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Late Bloomer [MultiFormat]
eBook by Arline Chase

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Being a college freshman at 35 isn't easy for Beth Reily. The last thing she needs is to develope romantic illusions about her professor.

eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net, Published: 1997
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2005

16 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter 1

I dropped the seven (seven!) textbooks required for the Social Economics course on a table at the rear of the university classroom and slid into a chair. I didn't know a darned thing about Social Economics and didn't want to know anything much about it either. But the course counted as three science credits. It was the only science course being given in the evening that semester, and I needed just three more credits of science to finish my degree requirements. This course, if I could pass it, and one in statistical probablilites--a snap for me--would see me with a sheepskin by June.

Half a dozen student types were ranged around the table, already working hard over some papers. At least I wasn't panting and out of breath, but I felt sweaty in the tailored suit I had worn for my weekday job as statistical a clerk in an insurance office.

"You want something?" A dark haired guy sitting on the corner of the instructor's desk interrupted an animated discussion with a hulk in a Harley-Davidson shirt, and a thin dark-haired girl. I shivered when he looked at me. Dressed in jeans and an old sandy colored Desert Storm camouflage jacket, he looked like another older student, probably in college on the GI Bill.

"Room 313? Social Economics?" I gave him my coolest stare. "Dr. Rutledge must be late."

The titter from the other students told me I how wrong I was.

"I'm Rutledge." He picked up a computer print out, turning it over three times before he found the page he wanted. "You must be Beth Reilly. You're late, Mrs. Reilly." He looked from the green bar paper to me. "You want to tell me what the hell you're doing here?"

"Taking a class in Social Economics?" I hoped my face wasn't as stiff and embarrassed as it felt.

Rutledge glared across the room at me, then folded his arms across his chest. "You were not in my Psec. 102 class last semester. Hit the door."

I got to my feet, crossed my own arms, and glared right back. "I'm an open admission student. And I already CLEPed Psych 102, so do I have the required credits. You can't throw me out of here."

"CLEP, huh?" Rutledge made the advanced placement tests sound like a social disease. I'd already come across a number of instructors who had let it be known they disliked the program. Obviously, Rutledge didn't like it.

His next words echoed my thoughts. "I don't approve of giving special privileges to a bunch of late bloomers, Riley." Rutledge got to his feet and walked toward me. His slight limp did nothing to make him seem less of a threat. "Okay, stay. But I promise you, you'll work twice as hard as anybody else, or I'll play hell with your grade point average." He handed me a piece of paper. "Pop quiz for all new students."

I choked back the words of exasperation, sat back down, and started the quiz. Half the words on there I'd never even heard of before. Less than an hour ago, I'd spent all of next week's lunch money and the new pair of running shoes I'd been longing for, on his damned seven textbooks. I needed this degree, and if I was going to graduate, I had no choice but to put up with Rutledge.

My eyes met his and a frisson of excitement made the hairs on my arms stand up. I sighed, and opened the quiz. Too bad he didn't like CLEP. I had already tested out of more than 50 college credits by studying on my own and I wasn't going to apologize for it. Usually, studying a new subject was a matter of learning the jargon well enough to understand what the questions were about. One of the textbooks had a glossary in the back. I settled it into my lap and bent forward, shuffling pages to look up the words I didn't understand from the test while I worked on the quiz.

I could feel Rutledge's eyes watching me, but he said nothing about the open textbook. I felt the hair raise along the back of my neck and a warm feeling where none had been for a long time. Darn. The last thing I needed was to be physically affected by a charismatic, hooded-eyed, psychology professor with a Rambo complex.

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