Kurt Holland wants the best for his younger brother, which is why he moves Sam to Bridgeport, Ohio. It’s a bigger town with a well-known high school. Just the place to give his little brother more opportunities—maybe even a scholarship to college. Kurt hopes his gamble pays off, since Sam’s future isn’t the only thing riding on it. Kurt’s put most of his savings into a new landscaping business there, too. But when Sam gets in trouble for fighting at school, Kurt isn’t so sure it was the right decision … until he meets Sam’s English teacher.
Emily Springer is passionate about helping all of her students succeed, but there’s something about Sam Holland that makes her want to go the extra mile. When he’s caught in a fight at school, she goes to bat in his defense, and during a conference with the principal she meets Sam’s rugged older brother—and guardian. Emily has a strict no-dating policy when it comes to her students’ parents, but Kurt isn’t technically Sam’s parent. It’s OK to bend the rules a little bit, right?
In an effort to make some friends and find a place in the Bridgeport community, Kurt starts up a weekly poker game in his garage. It’s not long before everyone wants in, and they all soon discover that these Friday night poker gatherings are about more than just the game.
Shelley Shepard Gray’s new Bridgeport Social Club series is about men who need a place to call home, a community in need of hope, and a group of women who are special enough to help both things happen. This first installment is genuine and heartfelt. It’s filled with hope, warmth, and the belief that love and acceptance can overcome any tough situation.
Gray (Her Fear), best known for her inspirational novels featuring the Amish, ventures far afield with this sweet but never syrupy first Bridgeport Social Club contemporary. Kurt, 31, recently relocated to Bridgeport, Ohio, from West Virginia to give his 17-year-old brother, Sam, the best chance for a future outside the coal mines. Sam and Kurt's fledgling business are the entirety of Kurt's world until he meets 26-year-old Emily, Sam's English teacher and advisor. When a third variable, love, appears in his life, this country boy isn't quite sure what to do. Emily is a caring teacher and consummate professional with a strict rule against dating her students' parents, but she can't deny the sweet attraction she feels in Kurt's presence, and she decides to make an exception. Soon all of them are forced to face the realities of growing up. This gentle, uplifting story admirably models values of genuine respect and open communication, and sets the foundation for what promises to be a delightfully rich series about taking chances, trust, and true friendship.