An Inch at a Time (The Professor's Rule, #2)

An Inch at a Time (The Professor's Rule, #2), by Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley

This title is #2 of the The Professor's Rule series.

This title is part of the The Professor's Rule: The Complete Collection collection. Check out the collection discount!

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James Sheridan is failing history. Luckily, his professor is a rumored pervert, and James isn’t too proud to pay for a better grade with his body. Professor Carson lives up to his reputation, but he’s not unethical enough to take sexual bribes. What he can offer is some highly unconventional tutoring . . . creative use of a ruler included.

The deal? Studying, followed by a “quiz.” Wrong answer? Spanking. Right answer? Reward. Ace the final, earn some mindblowing sex. It’s harder work than sexual bribery, but it beats the volunteer tutors at the student center.

After a few study sessions, James realizes he wants way more than a grade from Professor Carson, even if he’s not sure what that is. Carson’s a silver fox, all right, but James isn’t “bent” the way Carson is, and for him, the spankings are only supposed to be a means to an end. But the better he gets at history, the more he realizes he likes getting answers wrong just as much as getting them right.

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“Are you quite finished?”

Evander Carson gave his student a mocking smile as the kid squirmed in his chair. As far as attempted seductions went, he’d seen far better. It wasn’t that James Sheridan was unattractive—far from it, especially with those mesmerizing, mismatched eyes of his—and if he tried, he could probably hold his own long enough to get laid at a club. Still, it was obvious that flirtation wasn’t the young man’s forte, especially the delicate sort of messages you had to send in a tricky situation such as this.

“I—I beg your pardon?” James slumped, his previously “inviting” fuck-me pose closing off in one shift of his awkward limbs.

“Let me guess. You heard around campus that I’m gay, that I’ve got—how do they word it politely?—freaky tastes, and thought I wouldn’t be discerning enough to mind if you made a rather blatant and frankly clumsy attempt to screw your way into a better grade?” Evander scoffed, shaking his head. “Contrary to salacious rumor, Mr. Sheridan, that’s not what I invite students to my office for.”

If James turned any redder, he might just spontaneously combust. He looked down at his hands where they twisted in his lap. “I-I’m sorry, that’s not what I—”

“Isn’t it?” Evander lifted an eyebrow and brought up an information screen on his computer with a couple clicks of his mouse. James Sheridan, age twenty, major undeclared. “Mine isn’t the only class you’re in danger of failing, and your spring term last year was, well . . . You’re already on academic probation. If you don’t do well this term, you’re likely to be kicked out. Situation like that must have a lad like you pretty desperate.”

More miserable squirming. Evander had no idea what James’s story was. Perhaps he was struggling and his parents would cut him off if he flunked out of school. Perhaps he was in danger of losing grants or scholarships. Perhaps some terrible personal tragedy had kept him from applying himself academically. Or perhaps he had been partying too much. There were any number of reasons James might be failing.

What was interesting was the method he’d chosen to try to rectify that situation.

And as highly as Evander thought of himself, he wasn’t sure if that interest was, well, purely academic . . . or sexual. That level of desperation—let alone forwardness—in a man never failed to excite and intrigue. Even when it was slightly insulting at the same time. Never mind perverted, did the dimwit seriously think he was that unethical?

“Tell me, what was your plan for dealing with your other professors?” Evander asked after letting James stew for a moment. “After all, they can’t all be reputed perverts like me.”

“You were—” Still crimson-faced, James cleared his throat and tried again. “Your class is the only one I didn’t think I could turn around this term. History is a lot harder than the others for me.”

Evander let himself smile. No denial, not of his play, nor of his opinion of Evander as a known deviant. “All those dates, am I correct?”

“Yeah. Something like that. It’s boring. It’s too hard to memorize.” He huffed like the teenage boy he wasn’t anymore.

“Did you ever consider that perhaps the dates aren’t important?” Evander leaned back in his seat, mind moving in two equally appealing directions: one-half lofty academic enthusiasm for his subject, the other lizard-like interest in the morsel seated across the desk from him, knobby knees poking out of the holes in his jeans.

