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Publisher's Summary

Tony Hart loves teaching, even though he's not much older than his high school students. Between his profession, a few good friends, and plenty of books, he's content with his quiet life. Then, the murdered body of another teacher falls into the elevator at his feet, and Tony's life becomes all too exciting.

Jared MacLean is a homicide detective, widowed father to a young daughter, and deeply in the closet. But, from the moment he meets Tony's blue eyes in that high school hallway, Mac can't help wanting this man in his life. Mac's not out and can't afford to be out, but Tony makes him want the impossible.

Mac isn't the only one with his eyes on Tony, though. As the murderer tries to cover their tracks, Mac has to work fast or lose Tony, permanently.

©2011, 2021 Kaje Harper (P)2021 Kaje Harper

What listeners say about Life Lessons

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great start

J. F. Harding sure can tell a story. His voice is Amazing. He definitely brought this story and it's characters to life. Murder, drugs and a nice start to a relationship. Who knew so much could happen in school. Can't wait for more of this series. I will definitely listen. Well worth the credit and your time to listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • AT
  • 01-12-22

Great narrations and a good romantic suspense

Life Lessons is a book that’s recently rereleased and new to audio (and me). The blurb caught my eye straight away because I have a soft spot for romantic suspense and law enforcement books. However, it was the audio sample that convinced me this was a must listen, and I’m glad I did.

Life Lessons starts off rather quickly with a high school teacher unexpectedly finding a murdered fellow teacher. While the story spans the active investigation and always carries an air of suspense, I’d say the overall pace of it is pretty steady with some pockets of action. Both main characters are great, and I enjoyed getting to know both men. I found their ties together unexpected but interesting, and I enjoyed watching their romance take shape.

Romantically, Life Lessons is a bit different. Upon meeting Mac, I definitely expected this to be an out-for-you romance. However, the author holds true to her characters and doesn’t force Mac out of the closet. Instead, Tony and he develop a strong, palpable bond that takes them through some nerve-wracking moments, and they end up making a quiet life that’s fairly different than the bulk of the stories I read, but no less enjoyable.

As much as I enjoyed the story and different, honest approach to a romance with a closeted hero, I was also really happy to discover a new-to-me narrator. The even tone, good variety and distinction between character voices, and clear diction made for a lovely listen. The narration coupled with the exciting close to the book kept me listening late into the night and makes Life Lessons an easy recommendation to fans of romantic suspense stories.

1 person found this helpful

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fantastic!!

Fantastic! I loved Tony and Mac. They each had hidden depths to themselves. I felt so much for Mac feeling that he had to be in the closet. The mystery was well done. I guessed who the killer was but not why, great job. Overall, fantastic. JF Harding did an amazing job with the narration. His voice fit the characters and gave the story a realistic feel.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent mystery and romance

Mr. Harding has a soothing voice that is very easy on the ears. The interpretations of Tony and Mac felt spot-on. The pacing was perfect, and I easily distinguished between the various characters. The emotional pull between the MCS was quite evident and very believable. The dramatic end scene was phenomenal and brought this story to life! I thoroughly enjoyed this professional audio presentation. I highly recommend it. Happy listening!
Story-line:
This book blew me out of the water. I was surprised to learn that this book was Kaje Harper’s first professional published story written ten years ago. I love a solid mystery mixed with a smoking romance, and this novel was so well written. The book was riveting, and the author added some light editing. Talk about non-stop action that had me literally on the edge of my seat.
This book is a thriller of a romance! The chemistry and connection between the two MCS was authentic and pulsated off the pages. Tony is a high school teacher who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mac is the investigating cop pulled in to handle the shocking homicide. Tony and Mac feel the connection, and the two have to deal with more than Mac being in the closet. Family obligations and multiple murder attempts create havoc for these decent men.
 

1 person found this helpful

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So very good

I read this book years ago and loved it. Listening was just as enjoyable. Love these guys. Their relationship was realistic and the plot was intriguing. Five stars all around.

1 person found this helpful

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Mac and Tony

If you like MM and murder mysteries this is a damn good book.

Tony is at school late one day trying to get some things finished up so he can go home and relax the sprain ankle he got earlier that day. He takes the elevator to go grab a box of books when a fellow teacher stumbles into the elevator on him. Before he knows it Tony is caught up in a murder investigation.

