I’ll start by saying that it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything like this. I’ve been occupied by Erotic Romance and New Adult genres and now all I know is steam or angst… this book provided something completely different. I hesitate calling the story beautiful because there were not many happy bits to it… but the beauty was there – in the story telling, in the author’s ability to immerse me into the story… not knowing where it will go, but dying to find out.
This is the story of Luke, a High School English teacher. Luke has had a life filled with loss and disappointment… much more than most people his age get to experience. But he’s content now – a job he loves and Holly – a friend with benefits 😉 Things are ok for him, until April, the new substitute teacher arrives. Luke feels this intense pull to April, and even though she’s married, he can’t help himself.. he wants her. So he finds himself caught between the forbidden and the familiar…
I really enjoyed Luke’s story. For a number of reasons. The first I mentioned above and the second being that the book is written by a male author in a male POV. I’m not sure I can remember ever reading a romance novel written by a man… it was quite interesting to be in the mind of a man… which was surprisingly much like my own 🙂 I also found Luke so likeable… I mean he’s gone through a lot but I didn’t sit there feeling sorry for him… I mostly liked his sense of humour – I paused a lot to laugh which made me feel as if my friend was telling me his story. There are just some books I enjoy that way. That even though they’re sad, they make me feel almost nostalgic… give me some sort of calm. Weird maybe
But back to the story… Luke is now caught in some sort of weird love triangle. Though Holly has never technically been his girlfriend, and though April is still married, he finds that he has to choose. But it’s also not a given that whoever he chooses will choose him. Though I loved that he had all that chemistry with April, I was definitely rooting for Holly. Not just because April was married but mostly because Holly was such a sweet, genuine girl…
I loved this story. I loved the pace, the storytelling, the characterization… it was just different from the overly steamy or overly angsty books I read. I liked not being able to guess the direction the story would take. And absolutely loved the surprises along the way…
Amazon Buy Link – Thou Shalt Not by JJ Rossum
My eyes may or may not have closed for a moment or two when I heard the classroom door open. The sound seemed to come from a faraway land and jolted me upright.
“April,” I said, hoping she hadn’t realized I was dozing.
Who was I kidding? I was sure she had.
“Luke,” she said, walking toward my desk.
It was more of a saunter, and it was slightly sensual.
Maybe it seemed that way in my head. But, April looked even sexier than she had earlier in the day when I had entertained my teacher fantasy.
Her lipstick was a fierce red, and it matched her fingernails. I hadn’t noticed them earlier, only her lips. But now, the red seemed more vibrant. It stood out against her pale skin.
And I could have sworn she had undone one of the buttons of her white blouse.
Damn, I think I might be waking up.
“Did the putrid pupils run you from the lunchroom too?”
“No,” she said, stopping at one of the student’s desks and placing her hand down on it. “I actually lost most of my sense of smell as a child.”
My face surely registered shock.
“Oh my god, seriously?” I asked, unable to hide my incredulity. “I’m so sorry.”
Stupid, insensitive me. Always chewing on my feet.
April just stood there for a moment, looking a little sad and contemplative.
Then she started laughing.
“Of course I’m not serious,” she said. “Those kids smelled like rotting fish.”
I just shook my head and ignored the fact that she made me feel guilty about her little ruse.
“We have tried to start to a petition to keep the kids from having to run miles before defiling the lunchroom. No such luck yet.”
“Well, you will absolutely have my signature on that petition,” she said. “But, I will need a pen to sign it. Which brings me to the reason I’m here. I need to borrow a pen.”
“First you try to mock my sense of compassion, and now you want to borrow my stuff??”
More head shaking.
I scoured my desk for an acceptable pen. I had a habit of chewing pens and pen caps, when I didn’t have toothpicks available.
I couldn’t see a single good pen on my desk.
I opened up the drawer and searched. Nothing.
There was a table behind my desk, mostly covered in papers. I turned around in my chair to look there.
Finally, I found a Bic that appeared to be untouched by my teeth. It actually looked new.
But what a boring fucking pen. I was mildly embarrassed. As a teacher, I took a little pride in the supplies I had in my room. I always seemed to find cool versions of everyday classroom items. My stapler looked like the skull of a T-Rex, mostly because I was obsessed with Jurassic Park.
And, now, the prettiest woman in the building was asking me for a pen, and the best I was going to be able to give her was a boring-ass Bic.
“This is all I’ve got,” I said, turning back toward her. “It’s just this stupid…”
April hands were resting on the front of my desk, and she was leaning over it toward me. She had absolutely unbuttoned one of her top buttons, and her shirt hung open slightly. I could see down her blouse, the tops of her breasts visible. I couldn’t have resisted staring even if there had been a gun to my head. I’m sure my eyes got big. And I was sure she noticed.
“A stupid what?” she said, lowering herself onto her arms, giving me an even better look had I been looking.
Which I obviously was.
“Uh, just this plain Jane Bic,” I said, forcing myself to look at her face.
God, her lips were amazing. I wanted her red lips on every part of my body.
Fuck, I was getting hard.
“What was wrong with these?” she asked, gesturing toward the few mangled pens on my desk.
She hadn’t moved from her position. If someone had walked into the classroom, they would have seen her bent over my desk.
The view might almost be as good as this one.
Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts.
“I have a bad habit of chewing my pens,” I admitted. “It’s not something I’m proud of.”
She feigned horror.
“Bad Luke,” she said. “Certain things belong in your mouth, but I’m pretty sure pens don’t.”
“Well, this one hasn’t seen my mouth, so you’re in luck,” I said, handing the pen over.
She stuck her tongue out at me as she took the pen, her hand seeming to linger on mine ever so slightly.
God, her hand was soft.
God, her tongue was long.
“I didn’t know people over the age of six still stuck their tongues out,” I said.
“I have two small children,” she reminded me. “I stick my tongue out all I want.”
She did it again. But this time she took my pen and laid it across the tip of her tongue.
She smiled, and I swear she curled her tongue in, pulling the pen toward her lips.
I never imagined this in any teacher fantasy of mine. But, holy fuck.
I could see lipstick on the pen.
Luckiest Bic ever.
Then, she took the pen and slid it into the side of her mouth, long ways, like the world’s luckiest toothpick. Or dick.
Yeah, my mind definitely wasn’t thinking toothpick.
“Thank you Luke,” she said, pen still in her mouth. “I’ll bring it back to you when I’m done with it.”
I just nodded. Words weren’t going to come out coherently.
She stood up straight, stretching her arms back and pointing her chest in my direction.
If I were a teenager, I would have already masturbated ten times to this fantasy. I will later masturbate ten times to this fantasy.
“God, I’m tired,” she said. “Maybe I’ll come visit your couch after school.”
She smiled again, her eyes dancing. Then she turned and walked out of the classroom.
The bell rang. And I was rock hard.
JJ Rossum traveled the world as a child, and called many places “home”. Currently, home is Portland, Oregon, where he is at work on other novels that were hatched while people watching during many airport layovers.
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/JJRossumauthor
Goodreads Page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7181782.J_J_Rossum
Goodreads Book Link https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18220354-thou-shalt-not?from_search=true
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