Winner Takes Allby Dorien KellyFormer NASCAR driver Derek Garner wants only to run his youth program for inner-city kids. But impassioned teacher Claire Sablan has her own ideas for her studentshellip;and shenevermixes business with pleasure. Except this time she's finding dark and sexy Derek hard to resist. If she's not careful, she'll be giving in to all his ideas-including the one about their future together!From the Outsideby Barbara DunlopThe racing world is Caleb Gentry's whole life. But when the top tire changer is assigned to help Olivia Eason with a sports study, life off the track gets a lot more exciting. The upper-crust doc may not be his usual type, but Caleb knows there is more to her than meets the eye. Now all Caleb has to do is show her how good life in the fast lane can behellip;.
Claire Sablan had a schedule to keep. Actually, not so much keep as wrestle into submission. With the school year just ended and a little over a week until the summer program began at Riverside School, she had no time to waste. There was too much to be done, both for herself and for the group of gifted-yet underperforming-ninth graders she taught. But it was an early June Friday, the sun was shining, and even though she had the self-discipline not to look, she was sure that the Detroit River shone like a sleek silvery-blue ribbon between the school's parklike setting and Windsor, Ontario, on the opposite shore. Determined to vanquish her lesson plan, Claire narrowed her gaze and focused on her computer screen. Whatever was outside would be there when she was done. She needed to find a way to pack a semester's worth of education into the seven weeks she would have her summer students, and she needed to do it in a way that would keep them engaged without burning them out. "Where's a miracle when you need one?" she murmured to herself. Two quick raps in succession sounded at her partially closed classroom door, but Claire knew that miracles didn't come knocking. The best she usually found was Rochelle Lyons, the school's principal, asking if she ever planned to go home. "Yes?" Claire replied, eyes still trained on her computer screen. "Are you Ms. Sablan?" asked a whiskey-smooth, deep male voice. This was clearly not Rochelle.hellip; "I am, at last count," she said, then looked her visitor's way. Claire's sharp breath was involuntary, and the jolt that shot through her wasn't only because the man was gorgeous, though he was. His rich brown skin and almost amber-colored eyes made for a compelling combination. He stood around six feet tall, and from what she could see without even more overtly checking him out, he was in fine shape, too. She refocused on his face instead of letting her gaze wander to areas it shouldn't. That jolt of surprise was turning into a tingle of excitement, or maybe nervousness. Claire felt as though she knew him from somewherehellip;or perhaps had been destined to know him. She shook her head to clear it of that last impractical and too-flighty-to-fly thought. "Ms. Lyons told me I'd probably find you here," he said. "Do you mind if I come in?" Claire stood and stepped away from her desk. "Of course not. What can I do for you?" "I'm here to talk to you about Sam Morgan." She had met fifteen-year-old Sam's grandmother on many occasions, but she'd never met his parents. "Are you his father?" she asked. "No." He held out his hand to her as he neared. "My name is Derek Garner, and I know Sam through a youth program I run." So much for recognizing her destiny; she should have recognized Derek Garner. Since retiring as a NASCAR driver a couple of years ago, he'd become a staple on Detroit's high-powered business and social scenes. And for a lifetime before that, he'd been known as the eldest son of one of the city's greatest professional football legends. Derek's father had been one of the first African-Americans in pro football to negotiate a series of highly lucrative contracts with his team. And since the Garner family had stayed in Detroit after his retirement and built an empire founded on auto dealerships and rental car franchises, they were akin to local royalty. Back in Claire's preteen days, when her girlfriends had been drooling over pop stars, she'd harbored a secret crush on several-years-older Derek. She'd never given it a thought that he was black and she wasn't. She'd been taught to look past skin color. After all, her mom and dad didn't look a whole lot alike and might as well have been from different planets when it came to personality. Finding news about Derek had been easy. His rookie year as a NASCAR
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July 31, 2010
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