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Sugar's Twice as Sweet

Sugar's Twice as Sweet, December 2014
Sugar, Georgia #1
by Marina Adair

Grand Central Publishing
Featuring: Brett McGraw; Josephina Harrington
384 pages
ISBN: 1455528668
EAN: 9781455528660
Kindle: B00IRISIF6
Paperback / e-Book
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"Being dumped by her fiancé is just the beginning of fulfillment for this woman."

Fresh Fiction Review

Sugar's Twice as Sweet
Marina Adair

Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted November 13, 2014

Romance Contemporary

Josephina "Joie" Harrington just blew her future with her fiancée, in front of everyone at the tarmac, where the private jet was due to depart for Paris. And all she wanted to do was get the sizzle back. She has spent her time orchestrating a Manhattan social front to ensure that Wilson's career-making moment went off without a hitch. Now after she and her little pink lace panties have embarrassed him, he has dumped her, deciding to do it now rather than after they were in Paris where her parents were there for support as planned. Crushed, this little socialite takes a detour and heads for Sugar, Georgia where she has inherited an historical piece of property from her deceased Aunt Letty, the only person who truly understood her and promised her she'd find her wings some day and fly.

PGA Masters golfer Brett McGraw is Sugar's hero. His brothers Cal and Jace are also loved by all, possessing a special admiration in the community, especially sexually for all the women. Caught with his derriere captured in print along with a naked heiress, it's time to down play his popularity and head home to keep low for a couple of months until the FedEx Cup.

All hell breaks loose when Brett is again acquainted with his childhood friend Josie and his feisty grandma Hattie, who raised the McGraw boys after their parents' deaths, and her co-horts get involved. Never able to keep their noses out of everybody's business, the gun totting and extremely pushy Sunday School Mafia (Sugar ladies Baptist Choir) uses their devious wiles to attempt driving Joie from renovating the Fairchild House and restoring her childhood dreams in honor of her Aunt.

The community is all competing to raise the most money for a new children's wing at the local hospital and Joie tries to help. However, Joie will not get involved with a famous womanizer and this womanizer changes his stripes as he gets totally involved with the child- turned-adult. Two people desiring different views of life just isn't going to work and Joie stands to lose her dream when she learns of Brett's deception for this balls-to-the-wall girl who can't trust a man that doesn't believe in her.

This Sugar, Georgia novel is a fascinating read. Once I picked up SUGAR'S TWICE AS SWEET I was hooked! Joie creates more havoc than a clown and is such a beautiful and caring woman. I loved the escapades she innocently finds herself in at every turn. . Believe me, this will keep your mind working to keep up with all the mishaps this girl can get into.

SUGAR'S TWICE AS SWEET is the first in this series. . Marina Adair always fills me with pleasure when I read her works.

Learn more about Sugar's Twice as Sweet

SUMMARY

He's trouble she doesn't need . . .

Thanks to a cheating fiancé, Josephina Harrington's perfect life just crashed and burned. Moving in with her overbearing parents is definitely not an option. No, she needs to prove she can make it on her own. And she will-by turning her great-aunt's old plantation house into a destination getaway. She's just not expecting her contractor to be so hands-on-and so totally irresistible.

. . . but everything she wants

Bad-boy golf champion Brett McGraw figured his hometown of Sugar, Georgia was the perfect place to lay low and get his life back up to par. The leggy blonde with a pint-sized pup is the kind of sweet 'n sassy trouble he never saw coming. She doesn't know a nut from a bolt and before long, he's renovating her house . . . as she steals his heart. Can he convince Josephina that his womanizing ways are in the past and he's ready for forever?

Excerpt

It was official. Brett was exhausted. A little under two weeks back in Sugar and he’d already dredged the lake, helped out the local Booster Club with their yearly jog- athon, gotten the first set of campers settled, and agreed to play a friendly round of golf with the mayor— and local press.

He was in desperate need of some time on the course— alone, which was where he’d been coming from when he ran across—

“What the hell?” Brett swerved, narrowly missing a golfer decked out in cultured couture, stomping down the middle of the road. He pulled over to the shoulder of Brett McGraw Highway—which, in Sugar, was nothing more than two narrow lanes, one going in each direction, through the middle of a cattle pasture edged with oak trees and barbed wire—and rolled down his window

“Must have been some drive,” he said, leaning out the window and watching her approach. “The nearest hole is about eight miles back that way.”

He’d walked this same road more times than he cared to count as a kid, dragging a worn-out set of clubs, looking for an escape.

The leggy blonde, tugging what looked to be—a bunny on a leash?—stormed past his truck without sparing him a glance as the set of golf clubs, slung across her back like a samurai sword, nearly took out his side mirror. She wore some kind of skirt, silky and uptight and still somehow managing to hug every curve. Exposing a damn near perfect set of never-ending legs that balanced on the most ridiculous pair of heels he’d ever seen, which for some reason turned him on.

