All Bets are Off

by Marguerite Labbe

All Bets are Off - Marguerite Labbe
Editions:Kindle: $ 5.39
ISBN: B006K1KNZU
Pages: 280
Paperback: $ 16.99
ISBN: 1613722516
Pages: 280

It only takes one night with Ash Gallagher to make Eli Hollister think he’s finally met the right man at the right time. Good thing he doesn’t bet on it, because Ash turns out to be a student in Eli’s class at the local college. Eli can’t deny he’s attracted, but now it’s complicated. He’s already in enough trouble with the department head, a man who would like to see Eli denied his tenure and fired.

Ash is looking forward to taking his life in a new direction. After serving one active-duty stint in the Marine Corps and another in the Reserves, he’s ready to put his military life behind him. The last new experience he’d planned for this semester was to fall in lust with his English professor, but the more Eli resists, the more Ash is determined to have him. Then he discovers Eli’s playing for keeps, and Ash is only interested in a fling... or is he? Between these two, when it comes to life and love, all bets are off.

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Excerpt:

Ash hurried past rain-lashed gray windows toward the murmur of voices. Low, cushy chairs had been pulled into a circle near an old fireplace that had been fitted with glass and had an electric fire installed. Warm light danced behind the glass, and Ash’s steps quickened again as he noticed that all the chairs but one were taken.

“It’s only five minutes after.” Ash slowed at the sound of the familiar voice. He stared at the back of Eli’s head, his long, auburn hair caught back in a tie at the back of his neck. The last time he’d seen Eli, it had tumbled about his shoulders in a sex-tangled mess. Right before he embarrassed himself by passing out like a tipsy prom date.

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Holy fuck. He froze and rubbed a hand over his damp hair. He’d definitely intended on looking Eli up and apologizing later on today. He just had an opportunity to do it sooner, now. And this was not the old, boring professor he’d been expecting. A grin broke out across his face as he stepped closer.

“It looks like we’re only waiting for Ashley,” Eli said, leaning back in his chair. “We’ll just give her a few more minutes since it’s particularly nasty outside this afternoon.”

Ash bit back a groan. “Only my mama dares call me that. I prefer Ash.”

Eli’s head whipped around, his eyes widening and lips parting in pure astonishment. Ash gave him an apologetic smile, hoping that expression wouldn’t change to one of disdain. The stunned look in those blue-gray eyes flashed to desire then to an “oh shit” look as Eli seemed to realize that Ashley was not the girl he’d been expecting, but the man he’d been naked with the night before.

Well, at least Ash hadn’t completely blown his chances with Eli, not if that brief flash of heat meant what Ash thought it did. He grinned as his day went from crap to “oh hell yeah.” He strolled around the chairs to the empty one directly across from Eli and took a seat, stretching his legs out in front of him. His opinion on having to take an English class went up a hundred notches.

He was aware of the other students looking at him, but he only had eyes for Eli. “I apologize for being late,” he drawled, as amusement over their situation struck him. “Unexpected room change.”

Two faint spots of color appeared on Eli’s cheeks and the corners of his mouth twitched as if he were fighting a smile. “That is my fault. I prefer a more intimate setting for my smaller classes. I figured it would be a more comfortable place to meet and have discussions than a classroom. And since you all are going to be doing the majority of your research in here, I wanted to show everyone how to access the online archives.”

I like intimate settings. Ash pressed his lips together before he said the comment that flashed into his mind. He had to behave, but oh, was it going to be hard when he knew very well how good Eli was at bantering right back at him.

Eli had said he was a teacher, but for some reason with his laidback, easygoing attitude, Ash had pictured him teaching little ones. Like kindergarten or first grade. He’d never met a professor who had long hair, rode a motorcycle, and hung out at sports bars. Ash let his gaze drift over Eli. Judging from the way he kept shuffling his papers, not quite looking at him, Ash was sure that seeing him in his class was the last thing Eli had expected. Ash hadn’t seen him anything but confident and this hint of uncertainty on Eli’s face was kinda cute. Unless it meant that Eli regretted last night, and that
thought didn’t settle well with Ash at all.

“Well, then, now that we’re all here….” Eli cleared his throat and slipped on a pair of gold-rimmed glasses as he looked down at the stack of papers in his lap. “Why don’t we take a few minutes to look at the syllabus? Then we can discuss what you’re looking to get out of this class and get to know one another a bit before calling it an early day.”

There were so many things that Ash wanted to say with an opening like that and none of them were appropriate.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Marguerite has been accused of being eccentric and a shade neurotic, both of which she freely admits to, but her muse has OCD tendencies, so who can blame her? She loves writing stories about the beauty of love with all of its fascinating quirks and the strength of family, whether it’s the family you’re born into or the one you create. Marguerite was born in New Hampshire, grew up as a military brat, moving from one end of the U.S. to the other before settling down in Southern Maryland. She married her next-door neighbor and best friend, and they have one son and two cats who rule them. To her dismay, she has failed to convince her Alabama born husband to move north, where being a passionate Red Sox fan is perfectly normal. She runs Apocrypha Comics Studio with her husband and they often trek off to comic book conventions on the weekend where they celebrate all manner of geek culture. In her spare time she loves reading novels of all genres, enjoying a table top role-playing games with her friends, many which end up on the Role With Us podcast, and finding really good restaurants where she can indulge in her love of food and wine.