The Professor’s Secret Crush by Elana Johnson

This darkly sweet romance from USA Today bestselling author, Elana Johnson, will have you flipping pages until you learn every last, delicious secret. 

She's about to break her university's rules and date a student… Come to the dark side, where the romance is still sweet.

Cassandra Caldwell wants one thing: to keep her twin brothers safe. After her mother's death, she took them in and relocated to Forbidden Lake, where she's done whatever she could to keep them off the radar of their convict father. She's working two jobs, including as a culinary instructor at the local college, when she finds out he's out on parole. As if she isn't stressed enough, when a man enrolls in her special needs course and refuses to transfer out, Cassie wonders if she should just take her brothers and leave town. Again.

But she's tired of running, and Jonathan Addler is drop-dead gorgeous—and good in the kitchen. But the college has had a recent student-teacher scandal and a relationship with him is strictly forbidden…at least if Cassie wants to keep her job. She does, but she also wants Jon, badly.

Jon originally signed up for the introductory cooking class to impress another woman and get one step closer to graduating to impress his father. But the moment he lays eyes on Cassie, he's smitten. Any risk is worth being with her, and they agree to keep their budding romance on the down-low.

The way down-low, especially once Cassie gets notified that she's up for a promotion at the college that would allow her to give up her second job. As she and Jon carry on their relationship behind closed doors, he falls harder and harder for her. But she can't really commit to a relationship when she has emergency escape bags packed and in the trunk of her car.

Can Jon convince her Forbidden Lake is safe and to stay with him? Or will she run again, shattering her heart—and his—in the process?

On my goodness! The Professor's Secret Crush has all the romance I've come to expect from Elana Johnson's books but with an added mix of mystery and a tense situation to keep me on the edge of my seat. I wish I could say more but I don't want to spoil the surprise of the story. Just know that Cassie and Jon are a wonderful couple with many challenges to their relationship. Do yourself a favor and read this book!” ~ Elsie Weihrauch


Read an Excerpt:

The clock ticked to five, and she strode to the front of the room, saying, “All right, it’s time to begin. Let’s start with the roll. Let me know you’re here when I call your name.” She went down the list, trying to memorize the name that went with each face as the students indicated they were here.

“So we’re missing Jonathan Addler,” she said, glancing around. At that moment, the door in the back opened again, and a man stepped inside.

He clearly did not have special needs, unless drop-dead gorgeous made the list of handicaps one might suffer from. And he definitely wasn’t suffering.

He wore a crisp pair of jeans and a polo the color the cherries would be in the summer. His dark hair swooped to the side like he’d just gotten off the set of an action movie where he rode a motorcycle along the beach.

There was a beach here, so maybe he had.

Cassie’s heart pinged around inside her chest, and she didn’t even know why. She’d met good-looking men before. Dated a few. Kissed a couple.

He ran his hand down his face, where he wore a neatly trimmed beard, as he glanced around and then to her. “Here,” he said, an arrogant smile curving his mouth.

Wow, what a mouth.

Cassie tore her gaze from his lips and cleared her throat. “Jonathan Addler?” she asked.

He strode over to the only empty station and sat on the stool like everyone else, his smile moving from arrogance to curiosity the longer she stared at him. He really was going to stay. She glanced around at the other students. Half of them were looking at her, and the other half watched Jonathan.

She put her clipboard down and cocked her head toward the office door to her left. “Can I speak with you for a moment?”

“Am I in trouble already?” he asked. “I was five minutes late.”

“Now,” she said, marching over to her office and waiting for him to enter in front of her. Closing herself in a tighter space with this delicious male specimen wasn’t her greatest idea. Or maybe it was. She wasn’t exactly thinking straight at the moment. Not with all that pine tree, musky goodness now filling her nose.

The door clicked closed behind her, and Cassie wondered what in the blazes she was doing. Hadn’t another professor just been fired for having a relationship with a student?

Yes! her mind screamed. Open the door!

But she couldn’t have this conversation with him in front of the other students. She cracked the door and glanced over her shoulder. With the large window, she could see several other students, which meant they could see her too.

“This is a special needs course, Jonathan,” she said as quietly as she could.

“Jon,” he said.

She blinked and employed her patience. “Okay. Jon. This is a special needs course. For students with special needs.”

“I have a special need,” he said.

She folded her arms. “You do?”

“Yeah, I need to take this class.”

Annoyance surged through her at the same time desire made her head swim. She had some needs too, but that didn’t mean she did whatever she wanted. He couldn’t either.

“Well, you don’t have a mental disability,” she said. “This course is for students with mental disabilities. It will be rather slow and dull for someone like you.” She let her eyes wander down the length of his body and back.

When her gaze met his again, she realized she’d given away too much.

“Someone like me?” he asked, his dark eyes flashing dangerously.

A thrill ran through her, but she tamped it down. She could not start a relationship with a student. Oh, no. She could not. She needed this job if she ever wanted to sleep through the night again. Number two, she wasn’t dating anyone until the twins were adults and on their own. She’d promised her mother she’d make sure Lars and Kyle were taken care of until then.

And that meant she didn’t have time to be flirting or dating or building a relationship with a guy.

“You’ll have to transfer out,” she said, her voice not quite as strong as she’d like it to be.“The other sections are all full.”

“So you thought you could just sign up for this one?”

“I just registered last week. I’m not taking anyone’s spot.”

“You don’t know that.” She shook her head, doubt trickling through her. Don’t be ridiculous, she told herself. Jon couldn’t stay in the class. Her supervisor had only allowed this class after Cassie had promised to only take special needs students in it.

“Sorry, Mister Addler.” She twisted the knob behind her though the door was already cracked and stepped into the kitchen.

“All right, guys,” she said, finding her thoughts on what their first lesson was. “We’re going to start with something really basic, but really important.” She indicated the supplies on the counter in front of them. “You each have a bottle of oil. Put a little bit in your hands and rub them together. Be sure to get all over the front, and back, and in between all your fingers.”

Cassie smiled at the girl nearest her, who didn’t have any qualms about greasing herself up, just as Cassie had asked.

She didn’t miss the fact that Jon did not leave the kitchen. He went right back to his station and followed her directions too, looking at her expectantly for the next instruction.

Her blood boiled, and she wasn’t sure if it was for the right reason or not.