Kelly Spencer hopes to protect her sister, Madison, from trouble by moving her from Dallas to Kelly's hometown of Hopeful, Texas. They barely get settled before Madison gets in trouble for underage drinking in a local bar. The police chief who calls Kelly about Madison's escapade is Jack Morgan, who broke Kelly's heart nine years ago.
Kelly was a first year teacher when she met Jack, who was a handsome nineteen year old senior. She sees potential in the boy where others just saw a troubled youth. A strong attraction builds between the two of them, but to preserve her job and integrity, Kelly fights her feelings. A series of mistakes and events doom the love they might have had.
Jack is now a grown man who has a child to raise and he has never stopped loving Kelly. Kelly feels old flames re-kindled, but she is afraid a secret from her past will cause her to lose Jack again.
The reader is drawn immediately to both the heroine and hero. They are wounded and vulnerable, but they have not become victims and have worked hard to make successes of their lives. The tender poignancy of the story is simply irresistible. The teenage Madison is very realistic with her mixture of maddening rebellion and her need for reassurances after losing her parents.
The love scenes are sizzling and guaranteed to warm up a cold winter night. At the same time, it is easy to see the love and respect Kelly and Jack have for each other. Hard Lovin'Man is a story of the power of forgiveness, both of others and ourselves. Lorraine Heath is an author I have now added to my "auto-buy" list.