All in Good Time - Fall Romance from TWRP!

When Philadelphian Elizabeth Temple arrives in a small, Southern town to teach first grade in 1948, she hopes to slide unnoticed into a spinster’s existence, believing herself unfit for any companion. She doesn’t count on falling for handsome Jake Ryan, a World War II veteran tainted by a scandalous divorce now struggling to raise his young son alone. Despite an undeniable chemistry, the road to romance is strewn with roadblocks and detours. Between the personal secret that has a devastating grip on Elizabeth, and Jake’s temperamental, soon-to-be-ex-wife, what looks like a ‘sure thing’ could easily slip away...


The ride to County School No. 2 took approximately fifteen minutes, and Jake took the opportunity to go over their new routine with Charlie one more time. “Now, when the bell rings at the end of the day, what are you going to do?”

Charlie sighed, bored already. “Wait for Aunt Carrie on the front steps.”

“Then what?” Jake prodded.

“She’ll take me to Grandma’s and I’m supposed to do my homework. What if I don’t have any homework?”

“Then do something else. I’ll be there around five to get you, right after I get off work.”

Charlie looked at Jake out of the corner of his eye. “What if they have dinner before you get there?”

Jake snorted. “Then eat--you won’t hurt my feelings. But remember, we’re going for a burger and fries after school today, so just have a cookie or something to hold you over ‘til I get there.”

“Okay--can I have a chocolate shake, too?”

“Not if you get in trouble today.” He turned off the state route, into the gravel drive leading to the schoolhouse. “You be nice to your new teacher, hear?”

“Yes, sir.” Another sigh, then a panicked question when Jake parked the car. “You’re coming in, aren’t you?”

“Yes.” Jake turned off the engine and looked at the building. They were clearly the first to arrive--only a couple of lights were on inside.

He needed to make sure he could leave Charlie this early. If he couldn’t, he’d have to try to switch to the late shift at the mill, which would have its own set of problems.

They left the truck, and Jake smiled when Charlie ran ahead. He got the love of school from his mother. His tow-headed son took the stairs two at a time while Jake, reverting to high school form, lagged behind.

Why was he so nervous? Today wasn’t his first day of school. Still, Charlie had the new teacher, possibly the only person in town who might not have heard the gossip about “Poor Jake and Charlie Ryan.” He might have to explain.

“Come on!” Charlie bellowed from the steps, where he held the door open, leveraging his skinny frame against the weight.

“I’m coming, I’m coming...” Jake grumbled, edging inside the building. “Hey, your room’s right here, buddy, second door on the right. Lucky number three.”

“There’s a turtle on the door.” Charlie reached for the knob.

There were, in fact, three turtles on the door, and Jake felt like crawling into his shell as he followed his son inside the brightly lit classroom.

While he got used to the harsh lighting, a petite, dark-haired woman popped out from behind a rickety map of the world. “Hello?”

“Hey,” he greeted her, holding on to Charlie by the elbow so he couldn’t dart away. “I know it’s early...”

“No--it’s fine.” She dusted off her hands and stepped forward. “I’m Miss Temple.”

Miss. His gaze strayed from her tightly wound hair, past her anxious green eyes and out the window. A little young to be a teacher.

“And you are?”

“Jake--Jake Ryan. This is my son, Charlie.”

She bent at the waist to address her student. “Hello, Charlie.”

Charlie became shy, and sidled closer to Jake.

Miss Temple straightened and smiled. “Charlie, why don’t you help me by putting one of these books on every desk? Can you do that for me, please?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Thank you, Charlie.”

Jake took the pause and rambled his story. “I’m sorry I brought him so early. I work first shift at the mill and was hoping I could drop Charlie off on my way every morning, if it’s okay with you, that is.”

Lines creased her brow, then disappeared. “That’s perfectly fine. I like to get here early, anyway, get ready for the day--I could use a little help with that.”

“That’d be great.” Jake’s relief broke through in a tight smile. “My sister Carrie will pick him up after school--she’s at the high school, so she’ll get him as soon as she can.”

A question flashed across her face. To her credit, she didn’t ask where Charlie’s mother was. “It’ll be just fine.”

Jake breathed a sigh of relief. “You let me know if he gives you a minute of trouble.”
She nodded. “Absolutely.”

“Okay. I really appreciate it, Miss...Miss Temple.”

“You’re very welcome.”

She cleared her throat, and Jake took the cue to leave, calling his son to him on his way to the door. He knelt at eye-level with Charlie and smoothed his son's hair. “You have a great day, buddy. I’ll see you when I get off work, okay?”

“Yes, sir. And don’t forget my chocolate milkshake.”

“I won’t forget--you mind Miss Temple, hear?”

“Yes, sir. She’s awful pretty for a teacher.”

“Is she?” Jake smiled. Charlie got his eye for the ladies from his daddy. To hide his burning cheeks, Jake looked over his shoulder at the new teacher as she straightened her bookshelves. “I didn’t notice.”

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS