Consumed Release Blitz: Iain’s POV

wpid-1411007013611.jpgWith only two days left until the release date of Consumed…I have a VERY special treat for you guys! Iain’s POV! Did you ever wonder what was going through Iain’s mind when he first met Harlow at the beginning of Collide? Now’s your chance!

**Please note: the following excerpt probably most likely definitely contains spoilers to Collide. Please make sure that you have either read Collide already, or you don’t care about spoilers. 

Iain’s Perspective. Copyright 2014 J.C. Hannigan. All rights reserved.

Iain’s POV

I had done everything I could think of to prepare for the year…the semester’s curriculum was thoroughly planned out. The only thing I hadn’t counted on…was preparing myself for the students, or rather…one student in particular.

It was my first year of teaching high school students. My last position had been an EA at the local public school. I hadn’t had as much responsibility as I would this year.

This year, I was filling in for a teacher that had gone on maternity leave. I was a little nervous about teaching high school students, but I was trying to remain confident that it would be easier than teaching third graders.

At least I didn’t have to worry about the students trying to eat glue.

However, my hopeful delusions that it would be easier evaporated in a puff of smoke as reality…and temptation…crossed the threshold.

I was sitting at my desk, my feet resting on top of it while I glanced over the week’s itinerary and leisurely sipped at coffee. It was black, the way I liked it. I was content to sit in the silence of an empty classroom, enjoying the peace and quiet of my life before everything changed.

A movement caught my eye by the door, and I glanced up.

She was standing in the doorway, those large, luminous green eyes roaming over the length of my body with open interest. She looked like trouble…like sin and torment with all those curves. Her hair was long and silky, flowing in ebony waves down her back and spilling over her shoulders. Her skin was flawless, like porcelain. The flash of red against her lips made me lick my own. The Catholic school uniform made her look like the inspiration of naughty dreams.

My mouth went dry, and I swallowed, forcing myself to smile at her. It came easily, smiling at a gorgeous girl. I tried to tell myself that the increase in my heart beat was natural.

“Hello,” I said, still smiling. She ran a hand through her gorgeous hair, the causal movement capturing my attention. The sensual smile on those painted red lips made my pants feel a lot tighter than they had in the moments before.

“Hi, I’m new here…Harlow Jones,” her voice was like honey…sweet and tempting, with an undercurrent of edge. She extended her dainty hand to me.

“I’m Mr. Bentley,” touching her was a bad idea, but I still shook her hand anyway. Her skin felt like a soft caress against my calloused palms. I tried to avoid looking at her chest, but her breasts lined up perfectly with my eyes. My throat tightened as my eyes covertly lapped across the tastefully exposed flesh of her breast, drinking in the six minimalistic birds in flight across her dainty collarbone. I involuntary imagined what it would be trace kisses along her collarbone, her breasts spilling from the palms of my hands.

“Is there a seating arrangement?” her voice broke the spell of my eyes on her, and I realized with embarrassment that I was still holding her hand. I released it.

“Nope, sit wherever you’d like,” I motioned around the room, keeping my eyes on her warily. She smiled slyly, as if she found a hidden innuendo in my words. She didn’t carry herself like a high school student…especially not one from a small Northern town. My curiosity got the better of me. “Where are you from, Miss Jones?”

“Toronto. I used to attend Trafalgar’s All-Girl School,” she answered, smiling suggestively. I swallowed hard, her answer provoked a heavy stirring of lust in my loins. I smiled stiffly back at her, hoping she would go away before I had an embarrassing problem. She stood there, though, until the other students started to pile into the classroom. “Later, Mr. Bentley,” she said softly before she sauntered off toward the back of the classroom.

I avoided looking in her direction and forced myself to think incredibly unsexy thoughts as I waited for the students to find their seats. Nothing gets rid of a boner faster than thinking about your sick Grandma and reminding yourself to call your mom after work.

I waited until the last of the students were seated in their desks before I stood up, my would-be-embarrassing problem solved a non-issue, unless I allowed my gaze to drift to her again.

“Welcome back,” I said, my gaze traveling from one side of the room to another as I looked at the faces of my students. I strategically avoided looking directly at Harlow, as if she was a Siren. I turned to face the blackboard, picking up a piece of chalk in my hand. I tossed it once, catching it before it could fall. “I’m Mr. Bentley. It’s my first year teaching so go easy on me,” I told them, grinning over my shoulder before I wrote my name in blocky letters.

I faced the students again, walking around the length of my desk. I leaned against it, my eyes still observing the less than thrilled faces of my new students. “Instead of doing actual work on the first day, we are going to play a “get to know one another” game. I would like each had to say your name and one word about yourselves. For homework, I want you to write a detailed essay about yourselves. What makes you you, and all that fun stuff. But first…let’s do introductions.”

I listened while a bunch of students introduced themselves, trying to commit their faces and names to memory. My glance flitted toward the trio of girls sitting in front of Harlow, arching my eyebrow at the first girl, encouraging her to start with a slight nod.

“My name’s Jenna and one word to describe me would be fun!” the first girl, a bubbly blond said. Harlow rolled her eyes skyward, and I tried not to grin.

