There's nothing unusual about Mia Page's attraction to the young science teacher at the middle school. After all, she's not the only one who finds him enticing. But when he pulls her son aside to ask for her phone number, she knows she's in serious trouble. Since her divorce four years earlier, she's been out of circulation, choosing to focus on parenting instead, and she's not entirely sure she can handle an entanglement with the sexy Mr. Walden.
There are also other reasons why getting involved with Curt would be a bad idea. He's two years shy of thirty, and she's on the downside of that unmentionable number. He's adamant about never having kids, and she has a son. Even the guy's romantic gifts are suspect. Energy saving light bulbs? He has to be kidding.
On the other hand, he's fun, sweet, and smart. He stimulates her intellectually, emotionally, and Lord help her, physically, opening her eyes to life outside her comfortable world. Yet their differences quietly gnaw at Mia even while she succumbs to their undeniable chemistry.
As their romance deepens, so do Mia's fears that Curt will eventually hurt her. On edge, all it takes is an innocent comment to provoke her into drawing first blood. Mia recklessly wounds Curt, learning only too late that this blade cuts both ways. Frantic to make amends, she fears it might be too late to admit the feelings she's tried so hard to suppress.
Content Warning: contains sensual sex
"I can't believe I just did that," Mia said in a horrified hush, her hand covering her mouth.
"Yes," she said, scrunching up her face and shoulders simultaneously. "I'm so sorry."
Curt smiled. "I wouldn't worry about it. You looked preoccupied when you came in. A lot on your mind?"
Mia's face flared as her beach fantasy returned full throttle and this time her hands were smoothing over Curt's bare chest and sliding down that arrow of damp hair. She could almost feel her index finger slipping between his warm stomach and his swim trunks, feel the resistance of the elastic band as she pulled it out to take a long, appraising look at him.
This was so incredibly inconvenient. She shuddered, absolutely appalled at herself, and thrust the vision away. A lot on her mind? You could say that. But she wasn't going to.
"You know, I'm not normally this scatterbrained. I'm having a rough week."
Curt's eyes softened with understanding. "I didn't think you were."
"I appreciate that." She dared a quick peek into those mesmerizing eyes of his and felt a clutch in her gut. Whoa, she needed to settle down—now! "And it's Mia Page by the way—not Mrs. I mean, I'm not a Mrs. anymore."
God. She cringed on the inside. Why was she babbling this at him? How obvious could she be? He was too young for crying out loud. Like he would even care to know her personal history. She was such an idiot. A total boob.
Curt cocked his head at the news, yet his smile grew. Odd.
"I just assumed when I saw the ring."
"Oh, no." She twisted it on her finger. "This was my grandmother's. I wear it on my left hand because it's more comfortable. I don't clank it on everything that way."
He chuckled. "Okay, Mia. And in case you forgot, I'm still Curt Walden—science teacher extraordinaire."
Mia bit her lip, trying hard not to smile. She failed. "So, you come here often?" That wasn't a pick-up line, honest.
Curt laughed lightly and shook his head. "No."
His eyes were unnerving. There was something intimate about the way he looked at her and she wasn't prepared for it. He gave her the impression, foolish perhaps, that he could probe her private thoughts; use her pupils like a peephole in a door. It was an alarming idea. Mia looked away nervously, only risking brief glimpses so she wouldn't betray herself or the fantasies playing in her head like a movie.
Using the menu board as a focal point, Mia said idly, "Science, huh? I should probably confess that it wasn't my best subject." Then she snorted at the understatement. "No, I was pretty lousy actually."
His laugh was warm, rich, and intensely seductive. It seduced her away from the menu but she couldn't quite bring herself to look at him again, not when her shoes were so fascinating. God, please make them fascinating. Damn it.
"Maybe you just needed a good tutor. A little one-on-one attention?" he suggested, humor in his voice. "I'm free most evenings. I'd be happy to bring you up to speed."
That brought her eyes up. Holy shit! Is he flirting with me?