Part of the Best Erotic Romance of the Year, Volume 1 anthology.

"Fair Game": She's wanted him since the day they met, but he was her student. Now he's graduated and a faculty member at her university, which makes him fair game.

The fourth edition in the Best Erotic Romance series delivers the sexy, sensual, romantic stories readers have come to expect from editor Kristina Wright since the first edition received a starred review and was hailed as “deeply passionate” by Publishers Weekly. The new installment continues a tradition of excellence, with stories from some of the brightest new stars in the genre, including Renee Luke, Malin James, and Crystal Jordan.


“Hello, Gillian.”

She cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear, a surprised smile curling her lips. Her body warmed at the sound of his voice through the line, deep and a little rough. It had been a long time since she’d heard from him. Months. She used to see him in the library at least once a week, and she’d enjoyed it far more than she should have. “Hello, Robert. Or do you want me to call you Dr. Smith now?”

“Robert. You’ll always call me Robert.” As if he realized he’d been a little more forceful than necessary, he cleared his throat. “I only make my students and colleagues I don’t like refer to me by my formal title.”


He’d been in his last year of graduate school when she’d become a librarian at this university. The chemistry had sparked the moment she met him, more intense than anything she’d ever experienced. But there’d been multiple issues that stood between her and the ability to scratch that particular itch. Still, she’d missed having him around since he’d transitioned from grad student to professor.

“Um…You wouldn’t happen to have a moment to see if the library has access to a particular journal article, would you?”

“Of course, let me check for you.” Tapping the keyboard on her computer, she brought up the library’s website and clicked on the proper link. “What’s the journal and article title, what year was it published, and who wrote it?”

“Sorry, I only have a partial citation. It’s from 1987 by a J. Doyle. The Journal of Sexuality. I’m doing some research on female arousal.”

Hearing the words sexuality and female arousal roll off of his tongue made her insides tighten as she typed in the information. She’d had far too many arousing sexual thoughts about him, had wished for a long time that she could turn those fantasies into reality, but she’d never been good at being bold with men and flirting. She’d always been too cautious and too inclined to over think every possible consequence.

So, instead of making a naughty comeback about how she’d like to help him with his investigation into exactly what aroused females—her, specifically—she sighed softly and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “You know how to do these kinds of searches. I showed you.”

“Yeah, you caught me.” He huffed out a laugh. “I was just calling to see how you are.”

Surprised excitement buzzed within her. He was checking up on her. Nice.

“I’m…good.” Maybe she didn’t have to initiate too much; maybe just getting him into her office again was enough. It was a start, right? A slow grin formed on her lips. “We only have that journal in print, down in the lower level stacks. I can pull it for you and photocopy the article. Why don’t you come by and pick it up after your last class today?”

“Come by your office, or are you leaving it at the front desk?” Something in his tone sharpened, made her belly quiver.

“My office.” She squeezed her eyes closed. “I’ve been hoping you’d call with another…request.”


“Yes.” She hesitated, steeled her nerves. “You never come by the library to see me anymore.”

He was silent so long, she wasn’t sure he’d respond at all. “I didn’t think my attentions were welcome.”

“They are,” she said quietly. It was a huge thing to say that out loud, to admit to anyone except herself.

“I thought you were dating someone.”

“We broke up.” She twisted the phone cord around her finger. “Over Christmas break last year.”

Her relationship had withered within six months of moving here, so she could have pursued something with Robert, but why? He was about to graduate and head off for a new job. She’d seen how well she did with long distance and she wasn’t interested in trying again.

“Christmas was ten months ago.” An edge of incredulousness filled his tone. “Why didn’t you tell me? You wanted me—I know you did. And I was crawling the damn walls wanting you. I fantasized about sliding inside of you so often I had a permanent hard-on, and you’re telling me we could have been together all of last semester and you didn’t say a word?”

“No, I didn’t.” She wanted to take offense at his tone, but her mind couldn’t stop repeating fantasized about sliding inside of you. Yes. She wanted that, had since the moment they’d met. “There were a lot of reasons. I wasn’t ready for anything right after and then…”


“You were a student at the university I work for. It just seemed wrong and unprofessional, which isn’t the way to come across during the first year at a job.” She dropped her head into her hand, closing her eyes. “And…and I thought you were going away after you graduated. So, I…”

“I get it.” He sighed into the phone, and the line crackled. “But I didn’t go away. I took a position here. So where does that leave us now?”

“Now.” She sat back in her chair, letting a slow breath ease out. “Come pick up the article and…maybe we can go to dinner?”

There wouldn’t be even a hint of impropriety about dating a faculty member. He was fair game.

And since she was single now, she was fair game, too. If he was still interested.

She hoped he was still very, very interested. She knew she was.