Rome Hard is in love with his ex-teacher, Andy Evergreen. She entered his life ten years ago, and he’s tried to deny his feelings for her, but they won’t disappear.
There’s only one way to solve this: get her to fall in love with him.
She’s never fallen for a student, but Rome isn’t a student anymore. He’s a full-grown man, and he’s intent on making her realize it.
One date, that’s all it’s supposed to be. She never expected what could come next. One look, one touch, and it all leads to more. She should resist him, but how can she turn away from him? He’s everything, and no other man has made her heart race.
Rome’s all in, knowing this woman will be his wife and the mother of his children. But how far is he willing to go?
Will Andy fall for the last Hard boy, or will her fears keep her locked up in her cage?
“Not at all. How are Caleb and Lilly doing? I haven’t seen them since the wedding.”
Which was a few months ago.
“They’re doing good. I mean, they’re doing great.” He ran fingers through his hair. “It was a good wedding.”
“Yes. One of the best I’ve been to.” She smiled at him. There was that sparkle in her eyes that he’d do anything for. “So, I heard the rumors flying around that everyone is looking at you.”
“The last Hard boy. They’re all wondering who you will pick to be yours. Are you seeing anyone?”
He hadn’t thought about this.
“No, I’m not. Actually, I’m glad you brought that up.” He had gone over this scenario so many times in his mind. What he’d say and do. Nothing was living up to his expectations.
He was the guy who planned everything in life. His brothers would piss themselves laughing if they knew he had a full notepad with all the ideas and writing down the conversations until he knew what he was going to say and when.
This was just the kind of person he was. A planner.
He liked to think of all possibilities, and when it came to Andy, he was so far off track.
“I was wondering if you were doing anything tonight,” he said.
“Yes. I would like to take you out on a date.” He had never asked a woman out. Ever. With the women he’d been with, there had been no previous conversation. They’d met in a bar and hooked up after that. Or a fair. Or out enjoying whatever he’d been doing at the time.
Staring at Andy, he had no idea if he was doing this right or not.
She opened her mouth, closed it.
“I have already talked to the principal, checked through the rules and the teachers’ handbook. There is absolutely nothing unethical about you going on a date with me.”
Her mouth opened wide. “Oh, so you have … thought about this.”
“I was your student seven years ago. Nothing happened. I made that perfectly clear.”
“I guess that explains why I was called into the principal’s office and he told me that I was an amazing teacher and how he thought highly of me.”
Rome cringed. “I … er … that was my bad.”
Andy chuckled. “I’m going to be honest with you, Rome.” She stopped, and he watched as she licked her lips, wanting to taste her himself but holding back. There was so much he wanted to do with this woman. “When you were in my school, I never … I never thought of you that way. I was there to do my job and to take care of the kids. I had no romantic feelings for you. I don’t have any for any of the kids.”
That was a blow but to be expected. “You’re good at what you do, but I’m not asking about back then. I’m not acting on what I see as old feelings.” She didn’t need to know the extent of his obsession when it came to her. Not that it was threatening or stalker-ish in any sense of the word. He just liked and cared about her. “I’m asking you as a man who sees a beautiful woman and wants to take her out on a date.”
His brothers would each vote this being the worst prelude to a date in the history of the Hard boys. It had to be.
She tucked some hair behind her ear and nodded. “I would, in fact, like that. Very much. Will you pick me up at, say, seven?”
“Yes. I will do that.” He clicked his fingers and winked at her.
Andy laughed. “I better get going. It was nice to see you again, Rome.”
“And you, Miss Evergreen.”
“If we’re going on a date, call me Andy, please.”
“Will do, Andy.”
He heard her laugh as she got to her feet. With her back turned, he couldn’t help but fist-pump the air.
If his brothers saw him now, they’d berate him for giving the Hard name a bad one. When it came to women, they were both experts, while he’d been floundering all his adult life.
He smiled to himself.
Andy had said yes.
He was finally going on a date with the woman he’d been wanting all his life.
Just as he was about to get up, he saw James, his oldest brother, enter the coffee shop.
After getting to his feet, he walked up to his brother. “I’ve got a date tonight. With Miss Evergreen, I mean Andy.”
“Glad to hear it. You just got Caleb a hundred bucks,” James said.
“He said you’d ask your teacher out.”
“You’ve got bets against me?”
“Please, the whole town has got a bet against you, for you, with you, whichever way you want to look at it. You’re the last Hard boy, Rome. Make it count.”