“I’m Callie and one word to describe me is playful,” the platinum blond sitting directly in front of Jenna said while she twirled her hair on her finger and eyed me suggestively.

“I’m Tara and I’m happy!” the dark haired girl sitting beside Callie said, followed by a high-pitched laugh that made Harlow wince.

“I’m Harlow, and one word to describe me is single,” Harlow’s eyes were wide with feigned innocence as she looked at me pointedly. Several of the male students turned around in their chairs to check her out.

“Well then,” I cleared my throat, trying not to laugh. “I’m sure a lot of the guys here are glad to hear that, Harlow.” And I’m envious that they get that opportunity, I added silently.

My eyes connected with hers for the briefest of moments. I couldn’t deny that I was interested, what hot blooded male wouldn’t be? She was stunning. She’s your student, I reminded myself before my gaze moved on to the kid sitting behind her. He had light eyes, light hair, and a trim build that most teenage boys effortlessly have.

“My name’s Riley and I’m horny,” he declared. He leaned forward in his seat. “What are you doing tonight?” he asked Harlow, covertly looking at her.

“Sorry, working,” Harlow responded, smiling as if she enjoyed the attention. Her eyes locked with mine again, and I felt a pull toward her that made me want to cross the classroom and punch Riley out, just for expressing an interest in her. I wanted her.

“Alright, that’s enough.” I said, aggravated. “None of that in my classroom, please, Mr. Douglas. Can you think of another word?”

“Disappointed,” Riley shrugged, not at all looking put-off by Harlow’s rejection. “But determined.”

“Alright then,” I clenched my jaw with irritation. Harlow was getting under my skin…in all the wrong ways. “Moving on. Next?”

Thankfully, the rest of the introductions were uneventful.

I was relieved to leave the school on my lunch break. I drove to pick up a sub from the Mr. Sub down the street, and returned to the school to eat it in the staff room. I ran into Harlow in the parking lot. She was getting out of a Jeep followed by three guys.

She sauntered up to me, her hips swaying seductively. I couldn’t help but admire her flawless legs in those ridiculously hot boots.

“Were you smoking pot?” I asked, forcing my gaze up to her face. I eyed with suspicion. I’d seen the fogged up windshield of the Jeep, and I knew the colour of marijuana smoke. I had smoked enough of it in University to know what it looked like…and what it smelt like. It clung to her skin underneath the perfume she had put on to cover it up.

“No, I was just involved in a four-way,” she replied sweetly, laughing at my dumbfounded expression. “Kidding! I wouldn’t do anything like that. And smoking pot is illegal, Mr. Bentley.”

“So there must have been another reason for the inside of that kid’s car to be hotboxed full of smoke,” I said, smiling back despite myself. I shook my head. It was school policy that we reported any suspicions of drug use…but I just couldn’t picture myself doing that.

“Maybe I was telling the truth about the foursome,” she said slowly, her voice low. “Maybe it was steam.” I glanced around parking lot nervously, my Adam’s apple bobbing as I swallowed. My heart rate jump-started in my chest, her words were like an Automated External Defibrillator.

“I hope that isn’t true,” I said, frowning and looking away. I knew I was blushing. A girl hadn’t made me blush since I was in high school…not like that.

“You think so little of me already,” she said. She sounded hurt. “I prefer to focus all of my attention on one person at a time.” She added suggestively.

My jaw dropped slightly with shock. All I could do was stare at her, all of the desire and longing I had for her apparent on my face…and in my pants. If her gaze were to drop from the stunned expression my face, she would see the complete affect her words had on me. Her chest was rising and falling quickly with each breath she took, her own words had affected her as well.

I opened and closed my mouth opened as I desperately tried to think of an appropriate response. There wasn’t a single bloody one I could think of. I wanted to push her up against the brown bricks of the school and kiss her until I had all of her focus and attention.

She didn’t wait for me to figure out what to say. She started walking toward the school and casually tossed a look at me over her shoulder, her eyes full of promise and desire.

“See you later, Teach.”

She left me standing there with my jaw slack, my heart hammering in my chest, and my cock stiff as fuck.

* * * *

Over the next few days, I threw myself into work. Harlow’s class wasn’t my only class, I had six other classes full of students. It was easy to distract myself, but at night time…I couldn’t help but lay in bed and think about her.

During the next class when Harlow handed her essay to me, I had wanted to immediately read it…just to see what she would say. I forced myself to put it in my briefcase with the rest of the essays and forgot about it. That night, I went out for dinner…intent on getting a hot meal while I marked that weeks’ assignments.

I pulled up to the diner around the corner from my house, and grabbed a corner booth where I wouldn’t be greatly disturbed by anyone. It was kind of lonely, eating every meal alone. I had one friend in town – Mike Turner. The rest of my friends and family were from the Ottawa area. I hadn’t lived in North Bay for very long, in fact…I had bought my house six months ago. I wasn’t much of a cook, either. I would either order in or go out for dinner.

It was a bleak existence, but I was happy…happier than I had been in years.

