It’s small town romance with a sporty touch! Both new to the town of Hope, Josie and Zach have become friends outside of being teachers at Hope’s high school. There’s flirting and chemistry between them but Josie’s been burned before and doesn’t want to risk her new happy life in Hope for a fling. But as they spend more time together, Josie sees how kind and charming Zach is. Not only does he care about the kids he teaches and trains, he’s also becoming an animal lover; a huge win in Josie’s book.
Zach wouldn’t consider himself a loner by his own standards, though he definitely enjoys his solitude, he also enjoys coaching football and spending time with his new friends in Hope. Particularly Josie; she’s sweet, sexy, and Zach thinks there might be more beneath the quiet school teacher. As they spend more time together, Zach peels back the layers that make up Josie. While she’s sweet and endearing to her students, she’s fun and charismatic with their friends. And once Zach gets her alone, she’s the sex kitten he’d only dreamed of. But beneath all that, Josie has more trepidation towards love than Zach knows, and it’ll take a hail mary to win her over
I love that Burton sort of switched the narrative on our hero and heroine. Zach is open to falling for Josie and finding out where they could go. He’s lived solo for a long time but Josie brings out the homely side of him. He feels warmth and happiness radiating from her whenever they’re together. But Josie’s past with her mother and the lack of love in her childhood did a number on her. She believes that love is a fallacy for most and that only some people can find it. So when Zach drops the L-bomb, it forces her to re-examine her beliefs as well as what she thinks she deserves. Another a feel good romance from Burton, featuring small town characters with big personalities and captivating hearts.
A former pro football player, Zach had to pull back after a career-ending knee injury. He’d be happy calling plays as Coach, if only he could get Josie Barnes to stop benching his players. She drives him crazy playing the stern teacher at school and the sexy woman of his dreams outside the classroom.
Josie has never had a teammate to count on. But Zach intends to show her that what they have between them is a textbook case of love.
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She gave him a curious look. “Is that a good something or a bad something?”
He was about to answer, but suddenly he saw a flash of something gray and white that attacked his tennis shoe. And his ankle. With claws.
He leaped up off the sofa. “Sonofabitch.”
“Oh, no. Did he hurt you?”
“He dug his claws into my ankle.”
“Aww, I’m sorry. Are you all right? Do I need to get you a bandaid?”
“It’s okay. I’m fine.” He glared at the cat.
But Josie cast a warm glance at it. “That wasn’t very nice, Tumbles.”
The cat leaped onto the back of the sofa, winding its way toward Josie’s shoulder before settling on the arm of the sofa and starting to lick its paws.
The thing that attacked him was a dark white color, had a bushy tail and some bald spots on its skin. And a face that looked like it had been smashed in by a car bumper.
Frankly, it was the ugliest cat Zach had ever seen. If it was even a cat.
Josie swept her hand slowly up and down the thing’s back. “Cute, isn’t he?”
“That cat is ugly as fuck, Josie.”
“He is not.”
“Come on. He’s a train wreck.”
She continued to pet the thing, who made vibrating noises. “Okay, he has some issues. But he’s incredibly loveable and affectionate.”
“I’m pretty sure my ankle is bleeding.”
She looked down at his feet. “Is it really?” She got up and the cat scampered off to its lair under the dining room table.
She bent down and lifted the leg of his jeans. “Let me see.”
“I was kind of kidding about the bleeding part.”
“But he scratched you. I’m sorry about that. Cat scratches sting.”
Having a beautiful woman on her knees between his legs made him forget all about the sting of a cat scratch and put his mind on other, more pleasurable things.
“My ankle’s fine, Josie.”
She sat on her heels and looked up at him. “Try being nice.”
“I am nice.”
The cat growled its disagreement. Zach really wanted to growl back, but instead he held out his hands for Josie.
“Come on,” he said, lifting her to stand. “Show me the rest of your house.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to put something on your ankle?”
“I think I can handle a couple of scratches, but thanks.”
“Okay. Well, you’ve seen the kitchen and the dining room. There’s a screened-in porch that leads out from the kitchen.” She opened the door and led him out to what was a small but nice porch.
“I know you can’t see it because it’s dark, but I have a huge backyard. Great for animals.”
“Will you let the prince of darkness out there?”
She frowned. “The—oh, Tumbleweed? No. He’ll remain an indoor cat. I don’t want him disappearing on me.”
She nudged him with her shoulder. “You’re mean.”
He gave her a gentle nudge in return. “Am not.”
“Anyway, there’s plenty of room for other animals.”
“You have other animals?”
“Not yet. But I will.”
“Hopefully they’ll be nicer than Beelzebub.”
She shook her head. “Come on, whiner.”
They went back inside and she led him through an arched doorway and down the hall. “There’s a bathroom here, and two bedrooms, and the master is at the end of the hall.”
“Afraid to show me the inner sanctum?” he asked.
Her brows popped up. “Is that some kind of euphemism for me showing you my goods?”
He laughed. “No. I meant your bedroom.”
“Oh. I don’t know. I might want to save that for some other time.”
“Why? Do you have some kind of sex dungeon in there?”
Her lips curved. “Do I look like a sex dungeon kind of girl?”
He leaned in closer. “I’m not sure if there’s a certain look a woman has to have in order to possess a sex dungeon. I’ll bet all kinds of people in all walks of life have one.”
“Is that right?”
“Sure. Lawyers and flight attendants and horticulturists and…I don’t know. Even teachers.”
“This teacher does not possess a sex dungeon.”
“Okay, so maybe you have some lavender candles and furry handcuffs.”
She snorted out a laugh, then turned and walked away. “If you’re lucky, you might find out someday.”