Seducing Samantha - R.E. Butler
R.E. Butler - Ashland Pride #1 - Seducing Samantha
Seducing Samantha (Ashland Pride #1)
Eight-year-old Ben Fallon swung his feet as he sat in his third grade music class. His teacher, Miss Thomas, was talking about the upcoming spring concert. She hadn’t been their teacher long, just since January when the old teacher retired to go somewhere warmer than Ashland, Indiana.
Ben eyed Miss Thomas carefully. She was short like his cousin’s wife, Callie. And she had a nice smile. And pretty blonde hair. She didn’t wear a ring on her finger, which he had heard meant that she wasn’t married.
As he watched her play the piano while the girls in the class sang, he wondered if he could get his dad to meet her. He heard his cousin Callie say that there wasn’t anything better than a man in uniform, and his dad had joined the Ashland police force when they moved to town a year and a half ago.
As he began to sing along to the bouncy song, a plan formed in his mind. It wouldn’t take too much, he didn’t think, to get his dad to the school to meet Miss Thomas. She was pretty and nice, and unlike his real mother, she was human and wouldn’t hate him and ignore him. Plus his dad was lonely. All the mountain lion males were — from his dad to his uncles James, Grant, and John, and his cousin Alek, to the new pride members who had come from their old homes in Pennsylvania.
Ben didn’t understand why mountain lion females hated their children, but he knew it wasn’t really supposed to be that way. What he wanted was what the other kids in school had — a mom who would love him and his two brothers like they belonged to her. A mom who would tuck them in at night and read them stories. Cuddle on the couch with them. He loved his dad very much, but he felt like he was missing out on something important by not having a mom.
All he had to do was get his brothers in on the plan, and soon he might have a mom to call his own.
Samantha Thomas wiped the dry erase board clean, humming the spring concert songs. She couldn’t get the songs out of her head, and it was driving her batty. They were adorable and sweet and everything an elementary school music class should be singing. But now, after two weeks of listening to the songs every day, she didn’t think she’d ever be able to get them free of her mind.
Her hand slowed on the board because she was dreading going into the school office to check her inbox before heading home. Her ex-husband, Mark, was the acting principal of the elementary school, having just taken the position the month before. Two years ago, Mark left her for a younger woman because she’d discovered that she was rendered sterile due to a childhood illness. Mark was obsessed with his family name living on, and even though they’d been married for several years, he apparently had no trouble walking away and finding someone else.
They had both worked in neighboring school districts, him as a vice principal and her as a music teacher. The house they had shared belonged to his family, so she moved back home with her parents, which was humiliating and comforting at the same time. And then she began to search for a new job, somewhere away from Indianapolis and the bad memories. She’d found one, finally, in the small town of Ashland.
She started at exactly the same time the principal retired after the new year, and to her horror, Mark was brought in as the acting principal. In their first, awkward meeting, he promised her it was only temporary until the school year was over, and she certainly hoped that was the case. She didn’t want to think about spending every future school year seeing him daily, especially since she’d noticed the picture on his desk of his new wife, and the framed picture of an ultrasound next to it.
It was like a knife in her gut every time she walked in there. Two years and she still ached at being tossed aside so callously for something she couldn’t control. She felt low. Like less than a woman. And it ate at her.
Steeling herself, she grabbed her purse as she shrugged into her coat and headed to the office to check her box. Pausing before she