Two years prior, I had been engaged to marry my high school sweetheart. Then I discovered she was cheating on me with a co-worker. Luckily, I also discovered that I wasn’t truly in love with her. While I had been sad about the whole thing, I was also…relieved. Carla was intense, and she’d long since stopped having fun with me. It took seeing her in that compromising position in our bed with another man for me to realize that.

After that, I had a bunch of one night stands and moved to North Bay. It had been well over a year since my last one night stand though, and I knew I needed to rectify that soon. I’d been thinking more and more about Harlow lately, and it wasn’t healthy…or right.

“Fancy seeing you here, Mr. Bentley,” the sweet as honey voice purred. I stiffened, knowing that it was Harlow from the moment the first word fell from those plump lips. I looked up at her, seeing the flirtatious smile on her breathtaking face. “How did you know I worked here?”

“I didn’t,” I answered honestly, straightening up. Had I known she worked here, I wouldn’t have come in. I was already having a hard enough time not thinking about her, and I only had to deal with her actual presence once a week, or whenever we passed each other in the halls. I didn’t see how I would be able to get through having her as a waitress without embarrassing the hell out of myself.

I stole another look at her and instantly regretted it. Her waitressing uniform wasn’t any better for my fantasies than her Catholic uniform was. It clung to her body in the most delectable ways, making me envious of the material. I wanted to cling to her body like that. Or, in the very least…peel it off her body with my teeth.

My deviant thoughts no longer took me by surprise. The first day that I had met Harlow, they had kicked into high gear, growing intently every time she said or did something suggestive…which was a lot.

I tried to tell myself that thinking about her like that was wrong, but my dick really didn’t care how old she was or that I was her teacher. I cared, though.

“Is it just you, or will someone else be joining you? Your girlfriend perhaps?” Harlow was toying with me.

“Just me, no girlfriend.” I smiled sheepishly, feeling embarrassed by that admission, and angry that I felt embarrassed about it. I ran a hand through my hair, trying not to make eye contact with her. I knew I would get lost in the emerald depths of her irises, and I couldn’t afford to do that.

“Could I get you anything to start?” she smiled. Yeah, you. I thought almost automatically as I forced myself to look at the menu.

“Coffee would be good,” my voice sounded strange to me. I couldn’t make eye contact with her.

“Coming right up, Mr. Bentley,” she said. The way she said my name made my blood heat and my loins ache. I started getting hard. She turned, and my hand shot out to gently grab her arm. I wanted to tug her onto my lap, to taste those sinful lips and touch her tempting hips.

“You can call me Iain,” I said instead, still holding her arm. I thought it would be better…less sexy…for her to call me by my first name. Then maybe I wouldn’t envision bending her over my desk and flipping her Catholic uniform skirt up over her hips and…I cleared my throat, trying to divert my thoughts. “Here anyway. I’m not at work…and Mr. Bentley makes me feel old.” I added, wincing inwardly. I always thought that people who told others that being addressed formally made them feel ‘old’ were full of shit. It was true, here I was giving that cop out line to a seventeen-year-old.

Realizing I still had my fingers around her arm, I dropped my hand. I was startled by my own behavior. I hadn’t touched Harlow save for shaking her hand upon meeting her, and touching her now wasn’t helping my case.

“Okay, Iain.” Hearing her say my first name wasn’t any less distracting than having her call me Mr. Bentley. Apparently, the problem was how she said it…not the name she addressed me by. I still envisioned her dropping to her knees in front of me when she had called me by my first name.

She disappeared, presumably to grab my coffee. I quickly busied myself with the menu, focusing on what I should get for dinner in an attempt to stop thinking about Harlow inappropriately. My cock twitched at the mere thought of her name.

I read the menu, finding nothing that appealed to my hunger. My appetite was craving something that wasn’t in the menu. Something that I couldn’t have.

“Thank you,” I said distractedly as she set the mug down in front of me. Don’t look at her. Don’t look at her. Don’t look at her, I thought frantically, trying to heed my own advice.

“Are you reading mine?” the curiosity in her voice made me look up. She was peering down at the pile of essays beside my right hand. Her essay was on the very top of the pile. Of course it was, I thought.

“Not yet…right now I’m reading the menu,” I said with a smile, my heart warm with humor for her…for her eagerness. A pretty little blush spread across her cheeks. My cock stirred again in response.

“Well then, have you decided what you want?” she demanded. I could tell she was fighting to regain composure.

I thought about how I wanted to make her blush again. I thought about how hard my cock was, all because she was simply standing in front of me. I thought about how inappropriate and sick that was.

“Oh, no, actually,” I said quickly, my eyes scanning the menu quickly. I felt like an idiot, and I fiercely hoped that she didn’t pick up on my awkward behavior.

“Might I suggest tonight’s special? Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread?” she asked. I blinked at her. She could probably suggest a steaming pile of shit for dinner, and I would still say yes to that voice. Anything sounded good coming from her sinful mouth.

“That sounds good,” I nodded. She wrote it down and disappeared, leaving me alone with my thoughts and the pile of essays.

I glanced at her essay again. I could tell by her behavior that she was eager for me to read it…and I doubted it was because she enjoyed doing homework assignments. I picked up the papers stapled together, and started to read it.

