The one room schoolhouse isn’t big enough to hold thirty-four students, let alone the egos of two teachers.
Claire wrung her hands as she waited outside Mr. Clarke’s home while Barrett had first turn at reiterating his qualifications to the board. It wasn’t fair. She’d been hired first; she should go first. Barrett would probably charm the board with his big smile, same as he’d charmed her before she’d found out who he was.
She strained to hear any bits of conversation. Mother would be aghast. Then again, Mother would be aghast at a lot of things, like the way Claire had confronted Barrett in her robe.
Oh, heavens. She closed her eyes. She was aghast.
What would happen if a small town accidentally hired two teachers for one position? In ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS TROUBLE, Sondra Kraak takes us on a romantic old west wild ride to discover the answer.
When Claire Montgomery arrives in Pine Creek, Washington, the last thing she expects is to have to battle to keep the job she thought she’d secured. But Barrett Clarke, nephew of the head of the school board, has his eyes set on the same position. The trouble is, both have been promised the job. Claire is determined to prove that she’s the most qualified by co-teaching for a trial period of time.
Barrett has his reasons for refusing to back down. Seems his uncle has promised him land to pursue his real passion: ranching. All he has to do is to teach for one year at the Pine Creek school, and he’ll be free to live the life he wants. That seems easy enough, until stubborn Claire proves a worthy opponent for the title of “teacher.”
Both Claire and Barrett have something in their past that they’d like to forget about that holds the key to their desire to stay in Pine Creek. I love how the author gives us bits of their stories at just the right moments, leaving us wondering what really happened. It’s my personal preference as a reader to have unanswered questions that keep me interested in the story, and Ms. Kraak is very skilled at delivering the intrigue. She also makes me care about both of the main characters, which is tricky considering the situation she’s created for them. Both of them want the same thing, and neither is willing to back down. It would have been easy to write them as antagonistic toward each other, making them very hard to root for. Instead, they find an ease with each other in spite of their competitive circumstances. I found them both very appealing and I couldn’t decide whose side of the schoolroom I wanted to stand on.
What a treat to discover a new author who has a solid writing style and creative plotting ideas. In a world of boy-meets-girl romances, this story feels fresh and different.
I’m happy to see that Ms. Kraak is calling this book 1 in the “Love that Counts” series. I’ll be anxiously awaiting book 2!
Be sure to catch my interview with Sondra, and enter to win a copy of ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS TROUBLE. Interview with Sondra Kraak.