Amazon link- Hard Lovin' Man
Nine years ago in the town of Hopeful, Kelley was a high school English teacher and Jack was her student. There was an instant attraction between Kelley and Jack. When she visits his home to talk to his parents about his academics, not only does she find out he lives by himself, but Jack puts on the moves on Kelley- hard. After some heavy petting and words between each other, Kelley tells Jack that she is his teacher and this is can not go on.
Fast forward nine years. Kelley moves back to her home town of Hopeful to raise her sister, Madison. Their parents were killed in a car accident 18 months earlier and Kelley is now Madison's legal guardian. Madison is a rebellious young teenager. Kelley feels Madison is spiraling out of control and if they move back home to a small town it would save Madison.
Once back home, Madison decides she wants a fun night out. She dresses up with fake piercings and dyed hair then sneaks out of her bedroom to hit up the first bar she sees. From a distance, Jack sees what's going on- a young girl, drinking and conversing with an older married man. He breaks it up and takes her to the police station for underage drinking and calls her sister, Kelley.
When Kelley picks up Madison, she was instantly telling Jack almost all of her problems regarding Madison. Wow, for a guy you haven't seen in 9 years why are venting to him? He didn't even know you returned home and here you are pouring your life out to him? Ugh. Since Madison feels the need to rebel, and Jack see's Kelley needs help keeping Madison in line, Jack steps in. Kelley finds Jack in her company more than what she's comfortable with. Passion starts to simmer between them, big secrets are revealed and Madison is in for a shock of her life.
I really wanted to like this book, I did. It has everything I like in a romance book. Emotion, drama, angst, and my favorite: a rekindled/reunion romance. Unfortunately it fell short for me. Even though Jack and Kelley had a relationship nine years earlier (if you can call it that), it doesn't mean Jack can make strong cheesy come on lines to Kelley just yet. He can't step in to save the day right off the bat either...or at every moment that presented itself. They haven't even spoken on the phone in nine years! It was not believable in the least. Sadly, I didn't feel the connection between the characters at all. And to top it off, the big secret was a total cliche.....I can't say I didn't see that one coming.
There were a couple lines and scenes that I just have to mention. They may not be inspiring or romantic to read, but I just couldn't help myself and felt the need to mention them-
Jack decides to put in a fake alarm system until he can install the real thing at Kelley's house. What is the fake alarm system, you ask? A (big) dog bowl of water outside the sliding glass door. So if there happens to be a robber and he sees the bowl, he will go to the next house. Right. I highly doubt this would ever work. But whatever helps you sleep at night then go on ahead and do it.
A cheesy line: Madison is mouthing off to Jack at the police station. Jack tells her he is going to wash her mouth out with soap. First of all, Madison is 16, not 6. Second of all, what cop is allowed to say stuff like that to an inmate? Madison then tells Jack he is such a hard-ass and he responds with, "Darlin' you have no idea". Ok.....