The place where dreams fade and hope dies.
That’s what it’s meant for the five years that Garrett has been behind bars. But now hope is on the horizon and he’s daring to dream again: small dreams, small hopes.
Getting his GED would be a start. If only his prison-appointed teacher Miss Ella Newsome wasn’t so damn sexy.
As Garrett and Ella start to play a dangerous game, the price could be higher than either of them have guessed.
This story first appeared in the anthology HOT FOR TEACHER in 2016. It has since been extended with new scenes, more heart ache and even more heat.
At the end of a long, exasperating day where nothing seemed to go as I wanted, I was happy to shake Nottoway dust from my shoes and head out for a drink with my best friend Becky.
“How’s it going in stir, sista?” she asked in her best Orange is the New Black impression.
“Fine,” I mumbled.
“Fine as in I-broke-both-my-legs-but-don’t-worry-about-me fine, or fine as in today-sucked-ass-and-I’m-feeling-sorry-for-myself?”
“Probably the latter,” I said, unable to stop a tired smile appearing on my face.
“Come tell Aunty Becky all about it, but not before you’ve had at least one Mimosa.”
“Honestly, I don’t really feel like drinking. I’ll just get all weepy and mopey.”
She shook her head and pushed a glass toward me.
“So get weepy and mopey. How’s it going with Mr. Hottie-con?”
“He’s … doing well. He makes a great teacher’s aide—better than I could have hoped. The other prisoners go to him in between classes. They’re all making so much progress.”
“That’s good then.”
“So, you’re not fantasizing about the length of his … parole?”
“I’m right, aren’t I? You’re totally crushing on your jailbird boy toy.”
“He’s 30. And he’s not my boy toy.”
“But you’d like him to be?”
I took a slug of Mimosa, tossing it back like I was doing shots. Then my head dropped to my hands and I let out a groan.
“Oh my God, Becky! He’s the hottest guy I’ve ever met. Handsome, sexy, total brooding bad boy. But sweet, too. How can an ex-thief be sweet? And I don’t even know if he’s an ex-thief—not really. And when he looks at me, all dark and intense … and I haven’t had a boyfriend since Nathan. I haven’t even had a date. And now my B.O.B. needs new batteries.”
She choked on her drink then burst out laughing.
“There’s no harm in having a little down time thinking about doing the nasty with a hot felon. As long as that’s all it is.”
I sighed. Becky knew me too well.
“I like him.”
She screwed her eyes shut.
“Oh glory, I was afraid of that. You’re so predictable, El. You see something broken and you want to fix it. It’s admirable in the right circumstances, but this isn’t one of them.”
“I know. I know you’re right, but it’s chemistry, or magnetism, or pheromones, or…”
I looked down at the drink in my hands.
“Honey, the guy is hot and off-limits and the original bad boy. Of course you’re lusting after him. Just promise me that you won’t do anything stupid.”
“As if!” I huffed.
“Hmm, well, tell me this. If he was paroled tomorrow, would you date him? Introduce him to me? To the rest of your friends? Would you take him home to meet your parents? Can you honestly see a future with an ex-con?”
I shook my head.
“I’m his teacher. Nothing is going to happen.”
But the truth was, it already had. I was falling for Prisoner 97813. It was reckless and stupid, maybe even dangerous.
And I couldn’t stop myself.
Jane is a writer of contemporary romance fiction, known for thoughtful stories, often touching on difficult subjects: disability (DANGEROUS TO KNOW & LOVE, SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM); mental illness (THE EDUCATION OF CAROLINE, SEMPER FI); life after prison (LIFERS); dyslexia (THE TRAVELING MAN, THE TRAVELING WOMAN).
She is also a campaigner for former military personnel to receive the support they need on leaving the services. She wrote the well-received play LATER, AFTER with former veteran Mike Speirs. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk1CyB8c0xA )