Home > Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(14)

Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(14)
Author: Leisa Rayven

Shitballs!

My image was so small on the tiny screen, I didn’t notice. Quick as a flash, I grip the edges of the silky fabric together and hold the camera closer to my face.

“Oh, God. I had no idea. I’m so sorry.”

“Are you? Or was this some sort of sexual enticement to work with you? A taste of things to come?”

Just when I thought I couldn’t get more embarrassed. “No! God, no!”

“It wouldn’t be the first time a woman has claimed to want to help me, only to pursue a sexual relationship. Is that what’s going on here? You’re trying to seduce me?”

I’m nearly apoplectic with embarrassment. “No! Professor, I assure you, I hold myself to the highest professional standards. I would never do that! I’m mortified this has happened, but please … it was an accident. I sincerely apologize and ––”

“Relax, Brooklyn,” he says, and I’m not sure, but I think I hear a hint of a smile. “I was joking. I believe your wardrobe malfunction was unintentional.”

“Oh.” I laugh weakly. “Good.” I take a deep breath and push through my savage blush. “This project is incredibly important. Not important enough for me to flash you, but still …”

I expect him to laugh, but he doesn’t. Instead, there’s another pause.

“So, if this happens,” he says, “we’d be working together?”

“Yes, that’s the idea. I’d be your editor. I’d help you shape the direction of the book, suggest changes, and liaise with you about the cover and marketing. I’d expect the whole process to take at least nine months. Maybe more.”

“That’s a long time. What if it turns out I’m an insufferable asshole you can’t stand to be around?”

I smile. “I doubt that’s going to happen.”

“It might. After all, you don’t know me. You haven’t even asked if I’m the guy in the pictures. For all you know, I’m a sixty-five-year-old retiree with a beer gut and male-pattern baldness.”

Damn, he’s right. I’ve been so focused on proving who I was, I didn’t even think to ask him to do the same.

“Well, are you the guy in the pictures?” I ask, nervous about his answer.

“Does it matter? You want me for my words, right?”

Here’s a snag I hadn’t thought of. Part of my confidence about the potential popularity of this book, hangs on the extreme physical attributes of the professor. If that’s not his hot musculature in the pictures, then … well, I’d have to find a different way to sell it.

“Listen, professor, I won’t lie and say that your … uh … physical appeal wasn’t a factor in what drew me in, but it’s certainly not the main reason. Still, before we go any further, I should know exactly what I’m dealing with. If that’s not you in the pictures, that’s fine. Just let me know. It won’t make me back away from this project, I can assure you.”

Yet again, there’s a long pause, and the only sound is his breathing. Then I hear muffled noises, and within a few seconds, the screen comes to life. I see muscular, tattooed arms and wide, hard pecs. I see abdominals for days, and a square, scruff-lined jaw above a strong neck. No face, though. As usual.

“This is me,” he says. “Proof enough for you?”

I swallow and nod. “Ah, yes. That’s … fine.” God, so very fine. I have a real concern I’ll be able to work with him every day without devolving into a horny, blithering mess. Right now, saliva is pooling in my mouth faster than I can swallow it. This is a new and disturbing twist to how he affects me.

I swallow twice more before finding my voice. “So, uh … you don’t want to show me your face while we’re exposing ourselves?” I realize the bad wording as soon as I’ve said it, but what the hell. He knows what I mean.

“Not tonight, Brooklyn,” he says, and I get a glimpse of his bottom lip as he talks. “I like my anonymity. Ironic, really, considering I might soon lose it.” He sighs, and I swallow again when his bicep bulges as he runs a hand across his cheek.

“If everything goes well,” I say, “you’ll be a household name before you know it.”

“Great.” Sarcasm again. “What I’ve always wanted.” Something beeps, and his posture changes. “So, that’s it, then. You have my blessing to pitch your book, for whatever it’s worth. I have to go.”

Before I have time to say goodbye, the line goes dead. I look at my phone for a second, and despite the shock of the nip-slip and his distinct lack of enthusiasm, I stretch out on my bed and flop around like an excited fish. I don’t even care that my boobs both pop out and jiggle around.

Goddamn freaking hell yessssss!

This is going to work. I just know it.

My phone buzzes. When I check the screen, I find a text from Joanna. <The professor said yes, didn’t he? My boobs are tingling!>

I shoot off a reply to confirm that I’ll be including her projected sales spreadsheet in my pitch on Monday, and then I start work on what I expect will be the greatest book proposal in the history of publishing.

FIVE

____________________

Nailed It

THE CONFERENCE ROOM AT Whiplash Publishing is nicknamed ‘The Fishbowl’ for good reason. It’s in the center of the office and made of glass. I’ve read dozens of romance novels in which couples screw on giant mahogany conference tables, but if someone tried that in here, they could make a tidy profit from selling tickets. The whole office would have ringside seats.

Now, as I try to ignore my hammering pulse and give a killer presentation, I’ve never been more aware of how often people check out what’s happening in the fishbowl. I keep getting distracted by faces appearing over the tops of their low-walled gray cubicles, as if they’re a colony of meerkats on the lookout for hungry predators.

I swallow and click to the next screen in my PowerPoint presentation. “Here are just a few examples of Professor Feelgood’s work. I think you’ll agree his style is quite … stimulating.”

I keep talking as I watch the faces seated around the table. When Serena asked about what I was presenting, I told her I wanted it to be a surprise, and judging by her expression, I succeeded. Her gaze moves across the screen, and I don’t miss the way she leans forward slightly. By the time she’s read the second and third screenshot, her mouth has dropped open.

Excellent.

Having her on board is half the battle, and I can tell she’s excited about the concept in more ways than one.

Mr. Whip doesn’t have quite the same reaction, but then I wouldn’t expect him to. He’s a guy. This book is going to live and die based on the incredible purchasing power of women. I’ve been through the Professor’s follower list, and I know that there are only a few lonely dicks out there in a sea of devoted vaginas.

As I go through the breakdown of projected sales, I see our marketing manager, Sidney, mirror Serena’s reaction. His chocolate skin makes it hard to see if his cheeks are showing extra color, but knowing Sid’s taste in men, I’m sure the Professor is right up his alley: dark, rough around the edges, and rocking a six-pack.

Next, I glance at Devin, who’s watching me carefully as he leans against the side of his cubicle just outside the conference room. If looks could kill, he’d be melting my body with acid in a bathtub right about now.

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