Wait, did that trailing dust mop just bark? Yup. Under the pink bows was a dog that seemed about as friendly as its owner.

“Afternoon.”

Even though Golfer Barbie was clearly working to ignore Brett, he was a good ole boy and a gentleman, and would never pass a woman in distress. He pulled alongside her. She was weighted down by a bag of clubs, a couple of wheelie suitcases, and a dog with rat-sized legs. Those shoes weren’t helping but they sure made her world-class ass sway in a manner that made his day suddenly seem less shitty.

“Ma’am?”

She stopped, her blue eyes narrowed into what had to be the best screw-you look he’d ever seen. The soft planes of her face folded into a scowl, pursing her lips out in offense. The dog growled.

“Ma’am?” she repeated.

Aw, she was a Yankee—her polished subtle accent giving her away—and obviously offended by his southern manners. The starched top, accessory on a leash, and stick-up-her- ass attitude told him probably Upper East Side. Not that he’d spent a lot of time in New York, although he had been with enough bored socialites looking for their wild round with the PGA bad boy to spot one of her kind.

One arm on the wheel, the other hanging out the window, Brett asked, “You need a hand?”

She crossed her arms, pulling the leash taut and cutting the yip off mid-yap, and opened her mouth to speak. Her eyes darted to the bed of his truck and then did an exaggerated roll before narrowing to two pissed-off slits.

“Nope,” was all she said, and continued to head due north. The word was thrown over her shoulder and sounded an awful lot like the four-letter kind.

Brett looked back to see what had taken her from pissed off to hostile. All he saw was his bag of golf clubs.

“Sugar,” he hollered. Since ma’am had set her off, he was hoping sugar wouldn’t make her snap. “You can walk for five miles in any direction and you’re going to end up nowhere. And there’s nothing that way but Sugar Lake and an old boardinghouse.”

“Good. Since that’s where I’m headed,” she enunciated slowly, and if Brett hadn’t been so busy checking out her swing, he would have noticed she was mocking him.

Easing off the pedal again, he followed the sound of her heels smacking the asphalt, which was loud enough to be heard over his diesel. It had been a while since he’d had to chase a woman. And for the first time since he’d come back to Sugar, Brett found himself smiling. He was actually enjoying himself. And if that wasn’t a testament to just how crappy his life had gotten, he didn’t know what was.

“Well, how about that? Me, too. So, why don’t you hop in and I can give you a lift?”

“My aunt told me never to trust a balding man.”

“Balding?”

She spared him a very brief and very annoyed glance, jerking her chin toward his Stetson. “Men wear it to hide their lack of hair.”

“My hat?” He hit the brakes. The dog bared its teeth. “It’s a southern thing.” . “Uh-huh.” She kept walking.

Brett grinned. He suspected she would rather walk back to New York in those shoes than admit she needed help. “Well, I’m never one to push a lady but I am a southern gentleman and I’d hate for anything to happen to you out here on the open road. So I’ll just drive along here beside you with my air-conditioning on high, maybe sipping from this ice-cold bottle of soda, just to make sure you get to where it is you’re going. Okay?”

Her shoulders sank a little and she stopped. Raising a hand to shield her eyes, she took in the long stretch of pavement that cut through endless miles of sun-dried hills, which housed enough snakes and armadillos to make even the toughest cowgirl balk, only to disappear into the horizon. Her shoulders slumped a little more and . . . shit . . . she was gonna cry, he could sense it.

He was about to say he’d call Lavender Spenser, who owned the only tow truck in town, to check out the car he had seen a few miles back, then disappear before the waterworks started, when she spun around. And that was not the look of a woman on the verge.

Instead she glared at his truck and, dragging what appeared to be her life, stepped closer to take a peek inside. She placed her hands on the door and gave his rig an aggressive shove, smiling when it didn’t budge.

Then it was his turn for inspection. She gave him a thorough once-over that was so clinical and suspicious Brett was sure it was meant to make him squirm. It did, but not in the way she intended. Because the harder she looked, the higher up that pert little nose went, the more pronounced her delicate cheekbones became, and the farther she stuck out that full, glossy lower lip of hers —and the harder he got.

“You a rapist?”

“Nope.”

He hadn’t considered how he must look to her in lived-in jeans, worn-out shitkickers, and a John Deere–embroidered polo that had seen better days. He had skipped shaving this morning—actually he’d skipped it yesterday, too—and his hair, in desperate need of a trim, was curling out from beneath his hat. The look screamed uneducated hick, but he’d been trying to get in a few holes without being recognized.

Not that it had worked. The beer cart girl, Lindsey—or was it Lena—gave him a cold long neck and tried for a hot kiss, scribbling her number on his scorecard when she failed.

