Return to Sweet Home, Texas!
High school administrator, Sparrow Walker, has just moved to Sweet Home into a rent house closer to the school. The Hearth family eagerly welcomes her to town. But the eldest son - workaholic and heart shy Gabriel Hearth - isn't too pleased about having his son's pushy principal living next door.
Sparrow's concerned determination could prove to be Gabriel's saving grace. If only she can convince him to go along with her plan. Proud and private Gabriel isn't exactly willing, so she decides to turn the tables - using her behavior management tactics on him! With her program in place, this time for the parent instead of the student, it's up to Gabriel to make the next move and risk falling in love again. If he can't, he just might lose the one woman strong enough to love a man like him.
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“I’m gonna get up now. I dare you to run again.”
Slade did. The minute Gabriel got up, the boy shoved him and tried to get away. Once again, Gabriel anticipated his son’s move. He grabbed Slade’s upper arms and held them back as he urged the kid forward. Slade started looking all around the school grounds.
“If you’re looking for your buds, they’ve all gone. They’re deserters, not real friends. They’d sell you out in a heartbeat. So you might as well come home.”
Slade took a sudden backward step and tried to break free of Gabriel’s grasp. “Ease up. I won’t try to get away again.”
Gabriel hesitated, but finally released his hold. He tensed, ready for a foot chase if necessary.
In a few steps, they reached the fence. In a few steps they reached the padlocked gate. Gabriel took several deep breaths. He’d have to let go, so they could both climb over. Hopefully, Slade wouldn’t take off. He seemed inclined to comply and come home—at least for tonight.
Maybe the threat of a storm would seal the deal. “The weather looks nasty.”
As if on cue, a clap of thunder made Slade flinch. Gabe grinned at the reflection of lightning in his son’s worried eyes.
A black sedan pulled into the parking lot as they approached his truck. He recognized the vehicle and knew the driver all too well. Sparrow Walker. Simply thinking her name frazzled his brain. She parked in their walking path and rolled down the window. The principal wore a scowl beneath layers of light brown hair. Darker brown eyes peered over the rims of rectangular glasses.
He held up a hand. “Now is not a good time, Miss Walker.”
She shook her head. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Hearth. Next time your son’s trespassing on school property, I’ll be sure to call your secretary and make an appointment first.” Gabriel stared blankly, unsure of how to respond to the spitfire of a principal. A street light flickered as the wind picked up. She didn’t seem to notice the ominous weather. “Just be glad I didn’t call the police.”
Raindrops pelted his head. This night wasn’t getting any better. First, he was left standing at the altar. Now, he’d had to use physical force to keep his son from being arrested.
Slade jumped into the truck to get out of the rain. Gabe followed suit and climbed into the driver’s side, ignoring Miss Walker’s snide remark. He looked down at the gearshift. What his son had done was wrong, but after the day he’d had, he really didn’t care to listen to a lecture. He peeled out of the parking lot, not even bothering to glance at the woman.
He didn’t get far before guilt settled into his stomach. His behavior was no better than his son’s. Oh, well. Drastic times called for drastic measures. Miss Walker really didn’t know him or Slade…or what was going on in their family.
“You sure showed her,” Slade remarked.