walked around the edge of the room and slammed the door before another female could enter. I turned the lock and waited for the pounding to start.
I didn’t have to wait long, the knocking was tentative at first, but steadily grew into a roar. I ignored it as best as I could and cupped my hands around my mouth to yell at the girls now locked inside.
“Stop!” I demanded.
At first, nothing happened. But slowly they turned toward me and the noise dropped to a level so that I could be heard without screaming. “What on earth do you think you’re doing? This is an institution of learning and I am embarrassed by the way you’re behaving! Cameron isn’t here for your entertainment.”
Several of the girls dropped their heads as if they were only now aware of their own behavior and were finally embarrassed by themselves. A handful looked longingly back toward Cameron; hope in their eyes as they contemplated ignoring my demand and following their instinctive desire to be close to something so phenomenal. I understood. Hadn’t I nearly thrown reason right out the window such a short time ago?
Sarah, who had obviously recognized Cameron and with lightning speed spread word of his presence to half the campus, took a step away from the group and said, “I’m so sorry Professor Scott. I was just so excited! I am Cameron’s biggest fan and I just couldn’t believe that it was actually him. I really just wanted confirmation, but as soon as I said that I thought he was in here, half the school came running.”
“I have a feeling that you did more than simply tell a few girls that you thought you saw someone famous.” I deliberately looked at the Smartphone in her hand, “Does everyone on Twitter know where Cameron is this evening? Well, now we have a problem on our hands, because poor Cameron is here to learn—just like the rest of you—and now his anonymity has been compromised. How is he, or the rest of you for that matter, supposed to concentrate in class when you turn his very presence into a circus? Do you want to ensure that he never comes back for fear of being mobbed?” I was in full lecture mode now, hands on hips and expression stern.
I glanced around and caught Cameron looking at me with such an expression of admiration that I almost let myself smile. But there was one thing I had learned about teaching and that was to never show weakness. It was okay to be friendly with the students, but they were not my friends and it was so much easier to get them to respect what I was saying when they knew that I was the authority on whatever it was that I happened to be talking about. I sensed that was every bit as valid in this case and kept my smile to myself. Too bad my sense of reason completely deserted me when Cameron came within ten feet of me!
“I know this is exciting for all of you, but please respect Mr. Sloane’s right to privacy. Do you think you can handle that?” I asked.
Every head nodded in unison and I finally let myself relax a bit. I tensed as I heard the lock click open behind me, but all was quiet as Chuck Wainright, ASU’s Head of security, stepped into the room.
“We kinda anticipated something like this happening so we had a security detail on stand-by,” he explained to me, then raised his voice and addressed the rest of the room. “The crowd outside has been dispersed and I want all you ladies to head on out,” Chuck commanded.
They were reluctant to leave, but did so anyway. Many found it hard to take their eyes off Cameron and I heard several grunts as they ran into the person in front of them when the exit bottle-necked. Cameron remained where he was, the sly grin back on his face.
“I’d be happy to get you to your car Mr. Sloane,” Chuck volunteered as he trailed the exodus.
“I think I’ll wait a few minutes, but thanks for the offer,” Cameron replied.
“Well, we’ll be nearby if you need us,” Chuck said.
“Good to know,” Cameron said. The look he sent me was ripe with double meaning.
I took my time returning to the dais, where my papers and briefcase had been abandoned. It would have taken a good ten years to shore up my defenses against Cameron’s charm, but I was determined not to make a fool of myself—more than I already had at least.
“Intense, huh?” Cameron said as I drew near.
Keeping my eyes averted I replied, “I don’t know how you do it. Is it always like that? Do people recognize you everywhere you go?”
“Sometimes…I’ve gotten pretty adept at camouflage, but the real fans can usually see through the disguises. You handled that so well, I should consider hiring you as a bodyguard.” He stepped into my personal space. “But, I wasn’t talking about the impromptu press conference—which was pretty tame in comparison to some of the situations I’ve been in before, by the way.” His voice trailed off and I looked up to see him staring at me expectantly.
