Chapter 1

Professor Alexander Rodgers was furiously typing away on his laptop at the University library. Silly coed whispers surrounded him as he worked hard to meet his latest deadline but pay attention to them he did not. If he didn't get this rough draft into his publisher by the end of tonight, he could only hope there would be hell to pay. Because the wrath of Gina Cowell, boy, does he not want to think about that. The last time he exceeded his Monday deadline—well let's just say, he still has nightmares.

"Hi Professor!"

"How are you doing Professor Rodgers?"

"Looking good today, Professor R.!"

Damn, these students. Yes yes, hi hi. Rodgers politely waved back without lifting his eyes from the screen. He loved his students, dearly, but when there's a deadline approaching, he can't afford to think of them as anything more than white noise. Maybe he shouldn't have chosen to work somewhere quite so public and distracting—his tiny corner office would've been much quieter—but he has a class to teach in, gosh, twenty minutes, and the library was the closest place to his lecture hall that he could think of. Normally, he loved wandering the halls of the old library. It had a history about it, rich in creamy colors, and the shelves were built directly into the walls. The desks it housed and the one he sat working on, are beautiful—dark Oak wood, showing off small scrapes and scratches from years of wear and tear. But resilient they stand and the overall ambiance of the library is simply inspiring.

Sadly, it doesn't look like the library is encouraging him to write like the muse he's always known it to be. For months now, he's been struggling with meeting this specific deadline. Normally, the words just come to him. But lately, Derrick Storm, his star protagonist … he's just become so predictable. Writing Storm used to be fun, but now, it just feels like another job on top of his already pressing career as a university professor. Rodgers gave out a sigh as he quickly struck out the final words to his manuscript:

"She stood there in stunned disbelief as the light in his eyes dimmed. He reached out for her and she took his hand, squeezing it for the very last time. She felt her heart stop a beat, and in that moment, she knew he was gone. Darkness fell across the face of the city, and across her face as well. 'Good,' she thought, as the wind gathered up her hair. 'No one will see my tears.'"

Derrick Storm is dead. The end. He just killed off his lead protagonist in his best selling series of novels. There should be a sense of regret or even accomplishment but, crap, he doesn't have the time to process that. He only has five minutes to spare before he has to go teach an introductory English 101 course to about 300 pimply-faced freshmen and snoozing seniors. At least these kids are easier to charm than his more mature, and smaller, comparative literature seminar. They would definitely give him grief if he walked in a little late.

So he quickly packed up his laptop and the scattered pieces of paper on the desk before him and stuffed it all into his shoulder bag. Swiping the empty coffee cup on the edge of the table, he skirted the end and almost ran to the double doors leading outside to his lecture hall across the open lawn. As he pushed the doors open, he was too preoccupied from throwing his coffee cup in the bin by the doors to realize he had effectively jogged into an unfortunately unsuspecting individual. With his larger bulk and frame, the person he ran into was immediately knocked back; regrettably for him, said person has the reflexes of a cat and chose to cling to him as s/he fell backwards.

With the laws of physics working against him—and this is why he's an English enthusiast, not science—he felt himself tip forward. Steadying his balance like a dancer dipping his partner, he instinctively gripped the waist and neck of the victim of his casualty and rested said victim upon his knee. His reward for such a show of dance competition worthy skills? A pair of brilliant green-brown eyes stared back at him.

Gorgeous. That was all he could think of. He works with words day in and day out, but that was the only adjective that came to mind.

He doesn't know how long he leaned there with the woman in his arms, for now that he got a good look at her, he could tell the luckless soul he ran into was a woman. And a beautiful one at that. Golden brown curly locks flowed behind her and from his grip on her neck, he could tell she had the softest hair he ever touched. The beeping on his watch sadly brought him back to reality, as it just announced to him his class had started without him.

"Crap! My students!"

"Thanks, Romeo, but as I've been trying to tell, you can let go of me now."


"Didn't you hear me? Honestly, that bump couldn't have rattled you as much as it did me. I asked if you can let me go so I can get my things," the mysterious woman impetuously remarked back.

"Wha? I'm sorry…" Rodgers promptly stood her upright and released her from his hold.

"Thank you," she replied simply and immediately stooped down to retrieve her fallen items.

Feeling partially—okay, maybe entirely—at fault, Rodgers bent down to help her gather her things. He may have physically let her go of her but she still had a hold on him. He couldn't stop looking at the curiosity before him as he blindly collected the various folders and books in front of him. She was dressed simply—in a buttoned up black peacoat that didn't quite meet her knees, to emphasize the long legs currently adorned with gray slacks. All that completed by a pair of sturdy yet very sexy heels. Who was this woman?

"Hey be careful with that!"

In his absent-minded admiration of the enigma before him, he carelessly dragged one of the fallen books towards him, scraping it against the harsh concrete floor. Looking down to see what precious item he grabbed to make this woman exclaim out so suddenly, he found himself confronted by a Richard Castle novel—Flowers for Your Grave, one of his earlier works.

Before Rodgers really had any time for a reaction, the book and consequently the other folders he picked up, were out of his hands and back in the belongings of its rightful owner. Seeing her stand, he quickly got up and brushed the quiet dirt from his jeans.

"Uhh," he attempted, but she cut him off with her pointed look before he could think of an introduction.

"Thank you for your assistance but didn't you say something about your students?"

"Oh my god, my students. I'm late for my class!" Panic would be an understatement for what graced Rodger's face as he realized—damn, his watch can't be right, it must've broken during their tussle—he's ten minutes late for his class! "I'm so sorry, I have to run!"

As elegantly as he could, he hobbled down the short steps and sprinted the short distance to his lecture hall across the way. He could hear the snickering behind him as he ran, shoulder bag bopping along, but the only thought on his mind now was his students. His moonlighting career as the bestselling novelist, Richard Castle, is enough to pay the bills but he quite likes his day job as a professor. He very much would like to not be fired from it for playing hooky from class, flirting with a stranger.