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It was so unbelievably cold. Bowing her head, Alex pulled her leather jacket tighter around her petite frame as she stumbled across campus. Thoughts of just collapsing under the weight of a ridiculously heavy book bag and the frigid air seemed tempting. ‘Go on without me,’ she called silently to imaginary hiking mates as she pictured her trembling frame being slowly buried in the snow. The short distance between the parking lot and the library might just as well have been Mt. Everest.
Too damn cold.
In effort to avoid the miserable weather, Alex had stuffed all of her books into her bag. Perhaps if the weather had been nicer she would have left half in her car, to be retrieved between classes. But the wind chill had dropped into the single digits, and there was no way in this frozen-over hell that she would make the journey back across campus any more times than she had to.
Finally, mercifully, she pushed her way through the heavy glass doors and was embraced by the warm air inside. Shivering her way to the coffee counter, she dropped her bag to the floor and rubbed her gloved hands together.
“Beautiful weather we’re having,” an older man to her left smiled. She rolled her eyes at him, wishing that someone would eventually start a new catch phrase to describe the notorious nasty weather January brought to this tiny speck on the map.
“Yeah,” she answered, offering the obligatory smile and nodded. “Latte, plain,” Alex told the student behind the counter.
While Alex waited, she turned and glanced around at the others who huddled in the library entrance, some hesitating before braving the cold, others sipping coffee and chatting quietly. She paid for the liquid heat and hauled her bag back over her small shoulders.
The best nook in the library was upstairs in the little-visited section in the back. Here the various history texts regarding ancient civilizations formed a great barrier offering Alex quite a bit of privacy from the rest of the library. She often wondered if any other student knew of this secluded gem. She never saw anyone back past the stacks. Perhaps not many students were interested in ancient civilizations.
Today’s agenda centered on reading for her position paper for an ethics class. Alex chose the death penalty as a timely issue for presentation. Arguing against capital punishment would be a real challenge as it appeared that the majority of her classmates tended to be of redneck descent. Still, Alex felt up to it and after reluctantly peeling off her coat—it was chilly “back in the stacks”—she settled down into a comfy overstuffed chair and opened a new book. After about an hour of reading and taking notes, she became aware of another presence. Looking up Alex noticed a tall man actually browsing the texts in the ancient section. His long fingers skimmed lightly over the call numbers on the books as he searched.
He was attractive, maybe about forty years of age. His short wavy hair curled softly at the nape of his neck. He frowned, looking down at a slip of paper in his hand, then back at the shelf as if the book he sought was missing. He licked his lips in thought and Alex smiled to herself, enjoying a fleeting errant thought of what his tongue might feel like licking over her lips. She shook her head and glanced back down at her hand, still posed to add more notes to her paper.
“Excuse me,” a voice interrupted her study, “you wouldn’t by chance have any idea where I might locate a text that should be on one of these shelves?”
Alex looked up—and up. The man towered over her chair. His face was very handsome, more so than his profile had hinted at. Ice-blue eyes pierced Alex’s deep-blue ones. Thick lips sat under a long nose with wide nostrils. Well, perhaps it was only the angle from which Alex sat, but they looked wide. She pictured them flaring in a moment of fury. It was a strange thought, sure, but his whole face was uniquely captivating. There was a sense of great passion underneath his smoothly-shaven face.
“I’m sorry,” she finally answered. “If it’s not on the shelf, perhaps another student has it out on loan.”
“These—,” he gestured to the shelves behind him, “are not to be removed from the library.” He looked quite serious and Alex could not help but raise her eyebrows at him. This was not her problem.
“Check with the front desk, perhaps someone has moved it,” she told him. Good-looking and arrogant. Well, there’s a surprise, she thought to herself.
“Maybe you have it,” he said, ignoring her suggestion and peering down at the several books she had spread around her. He didn’t accuse her; he just seemed to be oblivious to what she was saying.
Alex blinked and turned her palms up towards him. “I’m not even using books from that shelf,” she said quietly but evenly. “These are from another section. I’m sitting here to avoid being disturbed.”
The chill in her voice seemed to get his attention. The man turned his attention from Alex’s books and looked her once again in the eyes. She saw a flicker of amusement flash in his eyes. “And I’ve disturbed you?”
