in this scene from Crimson, Teagan awakes from a dream about Professor Alexander…

crimsoncoverMy dorm room lit up suddenly. Lightning. Outside. A storm was coming.

I got out of my bed and tiptoed over the hard wood floor of my dorm. It was cold against my bare feet. I peered out the window. Lamp posts lit up the sidewalks outside. I could see wind blowing tree branches around.

But it wasn’t raining. Not yet, at least.

I slipped on a pair of sandals and flung open the door to my room. I needed to go for a walk.

I scampered down the stairs to the bottom floor of the dormitory, and then I ran outside into the night air.

It was warm outside, late August heat. The air was pregnant with rain, muggy and sticky. But the breeze was powerful, pushing my hair away from my face, plastering my white nightgown against my skin.

I closed my eyes.

I had hoped that fresh air would clear my head.

But I still felt confused.

Miss Moss. I heard his voice in my head. I thought of the way he’d looked at me the other day in class. His gazed had raked my body, settling on my breasts.

The wind blew against me, brushing my nightgown against my nipples.

I was aroused from the dream. That was all. It was only the dream.

I started to walk. I’d walk it away, walk into the night wind. The breeze would pound into me, blow on me until it was gone.

Professor Alexander had ignored me ever since that first day. He hadn’t called on me to volunteer again. When he looked out over the class, his gaze never settled on me.

Thunder exploded overhead. Loud. Imminent.

The storm was close. I probably shouldn’t be out walking like this. If I didn’t get back to the dorm, I was going to be soaked.

But I didn’t turn back.

I kept walking.

Miss Moss.It was like he was calling me. And if I was honest with myself, that was what I was doing. I was going to him. Wasn’t I?

Wasn’t I walking down the street where he lived, strolling past the antique, stately houses with their dark windows and looming pillared porches? Each surrounded by dark trees, shadowed leaves dripping down over their eaves?

A gust of wind blew down the street, ripping leaves from the trees, swirling them around me.

My hair was blown into my eyes, my mouth.

I brushed it away, struggled against it.

The wind stopped.

And there I was, standing in front of his house.

He was on his porch, the way he’d been the first time I saw him, as if he’d been waiting for me.

I started for him.

As I got closer, I realized he was only half dressed. His chest was bare. He wore a pair of plaid pajama pants that hung low on his hips. He was chiseled and perfect, just like in my dream.

“Miss Moss?” he whispered.

I climbed three steps onto his porch. I took a step toward him.

He took a step toward me.

Lightning flashed.

I backed up, suddenly unsure of myself. What was I doing? Why was I here?

I collided with the stone pillar that held up his wraparound porch. I leaned against it, grateful for its support. It would keep me upright.

He swallowed. He was all shadows and angles in the darkness, the swell of his shoulder, the line of his jaw.

I closed my eyes.

When I opened them, he was closer to me.

I could smell him again. The cologne wasn’t quite as strong anymore. There was a hint of something beneath it, his real smell, sweat and spice and desire.

Thunder crashed all around us. The world reverberated with it.

He was close enough that I felt his breath on my cheek.

I looked up at him, my pulse beginning to thrum.

He put his hand on my neck, and for a second I thought he meant to strangle me. My heart sped up at the thought of it, my body tensed to fight him.

But it was a caress, his fingers splayed over my skin, stroking my sensitive skin.

And he pinned me against the pillar as his lips came for mine.

I slammed my eyes shut again.

He kissed me.

The rain poured out of the sky.

I felt the air change as the humidity released itself, fat droplets of water pattering against the ground around us, against the roof of the porch over us, scattered and pounding, echoing my heartbeat.

His tongue was in my mouth. It felt like bliss, like release, like ecstasy. I moaned.

His voice was a tattered whisper. “What are you doing here, Miss Moss?”

I licked my lips.

His hand slid away from me, fingers trailing over the tops of my breasts.

And then I ran.

I stumbled down the steps, into his yard. Rain soaked into my nightgown, pelted my skin. I yanked up the sopping white skirts of it and kept running. I didn’t look back.

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