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Getting Dirty

By:Mia Storm

Chapter 1


My nipples are hard, and the heat radiating off his body, only inches behind me, makes them harder.

My palms are slick, and no matter how often I wipe them on my baggy jeans, they don’t dry.

My diaphragm is tight with anticipation, and I know he must be able to hear my shaky breath.

I am burning alive, even though I know they keep the library cool so exhausted students don’t fall asleep and drool on their books.

When Professor Duncan sent me to the resource desk at the university library and told me to ask for his graduate assistant, Caiden Brenner, I had no idea. I’ve dated a few boys at school, and I’ve even had sex once, but I can’t remember my body ever reacting this way to being near a guy—seizing up and refusing to participate in any semblance of normal behavior. Maybe that’s because, no matter how hot they are, teenage boys smell rank.

“Is this it?” Caiden asks.

His firm chest presses against my shoulder as he leans over me to reach for a book on the second shelf, well above my head, and he most certainly does not smell rank. His cologne (or maybe it’s just his deodorant) combined with some warm, earthy scent spins me in a cocoon of heady sensations I don’t even have names for.

He brings the book down and backs away a step as he opens it. “Don Juan by Byron, right? This the one you were looking for?”

His tongue slips out for a moment as he scans the page, drawing my attention to full, firm lips that aren’t quite symmetrical. Both upper and lower are just a little fuller on the left. But they’re wet now, and the fluorescents overhead shine off creases and curves the exact color of the coral sheets on the double bed I left unmade this morning.

The thought conjures the image of Caiden twisted into those sheets and not only do my nipples tighten more, but a hot ache starts low in my belly.

As his eyes scan the first few pages, I take the opportunity to burn his image into my retinas for later. There’s a faint star-shaped scar on the right side of a nose that’s on the small side and flares out at the bottom. My gaze trails along his thick, curved, golden eyebrows, across a broad, smooth forehead with a flat, dark mole near the hairline on the left, and down the curl of longish honey brown hair that hangs over his right eye—an eye that is blue, but just barely. Under the blue of his irises is something darker, like steel gray storm clouds gathering behind a twilight sky.

They lift to mine and I look away quickly. Then I realize it’s a little too obvious that I’m trying to not look at him, so I lift my gaze from his black Vans to the book in his hands.

His hands.

They’re long, with smooth, bronze skin and clean, trimmed fingernails. I don’t know why I’m noticing his fingernails, except every little thing about him fascinates me.

I tear my eyes away from his hands, and when I can’t think of a single normal thing to do with them except look at his face again, I find him staring at me with an amused expression—just a slight uptick of the fuller side of his mouth and a glint in his gaze.

With a jolt, I remember he asked me something. He’s waiting for an answer. My cheeks warm as I wrack my brain, replaying the last few seconds.

The book. He asked if it was the right book.

“Yeah, thanks,” is all I can manage through the haze of lust hanging over me like the clouds in his eyes.

He looks back down at the book and flips a page. “I used to be a fan of Lord Byron’s work, but lately I’ve discovered just how tedious he can be. He’s incredibly self-indulgent.” He lifts the book slightly. “You realize this one poem is sixteen hundred lines? That’s six thousand more than Milton’s Paradise Lost, and that one’s epic. This one’s just ridiculous.” He snaps the book shut. “If I had to pick which nineteenth century poet to hang out with, it would be William Blake, hands down. People called him warped, or worse, but nothing he wrote is boring, that’s for damn sure.”

I barely hear what he’s saying, because watching his lips move is absorbing all of my attention.

I’m not usually a dribbling idiot. I can’t even define the reason this man has suddenly turned me into one. But I can’t deny he has.

Honestly, I’m really interested in the Romantic movement and how poetry evolved from that into what we’re writing now. I was seriously excited when I got instructor permission to register for an upper level poetry class just for that reason. This is the kind of conversation I’m starving for and could never find in high school, even with my English teachers. The things he’s saying should be captivating me, but I find what’s captivating me instead is his slightly lopsided mouth and his storming eyes and his expressive hands that move as he talks.

This is my second semester taking evening classes at Sierra State University. Mrs. Erikson, my Junior Honors English teacher at Oak Crest High suggested it because our little school, tucked into the foothills, is too small to offer many AP classes. I’m enrolled in AP calculus and history, but we don’t have AP English.

“Most students applying to Stanford and UC Berkeley will have well over a 4.0 GPA, with the AP bump they’ll get from courses at their high schools,” she’d said when she called me before the start of my senior year to express her concern. “It will help that you’re valedictorian, but if you truly hope to be admitted as a literature major, you’ll need to show them you’ve excelled in college level English via some other avenue.”

Last semester I took written composition, or basic freshman English, and Professor Duncan’s assignments didn’t stray from the class reading too much, so I never set foot in the library. I aced it, and when he found out I write poetry, he suggested his upper level Early Nineteenth Century Poetry class for this semester. He assured me I could handle it and signed off on the prerequisite waiver.

So here I am, researching Byron for a presentation at the e