Azrael Thunder Horse never thought he would ever see another Anglo woman who could possibly knock him for a loop after leaving Hollywood. Despite the instant shot of lust he feels when he first lays eyes on his new Native American Studies teacher, he is determined to get rid of her. After all…she misled him with that damn Indian name of hers! How could he know she was not NA? But the stubborn redhead has a thing or two to say about him firing her on the spot.
An Excerpt From: WOMAN ON FIRE
Copyright © FRAN LEE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
“Can I help you?” Her quickly pasted on smile was polite and pleasant. Probably a parent, checking out the new teacher. Damn. They didn’t build single males like him these days.
Night-dark eyes slid past her, wandered around the classroom slowly, and then returned to her. Eyes that would normally have set her pulse off like a shot, but these held a cold, aloof quality that let her know she was beneath his interest.
“Is Ms. Red Wolf still here?” The dark-chocolate voice held a quiet, tense note.
“I’m Cheyenne Red Wolf.” She repeated the polite smile. “How can I help you?”
The look of shock in those obsidian eyes made her bite back a grin. It wasn’t an unusual reaction to her definitely un-Indian looks attached to a very Indian name. But the desire to grin dissolved the instant those eyes turned angry.
“You are Cheyenne Red Wolf? Our new Native American Studies teacher?” Every word was clipped and reflected a fury that was barely held at bay.
She moved away from the bookshelf and resisted the urge to cross her arms defensively over her chest. The animosity rolling off that man was enough to choke her. It was only through sheer willpower that she didn’t cut and run. He took a step toward her and she had to crane her neck to meet his glare. She drew herself up to her tallest possible height which wasn’t much over five foot six in shoes and lifted her chin slightly in answer to his unspoken but clearly heard challenge. Damn! She wished now that she’d worn heels.
Forcing her voice to remain softly calm wasn’t easy. “I am. And you are…?” she coached gently, refusing to retreat as he invaded her personal space with all that hulking, broad-shouldered menace he exuded.
His eyes moved from the copper-penny red hair she’d dragged back into a bun before her first class, all the way down her fuzzy blue cardigan sweater and travel-wrinkled beige linen slacks to her vintage fifties penny loafers, then back with a disbelieving insolence that was as insulting as it was scary. Every nerve in her body screamed at her to take a few steps back and get a desk between them, but she’d be damned if she’d let him intimidate her.
She had no real reason to fear him, after all—it was broad daylight and they were in a school full of—empty classrooms. Oh, shit. As the realization hit her that regular classes had let out over half an hour ago, and most of the teachers were gone for the day, she inhaled slowly and wondered if maybe it might be wiser if she turned tail and sprinted for the still open door.
But her common sense returned after one panicky moment, and she frowned at her own silliness. What the hell was he gonna do? Attack her? He was understandably shocked to find a non-Native American woman teaching a class that should by all rights be taught by a Native American. There were a lot of Native Americans who resented what she did, simply because she was not one of them. Not really. And being one in spirit didn’t quite cut the mustard.
She made a point of glancing at her watch and lifted her eyes back to his face. “I really can’t take time to go over lesson plans right now. If you’ll just tell me which student is yours, I can give you a call tomorrow—”
“There’s been a mistake, Ms. Red Wolf.” The voice was low and controlled.
“A mistake?” She had to work damn hard to keep a tremor of anger out of her own voice.
Those almost-too-damn-sexy-to-be-real lips twisted into a sneer as he seemed to loom even closer in the suddenly airless classroom. “A big one.”
Her breath caught in her throat and she hated the fact that she was shaking under his glare. “If you have a problem with me teaching this class, you’ll need to take it up with Mr. Wyatt or Ms. Running Deer of the school board. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have someone waiting.” A lie was better than letting him think she had no backup here.
“He can keep on waiting.” The clipped statement startled her, but only because it was coupled with another forward movement of that intimidating body that had somehow moved so close she could feel the heat sizzling off him through her clothes.
This guy had absolutely no friggin’ concept of personal space.
She suddenly decided that retreat was entirely acceptable under such unfriendly fire. She took a quick step backward and felt the bite of a wooden desk on the soft flesh of her fanny. The startled gasp she gave seemed to make those nearly black eyes darken even more, and she blushed hotly to have let him know he frightened her. Her temper rose.
When under attack, counter attack, Frank had always said.
“Excuse me—whoever you are—but if you have a complaint about me teaching your child, like I said, take it up with the school board and the principal, who felt I was very well qualified—”
She gave a yelp of shock as a book that had been too close to the edge of the desk she was nearly sitting on fell to the floor with a resounding smack, and she jumped away from the desk automatically, coming into full frontal contact with her tormentor. And he didn’t miss a beat as he caught her around the waist with a pair of lean, strong hands and glared down at her.
His beautiful lip curled. “Just like a woman—trying to use any weapon at hand to avoid the consequences of her actions.” His voice was scathing and she blinked up at him, not getting his meaning.
“Weapon? Consequences? What the hell are you talking about?” she gasped and shoved at his hands without much success as she twisted to try to get free.
“Those weapons.” He hissed a breath inward through his teeth as her hips twisted against his. Her movements brought her generous chest tight against his. His rasping words instantly halted her movements as she realized what he was talking about and her eyes widened in horror, then narrowed in fury. Damn, but the man was blaming her for his own actions now.
“If you will take your hands off me, I will happily remove my weapons from your vicinity,” she hissed, her temper flaring at his insinuation that she was trying to use sex to escape whatever “consequences” he imagined were due her. It didn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to get his meaning and it didn’t take much imagination to realize their confrontation had produced a hard-on from hell on his part. It was jabbing against her belly quite insistently. It had already grown even larger and more dangerous in the several seconds they’d been plastered together.
For a moment, he didn’t respond, and in that tense moment she sensed that he was considering his next response with extreme care. Her incensed glare met his and she waited with lips compressed and indignant fury in her expression. Dark eyes warred with blue. It became a battle of wills as he remained tautly silent, staring down into her furious face without any change in his expression of angry disdain. His hands remained firmly clamped around her body, making it impossible to move away without a struggle, and she’d be damned if she was going to give him his jollies by wiggling and twisting against him to try to get loose again. His hands were long and powerful. The pads of his fingertips rested firmly on the upper swell of her buttocks. The sensations running rampant inside her traitorous pussy were indescribable.
After what felt like hours of silent, glaring antagonism so thick it could easily be cut with a knife, she irritably decided the only way she was going to get him to let go of her was to say something. She slowly drew a shaky breath and spoke in a low, careful tone like one might use when talking to a suicide jumper on a ledge. “How about you and me calling a truce? You take your hands off me, and we’ll both back away. Then maybe you can calmly tell me what the hell you are so damn bent out of shape over.”