Home > The Last Hard Boy (The Hard Boys Book 3)

The Last Hard Boy (The Hard Boys Book 3)
Author: Sam Crescent

 


Chapter One

 

 

“Just be yourself.”

“You’re a Hard boy. You know what you want.”

Rome Hard glanced behind him to see Andy Evergreen, his old high school teacher, sitting there drinking a coffee. Seeing as it was three weeks until Christmas, he had no doubt it was the white chocolate peppermint special the coffee shop had been advertising since before Thanksgiving.

Not that he was a stalker of any kind. He just knew what this woman liked to drink and didn’t try to pretend not to know her.

He picked up his black coffee.

Today was going to be different from all the others. He wasn’t going to take a table near or next to hers while pretending to read through paperwork. The truth was, he never took his work home or out with him. Being an accountant wasn’t exactly easy, but if there was one thing his father taught him growing up, it was to keep your work at work. There was always time to work, but it was important to make time for family.

In the past year, he’d made a lot of changes.

First, he’d moved out of his brother’s apartment and found himself a new place, completely for himself. It didn’t matter that his brother Caleb and his new wife had moved into a new place together to start their married life.

Rome hadn’t wanted to live in Caleb’s old place as some women late at night, drunk, would knock on the door, asking for some fun. His older brother had been a player, taking women for one night. Not that Caleb ever offered them more than what he could give them. That never happened, but it did all change once he set his sights on Lilly.

The waitress handed him his coffee. He paid for it and turned toward the woman who had been on his mind since he was a young fifteen-year-old boy. She was all he could think about.

Contrary to his brothers’ belief, he wasn’t a virgin either. He’d lost his virginity and tried to be with several women, attempting to rid his thoughts of the beautiful teacher who’d entered his world.

Her smile drew him in.

In the last ten years, she’d gotten even more beautiful.

She was thirty-four at the moment, about to become thirty-five. She’d never been in a long-term relationship, at least not one he knew about.

This was it.

He was tired of waiting around. Tired of moping. Fed up of seeing his brothers settled with their wives, enjoying their lives together, while he worked with nothing to show for it.

There was only one woman in the whole world who could make him happy, and that was Andy Evergreen.

As he made his way over to her, she took a sip of her drink and flicked over the page in her book. It was a Saturday. She had no need to rush off to the high school, where she worked from Monday to Friday.

She was one of the best teachers around, and when she first arrived at the school, all those years ago, a couple of the girls tried to find fault with her. Attempted to call her thick and stupid, to make her life a living hell.

Andy had fire.

She was smart.

Beautiful.

And those girls ended up having respect for her.

She earned her place, and since then, no one else had ever been good enough.

“Morning, Miss Evergreen,” he said and internally cringed. Could he sound any more like a child?

Andy lifted her head and smiled. “Rome Hard, what a surprise. Please, call me Andy. I’m not your teacher anymore.”

“You haven’t been my teacher in a long time.”

She laughed. “I know. I can’t think of how long it’s been.”

“A long time. Seven years total, nearly eight.”

“Right. Right. I didn’t teach you straight away, did I?”

“No. You got me senior year. I was eighteen.”

Was he reading Andy correctly? Did she have a blush?

“I remember.”

“Do you mind if I sit with you?” he asked.

“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.”

“At me?”

“The last Hard boy. They’re all wondering who you will pick to be yours. Are you seeing anyone?”

Holy shit.

Fuck.

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.

“Tonight?”

“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.

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