Mac is a super closeted detective who meets Tony covered in blood and trying to breathe through a panic attack. Mac although firm and serious makes Tony feel more at ease.

I don't want to share more and spoil it for everyone but I will say this was a really good book. I think a good balance was here for both romance and mystery. The sex scenes made sense. and I would consider it a HFN for a good potential for an HEA. I absolutely loved Mac. Although series in his work, his heart shines through. Just in case it's a trigger for anyone, in this book they keep their relationship secret and there is a very sad death in this book. Over all 10/10 will read again.

1 person found this helpful

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I’m hooked!

I’m hooked!
Loved this first instalment of the Life Lessons series. In this first book Mac, or Detective Maclean, meets Tony while investigating a homicide the other man has witnessed. The two men are immediately attracted to each other but Mac is deeply closeted and Tony has to much going on when he becomes a target for the murderer,too, to think to much about what he thinks is a straight man.
Investigation going on, Mac’s protective instinct develops until he cannot fight his feelings anymore and they begin a tentative super secret relationship!
The book does not end on a cliffhanger, but with a HFN that made me grab book two in a hot second to know more about these two men’s I’m hooked!
Loved this first instalment of the Life Lessons series. In this first book Mac, or Detective Maclean, meets Tony while investigating a homicide the other man has witnessed. The two men are immediately attracted to each other but Mac is deeply closeted and Tony has to much going on when he becomes a target for the murderer,too, to think to much about what he thinks is a straight man.
Investigation going on, Mac’s protective instinct develops until he cannot fight his feelings anymore and they begin a tentative super secret relationship!
The book does not end on a cliffhanger, but with a HFN that made me grab book two (not out in audio, yet, but alas!)in a hot second to know more about these two men’s journey!

1 person found this helpful

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KAJE HARPER'S CLASSIC!!

I have had Life Lessons and the rest of this series books for years and have read and reread them many times. J. F. Harding is the perfect narrator for this series and I look forward to listening to the rest of the series as they become available.

I highly recommend this book and audio!

1 person found this helpful

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Classic Kaje

I’m a huge Kaje Harper fan and was thrilled when I heard she was bringing her first series out on audio. I leapt on this first book and devoured it in a day.

So many feelz. I love JF Harding as a narrator and he was perfect for this. His voice just lends itself to the mid-western feel of the piece – very much rooted in Minnesota. And he’s great with building the moments of tension and sprinkling in the moments of levity.

As for the story – I enjoyed that as well. What happens when a guy is just going about his day, minding his own business, and suddenly he’s a witness to a murder? Well, gets way too close to a murder victim, anyway.

Tony Hart is that guy. Unassuming English teacher who’s got a good life. He’s out, proud, loves his career, and is doing okay. Then it all goes wrong.

Jared MacLean is the opposite of Tony. He does love his career, but he’s in a very deep closet, and not really happy. Those quick trips to Vegas to slake his needs aren’t cutting it. He spots Tony and everything shifts within him. He wants Tony. But he also wants to keep his job, and custody of his young daughter, so he sees Tony as out of reach. Of happiness and satisfaction just beyond his reach as well. He’s lost his wife - he’s not willing to lose more.

Except…well, you know… Danger breeds close quarters and things explode. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and if you meet the right person, how can that be wrong?

Fortunately, they’re able to get together in public – Tony has a young boy who he cares for deeply and Jared’s daughter is about the same age. But it’s the private time the men crave.

When the killer is caught, will they have enough of a relationship to build a life with? As a romance lover, I wanted a happy ending – and I got it. But it was more of a happily for now scenario and I’m looking forward to the next book. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Good mystery and relatable characters

I have had this book on my to read list for a long time, and I was excited to see it re-released and put on audio. Of course I jumped at the chance to review it. The first version of this book was released in 2011 and only lightly edited. I feel like you can tell it’s just the littlest bit dated, with marriage equality not being a thing back then. Overall the themes are still relevant today.

Tony is an out and proud teacher, who no kid in school seems to hate, even the more homophobic ones. I think that boils down to the fair way he treats his student and because his expectations of them are strict but not unreasonable. Beyond his career, we know he has a few friends, a child who is like a nephew to him, and a turbulent break-up in his past. Jared is a closeted cop with a daughter who lives with his cousin. His hectic career makes it hard to provide her with a stable environment but he tries to spend as much time with her as possible. Everything he does is for his child, including staying in the closet. Though work is another big reason for that. Both guys are good guys who are likable and relatable, though I do wish Jared could find a way to be himself.