I wasn’t young enough to play coy and wouldn’t have had the patience for it anyway. “I would like to say it was a mistake, but no experience is ever a mistake in my opinion. But I can’t honestly say I understand what just happened between us,” I admitted.
“I don’t understand it either,” he said, reaching out to take my hand. I was powerless to stop him because I was craving the contact as much as he seemed to be. “When I first walked in here all I could think was, ‘I’m hot for teacher’—I love that video, classic. But something came over me as soon as I got close to you. It was like I have to be with her! I have to touch her, smell her, taste her…”
I backed away and his words trailed off. I didn’t know what I was feeling. Afraid? Seriously turned on? Like he was picking his words from the soundtrack in my mind? Whatever, it was seriously freaking me out and he was coming on way too strong.
“I’m trying to keep things in perspective here,” I tried to explain my hesitation. “I understand what you’re saying because that is exactly what I felt…feel like. But—and it’s a big one—I’m finding it hard to believe that you,” I gestured to encompass his whole body, “That you feel that way about me,” and waved my hand down my body in comparison.
“Are you kidding me?” He seemed genuinely baffled by my statement.
“I assure you, I find nothing funny about this situation. I don’t even know you for god’s sake!” I said and leveled my best stern expression on him.
His response was to kiss me firmly, right on the lips! I froze, torn between tearing his clothes off and slapping his face. The shock of the depth of my feelings hadn’t worn off, but I was finding it marginally easier to keep a clear head. His lips were soft and warm, the pressure just right. I could feel the rapid beat of his heart against my chest. I felt like I was ten and I’d just won the spin-the-bottle jackpot—nervous and excited and scared. God, I hoped this wasn’t a game! His lips opened and the tip of his tongue touched mine, sensuously exploring the new territory.
I eased away, not because of any great desire to end the kiss. In fact, I was pretty sure my toes and my hair were on fire. But I remembered Chuck saying that he would be nearby and there was every chance that a few of the more eager of Cameron’s fans would attempt another ambush. Oh, and I guess a tad of reason still existed in my sex-starved mind because I knew it was wrong to be standing in my classroom making out with one of my students. Sometimes it really sucks to be an adult.
Cameron didn’t protest, but took his time relinquishing his hold on me. I realized that I too still had a fistful of his shirt in my hand and attempted to smooth away the wrinkles I had caused. The feel of his well-built chest beneath the soft cotton was hard to stop touching, but I gave it a valiant effort and folded my hands in front of me to keep from reaching out.
“It has occurred to me also that we run the risk of an audience,” he said, once again apparently reading my thoughts, “so would you like to follow me back to my hotel?” he asked.
I nearly choked at the calm, sure way he propositioned me, so smooth for someone so young.
“This may amaze you, as I’m sure I am one of the only females on the planet who would decline that tempting offer, but I don’t go home with men I just met.” I retrieved my briefcase and turned resolutely to leave.
Cameron rushed around to block my exit, not in a menacing way, but he definitely did not want me to walk away. His behavior thrilled me, but there was no way I would admit it. A one night stand would be a giant mistake, even though I was tempted—very, very tempted—to take him up on his offer.
“I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, but I really want to spend some more time with you. And, believe it or not, I’m more responsible than to just randomly invite women back to my place.”
“Still not a good idea,” I reiterated, not willing to be swayed by his earnest defense. I was also pretty sure that he had invited plenty of women back to his place and I seriously doubted any of them had declined.
He blew out a sigh of frustration, his blue eyes pleading with me. “I need to be with you. Now. Don’t you feel it?”
This had to be the weirdest experience of my life—thrilling, tempting—but really, really weird. And the strangest part of all; I really did feel ‘it’. It was as if I would go crazy if he were out of my sight. It worried me. It exhilarated me.
Regardless, it was not going to happen. He was young enough to get away with impulsive decisions, but I was not. I would be a tabloid blurb and while the press coverage would probably end up being beneficial for him, as an author of children’s literature, it would not be a good thing for me.
With a sense of regret completely out of proportion to the circumstances, I walked away without a backward glance.