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Lainie Taylor is a helper by nature. It’s a big part of led her to become a teacher.  She loves helping her students to learn and grow and watching the light bulb come on when they finally grasp a new concept. Her helpful spirit to stop there either. When she starts her job at Corbin’s Bend Middle school, she throws herself into helping with all sorts of activities. Unfortunately, it begins to take its toll on her and her family and Grant is not at all happy about that, which he makes clear in this conversation from Unexpected Surprises, my novella from the Corbin’s Bend Valentine’s Day collection, Love in the Rockies.

 

Grant fumbled in his pocket for his ringing phone and smiled when he pulled it out and saw his wife’s number on the screen. “Hey, sweetheart,” he said, bringing the phone to his ear.  “What’s going on?” It wasn’t unheard of for Lainie to call him during the workday, at least, not anymore. A year ago, such a call would have had him running for his car before he had ever fully
answered the phone because the only time Lainie would have called him when he was at work was in case of an emergency. Now though, she would occasionally call him when she got a free moment just to chat. It didn’t happen every day or even most days, but it happened often enough that her call did not immediately cause alarm.
“Nothing major,” Lainie assured him. “I just wanted to let you know that I have a meeting after school today. It’s the planning meeting for the Valentine’s Day dance so I have no idea how long it will last.”
“I see,” Grant said carefully. “Lainie, you know I don’t mind you helping with things, but I thought we talked about you not committing to so many activities.”

“I know,” Lainie replied. “I forgot I said I would do this. If it had been another teacher who asked me, I would’ve tried to get out of it, but it was Beau. He’s my boss, at least sort of. I can’t exactly say no to my boss.”

Actually, Grant was fairly sure that Beau would’ve understood if Lainie had simply explained to him. He didn’t know the man well, but from what he knew of him, Beau seemed like a reasonable man. “Okay,” Grant agreed reluctantly, “I can see how you might have felt trapped in that situation, but do not plan to do anything else. You’re doing more than enough now.”
“I didn’t plan to do this,” Lainie insisted. “I just got backed into a corner. That’s not my fault. Besides, these extracurricular activities come with the territory with teaching. You know that.”
He did. He just didn’t believe it was necessary that she participate in every extracurricular activity that came her way. “I do,” he agreed, “but Lainie, we will talk about this when you get home.”


 

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Unexpected Surprises by Ruth Staunton

For their first Valentine’s Day in Corbin’s Bend, Grant Taylor is determined to do something special for his wife Lainie. Lainie, however, has plans of her own. As a middle school teacher, she has volunteered to help plan and chaperone the Valentine dance that is being held for the middle and high school students.

When Grant hears this, he insists that she is working too hard and needs to cut back on the things she has committed to, the first and foremost being the Valentine’s Day dance. Lainie insists that she can’t do that and finally he reluctantly agrees to let her work part of the dance and then come home.

Under extreme protest, Lainie agrees, but when the time comes to admit to her supervisor that she can’t chaperone, she changes her mind and decides Grant is being unreasonable. She determines to chaperone the dance anyway and deal with Grant later. Unfortunately, Lainie’s plan doesn’t work out quite like she intended it to and she is in for quite a few unexpected surprises.

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