Johnson, Janice Kay, More Than Neighbors, (Richmond, Surrey: Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2015).
Title: More Than Neighbors
Author: Janice Kay Johnson
Issues: Asperger’s Syndrome; Autism; Bereavement; Bullying; Grief; Parenthood;
Temptation is so close!
To protect her son, Mark, Ciara Malloy has moved to this rural area in Washington. The new beginning is off to a rocky start, however, when Mark gets too familiar with Gabe Tennert’s horses. It’s obvious their next-door neighbor prefers his solitude. Even so, he shows incredible patience with Mark. And when Gabe turns that intense gaze Ciara’s way…how can she resist such a good, sexy man?
But crossing the line between friends and something more is riskier than Ciara expects. As Gabe pushes for a commitment, she fears revealing the secret truths that could turn him away forever.
A friend of mine who was a school counselor said once, “There’s a leper in every classroom.” I knew immediately what she meant. There is always at least one child who is shunned, teased, even bullied. He may be overweight. She might come to school wearing dirty clothes and smelling because of her home situation. He could be hyperactive, she could be an easy victim because she cries instead of returning taunt for taunt. A girl may physically mature much earlier than others, while boys are at risk if they mature too slowly. Any behavior that is even slightly “off” serves like a red cape to a bull. It’s a painful phenomenon that says much about human nature. Fortunately, many of the children who go along with the taunting grow into good people.
Many of the victims mature and learn to fit in – or find the niche in life where they can belong. As a fiercely protective mother myself, I’ve wondered what I would have done if one of my daughters had been that victim. Confronted with her helplessness to change the school dynamics, my heroine in More Than Neighbors decides to move far away from their previous school district, and to homeschool. She believes she can shield her son from all of life’s slings and arrows – which, of course, is impossible. Her new next-door neighbor is at the top of the list of people most unlikely to get involved in any way. Fortunately, they’re both facing some big surprises! And, hey, who doesn’t love the gruff, quiet man suppressing a world of pain who is still incapabale of being unkind? Trust me, Gabe’s a keeper!
Hope you enjoy getting to know this set of neighbors!
Janice Kay Johnson