Out of Her League

Out of Her League by Lori Handeland

Book: Out of Her League by Lori Handeland Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lori Handeland
Don ’ t tell me my job. ”
    Oops . Evie realized her mistake too late. Don might be her dad ’ s oldest friend, but he was also one of those macho men you had to tread very care fully around. Instead, she ’ d stepped right on his toes.
    “ I hired you as a favor to your dad, and I can ’ t say I ’ m sorry, because you ’ re an excellent teacher and a great coach. But we ’re talking about the high est profile job in this town. We don ’ t want a little gal like you taking t hose big kids to the state cham pionship. ”
    His comment about hiring her as a favor stung. It was no doubt true, and at the time she ’ d needed the job too badly to care. Now she was just furious. “ What difference does it make who takes the team to state? Do you want the best coach? Or do you want the best sound bite? ”
    “ Could I say a word here? ” Joe was suddenly right behind her.
    “ No, ” Evie snapped without even turning around. She couldn ’ t fight Joe, Don and Mrs. Larson all at the same time. “ Why do you want to ruin the best chance those kids have to get scholarships by hiring the wrong coach? ”
    “ Hey! ” Joe protested. “ I ’ m a great coach. ”
    Evie spun about and nearly bumped her nose on Joe ’ s chest. She refused to step back, even though he was so close she had to crick her neck to glare into his face. “ You were a great football player. You have never been a coach. ”
    He leaned down. “ Have you ever coached an all-male varsity sport? ”
    She went up on her toes so they were nose to chin. “ What does that have to do with anything— ”
    “ Ahem. ”
    Evie did an about-face, to find Mrs. Larson ’ s lemon lips had thinned into a single line. Don wasn ’ t looking at her again, which meant Mrs. Larson had the floor. Evie expec ted to be sent to her room with out supper—for the next several years. Which is ex actly what would happen if she lost this job. She would not be eating supper for however long it took to save enough money to send the boys to college. Her stomach growled in protest, and she winced.
    “ I ’ m sorry— ” Mrs. Larson began.
    “ Wait! ” The word constituted Evie ’s second in terruption of the evening. Had she just dug her own grave? Even if she had, she could not sit back and watch these two bury her dream. She would fight until the bitter end for her children ’ s future.
    She tried to speak rationally—like a teacher with a student who just didn ’ t get it. “ I was promised that job. How can you justify taking it away from me for no other reason than sexual discrimination? ”
    “Uh- oh, ” Joe murmured at her back. His breath skated down her neck, and Evie shivered.
    Would she ever learn the trick of treading lightly around touchy issues? It didn ’ t look like it. The r e alization of what she ’ d just said, and the fury on Don ’ s and Mrs. Larson ’ s faces as soon as the words left Evie ’ s mouth, made her shiver for another rea son.
    In Oak Grove you handled your own problems. You did not whine to the police; you definitely did not file a lawsuit. An y conflicts were solved by talk ing face-to-face, and if that didn ’ t work you sent an emissary—like your great-aunt Hester, who had gone to school with the uncle of your neighbor ’ s cousin. Lawyers we re for wills, the occasional di vorce and real-estate transactions. That was all.
    “ Your father would be ashamed of you, ” Don said.
    Evie doubted that. Her father had only been ashamed of her once. But because he ’ d been her father, he ’ d stood behind her anyway. He ’ d stand behind her now, too. That knowledge gave her cour age. She met Don ’ s eyes. He looked away first, and she knew he would stay out of the fight. Macho he might be, but no one messed with
    “ Are you threatening me? ” Mrs. Larson ’ s voice trembled.
    So did Evie ’ s hands, which she quickly clasped behind her back. “ No, ma ’ am. ”
    “ Good. ” Mrs. Larson eyed her for a long mo

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