Prim schoolteacher meets ex-con and finds happiness--in this highly predictable second hardcover romance from the bestselling Robards (Nobody's Angel, p. 425). When 17-year-old Johnny Harris was convicted of stabbing his cheerleader girlfriend to death 11 years ago, Rachel Grant--his 22- year-old, sexually repressed high-school English teacher--was outraged. True, Johnny was the well-known ``swaggering son of the local no-good'' who grew up on the wrong side of his Kentucky hometown--but though his rough beginnings were enough to prove his guilt in his neighbors' eyes, Rachel had once caught Johnny reading a book for pleasure and was convinced that such a boy could never kill. Now, it's 11 years later and Johnny, up for parole, has written to his former teacher requesting a job. Rachel hires him to work at her family's hardware store and thus, to the scandal of her friends, parents, and respectable middle-aged beau, enables the tough, virile ex-con to return home. At first Rachel is rather frightened of Johnny, who's no longer a rebellious teenager but a long-legged, tough-talking man 28 years old. But as the entire town gangs up on him, the teacher's protective instincts bloom, and her fervent defense of Johnny leads all too inevitably to a lusty clandestine affair (``I had a major case of the hots for you in high school,'' Johnny whispers. ``I still do''). The fact that another stabbing occurs causes few real disturbances in the mismatched couple's joy, and through a series of highly unlikely turns of fate, Johnny is cleared of both murders as his loyal teacher saves the day. Old-fashioned melodrama with nary a surprise.