Dr. Collin MacNally was never comfortable with his high society upbringing. Upon graduating from high school, he struck out on his own, finding solace in his American Literature studies and becoming a professor at a small local college. To Collin, all things had their place and there was a reason for everything that occurred. His thoughts on this matter changed radically when he met the new professor of English Literature, Dr. Kelsey Kline. He had never known a woman capable of capturing his heart while simultaneously challenging his mind and permeating his soul. As their romance grows, Collin uncovers Kelsey’s dark past and strives to give her the family and the love she has always wanted, as well as protect her from the madman who haunts her dreams and continues to stalk her every step.
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From Chapter 8 -
The first week of classes was nearing the completion on that the following Wednesday. Collin fixed them each a chef’s salad for supper and they retired to the living room for their nightly ritual. Kelsey strode to the leather sofa and opened her briefcase preparing to examine the papers inside. Collin walked into the room at a slower pace finally reaching one of leather recliners and lowering his tall frame into the soft upholstery. He observed Kelsey remove one of the many papers from the briefcase and begin studying the contents.
“There’s one thing that I’m curious about,” he stated from his comfortable position on the recliner.
“What’s that?” she asked still perusing the paper.
“Why did you choose to study English poets and authors when you could have chosen to study American ones?”
She looked up from her paper and contemplated the question. “Well,” she started pensively. “The English poets are so romantic and passionate. There are kings and queens, murder, and love. I love castles and King Arthur legends. England has so much history. I’ve just always preferred it.”
“And we Americans don’t come with passion and romance?”
“Of course, we do, but it’s not as in depth,” she responded.
“You’ve got to be kidding?”
She smiled at the serious nature of his expression. “You have to admit that few American poets have written the caliber of work that say . . . Coleridge did.” He narrowed his eyes and leaned forward in his chair. “Coleridge?” he asked incredulously. “Oh, yes. Who could ever forget the passion strains of this glorious piece of work.” He cleared his throat dramatically. “It is an ancient mariner and he stoppeth one of three. By thy long gray beard . . .”
Kelsey’s sudden rise from the sofa ceased his recitation. “I’ll have you know that the Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a classic of monumental proportions!”
“It’s a classic something. That much I’ll give you.”
“Two can play at this game, Dr. MacNally. I can’t think of anything that I’d rather study than this little speech,” she declared before reciting the following lines. “It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment, but you must suffer it all eternity.”
Before Kelsey could finish the quotation, Collin rose to his feet. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is one hell of a lot more interesting than that poem about an English urn.”
“It was a Grecian urn and I happen to love Keats!” she fired back.
“Keats, Coleridge, and Shelley can be summed up in one word, my dear.”
She paused a moment and put her hands firmly on her hips. “You had better be very careful about the selection of that one word, darling,” she warned.
Collin was on a roll. He had never been this turned on in his life. “Drivel, honey. They wrote drivel.”
Kelsey’s jaw fell open in utter shock. “How dare you? They were passionate men who wrote some of greatest lines in literary history. I suppose you prefer dry and boring works like Moby Dick and Billy Bud?”
“Well, at least, I don’t waste my time reading Donne and Pound or that titillating novel Oliver Twist!”
“I’m sure you would much rather while away the hours reading the exciting works of Stephan Crane or a stimulating poem about Birch trees.” Collin’s voice became still and extremely controlled. “Robert Frost is off limits to this conversation.”
“I see. You can make fun of the likes of Shelley and Keats, but when I mention that wonderful bard I get subtly threatened.”
“That’s because Shelley and Keats deserve to get made fun of. People have been making fun of those two for decades,” he remarked with growing desire. He had never known a woman that could make him this livid and this impassioned at the same time. He wanted her badly.
“You can not tell me that there’s not at least one poem by an English poet that you don’t like. There has to be at least one! Even I admitted to loving Poe the other day, so now it’s your turn to be honest. There has to be at least one.”
Collin thought about the challenge for a few moments before the poem she requested came to mind. His desire was on his lips and slowly went to his eyes. He knew she recognized the change because she backed up a couple of steps and sat back down on the sofa from the mere force of it. “You know, now that you mention it, there is one poem by an English poet that I like. One,” he emphasized.
She swallowed hard before asking, “Which one?”
Collin stared into her light brown pools and smiled at the fire within them. With passion clearly interlaced in his voice, he continued.
“She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes,
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heavens to gaudy day denies.”
He paused long enough to knell before her and took her hands into his.
“One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express How pure, how dear their dwelling place.”
Collin watched in delight as the shutters of desire claimed her. She wants me, he thought excitedly. Her hands began exploring the length of his chest and her soft brown eyes were on fire as he finished the poem in a soft whisper.
“And on the cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell the days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.”
Kelsey stared into his eyes unable to break away from the spell he had cast upon her. His passionate reading had left her breathless. “I . . . love Lord Byron.”
Collin raised her hands to his lips and lightly kissed each palm. “Tell me you want me, Kelsey.”
Her pulse was racing, but she knew it had nothing to do with panic or fear. “I want you, Collin,” she responded in a barely audible breathless tone.
“I’ll make it good for you. I promise. Let me make love to you. Please.”
The beseeching quality of his voice betrayed his need. She couldn’t deny that the same need was now running rampant in her own body. She had a craving desire to know what it was to be loved. To truly be loved. The words of the reverend came glaringly into her mind. Love involves risk, he had said. Without love, she would never really be alive. “I want you, Collin. I . . . want you to make love to me.”