Harlow’s words intrigued me. She wrote about her parents, about how they had met and how her dad died. She wrote about the mischief she used to get into, and wrote about her tattoos and where they were located. I had to clear my throat as I read her description of the one that ran up the length of her ribcage and cupped under her breast. She wrote about her ex-boyfriend, the supposed artist of the tattoos, and her best friend…and how she died.

Reading it completely gutted me. This beautiful girl had encountered so much tragedy in her short life, and yet…she wrote so worldly, as if she had depths of knowledge that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. She articulated her thoughts with skill and ease, I completely forgot that I was reading an essay written by a twelfth grader that I taught. Each word flowed magically to the next, the haunting, heartbreaking depth of it tying me to her in unbreakable, indescribable ways.

“Mr. Bentley, I mean Iain…can I offer you some dessert? Maybe cherry pie?” Harlow asked, appearing and interrupting my fourth read through of her essay. I looked up at her, my jaw slack with shock. “The cherry pie is our best pie…”

The images in my head were definitely inappropriate, and they definitely made me harden again.

“No thank you, another coffee would be good,” I managed. My shirt collar felt tight around my neck, and I loosened it when she disappeared to grab the coffee pot. When she returned, she asked me if I had finished my dinner. When I nodded, she left the bill. I forced myself to move on to the next essay. Five run through of one was more than enough.

I lost track of time while I read, only realizing my folly when I looked up to see the diner completely empty and Harlow slowly approaching me. Her hips swung tauntingly with each step, and her fragrance wafted over to me when she came to a stop. She smelt of jasmine and roses.

“Do you mind if I ring you in now so I could shut down my till?” she asked.

“Oh, sure,” I blinked, dazzled by her sudden presence. My body seemed overtly aware of the fact that we were alone. I dug my wallet out of my back pocket and pulled out a twenty. My meal came to $14.99 with tax. “Keep the change,” I said, hurriedly shoving the papers back into my briefcase.

I left as fast as I could without full on running. I hurried to my car, needing to get away from the diner before I went back in and did what I really wanted to do…spread Harlow Jones across the table, and find out if she tasted as good as I thought she would.

* * * *

The following Monday morning, I purposely looked everywhere but at Harlow. I fought a constant war with myself, she was like a magnet, drawing my gaze to her.

At the end of class, I started to hand back their essays.

“Most of you need to work on your paragraph structure, grammar, and spelling. But I was pleasantly surprised by a few of you. A few of you have a great talent for writing, and I’m eager to see what else you present to me throughout the year,” I said, pausing in front of Harlow’s desk. I handed her the essay, watching as her eyes glanced down at the penned A at the top right corner and the post-it note where I had scrawled See me after class.

My heart was racing frantically in my chest as I made my way back to the front of the classroom. “Next Monday, I’ll be assigning another essay topic. But the majority of you need to read over how to structure a proper paragraph,” I said, leaning against my desk. The class laughed without humor, and I smirked. “If you don’t, I’ll know by the end of next week. This will count for 5 percent of your final mark,” I added, enjoying the groans of compliant.

High school definitely wasn’t all that different from when I went. Kids still hated getting assignments and doing the work. They were mostly focused on their social lives.

The bell rang, cutting off the rest of their complaints. I walked around the length of my desk and sat down, watching Harlow out of the corner of my eye as she slowly packed up her things. The other students were all rushing, grabbing their things and quickly fleeing the classroom to meet up with each other in the hallways and exchange bits of gossip with one another, but one other student lingered with Harlow. Riley.

“Harlow! What are you doing this Saturday night?” Riley asked, leaning forward in his desk. He stopped when his lips were very near Harlow’s ear. I disliked the way he lewdly looked at her, as if he couldn’t wait to get her alone.

“That depends…it’s forever away. What’s going on?” I heard Harlow respond.

“Party at my place, tell Jake. He knows where it is. Starts at 9.” Riley said. I glanced up quickly, frowning.

“Is this party going to be a ‘my parents are home and in the basement’ party, or is it going to be a party?” she asked, looking at Riley skeptically. Jealousy twisted in my gut as I pictured Harlow with someone else…with him.

“Do you even need to ask?” Riley said as he stood up. “Hope to see you there,” he added before walking off, leaving Harlow and I completely alone.

She glanced over to my desk. I was leaning back in my chair slightly, my arms crossed. The frown still on my face from my jealous reaction.

She picked up her bag and stood up, walking over to me. I kept my eyes on her the whole time.

“Well, you couldn’t have hated it that much. You gave me an A,” she uttered, her lips curving up in a reluctant smile as she arched a thin eyebrow at me. I smiled.

“That’s not why I asked to see you,” I leaned forward, trying to keep my tone gentle but authoritative.

“Why did you ask to see me?” she asked, her lips parting slightly as she waited for me to answer. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell her the whole true. I asked you to stay after class because I want to be around you. I want to touch you, I want to make you blush.

I cleared my throat, focusing on the other reason why I wanted to see her after class. Harlow was an incredible writer. She had a rare, raw talent and I wanted to tell her that. I didn’t think seeing the “A” on her assignment articulated that point effectively.

