HARD LOVIN' MAN
Pocket Star Book, 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Following the death of their parents, Kelley Spencer and her sixteen year old sister Madison move back to her hometown of Hopeful, Texas. Kelley finds a job teaching at the local high school and tries to rein in her rebellious little sister. One night Madison sneaks out of the house and goes to the small town watering hole, but the police chief discovers she is underage and calls her guardian to come pick her up at the station. When Kelley walks into the station she is stunned to find Hopeful's police chief is none other than Jack Morgan.
Nine years earlier, Jack was a high school bad boy who fell in love with his teacher. Twenty-two year old Kelley Spencer made it clear to Jack that she would not become involved with a student. He would have to stay in school and graduate before she would even consider going out with him. On graduation night he came calling on Ms. Spencer, but when his prom date, Stephanie, names him as father of her unborn child, Kelley insists that he do the right thing. Now nine years later, they have one more chance to get things right, but there are many obstacles that could destroy their chance for happiness together.
HARD LOVIN' MAN is a complex, almost soap-opera style, tale. There is a lot going on in this story, including a secret baby and paternity issues, and it is a credit to Lorraine Heath's writing ability that she pulls it off so well. I was a little put off by the possibility of a teacher becoming involved with a student, but things are not what they seem and these characters are written with a great deal of depth and dimension. The turning points of this story are very emotional and deal with some difficult subjects, but taken as a whole, this was a very enjoyable read. The sequel, SMOOTH TALKIN' STRANGER (April 2004), features Jack Morgan's next door neighbor Serena Hamilton.
December 2004 Review
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