5. Pearls go with everything, except a bad attitude.
4. Your dress should be tight enough to show youâ€™re a woman, but loose enough to
show youâ€™re a lady.
3. Keep your lips sealed, and your eyes and ears wide open.
2. Treat your competitors with the upmost respectâ€”unless theyâ€™re related to
Kitty Duncan, then wait till their not looking and lace their Vaseline with
1. When in doubt, always apply more lipstick.
The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant
in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls
and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a
scandal she didn't commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even
worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she's alive.
Single dad Cal McGraw can't take any more drama in his life. After a difficult
divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The
last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is
pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can't deny the strong
chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles
threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk
everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .
Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series,
she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming
Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin,
nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband
and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary
romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance
explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on
Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her at
â€śShut off the tractor and put your hands in the air.â€ť The command came through
the speaker attached to the top of the sheriffâ€™s car, which was right next to
the flashing red and blue lights.
Squinting against the rain, Glory stared in panic at the speed trap up ahead. A
floodlight clicked on, blinding her and causing her foot to slip off the clutch.
The engine sputtered to a stop.
Determined to see this through, Glory cranked the engine and spun the tires,
kicking up loose gravel and a few cow pies. She hadnâ€™t come all this way,
spending thirty minutes on the muddy back roads in the middle of the night to
right someone elseâ€™s wrong, just to get caught now.
â€śCome on now, Ms. Hattie. Step on off that tractor so we can all get out of the
Ms. Hattie was the town busybody and one of Gloryâ€™s grandmaâ€™s oldest and dearest
friends. Which explained how the Prowler ended up in her grandmaâ€™s garage.
The roadblock of wet and irritated officers obviously had no idea who was
driving the tractor. If they had, Glory was certain that their boss would have
her butt tossed in jail before she could say, â€śMorning, Sheriff.â€ť
Plus she was pretty sure the smug-looking guy in the department-issued hat,
weighing in at two hundred pounds of bad attitude, was Sheriff Jackson
â€śLook, I promise my grandma wonâ€™t press charges.â€ť Yup. Sheriff Duncan.
The entitled drawl was a dead giveaway. And if he thought Ms. Kitty wouldnâ€™t
press charges, he was insane. â€śHeck, Ms. Hattie, as long as the Prowler is back
in the bay before she wakes up, she doesnâ€™t even have to know
it went missing and we can all go home and back to our respective business.â€ť
â€śDo I have your word on that, Sheriff?â€ť The second Glory opened her mouth,
Jackson realized Hattie McGraw wasnâ€™t behind the wheel because he went from
leaning against the grill of his cruiser to reaching for his gun. She also knew
that only ten feet and some plywood separated her from a mug shotâ€”a mug shot
that was not going to happen. She had enough mascara under her eyes to pass for a
linebacker and enough emotion built up that, after one too many double shifts
slinging beer and a lifetime of double standards, getting arrested would fill
out her already unflattering rĂ©sumĂ©.
Jackson silently made his way toward the tractor, boots clacking against the
slick concrete, cuffs jangling in his hand. Knowing nothing good could come from
that, she rested her hand on the gear shift and asked, â€śIâ€™m guessing by the
pissy look on your face that your generous offer is no longer on the table.â€ť
â€śSorry to say, but youâ€™d guess right,â€ť he said, not sorry at all.
Jackson Duncan had been sheriff of Sugar County for the past four years, and
heâ€™d hated Glory for at least twice that amount of time. He was uptight, by the
book, and still blamed her for his older brother leaving town. Not that he had
ever bothered to listen to her side of the story. No one really had. But
everyone knew that he would love nothing more than to parade Glory around town
in cuffs and prove that she was a menace to Sugarâ€™s properly polite society.
â€śEven if I told you that I wasnâ€™t stealing Ms. Kittyâ€™s tractor? That I was
trying to return it?â€ť
â€śEven then. Possession is nine-tenths of the law.â€ť
And wasnâ€™t that just great, because in this county possession might constitute
only nine-tenths, but being the girl who cost Sugar High their beloved football
coach and the state championships all in the same year surely made up the
other one-tenth. Which meant the odds of her getting out of this mess with a
friendly warning were a big fat zero.
There was no way she was letting him take her in. Not dressed in flannel and
fertilizer. And sure as hell not when she had a Pediatric Health Theory midterm
in six hours. It had taken her the better part of a decade, juggling part-time
classes and full-time bar tending, to get to where she was, and she wasnâ€™t about
to let one mistake screw up everything. Not again.
â€śSorry then, Sheriff.â€ť
Grabbing the edges of her rain slicker, she flipped it up to cover her face and
gunned it. The tractor roared as she threw it in second. The gear kicked in,
causing the Prowler to pick up in volume and speedâ€”surprising speed for a
machine that looked like a giant peach and was built when sheâ€™d been in preschool.
â€śAw, hell,â€ť Jackson said, racing back to the cruiser. â€śLet â€™em go, boys.â€ť
Heading straight for the road, she vowed that she would drive right through that
speed trap, over the metal spikes and all, if she had to. Her grandma was
counting on her, and the entry to the Prowlerâ€™s parking bay was only a few yards
past the sheriffâ€™s patrol car. She could slip in, park the vehicle, and hightail
it out of there.
She hit fourth gear right as the Prowlerâ€™s wheels cruised over the first set of
shreddersâ€”tires unscathed. Only before she reached that second strip, Jackson
stepped in front of the tractor.
â€śDang it, Jackson,â€ť she screamed over the roar of the tractorâ€™s engine. â€śMove
your overentitled, stubborn ass out of my way or Iâ€™ll run it down!â€ť
â€śAnd miss busting yours for grand theft auto and assaulting a police officer?â€ť
he yelled back, smiling as though heâ€™d just won box seats at the Georgia Dome.
Glory looked from side to side, weighing her options. Had she been thinking with
her head instead of her heart, she would be warm and snug in her bed, not facing
jail time in little more than a pink slicker and ducky galoshes. Instead she was
trying to solve a feud that had been brewing since Glory turned seventeen and
made the biggest mistake of her life.
Before Glory could react, she crossed the second trap and the back two tires
exploded simultaneously. The tractor jerked forward and she didnâ€™t know what was
thumping louder, her heart or the deflated tires struggling to roll over the
The Prowler decelerated and slowly crawled toward Jackson, who stepped out of
the way right as the tractor made its final stopâ€”giving the cruiser a big
smacker to the front bumper. The Prowler must have been made of steel because a
loud crunch broke through the nightâ€™s air, followed by an awful sizzle and
finally steam, which drifted up from under the hood and into the inky sky.
â€śI guess I can add destruction of city property to the charges,â€ť Jackson said
with a smile.
â€śDamnit, Jackson.â€ť Glory picked up a stray cow pie, which had landed in the back
of the tractor during her offroading excursion, and threw it on the ground. It
shattered, splattering right up his department-issued boots and onto his pant
legs. â€śIâ€™m just trying to return it.â€ť
â€śAnd Iâ€™m just doing my job,â€ť he said as he approached the vehicle and hoisted
his smug self up. â€śNow, do you need me to read you your rights? Or would you
like to say them with me?â€ť
And right then Glory understood that no matter how hard she tried to atone for
her past, she was never going to be free of it.