“Not exactly,” ataşehir escort bayan Alex politely attempted to keep the annoyance she felt under wraps. “But I do not have your book, nor do I know where it is. Once again, let me suggest that you check with the front desk.” She met his gaze, her pointed chin lifted.
A small smile that went no further than his mouth stretched his lips. “My apologies for disturbing your study,” he said. “I admire a student who places her schoolwork before idle chit-chat.”
Alex shifted uneasily. There was a coldness to his demeanor, and suddenly the chill of the room ran down her spine causing her to shiver slightly. She wished she were standing. Perhaps his large frame wouldn’t seem so imposing.
The man held his hand out. “Dr. Ivan Petrov,” he said, introducing himself. Alex automatically put her hand up and into in his. His smooth fingers wrapped around hers firmly.
“Alex Caine,” she answered. Dr. Petrov held her hand longer than customary. Petrov? Was this a new professor? she thought to herself. Petrov… Petrov… It rang a bell, yet she could not quite place why it sounded familiar.
“Well, Ms. Caine,” Petrov said releasing her hand. “I will let you get back to your reading.”
“Okay,” she replied nodding absently. Her mind was still trying to place where she had heard the name before. “Good luck in finding your book.”
Dr. Petrov gave her another non-smile as he walked back towards the shelf to give one last look to the books stuffed between the shelves. Alex watched him for a moment before he finally turned and left the lonely corner of the library.
Petrov… Petrov… Alex dug into her book bag and pulled out the syllabus for her Eastern Europe history course. She flipped through the pages before she found what her subconscious had remembered.
January 27, Guest Speaker: Dr. Ivan Petrov, Author.
Alex curled her toes inside her shoes. She felt that same strong cold run over her skin once again.
Damn this winter weather.
Alex could not get Dr. Ivan Petrov out of her mind. It was silly. There was no reason that he should invade her thoughts, but when her mind wandered—as it often did these days—he would invariably turn up, towering over her once again, his steely gaze looking intensely at her, making her squirm in her mind’s eye. Men like that made Alex uneasy. They were to be avoided. She had learned that lesson well.
Yet, there he was, even in the night as the wind whipped outside her bedroom window, leaning over her body, his long fingers tracing over her naked flesh as she tossed fitfully in dream-filled sleep. His hands cupped her small breasts as fingertips pinched her dark nipples until they hardened. Alex jerked awake to find an aching between her legs which only frustrated her more. She pressed her thighs together and rolled onto her belly, pulling her pillow over her head and moaning.
The Monday morning Dr. Petrov would be speaking in her class Alex took care in what she chose to wear to school. She hated that she felt to pick something special, but she found herself choosing a figure-flattering outfit, one that would smartly show her petite frame, but would not make her look cheap. She looked in the mirror. Attractive and professional. Good.
Trudging across campus was the usual painstaking process. The wind had only picked up as the morning went along. Alex put a gloved hand over her right ear to block the cold. She looked forward to the overcrowded classroom and her seat by the register. She hurried along, increasing her pace until she had passed through the doors of Gates Hall. Once inside the classroom, she removed her coat and sat at her desk in the back, flipping idly through her notes. She couldn’t concentrate, however, as the anticipation of seeing Dr. Petrov again made her stomach flip. She didn’t understand her reaction to the thought of this man. It was unnerving.
He appeared at the door with Dr. Allen, talking to several students as they filed in and took their seats. Alex quickly turned her attention back to her notes and pretended to review what she had written. She ignored the chatter of her classmates. Carefully she looked up through her dark lashes. Petrov was looking in her direction, a tiny smirk lifting his upper lip. She shifted her eyes back to her notes.
“Okay, everyone settle down,” Dr. Allen announced over the din. “Today we have Dr. Ivan Petrov here to discuss the Bolshevik Revolution and Lenin’s ascent to power. Dr. Petrov is the author of several books on 20th century Russia and the Communist experiment. I encourage you to take notes and participate, as I will require a brief five –page response paper on what we discuss here today. The paper will be due on Friday.” Dr. Allen motioned to the podium. “Dr. Petrov, if you’d like to begin.”
“Thank you,” Dr. Petrov answered and adjusted his papers as he surveyed the students before him. Alex looked up in time to once again meet his icy gaze. She licked her lips unconsciously and held her breath.
Dr. Petrov smiled politely and began his escort kadıköy lecture.
