I love traveling almost as much as I love romance. Which made researching for my
latest release, SUGARâ€™S TWICE AS SWEET, so much fun. After being dumped,
abandoned, and left homeless, my heroine Josephina Harrington leaves the big
apple behind for the small town of Sugar, Georgia to turn her great auntâ€™s
dilapidated boarding house into a boutique lifestyle retreat. In researching bed
and breakfasts and boutique hotels, I came across some of the most romantic
spots in the South that inspired Joieâ€™s inn, Fairchild House.
Here are my personal Top 5 Most Romantic Inns of the South:
Coming in at #5 is the Blue Willow Inn. This inn combines two of my favorite
things, southern hospitality and southern cuisine. This mansion turned eatery is
known for their fried green tomatoes, country fried chicken, and the title of
â€śBest Small Town Restaurant in the South.â€ť Located in a charming yellow and
white turn-of-the-century neoclassical mansion, this southern hot spot was at
one time home to the Updike family, including Redd Updike, who was Margret
Mitchellâ€™s first husband and the inspiration for Rhett Butler in Gone with the
Wind. Food, history, and some of the best sweet tea around, it is a must see if
you are ever in the Atlanta area.
4. Gorhamâ€™s Bluff
is located in Alabama above the Tennessee River and offers a wonderful spin on
boutique inns. Not only does the Inn boast a beautiful main lodge, it also has
several cottages located through the property for those seeking a cozier, more
intimate stay. The layout of this property gave me the inspiration for turning
the slave quarters on Joieâ€™s property into individualized cottages for her guests.
3. Hamilton-Turner Inn is a 17 room lavish boutique hotel in
the heart of Savannah, Georgiaâ€™s historic district. It is surrounded by charming
shops, romantic eateries, and incredible architecture. Downtown Savannah is one
of the most beautiful cities in the South with its cobble stone streets,
antebellum houses, and plantations, which is why it was the inspiration for the
town of Sugar Georgia.
2. The Little Inn at Washington is the perfect blend of
grandeur and whimsy, and it was exactly what I pictured for Fairchild House. The
arched ceilings, detailed murals, and elegant country chic makes for a romantic
and magical stay. Not to mention there is an award winning restaurant on the
premises and a quaint shopping district right outside.
1. The Peabody
Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Located right off Beale Street and built in
1925, it is considered the â€śSouthâ€™s Grand Hotel.â€ť Between the rich history,
grand ballroom, and Peabody Ducks, I donâ€™t think one could help falling in love.
The Peabody also offers up the best drink in the south, The Blue Suede Shoes.
Read an Excerpt from SUGAR'S TWICE AS SWEET
Three days later, Josephina shoved the last scrap of wallpaper into the trash
bag and knew it was quitting time. Her arms were sore from scraping off glue,
which was littering the wood floor, she had a big bruise on her forehead from
running into Brettâ€™s elbowâ€”and sharing breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a man
who made her motor hum only added to her aches.
True to his word, he had asked her out every day. And every day it became harder
to say no.
Today had been the worst, she thought as she watched the play of Brettâ€™s muscles
while he supported a plank of rotted wood over his head. He was all rippled and
gorgeous and flashing that orgasm-inducing smile. The one that curled up
slightly at the corners, saying heâ€™d caught her drooling. Again.
â€śA simple yes is all it would take,â€ť he said in that southern-boy way that made
her heart warm. Along with some other, more pertinent, parts.
â€śI have no idea what youâ€™re talking about.â€ť She stepped sideways, right into a
bowl of nails, knocking them over. Then, blaming Brett for taking up too much
damn space, she picked up the handsaw off the floor and reached into her back
pocket for a pair of glovesâ€”coming up empty.
â€śIâ€™ve got an extra pair in my tool belt,â€ť he said with humor in his voice as he
jerked his chin toward his goodie bag, um, tool belt. â€śRight there in the center
pocket. You see them?â€ť
Oh, she saw them all right. She also saw how incredibly amused he was.
â€śDonâ€™t move.â€ť Eyeing him, she cautiously reached into the pocket, careful not to
touch any of his tools. She grabbed the leather gloves and jerked her hand back.
Doing her best to ignore his laughing, she crawled up to the fifth rung of the
ladder and sawed away the remaining few inches of beam. Between the sexy smiles
and â€śaccidentalâ€ť brushing of bodies, Brett kept her in a constant state of
â€śSo to clarify, youâ€™re saying you donâ€™t want to go out with me,â€ť he mused.
She sighed, sawing through the end of the beam and wondering why she kept
repeating herself. â€śDating wouldnâ€™t be a good idea.â€ť
â€śWhy is that?â€ť he asked, lowering the beam to the floor.
This time she was certain he was flexing his arms on purpose.
â€śBecause weâ€™d go out, have a good time, come home, and have sex. Only instead of
just amazing no-strings sex it would be complicated by all this other stuff,
which would make things weird. Eventually Iâ€™d be short one contractor, miss my
opening date, and wonder what happened.â€ť
Not wanting to look at him, she set the saw on the top of the ladder, ready to
move to the next spot.
â€śFirst off, Iâ€™m in this for the long haul, I gave you my word on that.â€ť
Josephina turned around to ask him if he was talking about the inn, but then she
forgot how to speak. Brett blocked her descent, climbing up behind her to the
second rung, which brought him eye level. He gripped her hips and backed her up
against the ladder. â€śAnd, sugar, sex between us wouldnâ€™t be amazing, it would be
Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m afraid of.
He sculpted his hands down her sides to her thighs, paying extra attention to
her bottom on the trip back. She rested her hands on those biceps sheâ€™d been
watching all week so she wouldnâ€™t fall over as the air whooshed out of her lungs.
Hell, sheâ€™d suffered from severe oxygen deprivation since the minute she found
him this morning, standing on the front porch, latte in one hand, a cheese
Danish in the other, and the sun cresting behind him.
The man redefined â€śsexy contractor.â€ť The faded college T-shirt clung to his
impressive chest. And the hotter it got, the clingier the material became. Which
was why four oâ€™clock was Josephinaâ€™s new favorite time of day. It was when Brett
shucked his shirt. And the tool belt he wore weighed down his jeans, giving her
a prime view of chiseled abs and lean hips, and highlighting his yummy parts.
And that wasnâ€™t even the most tempting part. Nope. The more she saw Brett as a
normal hot guy, the more the never-going-to-date-him rule seemed to blur, and
the harder he became to resist.
â€śI suck at relationships,â€ť she rushed out, more for her than him. â€śI get so lost
in the other person that Josephina goes MIA. I canâ€™t do that again. Not now when
people are counting on me. When Iâ€™m counting on me.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s just a date, Joie. Iâ€™m not down on one knee.â€ť He sounded so sincere her
heart pounded as if he were.
â€śDate implies the start of something, and youâ€™re leaving.â€ť And if I let you, you
might take my heart with you when you go. â€śAnd Iâ€™m staying here, in Sugar.â€ť
With a single nod, Brett let her slide past him on the ladder.
He wasnâ€™t giving up, not by a long shot, she could see that in his eyes. But he
was letting it goâ€”for now.
Enter the book tour giveaway!
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