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Simple Math
Author: Loni Ree








Pinching the bridge of my nose, I draw in a deep breath and wonder what the hell I'm doing. In two days, the new semester begins, and I’ll be up to my eyeballs in loud, obnoxious college students. Yet here I sit, surrounded by drunk twenty-somethings, wishing I was relaxing at my quiet home instead. When my best friend asked me to have a few drinks and check out the “youngsters,” I should’ve told him fuck no. Two thirty-three-year-old professors have no business in this silly bar watching incoming students act like morons.

“Can you at least pretend you’re having fun?” Nick holds up his empty beer bottle, signaling the waitress.

Sighing, I rub the back of my neck in an attempt to ease the tension running through my spine. “I can’t believe I let you drag me to this damn bar.” I groan. “We’re fucking years older than everyone here.” As I glance around the dark room of Cluster Bar, I shake my head. There’s a loud, annoying group of drunk jocks showing off at the pool tables, nonchalantly trying to catch the attention of the group of sorority girls sitting in a booth next to the dance floor. For the umpteenth time, I question my sanity for agreeing to meet my friend. The small bar is bulging at the seams with kids wanting to celebrate the last weekend of freedom before homework and studying consume their lives.

“It’s our last shot to relax. The clusterfuck of fall semester starts in two days, and we’ll be up to our eyeballs in lectures and test scores of these dimwits.” He points around the room, and I raise an eyebrow.

“Exactly why I don’t need to deal with them today.” He ignores my logic as we sit silently watching the show. Monday morning, the new semester begins, and our headaches will undoubtedly multiply. I can’t fucking believe I agreed to take over the freshman algebra course. Since earning my Ph.D. in Mathematics, I’ve always taught upper-level math classes. Dealing with older, more mature students is much easier than weeding out those who aren’t serious. Most of the party-animals and unprepared students drop out before reaching the higher-level classes. At the end of last semester, Dean Butler caught me in a moment of weakness, and I agreed to take this one Intro to Algebra course.

“You should learn to say no.” My friend is unsympathetic to my circumstances. Nick still teaches graduate-level Physics classes, so he won’t have to deal with the same drama.

The cute, blonde waitress walks up with two more beers and interrupts us. She sets them on the table in front of us before asking, “Can I get you anything else?” Her golden eyes sparkle with interest as she stares at my friend.

“Thank you,” Nick smiles and reaches for his bottle, “but we’re good.” He ignores the heated looks she’s throwing at him, and the younger woman takes the hint and disappears into the crowd.

He drinks half of the bottle before placing it back on the table. “You need to let loose. You’ve been acting like a middle-aged man as long as I’ve known you,” I grumble. Nick has been my best friend since kindergarten. On the first day, our teacher handed out school supplies to the small class. He tore through the box looking for something to take apart. He came across the safety scissors and examined them. After a lengthy discussion, he informed me the little kids’ scissors wouldn’t cut anything. To prove his point, Nick chose a fellow student to test his theory on. He grabbed some of Sheri Oliver’s long red hair before running the blue plastic scissors through the thick bundle, and then snip. A large section of ten-inch strands fell to the floor. The five-year-old girl screeched her horror, and without thinking, I jumped in to save his ass. I convinced Sister Mary I’d been the one to cause all the damage and took the five-swat spanking for my new friend. That was the beginning of our life-long friendship. He’s the daring, outgoing adventurer, and I’m the cool, calming influence.

“Look,” I point to the end of the bar after noticing two women sitting with their backs to us, “they’re older. You should put your brooding brown eyes to good use and go make a play for one of them.” We both know that won’t happen. He hasn’t been the same since his last girlfriend screwed him over.

I follow his line of sight to the back of the bar… Holy shit. “She’s stunning.” My breath seizes in my chest as my pulse pounds. The most gorgeous girl I’ve ever seen is sitting alone in a small booth. Her pale, delicate, heart-shaped face is surrounded by dark, silky waves that cascade past her shoulders. Without conscious thought, I stand and make my way to her. While my body is on autopilot, my mind fills with steamy images of her luscious curves pressed against me. Ignoring the bead of sweat slipping down my spine, I step next to her table and take a hit to the chest.

Fucking perfect. There’s a white plastic straw between her juicy, red lips, and fantasies of those soft lips wrapped around my cock flash through my foggy mind. She clears her throat and blinks several times, waking my scattered senses.

“Hi,” I manage to croak past the dryness invading my vocal cords.

“Uh-h-h.” A tiny spark of satisfaction runs through me when I realize I’m affecting her, too. A slight blush covers her perfect cheeks, tempting me to lean down and taste her soft skin. What the fuck? I’m losing my mind. Her golden-brown eyes complement her stunning complexion and beautiful caramel-colored hair. Okay. Now, I’m scaring myself. I never notice this shit, but for some reason, this girl demands my full attention. An insane sensation pierces my chest, but I try to ignore it, terrified of what the feeling signifies.

“Dane.” Holding out my hand, I tense, waiting for our palms to touch. Tiny sparks of electricity surge along my nerves as I bring her hand to my lips for a soft kiss. I’m leaning close enough to hear her swift intake of breath, and the sound sends my blood roaring straight to the hardness growing in my jeans. I watch her pulse beat away in her slender neck before glancing down at the tops of her luscious breasts as they peak from her tight dress. The material stretches across her abundant curves, defying physics.

I fight the urge to rip off my shirt and use it to hide her from all the other eyes in this fucking bar. Groaning, I realize this night out isn’t going to end the same way my boring evenings usually go. No, this girl is doing something crazy to me.

“Lexi.” Her smoky voice seals the deal. This girl is mine.

Pulling myself together, I ignore the warning trying to penetrate my muddled mind. I point at the other side of the booth. “May I sit down?”

For a moment, I think she’s going to tell me no. There’s no way I can walk away from her, so I start working on my next move.

“Please.” Her soft whisper penetrates my befuddled mind, creating a fantasy of her lying under me and begging for more. The steamy image flashes through my mind on a continuous loop, causing my cock to turn iron hard.

Her golden eyes darken as I sit across from her. Having her this close scrambles my brain so I’m unable to think clearly. “I don’t let strange men pick me up in bars.” Thank God. She takes another sip of her frozen drink, sending hunger blasting through me. In the back of my mind, a warning sounds. If she’s a student, whatever is going on between us is doomed. I ignore the little voice.

Reaching across the table, I take her soft hand in mine. “I’m happy to hear that.” The waitress interrupts us, and I use the time to override my reservations.

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