“I wanted to tell you that you write beautifully and articulately. You have a real talent and I’m looking forward to reading more of your work,” I answered, my words sincere. I lifted my eyes and met her gaze, holding it. She was transfixed. “Have you thought about a career in writing?”

She seemed startled by my compliments, as if she wasn’t accustomed to hearing good things about her. The expression on her face made me ache. I wanted to make her see her worth, her potential. “Thank you…” she trailed off, speechless. She stared at me for a moment longer before continuing. “Yes, I’ve thought about becoming a writer…maybe some day.”

“No problem, you’d be very good at it.” I said. She smiled, finally looking away from me. “I also wanted to tell you that I’m sorry about the passing of your friend. That couldn’t have been easy for you. If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate. Unfortunately, I know a thing or two about losing a friend…” I had lost one of my best friends in high school. He’d gotten behind the wheel of a car while drunk, and ended up crashing into a hydro-line and killing himself.

She looked back at me with a guarded expression. It melted away, leaving intrigue and curiosity in it’s place. “It sucked, but that’s life. You live and you die. The ones you leave behind get to feel…left behind,” she shrugged.

I nodded thoughtfully, repressing another sad smile. “That’s true, but…like I said…I’m here.” And I want to be here…in more ways than one, I thought. I mentally shook myself. I couldn’t think like that, I couldn’t feel like that. But I did.

“I’m fine…If that’s all?”

“One more thing…” I said, my heart increasing again. I knew I was skating on thin ice. I knew I was playing with fire, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. “Those tattoos…they sound…very interesting.”

For once, it was Harlow who looked completely shocked. She recovered quickly though.

“You’ll have to see them sometime,” she replied coyly, raising an eyebrow. I blinked and she was disappearing out the door. I inhaled sharply, affected by her words. But what had I expected?

I had purposely placed myself alone with the girl that I felt a deep, unsettling attraction to. I had purposely danced with danger, evoking and intriguing her. I could tell by the fire in her eyes that she wanted me, just as I wanted her.

But this was wrong. I couldn’t continue flirting with her, even in an offbeat way. I didn’t want to lead on her in any way.

Lusting after students was wrong, no matter how stunning that student was.

* * * *

I spent the whole day Saturday catching up on work. Saturday night was spent playing poker and drinking beers with Mike. Sunday was reserved for all the errands and things I hadn’t had a chance to do yet.

After a quick trip to the grocery store, I was carrying several bags of groceries up my driveway. I heard a commotion down the street, two guys yelling things at a girl who was running straight for me. The girl was Harlow, and I dropped the bags of groceries I had been carrying to catch her as she collided into me. My arms went around her protectively.

“Please,” she said breathlessly, almost pained. I didn’t even care that my groceries were now splattered all over the walkway. I glared around, spotting the men running in the opposite direction.

“Harlow? What happened?” I asked, releasing her to assess her. I brushed a strand of her long hair out of her face and looked into her panic stricken eyes. Her legs were shaking so badly that they gave out. I caught her in my arms, her scent and the feel of her making all of my senses explode.

I lifted her effortlessly in my arms, carrying her up the steps and across the threshold of my house. I tried not to look down at her, to not think about how inappropriate it was to hold her like that…to bring her into my house and lay her down on my couch. But she needed my help…I couldn’t very well leave her on the street after she’d been chased by two men…

I told myself that I would have done the same thing for any student, and I would have.

I crouched before her, my eyes expertly assessing for damage. She didn’t appear to be hurt, but she was definitely having a panic attack.

Her breath coming out in shallow gasps. “Can you hand me my bag please?” she managed to ask between gasps. I quickly handed it to her and watched as she searched through it. She pulled out a bottle of prescription pills and popped one.

Realization dawned on me as I eyed the label on her prescription bottle. Clorazepate. She suffered from anxiety. I never would have thought that…she always seemed self-assured.

“I’m going to make you a tea,” I said, standing up. I left her there, running back outside to grab the abandoned groceries off the driveway and scan the street. There was no sign of the guys who had chased her. Had I not been occupied with making sure Harlow was okay, I would have chased them down. They were long gone now.

I returned with the groceries, glancing at Harlow with concern as I disappeared into the kitchen. I poured water into the kettle and turned it on, hastily putting away my groceries as I waited for it to come to a boil.

I knew Harlow was a mere few feet away from me, on my couch. My heart was frantically beating. I could get into all kinds of trouble of the board found out I had a female student in my house, alone.

I pushed that thought abruptly away. I was just helping her. I hadn’t given her my address and she hadn’t sought me out. It was just one of those fluke things, and I wasn’t about to turn away a panicked girl.

I grew angrier as I thought about the guys who caused her panic, the guys who chased her down a street at night, yelling things at her while she fled in terror. What kind of man does that? What kind of man teams up with another to harass a young woman?

I returned to the living room with two steaming cups of tea. I was angry and concerned, and seriously considering getting into my car and driving around town until I found them and taught them a lesson.

Harlow shrunk back into the couch, seeing the vengeful look on my face. I softened my expression, not wanting to scare her.