He’d just finished his hole, a birdie no less, when people started gathering around, wanting to talk about the season, get tips on their swing, play a round with him. So he’d packed up, resigning himself to heading back toward the ranch, and maybe having a slice of Grandma Hattie’s peach pie.

Opening the truck door, he stepped out of the cab, around Mrs. Madison Avenue, and her little dog, too, stretching his cramped muscles and flexing a bit in case she decided to look his way. She didn’t. She was back to inspecting the truck.

He reached out his hand. “Name’s Brett McGraw.”

When she just looked at his outstretched offering as though it was a snake about to bite, he stuffed it in his pocket and leaned back against his rig, which was conveniently parked next to a highway sign boasting his name. Crossing his ankles, he gifted her with his cover- of-Sports-Illustrated grin—and waited.

It didn’t take long. Her eyes went wide with recognition. Two cute pink spots appeared on her cheeks and she gasped. In just about three seconds, she was going to be batting those lashes in his direction, telling him how sorry she was for treating him like he was some kind of perv, and asking—no, begging—him for a ride. And not just in his truck. At least that’s what his lower half was hoping. His upper half was telling him to get back in the cab and get the hell out of there.

“Ohmigod.” Her hand, the one holding the leash, came up to flutter in front of her stunned, dangling jaw. In the process, she yanked the little rat, which had its leg poised to piss all over his truck, out of firing distance. “Oh. My. God.”

And here it comes . . . “You’re that tractor salesman?”

“Excuse me?” Brett blinked. Then choked a little, remembering the ad he had done a few years back for John Deere.

Holy shit. She had no idea who he was. Meaning she had zero expectations. The notion made the hollow pit in Brett’s chest, the one that he’d been carrying around for over a decade, fade a little.

“I’m right, right?” She looked back at his truck, two tons of steel testosterone with enough power to haul whatever the hell he wanted to haul. “You’re the cowboy from that television commercial who sings that song while the cow pulls him around.”

“Something like that,” Brett said, picking up one of her suitcases and dropping it in the bed of his truck. She was the first person all day who hadn’t wanted anything from him, which was probably why he was set on helping her. Finished with her suitcases, he reached for her bag of clubs, the back of his hand grazing the curve of her neck where the strap rested.

God, she was soft. She smelled like a lingerie store and some kind of flower. All he could think of when he looked at her was sex. She seemed to know exactly what he was thinking, because she shifted those two pissed-off slits back in his direction.

“What are you doing?” She clutched the bag to her chest.

“Being neighborly.”

He waited for her to let go. All he got was silence.

Uneasy, mistrust-filled silence.

“Good lord, Yankee, you are the most suspicious person I’ve ever met.”

“Says the man in the creepy truck offering women rides. And who said I wasn’t local?”

“Your accent. New York by the sound of it.” He looked at her outfit and raised a brow. “A Madison Avenue address?”

She scowled. Bingo. “And it’s not creepy, it’s called being a gentleman.”

Although, when she crossed her arms, accentuating the generous swell of her breasts, the last thing he felt was gentlemanly.

“Now, how about you let me get on with my southern manners and load up your things?”

He gave a tug, surprised when she tugged back. Even more surprised at his reaction to getting her all riled up. And she was plenty riled. Why he enjoyed irritating her, he couldn’t say. But when those eyes flashed his way, shooting off attitude and irritation, all of the bullshit in his life seemed kind of stupid.

Letting her win this battle, he let go of the bag and watched her stagger a little under the added weight before walking around the truck to open the passenger door. “You coming? Or do I need to call the sheriff and tell him some crazy lady and her ferret are loitering on my property?”

She hitched the golf bag higher in her arms, a nine-iron shifting up and out a little as if the bag was flipping him the middle finger. She looked around the miles of rolling hills and highway. “I’m on a public highway.”

“No, ma’am,” he drawled, playing the part of the hillbilly.

“This here is all McGraw land. Sign right there says so. And that means you and Toto are trespassing.”

Rooted in the middle of the highway, reluctance and exhaustion playing across her face, she looked lost. Lost and sad and maybe a bit scared. He hadn’t noticed before, but under all that sass and primping was someone trying to hold it together.

Brett stepped back around the truck, stopping in front of her and softening his voice. “Look, it’s hot out and will be dark soon. If that Bentley sitting in the middle of the field back there was yours, you’ve already walked a good couple of miles.” He looked at her shoes. “Which I’m betting seemed like a lot more. At least let me give you a ride back to your car. I can drop you off somewhere or go into town and get some gas and help you get her running again.”

“She’s not out of gas,” she pointed out, as if he’d just offended her entire sex. “My cheating bastard of an ex decided to report his car stolen. It has one of those antitheft thingies. It just stopped working.”

