His expression was stoic, unreadable.

“Do you want to sleep with me, Cassandra?” His tongue darted out, moistening his plump lips.

My stomach rolled, butterflies coming out from the dark corners. My mind fought with my body over the urge to grab him by the collar, drag him outside to the back alley, and let him ravish me until I forgot every reason why I would regret it later.

“You didn’t answer my question. Let’s say hypothetically speaking, I haven’t been with a man in months and…” I pressed flush against him and rolled my hips, “I really wanted to see what you could do to me in that pool of yours. What would you say to that?” I purred, biting my bottom lip, but inwardly struggling to keep up the assertive confidence.

Logan dug his fingers into my hips. His mouth lingered above mine, his breath a warm mix of mint and scotch. “I would say let’s get out of here and get a hotel room.”

“Ugh!” I pulled out of his arms, shoving at his chest. “I knew it. You really are an egotistical ass!”

He chuckled silently, eyes bright.

“A hotel? Really!” I hissed. “I’m a woman, not some piece of meat. I have no interest in going to some hotel, for some one-night stand with a man that cannot even talk about his own son without cringing. You can go around with your fancy cars and expensive suits but you have nothing I’m interested in!”

With a sudden turn, I headed straight to my table, and collected my bag. As I walked past him to leave, I leaned in and whispered. “And by the way, I enjoyed your pool very much. It’s a shame you’ll never get me that wet!”

I whipped around on my heel, walking away with my shoulders back, head held high but completely shocked at my own words.

The moment I stepped outside, my hands slapped over my mouth. Did I really just say that? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was about Logan West that brought out that side of me. He made me feel strong, confident, and completely sexy. As much as I hated it and was completely over him, I went home wearing a satisfied grin.

Chapter Eight

Taste Test

I always knew one day I would be a teacher. I remembered fondly setting up a class with small chairs in my backyard surrounding a giant maple tree. It started with my dolls sitting for lessons, but within a few summers I had real friends in those chairs listening to me ramble on and on about nonsense. They weren’t the best listeners but it taught me how to stand in front of a class with my head held high, ready to share the knowledge I’d learned.

Walking up to the building where I would be spending three days a week teaching, I smoothed my hand down my crisp, black pencil skirt. It fell just past my knees with a tiny slit up the back showing off my tight runner’s legs and pulling me into the new role as teacher. Nervously, I tucked in the short-sleeved silky white blouse wanting to make sure I looked just right for tonight. I felt grown up and ready to take on the world.

Strolling down the bustling halls of the elementary school surrounded with rows of dated green lockers, anxiety rang through my ears. I knew most of the parents coming to my class tonight but it was different from a passing hello on the street, they were entrusting me with their children’s education. Every window in the building was propped open, allowing a warm breeze to filter in to relieve some of the musty odor. Another year passed in this town without a single dime allotted for air conditioning in the elementary school. Open house started in less than an hour and the heat from the never-ending summer was overwhelming inside the stuffy old building.

Entering my classroom, my mood lifted and the temperature no longer mattered. I took a long gulp of icy water from my new mug sporting the school’s logo and I set my tote on the desk. The room looked great though it still needed a few more details. I walked over to the massive whiteboard that hung from the pasty yellow wall and took my time writing out Miss Clarke in perfect print for my new students.

I’d spent every afternoon here the past week preparing my classroom for a year of expanding eager young minds. Vivid primary colors and scenes of animals in the wilderness surrounding the alphabet fully decorated the room. I placed the names of all fourteen students, written flawlessly on pale-blue card stock shaped liked clouds, on a small desk beside a large dazzling rainbow I created.

“Perfect.” I smiled glancing around the room one last time. The pride I felt standing beside my desk replaced the nerves building inside me. Walking toward my doorway, I pulled my hair tie free letting my natural curls fall around my neck. It looked best down even though I would regret it due to the heat. I gave my hair one more tousle for some extra bounce and placed my hands gracefully down at my side, rolling back my shoulders.

Within minutes, students began wandering in lugging bags of tissues and antibacterial wipes. I greeted them with warm hellos and showed them around the room to their desks. Most of them were soft-spoken and unwilling to let go of their parents’ hand but still seemed interested in their new environment. Over the next hour, I met all but one of my students and watched them each explore the room. Everyone seemed as excited to start the year as I was. Kindergarten was a thrilling new adventure for both students and their parents.

Standing in the hall, relaxed, waited for the last student still on my list.

“Cassandra!”

Turning I saw Oliver walking toward me holding Julia’s hand.

“Oliver. Hi, how are you?” I smiled.

“Great. I just met my teacher, Miss. Harper. She’s really nice.”

I nodded. Jessica Harper was the voluptuous preschool teacher down the hall.

“She’s a great teacher. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time in her class.” Looking up I smiled at Julia. “How have you been?”

“Good, I’m loving Harmony by the way. I never thought such a small town could have so many friendly people.”

“Yeah, that’s one of the nice things around here. Everyone gets along for the most part.” I smiled. “Have you been keeping busy at school? I haven’t seen anyone around Oliver’s house all week.”

The entire week passed and not a single peep from Logan’s house had been heard. Not even a straggling worker around the property. It was strange; as if they all disappeared or I imagined them ever existing, although I was grateful to have my morning jogs uninterrupted.

Problem was, no matter how much I refused to entertain him in my thoughts, the moment I climbed into bed at night and closed my eyes the image of Logan instantly assaulted my dreams. He was a constant there, seducing me on the dance floor; our bodies flush against each other. The moment my dream persona began to remove his shirt he would vanish. Same dream every night, and every morning I awoke in need of a cold shower and a good scolding from the other half of my brain.

“I’ve been busy with my classes starting and Logan took Oliver to the city for the week,” Julia said, pulling me back to the present.

I nodded. It was none of my business so why was I asking? She seemed to pick up on the uncomfortable shifting of my feet and gave me a suspicious look. I cleared my throat desperate to change the subject.

“So, how do you like living in the dorms? I stayed there my first year but didn’t exactly see eye to eye with my roommate.” I leaned in. “The girl preferred to drink over studying. We didn’t mesh well.”

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