“I’m not angry at you,” I said, sitting on the coffee table in front of her and holding out a mug of hot tea. Our knees were almost touching. She gratefully took in her trembling hands. “I’m angry that I didn’t get a good look at those guys. They were following you, right?”

She held her head higher and steeled her jaw, trying to appear unaffected and strong. I knew she was shaken though.

“Yeah. A party I went to last night. I walked in on the one guy…taking advantage of a girl. He raped her,” she replied, her voice shaking.

“Jesus.” I ran a hand through my hair, tugging at the roots. I was fucking livid. I wanted to find out the name of the low life and lay my fists into his face. “If I had known, I would have…” I trailed off, glaring out toward the street.

“Would have what? You would have chased them down?” Harlow scoffed. I gave her a steady, quietening look. It wasn’t a laughing matter. Of course…Harlow wasn’t laughing. She was just pointing out a fact. Chasing them down would have been a bad idea. I tried to reel in my anger. It was only possible after she lifted her face and locked eyes with me. We stared at each other for several long minutes. I was overly aware of every rise and fall of her chest, and the scent of her was intoxicating.

I wanted to take her in my arms and hold her until her heartbeat slowed, then I wanted to make it speed up again…for an entirely different reason. It was getting harder and harder to be alone with her. My house was too quiet, every inappropriate thought I had seemed to echo in the chambers of my mind.

“I should call the police, so you can report this to them,” I said after a moment of charged silence.

She chewed her lip, the tormented action drawing my attention to her plump lips, and gazed out the window. She was conflicted about something. “I’d rather not. They can’t really do anything.”

I sighed heavily. “Harlow, that girl at the party…it’d help her case, especially because you witnessed what happened and that guy attacked you that night and followed you tonight.”

“Won’t I get in trouble for being here?” she asked, looking at me with curiosity.

My breath hitched as I looked at her. I didn’t need the reminder that one of my very gorgeous students was sitting on my couch, in my house…alone with me. I didn’t need to think about how I was desperately trying to fight my body’s reaction to her.

“Why would you be in trouble?” I questioned. I wanted to touch her. I didn’t want her to think I was some creepy teacher that would take advantage of her. That wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted her, yes…but she was my student, and she’d just been chased. My concern for her was overriding my desire for her, although I still felt that too.

I forced myself to remain still. She avoided my intense gaze, choosing to instead stare into the mug of tea.

“Because, you’re my English teacher and I ended up on your doorstep. It’s going to look…suspicious. Even if it was totally random. I swear I had no idea this was your house…had I known, I would have kept running.”

“That would have been stupid.” I scoffed. I gently reached over with one hand and tipped her chin up so she was looking at me. “Had you kept running, they would have caught up to you, and you could have been seriously hurt.” I said this softly. I didn’t want her to regret coming to me, I didn’t want her to think that what was happening between us in this current moment was wrong. She hadn’t done anything wrong, and I was just trying to help.

I’d do this for any of my students, I thought. I ignoring the fact that my intentions were not completely innocent. Yes, I cared about her safety and well being. I wanted to help her, to rescue her. But I also wanted to make her mine. I couldn’t make her mine…but maybe I could help her.

She frowned, dropping her gaze. I quickly released her hand, hoping that I hadn’t made her uncomfortable. I sighed, watching as she took a sip of the tea. Her hands were still shaking. I wanted to reach out and steady them, but I didn’t.

“I promised the girl…” she finally said, shrugging again. “I can’t give away anything without involving her…and she doesn’t want to report it. As much as I don’t agree with her…it is her decision.”

I quietly observed her for another minute, then sighed. She had a point. If the girl didn’t want to talk, she couldn’t force her…and Harlow’s accusation wouldn’t stand if the girl didn’t confirm.

I made the grievous mistake of dropping my gaze to her lips. The silence we fell into was charged with sexual tension. I know she felt it. I could see it in her eyes and almost taste it in the air.

“Okay, well. Let me drive you home then,” I said abruptly, standing up directly in front of her. I held out my hand and she took it.

The seconds felt as if they were suspended in time as I gently pulled her up. She was closer to me than she’d ever been before. I closed my eyes, breathing in the scent of jasmine and roses and her. I felt her breathe me in too. I still had her hand in mine. It felt so right that in that moment, I couldn’t even recall why it was wrong.

I was a head taller than her, and I peered down at her as she tipped her head up to look at my face. Our lips were impossibly close. I wanted to close the distance between us and kiss her. I wanted her more than I had ever wanted anybody before. It was cruel.

She wanted me too. She involuntarily leaned into me, as if her body was pulled to mine the same way that my body was pulled to her. My cock twitched in response to her lips slowly parting and I closed my eyes, almost completely forgetting myself. I was about to lower my face to hers when the reality of it crashed into me. Inhaling sharply, I backed away and released her hand from mine.

I couldn’t kiss her. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

“Where do you live?” I asked, looking away from her as I clenched my jaw. I needed to be smart about this. My student had showed up on my doorstep for help…not a creepy come-on attempt.

“Prince Edward Street,” she whispered, looking down. It was the most submissive I had ever seen her, and it angered me that it turned me on.