All the time, dude.” James laughed, and it was hard for Evander to keep himself from laughing along because the honesty was refreshing—if, once again, slightly insulting, this time to his area of study versus his character. “But if they’re not, then why are they always on the tests?”

“Who taught your high-school history classes?”

James frowned at the apparent non sequitur. Definitely still a teenager, at least mentally, to be so perplexed by a question answered with a question. Just the type of project Evander most enjoyed. He’d never found it quite as rewarding to work with pupils more suited to academia. There was just something about . . . awakening a lad intellectually—among other things. Not that James was stupid. Naive, certainly, but conniving as well, to have come up with this aborted seduction scheme.

“Um—U.S. and world history were taught by the football coach. Western civ was taught by someone else, but I didn’t take that one.”

“Ah, I see.” Evander leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers over his stomach. “And for a football coach who teaches history but doesn’t actually understand it, what else besides dates do you think history is composed of?”

“Uh, a steady paycheck?” He laughed at his own joke.

“You’re not far off. The dates are on the test because they are all some teachers—especially ones with no genuine interest or love of history—can think to ask. Because they themselves don’t understand the intricacies of history, the great tapestry the past forms, stories woven and interwoven and then subject to myriad interpretations and alterations. Perhaps if you could even begin to perceive that complexity, you too could realize how truly insignificant—and irrelevant—the task of memorizing dates really is.”

James’s expression brightened. “You mean your test won’t have dates on it?”

Evander resisted the urge to bang his head on the desk.

“Think beyond that, if you please, Mr. Sheridan? I’m saying my test will be both far more challenging—and far more rewarding—than a quiz about significant dates and names could ever be. If you want to apply yourself and truly understand what I have to teach you. It won’t be easy. You won’t just have to memorize a list of facts by rote. You’d have to analyze and understand events that shaped other events that carried ramifications for still more events. You’d have to think, not merely regurgitate useless data.”

“I feel like you’re trying to comfort me, but instead you’re just making it worse.”

Evander could see the calculations written on James’s face, assessing how much time was left in the term and if he could begin to turn the class around and grasp it the way Evander had described. Which was, of course, the perfect moment to make his offer.

“I can help you.” One corner of his mouth lifted in a wry smile. “I’m not at all averse to doing some extracurricular tutoring. If you’d be willing to entrust your academic future to the hands of a rumored deviant.”

He watched his student’s face carefully, searching for—ah, there it was. A flicker of intrigue that went beyond idle curiosity. He could almost hear James’s thoughts. Was Evander a pervert? What did that even mean? If James consented to be tutored by him, what else might happen?

Evander made no effort to deny the speculation that anything untoward would occur in the course of such tutelage. It wouldn’t do to mislead the lad, after all. Evander’s reputation wasn’t entirely unearned. For that matter, it wasn’t even mostly unearned, though it was—thankfully—unproven. Rumor alone was not enough to get a tenured professor fired, and certainly none of his students had ever had any cause to complain. He could teach James, of that he had no doubt. And by the end of the term, he would have awoken in his student a passion for far more than history. The spark was there, on both the academic level and the other, even if young Mr. Sheridan didn’t realize it yet.

James cleared his throat again, looking both wary and fascinated. Just how naive was the boy, anyway? “Okay.”

“Excellent.” Evander jotted down an address on a sticky note and reached across the desk to lay it before James. “Be there tonight at eight o’clock sharp. We won’t be doing this on campus.”

“Okay.” James’s voice was thick, raspy, as if he couldn’t get enough spit together to wet his tongue. But he took the sticky note and stood. Evander politely refrained from commenting on the semi-erection swelling the fly of the lad’s jeans. “Thank you, professor.”

“You’re welcome.” Evander dismissed him with a negligent wave of his hand, calling out only once as James’s fingers lay on the doorknob. “And Mr. Sheridan?”

“Yes?”

“No underwear.”

# # #

from LeAnn's Book Review

[S]tudying history has never been more interesting!

from Live Your Life, Buy the Book

Go. Buy the Book! It is great!!

from The Novel Approach

This little story packed an amazing, page-turning punch. I read it in one sitting and wanted more.

from Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Like its predecessor, Giving an Inch, this is a seriously hot little story!

from MM Good Book Reviews

I am addicted!

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