Happy Friday!  Just a little excerpt from my upcoming short MAKING THE GRADE with my dear friend Jane Gaudet – hoping to have it in the queue by Monday, so stay tuned!  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Making the Grade - SMALL

Math teacher Sadie Dunne’s summer is not off to a good start. Not only has she spent the entire school year getting pushed around by her rambunctious students, by their parents, and by her colleagues, who find it all too easy to take advantage of her generous heart, but instead of taking a relaxing vacation on a tropical beach somewhere, she’s stuck teaching summer school. To make matters worse, the AC in her classroom is broken and too-hot-for-his-own-good maintenance man Cooper Bell seems more interested in flirting with her than in fixing it.  When her latest mistake of a relationship implodes, Sadie has had enough.  For once, Sadie wants to be the one calling the shots – in her classes, in her life, and especially in the arms of the hunky handyman.

Cooper has never been great at reading women, and the mixed signals from the lovely Sadie have been driving him crazy! She may want him, but she never speaks up, and he worries that she’s out of his league. When an accident traps them in a supply closet together, Cooper sees an opportunity to convince her to give him a chance, even if it means letting her call the shots and revealing his deepest, darkest fantasy of submitting to a beautiful woman. A steamy tryst in a closet is one thing, but can Sadie and Cooper get past their self-doubt to teach each other how to be happy together?


Sadie grumbled to herself as she trudged down the stairs.  It was even hotter down here, if that were possible.  The air conditioning had gone out on Monday, and for whatever reason was still out.  She paused at the bottom of the stairs, drawing a breath of hot, stale air, gathering her courage.  The downstairs corridors were always a little dim and dank and nightmarish in a monster-in-the-basement horror movie kind of way, but the flutter in her stomach had nothing to do with fear as she tapped on the door of the Maintenance Office.

“Mr. Bell?”

The whirr of machinery nearly drowned out her voice, and, reasoning that he might not be able to hear her, she opened the door.  And stopped short, her jaw dropping.

Cooper Bell.

The man should come with a warning label.  Six-five, broad-shouldered, and muscled like a Greek statue, the gorgeous, brown-haired thorn in Sadie’s side was in the process of pulling a greasy, damp tee shirt over his head.  The rational, schoolteacher part of Sadie was immediately and properly horrified, but everything female in her came to instant, sparkling awareness, and she had to stifle what would have been a truly embarrassing whimper of lust and gratitude at the sight of such a delicious specimen of manhood.  He was reaching for a clean tee shirt across his desk in a move that had muscles flexing smoothly under golden skin when he spotted her in the doorway.  Cooper froze, eyes widening, and then straightened, dark eyebrows rising over dark green eyes, the corner of his mouth kicking up in a half-smile that brought out the dimple in his cheek.

Stupid dimple, thought Sadie, ignoring the desire to stroke the little notch with her lips.

“Problem, Miss Dunne?” he asked.

Sadie was having trouble getting her mouth to work.  It was one thing to listen to her fellow teachers gossip about the studly new Head of Maintenance who looked more like a male model than a handyman.  It was quite another to be confronted with the man himself, half-naked in only a pair of jeans that hung from lean hips in a way that made the stomach flutter morph into a herd of stampeding buffalo.  He was nearly smooth, with a narrow trail of brown hair under his navel, trailing down under his waistband.  Sadie wondered if it felt as soft as it looked.  She wondered what it would feel like to nuzzle the hard ridges of his abdomen as she slowly pulled those jeans down, down, down

Oh my God, Sadie!  Snap out of it!  You have a boyfriend!  Kind of.