You sick fuck, I thought as I turned away. I grabbed my car keys from the ledge near the door. I couldn’t look at her, because if I didn’t know how much longer I could fight off my desire for her. I slipped into my coat, waiting as she picked up her bag and followed me out the door.

* * * *

I avoided Harlow as best as I could for the remainder of the week. It was safer that way. I knew my urges for her weren’t right, and that she felt the same way. She was young, and impressionable. I had to keep telling myself that, and it was easy to remember when she wasn’t standing in front of me.

When she was standing in front of me, it was a completely different story. My body completely forgot that she was young and impressionable. I almost forgot, and likely would have if our encounters weren’t in public places, like the classroom.

On Saturday night, I was sitting on my couch watching the hockey game and drinking a beer, completely bored out of my fucking mind.

I wasn’t paying any attention to the game. I was torturing myself with forbidden thoughts of Harlow. It seemed like any time I was left alone, thoughts of her completely consumed me. I couldn’t force her face from my mind…and trust me, I had tried.

I’d gone out to the bar the night before. Tossed back a couple of beers and started talking to a pretty girl. She’d had long dark hair, and reminded me in an offhanded way of a muted version of Harlow’s beauty.

She was wearing a short skirt and a low-cut top, her midriff exposed. She was a decent kisser, and her hands had a perpetual habit of traveling south.

She’d been more than willing to come home with me. In fact…she damn near begged and I almost said yes, until I had realized that I was literally going to take her home and fuck her brains out because she was the closest I could get to what I really wanted, Harlow.

Which explained why I was sitting at home, alone, on a Saturday night. Sexually frustrated and beyond how to remedy it. Spanking off to thoughts of Harlow hadn’t helped quench my thirst for her, it only made it worse.

I should have just taken the pretty brunette home.

I took another deep sip of my beer, trying to drown Harlow’s image out of my head. A firm knocking on my front door startled me. I wasn’t expecting anyone…I had nobody to expect.

I got up, setting my beer down on the mantel before I walked to the door. I opened it, seeing the object of my desire and frustration standing on my front porch. I wasn’t shocked by her presence, I was almost expecting it. Yearning for it.

Harlow was looking at me, the longing and intrigue evident on her face.

“What are you doing here? Is everything alright?” I demanded, sticking my head outside to make sure she hadn’t been followed. I knew she was alright from the glow of her skin. She didn’t look pale and panicked like she had the last time she had showed up on my doorstep. Her eyes were bright with desire and excitement, not horror and panic.

Harlow’s hand came up to my chest, pushing me back inside. She came in with me, closing the door behind her. She leaned against the door, her chest rising and falling with the quick short breaths she was taking.

“I’m getting a vibe from you,” she said. I stared at her, stunned.

“A vibe?” I stuttered, drinking her in hungrily. I shook my head, trying to clear my racy thoughts. I ended up focusing at the wall beside her as I fought to control my expression. “I don’t—”

“It’s alright. I’m not an idiot.” she rolled her eyes. “I know you want me.”

“I—” my mouth opened and closed as I struggled to find something appropriate to say. My eyes shot back to hers, and I held her gaze, my thoughts running rapidly away from me. I wanted her, but she was my student. I took a deep breath.

“I feel like I owe you an explanation,” I finally said, my voice low and intense as I continued to look at her. I shouldn’t tell, I shouldn’t give her any explanation. I should just tell that she was imagining things and send her on her way. I took three big steps away from her, but desire rolled in waves off of the both of us.

“For what?” she challenged. “Almost kissing me?” I stared at her in astonishment. I hoped that she hadn’t picked up on my lax in judgment that day she’d appeared in my arms, sneaking refuge from her harassers. In the very least, I hadn’t expected her to call me out on it. I swallowed hard. She wouldn’t buy my lies, anyway. She knew, and there was no beating around the bush.

“For wanting to,” I amended seriously. “For…still wanting to. You were…vulnerable, and you came to me for help…and I nearly took advantage of that. I’m not that kind of person.”

I was angry about it, angry about my body’s reaction to her that day…and every day, really. Angry that I couldn’t even bring home a pretty girl, because I was so hung up on someone I couldn’t have. Shouldn’t, I amended…my breath hitching at the way she was looking at me. It was clear that I could have her.

“No, you didn’t,” she said, trying to reassure me. It was strange that I was having this conversation with her, the conversation that I couldn’t take back. The words would forever hang between us. I had told my 17 year old student that I wanted to kiss her. “Trust me, I’ve been taken advantage of before, and that wasn’t even close. I wanted you to…”

“Was that supposed to make me feel better? Because it doesn’t,” I frowned, feeling all the more deviant about the whole thing. I didn’t want to be another guy that took advantage of her. The mere thought of that made me sick. I shook my head again, hoping to clear my thoughts. “I shouldn’t feel this way about you…about a student. It’s wrong.” I didn’t know whether I was talking to her, myself, or the both of us.

“Feel what?” she whispered.

“Attraction, longing, desire, vulnerability…” I trailed off, realizing what I was saying. I hadn’t meant to be that blunt and honest with her. The words just exploded from my mouth. I frowned, angry at myself for telling her. My confession would only confuse her and complicate things.