Which would explain the shrieking horn and flashing lights. “How did it get in the field?”

“The alarm gave me a warning and I was driving kind of fast. Figured if he was going to screw with me he could search for it.”

“It’s probably got a GPS. They’ll find it pretty easy.”

“I was hoping for a pond. A deep one. Full of scum.” She shrugged, her top shifting in the process and exposing a very lacy, very pink bra strap, making him more than aware of how tight his jeans suddenly seemed. Because, well, he was a guy, and he’d been without a woman a lot longer than most people knew. “I didn’t find one.”

“Lucky him.” Brett smiled, thinking about that strap and wondering if it matched her panties.

“Lucky him, I didn’t drive it through the lobby of his career-making moment.” Her hands made aggressive air quotes around the last three words, adding, “And it’s bulletproof,” with more air quotes, as if that would explain away everything.

That was his cue to walk. He didn’t do complicated. Because complicated usually came with expectations. And this woman had more expectations than her wheelie suitcase could possibly hold. Plus she was kind of crazy. Sexy as hell. But crazy nonetheless.

Brett could almost hear Cal’s voice, not to mention the one inside his own head, reminding him how pink lace hadn’t panned out so well for him in the past. And it was obvious that this woman and her pink lace were nothing but trouble. But Brett didn’t get to where he was in life by playing it safe, not when trouble was so much more fun. Which was why he was determined to get her into his truck.

“If you want you can call the sheriff. His name is Jackson Duncan and he can give me the Sugar stamp of approval.”

“All right,” she conceded, desperation—and possibly her shoes—winning out.

She balanced the golf bag between her feet and reached into her purse. Hands fluttering through all eighty-seven pockets, they finally pulled out a cell. Pink. She punched in some keys and waited, her face going blank after about fifteen seconds. She stared at it, punching harder and tried again.

“Rat bastard!”

She pulled the phone back, wound up, and let her fly. They watched the pink metal glisten in the sun before shrinking into the horizon to finally disappear.

“Nice arm.”

Ignoring his comment, her eyes went to his truck again.

“How tough is your truck?”

“Chevy tough.”

“Uh-huh.” She gave his tire a swift kick. Not impressed.

“Tough enough to withstand a head-on with a Bentley?”

“It’s American.” He meant it as a testament to how badass his truck was. But she mumbled something that sounded vaguely like “figures.”

“You promise to take me to my car so I can get the rest of my things—”

“There’s more?”

“And get me to where I’m going, untouched?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She still didn’t look convinced, which made her a lot smarter than he was. This trip home was about lying low, playing it safe. Not picking up designer women with purse-sized pets. Sighing, he ushered her toward the passenger door, her fuzzy companion letting loose sounds that were about as intimidating as a Christmas carol. He reached around to help her inside, but paused, content to watch her struggle with her dog, purse, and bag of clubs. Finally realizing that they wouldn’t all fit, she thrust her clubs in his face and went back to tending to the dog.

“Listen, Barbie, Toto here isn’t going to pee in my truck, is she?”

“My name is Josephina. This is Boo. And she is male, which means he’s predisposed to making public statements whenever he feels his masculinity threatened.”

She eyed his truck again and smiled.

Brett looked down at the tiny dog covered in white fluff that was teased, sculpted, and pinned back with a pink bow. Two wet black eyes looked up at him and Brett actually pitied the fuzzball. Until it leaped over the center console, made himself at home in Brett’s seat, and started gnawing on the steering wheel.

His mistress, on the other hand, climbed into the passenger seat, while Brett took a minute to admire the view before hoisting her clubs to toss them into the back.

“Wait,” she said, grabbing at the strap.

“It won’t fit. Besides, already got my own set, Jo. Nicer than,” he looked at the label and mumbled, “those Stone clubs.”

“Josephina,” she corrected. “And how do I know those aren’t from your last victim?”

“Same way I don’t know if you used those clubs to emasculate Rat Bastard.”

She nibbled her lower lip for a long minute and then let go of the bag. But not before she snagged one first—a nine-iron.

“Good girl. Now promise me you don’t have him locked in that trunk of yours.”

This time she smiled—and man, what a smile. Who knew that a smiling blonde wielding golf clubs could mess with his mind like that?

Clearing his throat, he tossed her bag, sans the nine- iron, in the back and climbed behind the wheel, looking to see if he managed to crush her dog in the process. No such luck.

Boo sat happily on her lap, tail wagging as she stroked his head. Lucky dog.

“What’s that for?” Brett nodded to the nine-iron, clenched in her hand like a billy club. “We already established you know of my commercials and I have the sheriff’s support.”

“I never got to call, remember? Plus, you’re male, which means 50 percent of what comes out of your mouth is a lie. I’m not taking any chances.”


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