He spoke well, and Alex found herself taking many notes as she listened to his lecture. Unlike some speakers who stayed glued to the podium, Petrov walked the length of the front of the room as he addressed the class. Several in her class participated asking questions, however the majority sat bored, marking their time. They were only there for the three credits the course offered.
“Ms. Caine,” his smooth voice caused her to jerk her head up. He paused in his pacing; he was facing away from her as he spoke. “Ms. Caine, how would you define the Bolshevik Revolution?” He turned towards her. The eyes of the class followed, and Alex felt very uncomfortable.
Alex looked down at the top of her desk. She had been put on the spot—for whatever twisted reason this man had—and if she didn’t rise to this challenge, she would kick herself for the rest of the week.
“I would define it as a non-Revolution,” she said quietly.
Petrov cocked his head to the side. “And your argument is?”
“The government had collapsed. Lenin and his party stepped in to form a new form of government. I would not consider that to be revolutionary.” Alex shifted in her chair and prayed that the floor would open up and swallow her. Instead, something better happened. A young annoying girl named Erica, who never shut up and always felt the need to comment, interrupted.
“Wasn’t it more of a coup? I mean, not so much an overthrow of government, but…” and she prattled on. Alex twirled her pencil between her fingers and felt the relief of the moment wash over her. By now Dr. Allen had interjected some of his thoughts and the focus left Alex. Petrov, however, kept his eyes on Alex until a question forced him to pay attention to another student.
The class ended shortly thereafter and Alex shoved her books back into her bag, still refusing to look in Petrov’s direction. She slipped her coat over her shoulders and made her way to the door.
“Ms. Caine,” Dr. Allen called after her. She stopped and turned. “Do you have a moment?”
“Sure,” she answered as other students escaped into the hall. She avoided looking at Petrov.
“I’m hosting a small dinner tonight since Dr. Petrov is visiting and I thought perhaps you might like to attend if you don’t have any plans for the evening. Dinner will be served at 8:00, but people should be arriving at around 7:30. Will you be able to come?”
Alex had been lucky enough to be invited to several of Dr. Allen’s dinners. Usually several other professors and students were invited, and it was always a pleasant evening. She looked to Petrov.
“I’d love to hear the rest of your argument on the Bolshevik non-Revolution,” he said seemingly fighting a small smile.
Alex turned to Dr. Allen. “I’ll see you this evening. Thank you.”
And she fled.
7:30 arrived so quickly. Alex had barely enough time to return home and shower. She also wanted to change into something a bit more appropriate—casual, yet fitting for the evening. She brushed her auburn hair back behind her ears and looked into the mirror. She wondered if Petrov found her attractive.
The usual group was at Dr. Allen’s home that evening. A sociology professor, Dr. Baden and her husband, two other history professors, Dr. Green and Prof. Stuart, plus four other students, two of which were in her history class earlier that day.
Drinks were served as she walked through the door, and by 8:15, everyone had sat down at the dinner table. Alex found herself seated across from Petrov. She hadn’t spoken to him since her arrival as he was busy visiting with the other history professors. However, she had felt his eyes on her throughout the evening.
Conversation was light, and thankfully Petrov never followed through on his threat to make her explain her theory of non-Revolution. After a fine meal, everyone moved back into Dr. Allen’s living room. He had a wonderful fire blazing in the fireplace and Alex took a spot on the floor in front, sitting comfortably with her legs folded under. Petrov sat down in the chair closest to the fire and swirled his drink in his glass.
“You look very nice this evening, Ms. Caine,” he said running his eyes casually over her.
“Thank you.” Alex looked down into her glass of wine.
“You don’t strike me as a shy women, regardless of your reluctance to speak in class today. Do I make you uncomfortable?”
Alex worried her lower lip between her teeth, thinking. Yes, he made her very uncomfortable. He was attractive, intelligent, but those weren’t reasons for concern. It was how he looked at her. It made her feel… naked. But she couldn’t very well say that to him.
“I think—” she began, then paused. “I believe that you are used to people deferring to you, maybe even snapping to attention for you, and yes, that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like to be expected to perform on command.” Alex met his stare evenly with one of her own. The wine made her a little more bold.
He laughed and Alex was struck by bostancı escort how very handsome he was. When his smile—or laugh—was genuine, his mouth stretched wide and his face became beautiful. The sharp angles of his broad face were softened.
“I think I like you, Ms. Caine. I hope that you will sign up for my class this upcoming fall.”