The mystery in this book was interesting. It starts when a dead body falls through the elevator doors at Tony’s stop. Jared is a detective who shows up to the crime scene. Unlike a lot of mysteries that I’ve read, Tony doesn’t immediately start trying to solve the mystery himself. He lets the police do their job, but he does encourage students to let the police know anything they think might be relevant. The killer doesn’t know whether Tony saw him or not, and threats against Tony escalate throughout the book.

I thought the mystery was really good. I don’t think it’s obvious at any point who the guilty party is, and how much more is involved in regards to what made him kill. I found it very intriguing though and enjoyed the ride. I look forward to the next book coming out on audio to see how Tony and Jared manage their budding relationship while keeping it secret and what other mysteries Jared has to solve. The narration by J.F. Harding was perfect for these two characters. I definitely recommend checking this one out.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lesetiger
  • 12-10-21

Great start with a brilliant narration

Life Lessons was my first book by author Kaje Haper and it really hooked me. I loved her entertaining writing style. The story had me hooked from the beginning. Tony is a teacher who accidentally stumbles upon a dying colleague in the school building in the evening who has been attacked with a knife. Mac is one of the investigating detectives on this case.
When Tony receives notes with warnings over the next few days, it awakens a protective instinct in Mac.

Tony and Mac are two very opposite but totally likeable characters. Tony is out and he knows what he wants and he doesn't like to be told much either. Mac, on the other hand, doesn't see a way to come out because he's afraid of the reaction and losing the respect of his colleagues, and it probably wouldn't go over well within the family either.
I found the case exciting as there are some twists and turns that I didn't expect.

What I also really liked was the development of their relationship. My heart bled for Mac because of his past and I can absolutely understand his apprehension about coming out. The story captivates with a realistic development of the relationship. And as you listen, you can immediately feel the attraction between the two. But does the relationship stand a chance if one of the two doesn't want to come out because there is too much at stake for him?

JF Harding is a fascinating storyteller and is one of my favorite narrators. His voice is amazing and he has a brilliant way of bringing the characters to life. He narrates the emotions expressively and he is totally listenable for long periods of time because he reads in a varied and captivating way.

Highly recommended and I look forward to hearing more from Mac and Tony.

I requested a free copy of the audiobook and this is my honest opinion that I am volunteering

2 people found this helpful

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  • C.
  • 12-21-21

Flawless narration

JF Harding did an excelent job. His voice performance was flawless and I loved all of it.

This book has caught my attention pretty fast (mystery, closeted MC, angsty, teacher x detective) and it started very well, with the MCs meeting in a murder investigation and all the tension from that happening. Mac tries to keep Tony safe and Tony tries to not be freaked out and go on with his life, and in the middle of all that, they feel this pull to each other. I loved the path the story was going. But then it takes a loop and things start to stretch way too much.

Mac was very immature and unprofessional in his actions. He couldn't face his problems well and the arrangement about his daughter makes no sense at all. Single parents keep their children all the time. Yes, it's a struggle, but it's perfectly possible. Also, the crazy story of his marriage was unnecessary and very hard to buy.

Tony on the other hand seems very mature and level-headed. I really liked him, he made me keep listening because I wanted to see him come out on top; but there were also issues with this character. How in the hell does a person who has just lost his best friend act so chill? No crying, no griefing? And then Marty was never mentioned again, nor his family or his funeral. To be honest, his death was unnecessary to the plot, and making no big deal out of it was even worse.

And the MCs' first time right after a head injury and a huge emotional trauma? Tony may have not been in the best state of mind, but Mac should have known better and been the responsible one.

The mystery started interesting and I thought it would have a nice twist, but the murder motive was so silly and the way the murderer kept acting was unbelievable. Why would he try to murder Tony too? It made no sense.

