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Getting Schooled (Getting Some #1)
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Head of the class…
Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.
The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and “cool” teacher in the hometown where he’s not just a golden boy—he’s platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.
Then…Callie Carpenter comes home.
And knocks him right on his tight end zone.
Back to school…
Callie has a pretty sweet life herself…on the other side of the country. But circumstances—that she’d prefer to never speak of again—have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.
Now she’s facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore…and that’s just the teachers.
Just like old times…
When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance—and then has to stop herself from jumping him.
Good friends are all they can ever be.
Or…these teachers just might end up getting schooled—hard—by love.
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Every town has its stories. The urban legends, history and heroes, that set it apart from the surrounding areas. Lakeside, New Jersey, population 8,437, has some real winners.
That boarded-up brick house at the end of Miller Street? Three hundred years old and haunted as fuck. If you stand in front of it at midnight on Friday the 13th, you’ll see the ghosts of two creepy 18th- century boys looking down at you from the attic window. True story.
Then there’s the Great Goose Plague of 1922. Geese are not the friendliest of feathered beings—but they’ve got balls; you got to give them that. In Jersey, wherever you find a body of water, you’ll find geese. And wherever there’s geese, there’s an abundance of goose shit. It’s basically indestructible—if there’s ever a nuclear war, all that’ll be left are the cockroaches and the goose shit. Anyway, in 1922, either by accident or the most ill-conceived prank ever, those durable turds made their way into Lakeside’s water supply and wiped out almost half the town.
The old-old-timers still hold a grudge, so it’s not unusual to see a little gray-haired lady pause midstep on the sidewalk, to give the finger to a flock flying by overhead.
In 1997, Lakeside received the distinguished honor of being named the town with the most bars per capita in the whole US of A. We were all very proud.
And we’re not too shabby in the celebrity department. This town has given birth to five decorated war heroes, two major league baseball players, an NBA coach, one world-renowned artist, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a gold-medal Olympic curler.
We keep that last one kind of quiet, though, because . . . curling.
The guy I’m jogging towards on Main Street right now is a different kind of celebrity—a local one.
“Ollie, look alive!” I call out.
He doesn’t make eye contact, but he smiles and lifts his hand from the arm of his folding chair so I can slap it with a high-five, like I do every Sunday morning I run past.
Oliver Munson. Every day he plants himself on his front lawn from morning until late afternoon, waving to the cars and people on the sidewalk. Like a Walmart greeter—for the whole town.
Legend has it, when Ollie was a kid, he fell off his bike, hit his head on the curb, and ended up in a coma. When he woke up, he had lost the ability to speak and the doctors said he’d never be “quite right” again.
Now, it’s possible that this story is bullshit—just a cautionary tale the moms cooked up to get kids to wear helmets. But I don’t think so.
Though the doctors recommended Ollie be committed—because society was a real asshole back in the day—Mrs. Munson wasn’t having any of it. She brought her son home, taught him the skills and routine he follows to this very day—one that gave him independence and dignity and, from the looks of it, fulfillment.
Mrs. Munson’s gone now, but Ollie’s neighbors check up on him and a social worker comes around once a month to make sure he’s good to go. When he needs something, there’s never a shortage of volunteers, because he’s a fixture around here—extended family—as much a part of this place as the lake that gave us its name.
Behind me, three boys on bikes whizz past Ollie in single file.
See? It’s like that Bon Jovi song that says your hometown is the only place they call you one of their own.
And Ollie Munson’s one of ours.
~ ~ ~
My sneakers slap the sidewalk as I continue to run—picking up my pace, pushing myself until sweat soaks my T-shirt and dampens the strands of my dark hair. I’m a big believer in sweat—it’s good for the body and the soul. Forget Zima, or Yogo or Pi-kick-my-ass, if you want to look and feel good? Work up a hard, real sweat once a day—doesn’t matter if it’s from running, sweeping, or screwing. Though screwing is my preference.
I am a creature of habit—most guys are.
I’m also superstitious—all athletes are. It’s why there’s so many shaggy beards in professional sports and why if you ask a player on a winning streak when he last washed his jock—hope he lies to you.
A streak trumps personal hygiene every time.
The last fifteen years of my life have basically been one long winning streak. Don’t worry, I wash my boxers every day, but the other parts of my life—the Jeep Wrangler I drive, the T-shirts I wear that will have to be pried from my cold, dead corpse before I throw them away, my workout routine—those do not fucking change.
I run this same way every day—past the string of brick capes and ranches, with small grassy yards and well-used Fords and Chevys.
Lakeside started as a brick town—back when communities sprang up around the mills, factories, and industries that offered employment. California had gold in its hills; Jersey had red clay. The demographics really haven’t changed. Most of the people around here work with their hands—proud blue collars, union members, and small business owners.