“Yes. I have been offered a position to teach at the university. My visit here was not just as guest speaker. I also wanted to learn more about the university and determine if I wanted to fill an opening as a visiting professor.” Petrov sipped his drink. “I think I’ll enjoy it here, so I’ve accepted.”
“That’s wonderful,” Alex answered. “Great.”
Petrov leaned forward. “Perhaps you would like to apply to be my assistant. Dr. Allen recommended you.”
“Oh… well, maybe, if it fits into my schedule,” Alex nodded, taking a gulp of wine. “Anyhow, I should be going. Still have some studying to do before tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll see you on campus then.” She stood to leave.
“I look forward to it.” Again, that smirk on his face made Alex annoyed yet uneasy.
“Good-night, Dr. Petrov.”
“Good-night Ms. Caine.”
It was Friday, and although Alex hadn’t seen Petrov on campus since that evening at Dr. Allen’s, he had been in her thoughts again. She finally admitted to herself that it was simply a matter of attraction. She was attracted to him and that is what made her uncomfortable. There was nothing dark or twisted about this man, it was simply her own desire that bothered her.
It made sense. After her last relationship…
So Friday evening found her leaving campus late as she had stayed to work on her position paper. It was due the following week and she had wanted to double-check her sources before handing it in.
As she sat in her car turning the key, she listened to the engine whine pathetically in the frigid night air. It rolled, it sputtered, it died. Alex laid her head on the steering wheel and moaned. Motherf—
A knock at her window startled her. Someone was tapping on the glass. She peered out and up.
She opened her door for him.
“It seems you are stuck,” he said. “Battery?”
“Maybe. She’s not a fan of the cold these days.”
“Come on,” he said. “I’ll drive you home.”
Alex reluctantly climbed from her car and slid into Petrov’s warm one. She put her hands in front of the heater vent and shivered.
“You don’t like the cold, do you?” he asked.
“I never minded it to this year,” she answered truthfully. “But this year, it seems to ram into my bones.”
He looked at her through the darkness that separated them. “I would say it has less to do with the weather and more to do with the fact that you are here on a Friday night.”
Alex was shocked. Petrov had intruded just a bit too far.
“My personal life—”
“—or lack of it—” he interjected.
“—has little to do with the cold I’m feeling,” she finished frostily.
“It’s just my opinion.”
Suddenly Alex was angry. “Why do you seem to enjoy insulting me? Or annoying me? Or trying to intimidate me? What kind of sadistic pleasure do you get out of this? And you know,” Alex threw her hands up, “you don’t even know me. Why in the hell do you bother?”
Petrov reached across the seat and pulled Alex to him. His mouth covered hers, silencing her rant. One fist held the shoulder of her coat tightly, the material balled between his fingers, the other hand had wrapped around the nape of her neck. He held her firmly as she pressed her palms to his chest.
His lips were soft as they crushed to hers. Petrov’s tongue pressed past them and forced her mouth open. Like his lips, it was soft and thick. It filled her mouth. She whimpered and tried to pull away, but he held her still.
Alex suddenly stopped fighting. She felt her body relax and her lips became more pliant. She let his tongue have free reign in her mouth before he drew hers back into his. Her hands ceased trying to push him away. Alex kissed him back. Hungrily.
Moments later he broke away, resting his forehead against hers. He held her face between his large hands. Then he kissed her lips, this time tenderly.
“Let’s go some place warm.”
“Okay,” Alex whispered.
Fifteen minutes later they pulled up in front of a beautiful house on the older side of town. Petrov shut off the engine and turned to Alex.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“My new house. Come inside. I have a fire going.”
“Are we going to…” her voice trailed off.
He turned her chin up to look at him. “Yes.”
Once inside, Alex walked ahead of him through the foyer and into the front room. A roaring fire raged in the fireplace. Unpacked boxes filled the room and drop cloths covered the furniture. Petrov came up behind her and pulled Alex’s coat off of her shoulders.
“Sit by the fire and I’ll get you something to warm up your insides.” He tucked an unruly curl behind her ear and bent to kiss the side of her neck. Alex trembled slightly and she instinctively pressed back against him. His hands slipped around her shoulders and like in her dream, he cupped both breasts, running his fingers over her nipples. She rested her head against his chest and moaned. “Go sit down,” he whispered into her ear as he released her.
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