Today, another excerpt from Totem. The heroine, Harper, is racing to tell her dad that her art teacher is recommending her for a scholarship as this scene begins.[Copyright, common decency, mine mine, don’t steal, don’t copy, link if you will, yadda yadda…]
Twenty minutes later Harper raced up the stairs of Lander Hall, not bothering to knock on her father’s partially open office door in her excitement. She pushed open the door, “Dad, I have the best news! I…”
He looked up from where he sat and smiled before inclining his head to point out his visitor.
“Oh sorry. I didn’t know you were with anybody.”
“No problem. Harper, this is Ethan Roarke. He wants to be an undergrad research assistant for me. Ethan, my daughter. I was just telling Ethan about the dig we did in South Dakota at the Lakota settlement. “
Her father’s guest swiveled in his chair, and Harper lost her breath.
In her blood she felt again the beat of drums, saw the flicker of flame across the planes of his face. His eyes, those glittering silver wolf’s eyes, pinned her in place, a captive. The native tongue fell from her lips in a murmur. “I know you.”
“Harper?” The voice—she didn’t know whose—gusted like a cold wind, snuffing out the vision of flames.
She blinked, shook her head a little. What the hell?
Harper realized with utter mortification that she was staring at Ethan Roarke like a love struck loon. How long have I been standing here? she wondered frantically, feeling the blood rush to her cheeks. Oh my God…
“You’re in my anthropology class.” Ethan broke the strained silence, but not eye contact. “Cultural anthropology with Dr. Burke? That’s probably why I look familiar.”
Harper pounced gratefully on the excuse, noting the twitching in his right cheek as he tried to keep a straight face. I will wear a bag over my head the rest of the semester.
“Of course. I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen you before. It’s, uh, nice to meet you, Ethan.” She didn’t dare look at her father to see his reaction to her odd behavior. Curiosity or amusement would be equally embarrassing to deal with.
“Your point about [blah] was brilliant. Burke totally didn’t see that coming.”
Whatever color had faded from her cheeks rushed back, this time in delight.
He noticed me. Oh God, my hair looks like crap today. Why am I worried about my hair? I never worry about my hair. Besides he thinks I’m smart.
Harper was desperate for her sketchpad, for despite the modern clothing, he was rugged and beautiful. Glossy black hair fell across his temple. Straight dark brows highlighted the warrior eyes. He was muscular and lithe as a jungle creature and looked every bit as dangerous. A black T-shirt showed his flat muscled chest to advantage. She couldn’t help but imagine him in a loincloth…
With some effort she jerked her attention back to the conversation.
“…correcting your professor?” asked her father.
“He was wrong,” she stated, shrugging. “It’s probably been at least a decade, if not two, since he’s been in the field. If he’s going to be teaching the class, he should at least be up to date on current research.”
At this Ethan’s lips quirked into a smile. Harper felt her temperature spike a few degrees. Man, if he turned that smile full wattage it’d be lethal. In her peripheral vision, Harper saw her father shaking his head.
“I look forward to an interesting semester,” said Ethan, grinning. A dimple winked in his left cheek.
Oh yeah, lethal weapon.
Harper felt an answering grin tugging at her lips.
Her father cleared his throat, and she jolted.
I have got to get out of here before I embarrass myself any further.
“Dad, I’ll see you at home. Ethan, it was nice to meet you. See you in class.” She began backing out of the office.
Ethan inclined his head and lifted his hand in farewell. “Until we meet again.”
Harper shut the door behind her before she fled down the stairs and out of Lander Hall.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she muttered.
It wasn’t until she was almost to her car that she realized Ethan’s last words had been in the language from her dream.
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