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Fraternization Rule (Risque Contracts Book 3)

By:Fiona Davenport

Chapter 1


Charlotte


Somehow I’d turned into a romance novel cliché—the twenty-one-year-old virgin with a crush on her college professor. If my life was anything like the books I secretly loved to read, Gabe Aldric would have spotted me the minute I walked into his American Lit class. Then he would have fallen madly in love with me and quit his new job so we could be together.

Unfortunately for me, my reality was nothing like fiction. The object of my obsession barely knew I existed, except for when he called upon me in class, which was almost never since he seemed to avoid me like the plague. At the start of the semester, I raised my hand often, partially in an attempt to impress him but also because I was excited about his class. It wasn’t every day a student got the chance to learn from someone who’d successfully published several novels.

When the school announced his addition to the faculty, there was a mad dash by all the English majors to sign up for his courses. We were eager for the chance to study under someone who’d done what we all privately hoped to accomplish someday—hit the New York Times Bestsellers list. When we met him in person the first day of class, all the female students had another reason to be excited to wake up in the morning. It had nothing to do with his ability to teach and everything to do with his looks. With his wavy dark hair and hazel eyes, Gabe Aldric was gorgeous. Add in an athletic build he definitely didn’t get by sitting at his computer all day along with a pair of stylish glasses he used whenever he was reading, and you had the dream man for nerd girls everywhere.

I was no exception, but my feelings for him grew deeper as the semester wore on. This wasn’t a mere schoolgirl crush based on looks alone anymore. It didn’t take long before I was equally as attracted to his personality. I listened raptly to all of his lectures, intrigued by his perspective on stories like The Great Gatsby and Little Women. When he read aloud from A Streetcar Named Desire, I almost melted into my seat as he spoke of a sudden and complete love. It felt like his words were directed towards me, but I knew it had to be my imagination because his eyes didn’t land on me. Not even once.

In an attempt to feel closer to him, I devoured his books. Rereading them over and over again during the semester, even though thrillers were the complete opposite of my usual reading preference. They were a brief glimpse into his psyche, one I desperately wanted because it felt like he was deliberately freezing me out. As the semester wore on, I raised my hand less and less, feeling defeated each time his piercing gaze passed me by so he could call on another student. Last week, I finally gathered my courage and went to speak to him one-on-one. However, as soon as I arrived at his office, he informed me that he had to cut his office hours short, with nothing more than a dismissive glance my way. At that point, I decided it was time for me to give up on my fantasies about Gabe and focus on my future.

It wasn’t like I could say fairy-tale romances didn’t exist in the real world since my big sister’s whirlwind marriage was proof that it could happen. Just not to me apparently. It was looking more and more like I was going to end up the maiden aunt. Not that I didn’t love my new nephew. Gregory was beyond adorable, but every time I saw him it felt like my ovaries were about to explode. The same way they felt each time I saw Gabe.

Like right now as he walked into the classroom. I was seated in the front row, the same spot I’d chosen when I arrived early to class the very first day. A spot I’d quickly grown thankful for because it allowed me an unobstructed view of Gabe.

Professor Aldric. Dammit, I needed to remember to think of him as my professor before I addressed him in class the wrong way and embarrassed the hell out of myself. Like staring at his ass the way I was at this precise moment wasn’t enough to do it. As he situated himself at the lectern, he did absolutely nothing to acknowledge me, but I still somehow felt like I’d been caught red-handed in my ogling. I shifted in my seat, my face heating, while I waited for him to begin.

“As you’re all well aware, your final exam is a week from today and counts for twenty percent of your grade. As such, I’d planned to spend this week on a review of the materials for which you’ll need to fully understand if you have any hope of passing the test.” Profound silence met his stern statement. Then his lips tilted in a small grin, and the sound of female sighs of appreciation filled the room. “Relax. I’m kidding, guys. You’ve done the work all semester, and I have no doubt you’ll be able to ace this final as long as you put some effort into your studying.”

Exhales of relief surrounded me, and I steeled myself against the fluttering in my belly at his display of humor. I’d promised myself that I’d find a way to move past the feelings he evoked in me. One more week. I needed to make it through the final exam and then the distance I’d be able to put between us should help me get over my unrequited obsession with him. It was my only hope because evidently I wasn’t strong enough to resist his pull on my own. I couldn’t even withstand one minute in the same room with him.

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