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Rancher's Deadly Risk (Harlequin Romantic Suspense Series #1727)

Rancher's Deadly Risk - Rachel Lee I was a little afraid that the bullying theme of this romance would overwhelm the romance but Lee managed to include enough romance by the end of the story. Cassie, a new teacher in Conard County, steps in to stop some boys from bullying another boy and sets off a whirlwind. Her actions have a lot of repercussions because one of the bullies is a star on the basketball team that might be going to State. The community seems to be picking sides.But there are more than just opinions and sideways glances. Someone makes a threatening phone call, leaves a dead rat on her desk at school, and vandalizes her car. Fellow teacher Lincoln Blair steps in to aid Cassie even though he is reluctant to get close to her. After all, he fell for an outsider once before and she broke his heart when she left him. Both Linc and Cassie have their own insecurities which often leaves them talking at cross purposes and misinterpreting each other. Cassie was bullied when she was younger and is also used to men coming and going in her life. She feels pretty insecure about herself and doesn't think she is attractive. As I mentioned already, Linc doesn't want to get involved with someone who can't deal with his lifestyle as a high school science teacher, football coach, and rancher. He thinks Cassie is really hot but has been keeping her at a distance to protect himself. The bullying theme was strong in this one. Both Linc and Cassie want to do something to change the culture of the town and the school. Both were afraid that too many people were just passing off bullying as "kids will be kids." It takes the attempted suicide of the victim to wake up the community.The one weakness that I thought this book had concerned the villain. He seemed to come out of nowhere and have no real motive for his actions. There was no real foreshadowing that led to him. I did enjoy the romance and think other fans of Rachel Lee will enjoy this one too.