Authors: Helena Hunting
The Librarian Principle
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are all products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locals, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright (c) 2014 Helena Hunting
All rights reserved
Published by Helena Hunting
Cover art design by Shannon Lumetta
Cover art image
Formatting by LJ Anderson of
Mayhem Cover Creations
Editing by Jessica Royer Ocken
Proofing With Style
Except as permitted under the US Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.
For my husband. You are the best.
Filets, you are the warmest hugs, the best cheerleaders and the most amazing friends. I’m so glad I have you.
Deb, you are made of win. I adore you. Nina, I still owe you a sequin cape. It’ll be pink. Shannon, you design the best covers, squishy hugs.
Anne, Alex, Kris, Kathy and Danielle, this marked the first trip round the editing track. Yours will always be the voices I hear when I’m making changes!
Jessica, working with you has been amazing. Thank you for polishing up my words and putting the commas in all the right places. Midian, you are a doll, and I love you. Ryder is yours! Mayhem, you make the insides so pretty.
To my 101 girls, I never would have been able to navigate this whole process without you. I’m honored to be part of such a special group of women. Liv and Daisy, thank you for holding my hand, for helping me figure out what in the world I’m doing, and for being my friends. Marla, I’m so glad I got to work with you!
To my HH Street Team and my Locker Room ladies, you’re the best. I’m so glad I have such amazing readers.
As always, to my fandom friends, I’m blessed to have you and honored that you’re coming along for this ride.
Annaliese Harper approached the threshold of the ornate library, a live wire of anxiety and anticipation. In mental preparation, she’d donned her mask of fake composure and steeled herself against the inevitable onslaught of awkward introductions. Still, nervous tension twisted her gut as she checked out the staff of Fullerton Academy of Higher Learning from the safety of the hall.
Before she could make her move, Liese’s phone chimed in her purse, the volume loud enough to startle her. She whirled from where her colleagues were gathered, muttering a cleaned-up curse. The cavernous hallway had amazing acoustics, judging by the impressive echo of her heels on the marble floor. She glanced over her shoulder, but no one seemed to have noticed the noise.
She rooted around in her purse and located the device; palming the phone, she muted the volume before it could chime again. Too wound up to head back toward the library straight away, she keyed in her password and clicked on the message. An image appeared on the tiny screen.
“Oh my God,” Liese snorted. She slapped her palm over her mouth to stop from laughing aloud as she gawked at the photoshopped image. In a perverse gesture of camaraderie, her best friend had sent an
picture of Liese’s new boss, the incredibly attractive principal at FAHL, Ryder Whitehall. The face, at least, was his, but based on the substantial endowment hanging a little to the left, the body belonged to a porn star. She couldn’t wait to get home to view the full-screen version in her email.
“Ms. Harper?” The voice came from behind her.
She jumped and fumbled with her phone. In a protective, graceless move, she clutched it to her chest for a moment before frantically punching the off button. She shoved it back in her purse and turned to find the principal in question standing mere feet away.
Her eyes were level with his chest, and his brilliant red tie seemed to function as an arrow, pointing down to where she shouldn’t be looking. Despite herself, Liese took a moment to appreciate the fit of his suit and the way it hugged the long, muscular lines of his body. His shirt had to be tailored with the way it pulled across his chest, highlighting broad shoulders that tapered into a narrow waist. She imagined he must be cut under all those clothes, a thought she knew she shouldn’t ruminate on overly much.
She looked up; at five-foot-seven Liese wasn’t particularly short, but her principal had a good six inches on her, forcing her to tilt her head back to make eye contact. She made a concerted effort to keep her eyes on his face, lest her gaze wander lower, her mind still stuck on the pornographic image she’d been ogling.
Not that looking at his face was a problem. His eyes were a vibrant, rather mesmerizing shade of aquamarine, sucking her in. His short, dark hair was neatly styled, and Liese had the inexcusable desire to run her fingers through and mess it up. The straight line of his nose contrasted sharply with the soft, full curve of his lips.
“Mr. Whitehall, hi, hello.” Liese cringed internally at the high, edgy tenor of her voice.
Mr. Whitehall leaned in, close enough that she could feel the apocalyptic heat he emitted. “It’s just Ryder unless there are students present, Ms. Harper.” His amused smile should have helped relax her, but it flustered her more. As did his proximity.
“Right, of course, Ryder.”