Teacher Kelley Spencer has returned to Hopeful, Texas, to raise her orphaned 16-year-old sister, Madison. Hopeful was the site of Kelley's first teaching job nine years ago; it was also the location of Kelley's romantic heartbreak.

Madison gets herself picked up for underage drinking by police chief Jack Morgan, and when Kelley arrives at the station to pick up Madison, she is shocked to discover Jack.

Years ago, when Jack was a high school senior, he was one of Kelley's first students. The two were attracted to each other, and after Jack graduated, he and Kelley got involved briefly—until Jack's former girlfriend became pregnant and Kelley insisted he do the right thing.

Now Jack is a single father and romantically unattached. Are there still sparks between them? A lot of obstacles still stand in their way. Could the second time be the charm?

Heath is the latest historical author to make a successful jump into contemporary romantic fiction. HARD LOVIN' MAN is poignant, compassionate and just what her fans are looking for. (Nov., 357 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith