Home > Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(13)

Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(13)
Author: Leisa Rayven

A tiny rectangle showing me appears in the corner of the screen, and I cringe that I look like I’ve been dragged backwards through a hedge in the rain. I haven’t even brushed my hair since washing it earlier, and it sits around my face in thick, damp curls. Not the first impression I would have chosen for myself.

I scan the screen for the professor, but it remains black.

“Hello?”

When I’m greeted with silence, I check to see if we’re still connected. “Professor?”

“Asha Tate.” His voice is deep, dark, and husky, and if I’m being honest, pretty freaking sexy. My skin prickles in response.

“Yes! Hello.” God, my voice is weird. I’m breathing so hard from my speed-record in gown donning, it sounds like I have asthma.

I swallow and try to regain some semblance of composure. I might be speaking to the man who has been the inspiration for several lengthy masturbation sessions, but that’s not relevant to this conversation. If only my galloping hormones understood that.

“So,” he says, “You’re Vintage Brooklyn Girl.”

“Yep,” I say, too brightly. “That’s me.”

“You live in Brooklyn?”

“Uh huh. Born and raised.”

“You’ve been following me for a while.” Every time he speaks, there’s a weird intimacy to it. I bet he’d be amazing at phone sex.

“Yes,” I say. “Nearly a month.” A month in which I’ve stalked you excessively.

“And? What do you think?”

I try to keep my face passive, even though his voice is affecting me in new and exciting ways.

“I think that you … uh … have a gift for marrying words and pictures … describing emotions. You always leave your audience wanting more.”

That last one is an understatement. If I wasn’t on camera right now, I might be thigh-hugging my Hemsworth-pillow’s face.

“You’re wet,” the professor says quietly, and I almost choke on my own tongue.

“Uh …what? No. No, I’m ––”

“Your hair, Brooklyn. It’s wet.”

“Oh.” God, help me. “Yes. Sorry. Shower. I mean, I showered earlier. Hence, the … uh … wetness.”

“I’m happy for you.” Sarcasm. Also, weirdly attractive.

I laugh nervously, but there’s dead air all around me. I’m screwing this up, but I don’t have any clue how to stop.

“Uh, so anyway, it’s great to talk to you. Uh … just letting you know, I can’t see you.”

“My camera is off. The point of this chat is me seeing you, yes?”

“Right. Of course. And as you can see, I’m not J.”

“No. You’re not.”

“Who is that, by the way?”

There’s a beat. “Someone I’d rather not discuss.”

“Sure, yeah.” I clear my throat and tuck a thick curl behind my ear. “So, about this book proposal ––“

“I’m not an author.” His tone is short. Almost angry.

“Perhaps not, but you have an incredible way with words, and it wouldn’t take much to build up a narrative.”

He lets out a scoffing noise. “And you’d help me do that, would you, Asha Tate?”

There’s an edge to how he says my name. Something familiar that I can’t quite put my finger on.

“I’d like to, yes. Of course, it would be up to my bosses to make that call, but first I have to sell them on the idea. Just say yes, and I’ll take the concept to them first thing Monday. If they pass, you lose nothing. But if they say yes … well, it could open doors that might change your life.”

Another pause, this one longer. “What if I’m happy with my life?”

“Well, I’ve been reading your timeline, and that’s not the impression I’m getting. It’s more like you’re finding it hard to purge memories of a woman you can’t stop thinking about. Maybe this book could help you move forward. Or even help you get her back, if that’s something you’d be interested in.”

I stop breathing as I wait for his reply. My blood is pounding so hard in my ears, I feel like he can hear it.

When the silence stretches out to an uncomfortable degree, I lower my voice and say, “Look, Professor, from what I can tell, you’ve been on quite a journey over the past few years, and I think your words could really help others who are working through similar issues. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, right?”

“And what would you gain?” he asks, his voice just as quiet as mine. “I doubt you’re doing this out of the goodness of your heart.”

The edge of bitterness in his voice isn’t lost on me. Reformed asshole, indeed. This guy clearly still has some issues.

“If my bosses like the idea, well … I may get promoted. And if that happens, then I’d work my ass off to get this book onto as many bestseller lists as possible.”

“I see. So, when you say I could help people, what you mean is, I could help you.”

All of a sudden, I feel like I’m taking advantage of him, and I don’t know why.

“Professor, I’m not going to lie and say this wouldn’t be incredible for my career, because it would. But even if there was no promotion attached, I’d still believe this is a worthwhile project. Your words are just so … visceral. They’re full of passion, and longing, and pain, and how you write …” I shake my head in awe. “It affects people. And that’s what the best art should do. Art shouldn’t make us happy and comfortable. It should challenge us. Dare us to step outside our comfort zone for a while.” As I’m saying this, I realize I’ve never spoken about a project with such passion before, and I mean every word. “This book could be … well, it’s the kind of book that could inspire people to be more than they thought possible. Earlier, you told me to be brave and follow my passion. Well, I’m passionate about you and your words. Please let me share them with the world.”

When I finish, the line is silent, and I’m aware that the tension of this conversation is making my breathing too fast and my face too hot. I want this, and I’m a bit put off by the feeling the professor doesn’t.

I make an effort to slow my breathing, and that’s when I notice I can hear his exhales. They’re uneven; a little frustrated. Like I’m forcing him into a decision he doesn’t want to make. I wish his camera was on. I’d love to be able to see the expression on his face. It might help me read him better. Also, I’m dying to know what he looks like. I wonder if his face is as stunning as his body.

After what feels like an eternity, he says, “Brooklyn, while I appreciate you agreeing to Facetime to prove your identity, I’m sorry to say that ––”

“Wait, Professor, don’t say no.” I grip my phone tighter. “Just, please, don’t. I know this is probably out of your comfort zone, but it could be amazing. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, please know that I believe in you.”

There’s another beat of silence, and then he says, “While I’m giddy with excitement that you believe in me, I wasn’t saying no to the book. I was going to tell you that your robe has fallen open, and I can see your breasts.”

A white-hot blush hits my face as I gasp and look down. Sure enough, my nervous squirming has loosened my robe enough that it’s gaping open, exposing the majority of my breasts and just a touch of nipple.

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