She took another step toward me as I watched her warily. She could completely destroy me, destroy the person that I thought I was…

I didn’t even care.

“I feel that way too,” she told me earnestly. “For the first time in a long time…I feel…alive. Awake.”

She walked toward me and I gently grabbed the leather of her jacket, pulling her close to me yet holding her at a distance. I was a good head taller than her, so that she had to look up at me. I slowly lowered my face to hers. I didn’t kiss her, I just rested my forehead against hers and took a deep breath. Her scent was doing crazy things to my blood.

She looked up at me, her eyes filled with yearning. It took seconds for the voice in my head shouting about how wrong this was to fall silent. I knew it was wrong, but it felt right. I pressed my lips against hers tentatively. She kissed me back, just as gentle and vulnerable as I had kissed her. I involuntarily moaned against the feel of her satin lips against mine. I couldn’t help but think about how incredible they would feel around my cock. I pulled away, returning my forehead to rest against hers, fighting to control all my urges.

“Harlow…” my whisper was a weak plea. “I should take you home. This is wrong.” I massaged my temple with my left hand, my right hand still grasping the jacket.

“How is it wrong, if it feels right?” she asked me, voicing my own treacherous thoughts. I smiled, almost pained. “You’re what, maybe seven years older than me? That’s not so bad.” I laughed softly.

“More like 10,” I corrected, sighing. I frowned deeper, the number making me ill. I wasn’t this guy, I had never gone after a girl younger than me. I didn’t want to be the creepy teacher, and damnit…I was beginning to feel like the creepy teacher.

I forced my first to relax, letting go of her jacket.

“Age is but a number…” she said, bringing her face close to mine again. I closed my eyes, inhaling her.

“I’m your teacher. You’re my student,” I said, reminding us both. Even as I spoke, I ran my hands up her arm.

“I think we’ve already crossed that boundary,” she whispered. She was right.

“I won’t lie. I’ve been attracted to you from when I first saw you,” I confessed again, my stupid mouth doing that thing it does when I’m nervous…running off on it’s own and getting me into further trouble. “But…this can’t happen. I’ll lose my job if anybody finds out. Or worse.”

“What if nobody finds out?” she whispered, promise behind her words. My dick jumped again, stiff against my jeans.

“You’re 17,” I sighed, still unable to leave her be. If I was half the man I thought I was, I would be able to resist this. The painful stiffness between my legs wouldn’t let me resist it. I was losing control, if I even had any to begin with. Her words were my undoing, and yet I craved them.

“I’ll be 18 in January,” she answered, raising an eyebrow. She ran her right hand against the stubble across my jaw, slowly bringing it around and behind my neck. Then she pulled me toward her, joining her other hand on the back of my neck. I came willingly, her body effectively pushing the reservations I had completely from my mind.

My lips crashed against hers with fevered intensity. I kissed her in all the ways I’d dreamed of, my body responding to her moans and whimpers as she pressed herself against me. I was harder than I had ever been before. I needed her. I felt my resolve weakening.

“But you’re still my student.” I said, almost pointlessly.

“And I won’t tell,” she calmly replied. “You’ll be Mr. Bentley at school, and in public, and Iain here…” her offer was so enticing, but I could get into serious legal trouble. I could lose my job and my credibility. Something in me was screaming yes, do it you idiot.

“Let me know what you decide,” she said, turning around and going for the door. My hand grabbed hers, and she looked back at me. My brows were furrowed with frustration and confusion. I was torn, but I still held on to her hand. I couldn’t let her go. I couldn’t let her walk out that door.

“I can’t seem to let you walk away…so I guess it’s decided.” I exhaled, running my free hand through my hair. “I can’t get you out of my head…and I want to be with you. And not just…like that,” I added, seeing her heated expression.

“Then how?” confusion lined Harlow’s face, as if she truly didn’t understand what I meant.

“You know, be with you. Be yours.” I flushed, embarrassed. I regretted the moment I said the words, but there was no taking them back. I didn’t give her an opportunity to reply. I pulled her against me, my lips crashing against hers passionately. I kissed her until she was weak on her feet.

“Oh,” she mumbled, almost dazed. I grinned cockily at her, and she laughed. The sound was rich and perfect, and I knew it was rare.

I gently helped her out of her coat and tossed it on the ground. She kicked off her boots and I picked her up and carried her to the couch. We fell onto it never breaking the kiss. Her hands roamed my body through my clothes, and I did the same to her. The thin cotton material of her shirt did nothing to hide the perfection of her body. She moaned into my mouth, the vibration driving me completely crazy.

After two weeks of pent up sexual frustration, constantly dealing with my fantasies of her…I was ready to blow. The way she moved her body against mine was definitely not helping.

“I wanted to wait,” I said heatedly. “But if you keep kissing me like that, I won’t be able to.”

“Me?” she laughed, trying to duck away from my lips. “You’re the one kissing like that.”

“Fair enough,” I amended. I couldn’t seem to help myself. “But you’re irresistible.”

She laughed again. I was poised over top of me, my eyes filled with longing and amusement, half of a smile smile dancing on my lips.

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
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