Their Rigid Rules, the 3rd book and prequel in The Chemical Attraction Series, can be read first or last in the series.
Taylor Valentine, a senior at Western Michigan University, has had her life planned out since kindergarten. After her parents died while she was still in high school, she had perfected it to make them proud. Now with the help of her best friends, Joe and Eva, she focuses on graduation and a career with romance in the far distant future. However, when the visiting professor enters the lecture hall to a four-weekend Civil War seminar, her perfect plan hits a snag.
As a handsome history professor and former marine, Dr. Stuart Morgan has his own set of strict rules especially with infatuated students. He enjoys his boring yet pleasant life until he starts receiving death threats. With his unwanted bodyguard in tow, Stuart is unnerved by his reaction to Taylor. Their rigid rules discourage all but a flirtation.
As the death threats become evident, the FBI believes Taylor’s the culprit, hindering their budding romance. When Taylor inadvertently becomes the target, Joe and Stuart whisk her away to protect her. Meanwhile, Joe struggles with his feelings for Taylor. He’s loved her since grade school. He won’t let her go and stands in Stuart’s way. The men push her to choose between the lifelong love of her best friend and the true love of her new boyfriend.
With the threats from family and foe pulling them apart, Stuart wonders if they can sustain the stress. Trusting their love, he must somehow convince Taylor to break her rules and embrace a new plan.
TAYLOR WALKED TOWARD THE END of the bar and saw Eva in her seat next to the professor. She grimaced at her sudden twinge of jealousy. Talking to people, especially guys, came easy to Eva. Once, she had Eva teach her how to flirt. It came off embarrassingly fake. As a result, she left the hair twisting and eyelash fluttering to the pros, like Eva and Cindy. Taylor loved Eva like a sister so why would she care that men liked her better? She had her plan, and she’s only talking football, and, jeez, he’s her professor. She sat on the other stool closest to the TV. Looking back at her, Eva grinned. Frowning, Taylor switched their beer mugs and averted her eyes to hide her hurt feelings.
Eva laughed. “Settle down,” she whispered to her. “I’m going to give Joe hell for making us watch on this tiny screen. He just walked in.” She leaned closer. “He’s all yours.”
Stunned, she choked on her mouthful of beer. Was she that easy to read? Sips from now on, she told herself. Don’t make a fool of yourself in front of your professor. Dr. Morgan moved to Eva’s stool to be closer — to her or to the TV? God, she needed to calm down. Blowing out a breath, she pushed her mug away. She tried to focus on the game.
“I hope the coach told special teams to stay in their lanes. I don’t want to get burned again like last week,” she said.
“Hey, you want another pitcher?” Johnny asked, already grabbing the empty one.
“Coke for me. I have class tomorrow, and the professor has me taking a ton of notes,” she replied with a smirk.
“Make it two,” Dr. Morgan said to him. He grinned and leaned toward her ear. “I heard he likes giving essay tests, too.”
She smiled at the intimacy. His warm breath on her ear made her body rigid with awareness. She didn’t dare lose herself in his gaze. After the game, she grabbed her bag and jacket. Dr. Morgan followed her out the door. She zipped her jacket against the chilly afternoon. All of the leaves had turned brown and created a wet, slippery layer across the sidewalk. She walked with care.
“Are you on campus?” he asked beside her.
“Yeah, Burke’s Hall. Where are you staying?”
“The guest apartments for visitor speakers and professors who want to stay on campus.”
“I’m going that way, too,” she said, secretly happy to be with him a little longer.