Saturday, December 18, 2021

Second Chances 101 (Ripple Effect Romance #5) (Safe Harbors #3.5), by Donna K. Weaver

Emerald Arch Publishing, ISBN 9780989992879, September 2020 (original publication February 2014)

Francie Davis has struggled for years to support her family. Her husband, crippled badly in an accident years ago, and embittered by it, has died a few months ago, leaving only Francie and their son, Rafe, now heading off to college. He'll be attending Harvard on scholarship. Francie will only be supporting herself, now, but will be doing it on her own, without Rafe's help in the vegetable garden which has largely fed them for years. But Francie has her own dreams, long on hold, and she's now pursuing them.

Francie has gotten a job at the local college, and the benefits include a 3/4 discount on tuition. She'll be a full time student, and a full time worker--while trying to complete the harvesting that was not yet completed when Rafe left North Carolina for Massachusetts.

Alex Diederik is a history professor at that same local college, sharing office support with Prof. Kevin Eldred, and has a daughter, Samantha, who is also a student there. They're going through a rough period in their relationship, because Samantha, or "Sam," finds herself defending her divorced parents against each other. Vicki has remarried, a French man whom Alex, and we later learn Sam, both find rather creepy

Francie, in her job capacity, is assigned as the office support for Professors Diederik and Eldred.

Let it be noted here that it's hard to imagine that Vicki's new husband is much creepier than Eldred, who is preying on female students. 

Francie first sees Alex and Sam when Sam is leaving her father's office at the end of a heated argument. They aren't introduced, and Francie assumes she's a student. Sam later sees Francie in the cafeteria, looking very much like the student she also is, and introduces herself by her middle name only, "Rose."

Francie and Rose become friends, while Alex and Francie gradually recover from their first meeting, where Alex was apparently berating a student. Then a history club project brings Alex out to what he doesn't know is Francie's house. She inherited it from her grandmother, and it has recently been added to the historic register. This is the start of Alex and Francie, Alex and Sam, and Francie and Sam all connecting better and more closely.

It's a nicely done novella, with everybody growing a bit as human beings, and a very nice little romance.

I bought this book.

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