This series is ongoing and, despite all the issues I had while reading it, it was still engaging enough that I do want to keep reading and see what happens to these guys. Maybe Mac will finally grow some sense and responsibility and Tony will be properly appreciated.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Susie Umphers
  • 12-14-21

Great mystery and characters

I'm a teacher and huge mystery fan, so I was sold on this one from the moment I saw "murder" and "teacher" in the blurb. I found the mystery intriguing and well done. I also enjoy m/m stories where the two characters have a strong attraction but where one is very much out and the other feels he must remain in the closet. Mac has good reasons for that here and while we have an HFN it's clear things can't go on as they are long term. Tony is going to eventually demand more. I'm very interested to see how things play out in the next book which I have purchased and am off to read now. I read this first but really enjoyed listening to J. F. Harding's performance. It brought out the suspense of the mystery and Tony's and Mac's frustration at trying to have a secret relationship incredibly well. Look forward to his performance of book two.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A.K.
  • 12-14-21

Don't miss this listen!

Blown away! I'd never read this book before and I adore JF Harding's narrations, so I gave this a go and I'm so happy that I did. The narration was perfect in every way.

The story had me from the start. A young high school teacher is witness to the murder of a colleague and things get interesting in his life after that.

The investigator is a closet case with a kid, but the biggest, kindest heart imaginable.

There was a lot of mystery and intrigue as far as plot was concerned, but plenty of romance and sweet moments peppered throughout as well.

This audio definitely has me eager for more of their story!

1 person found this helpful

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  • LGB
  • 12-13-21

A compelling murder mystery and budding romance

I always enjoy Kaje's writing and storytelling style. This is a compelling murder/mystery featuring a budding new romance between a teacher and the investigating (and closeted) cop. From the start, there's a connection and sizzling chemistry between these two and some steamy scenes follow.

There are various suspects and the murderer is not obvious at first. The drama builds to quite a long and suspenseful climax, and the story ends on a satisfying HFN. I'm looking forward to parts 2 and 3 in the series.

Superbly narrated as always by J.F. Harding, with great character portrayal, various distinct voices and excellent storytelling. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-23-22

Loved it

I love everything about this story, the narrator was excellent as was the storyline and the characters. Looking forward to the rest of the series in audio.

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  • Jeanette A L
  • 01-09-22

Great book

This book is the first I have listen to/read by Kaje Harper. I enjoyed her writing style and the story and characters was great. It´s an easy book to read and you get what you expect from the blurp.
It´s murder, romance, closed cop, cute teacher all in one!

I think that J:F Harding did an amazing work on this book. I really enjoyed his voice. It was easy to listen to!

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  • BevS
  • 01-04-22

Great start to series by J.F.

***Audio Review***

Great start to this series by narrator JF Harding, although there were a few errors [mostly it has to be said naming Mac's daughter Hannah not Anna]. Book 2 eagerly awaited, and I understand from following Kaje that this is already in the works. Oh, and can I just say that I've been completely gobsmacked by the fact that the cover model for this series can also be found appearing in my Health and Vitamin magazine at the moment...what a shock that was 😵 😉.

***Book Review 2013***

First book in the Life Lessons series. Slow-ish start as this book is mostly about setting the scene and developing the characters. 4 stars.

Mac is a police detective, firmly in the closet in order to protect his daughter and himself (there's a story there too). Tony is a teacher at the local high school, and this story starts when a teacher that Tony doesn't particularly get on with crawls into the lift at school late one evening when Tony is leaving, with a knife sticking out of him...blood pouring everywhere...and dies. Mac is part of the murder investigation team, and is somewhat jealous that Tony is out and proud, but keeps quiet and does his job.

I'm only going to post a short review as these books are popular, and have lots of reviews, but I will say that I did enjoy it, and all the twists and turns that occurred. Tony is a really strong character, kind and helpful whereas Mac is, well...hot, but so firmly entrenched in that bloody closet, it's a wonder he hasn't been suffocated by those moth balls!!

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  • Ronald Betts
  • 12-28-21

Exciting and keeps you listening.

exciting story that keeps you reading and worrying about the characters, not sure about the end as I like hea ends but it fits the story, its well narrated which is good.

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  • Belinda Zamora
  • 12-20-21

Wonderful blend of mystery and romance

I was immediately hooked on the story.
Tony and Mac really have depth, emotion and passion between them.
Add in a murder mystery and trying to navigate the delicate intricacies of being gay during the time period and it was an instant win for me.
J. F. Harding did an amazing job of bringing the characters to life.
I can't wait to continue the story between Tony and Mac.