A TASTE OF SUGAR by Marina Adair (August 25, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia #3)
A blast from her past…
Charlotte Holden, Sugar’s favorite pediatrician, knows better than anyone that love only leads to heartbreak. Instead, she’s focused on creating the Grow Clinic, an outpatient center for children. All she has to do now is to host the best Founder’s Day Parade in the history of Sugar, Georgia, to win over a big-city donor. Easy as peach pie. Then sexy Jace McGraw blows back into town and utters those three words every woman dreads: we’re still married.
…leads to tantalizing trouble
Jace McGraw was making an offer on his dream business in Atlanta when he was told that his wife had some credit issues. Wait, his wife? The annulment went through years ago—or so he thought. He’d walked away only to keep his troublemaker reputation from ruining her dreams. But now that they have a second chance, Jace offers Charlotte a deal: he’ll grant a discreet divorce in exchange for 30 days and nights of marriage. Because this time he isn’t going to let her go without a fight.
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 MarinaAdair.com.
Top 5 Delights of the Founder’s Day Parade in Sugar, Georgia, from A TASTE OF SUGAR:
1. The Miss Peach court. A parade just wouldn’t be a parade without the Miss Peaches from pageants past. Dressed to the nines, sashes and crowns on display, the former Miss Peaches bring tradition, taffeta, and plenty of drama.
2. The annual Sheep Scurry and Trails, where the biggest and most cunning sheep and farmers team up to race for the glory. With yarn-jockies strapped to their back, wool sheered for speed-enhancing aero-dynamics, the cream-of-the-flock race their way down the track at lightning speeds. Some people come to race their sheep, others come to bet the farm on who they think will take the trophy, but everyone turns out.
3. It’s doesn’t get any sweeter—or more competitive—than the Great Sugar Jam-Off and Tasting. An event that gives the town enough sweet peach jam to last the year—and the winner bragging rights for eternity.
4. The food! Whether you’re looking for the hunting club’s the Double Barrelled and Double Dipped soft serve or Hattie McGraw’s Blue Ribbon peach cobbler, the Sugar Founder’s Day Fair has all of the sweet treats that south has to offer.
5. The big, beautiful men of Sugar, Georgia as they parade their cars down Maple Street with their rag-tops down and their swagger dialed to can-I-get-an-amen. There is so much horse-power and testosterone on display it has women sighing from nine counties over.
“You can’t work here,” she said, angry that he hadn’t called to warn her he was coming home. He at least owed her that.
“Can and do.” He grabbed a rag off the hood of the car and wiped off his hand, then stuck it out. “Jace McGraw, Sugar’s newest resident mechanic.”
She swatted his hand away. “Since when?” Because Jace didn’t do home visits. And he didn’t stick around one place long enough to be a resident of anywhere.
“Since today.” He cupped the bill of his hat and pulled it lower on his head. “Let me guess, you’re here as the official Sugar welcoming committee. Where’s my pie?”
“Pie? Something in a covered dish? You know, all those neighborly things people are supposed to do when someone comes to town.” He looked at her empty hands and then without a word his eyes dropped to her skirt and there went the other dimple—and her good parts. “Unless there’s something I can do for you, Charlie?”
The way he said her name in that low, husky timbre, almost whispering it while flattening the vowels, reminded her of a different time, a time when she naively thought he’d meant it. But she wasn’t that wide-eyed woman anymore. She knew what he was offering, and what he wasn’t capable of giving.
After all, once upon a time she’d been married to him. Yup, Charlotte Holden had fallen in love with and married the town’s biggest bad boy. Not that anybody except the two of them knew, since it had ended as fast as it had begun. But those few weeks as Mrs. Jace McGraw had been the most amazing of her life—and what had followed had nearly broken her.
“Yes,” she said. “You need to leave.” Because wasn’t that what he did best?
The briefest frown flashed across his face, and he grabbed some kind of wrench doohickey and busied himself with tinkering under the hood. “Wish I could, but it seems like my services are needed in Sugar for a bit.”
Charlotte didn’t know what hurt more, that he wanted to leave as much as she wanted him gone—which was ridiculous since him being here, during the most important time in her career, was a disaster waiting to happen—or that, after all the time she’d spent praying he’d come back to Sugar, he finally had. Only it wasn’t for her.
“That doesn’t work for me,” she said.
“Well, this isn’t about you. Now is it?” He wasn’t even looking at her but tightening some bolt inside the engine.
Which was a good thing since she was pretty sure her eyes went glassy at his comment, because at one time he’d made her believe that everything he did was for her. Including walking away from their marriage.
“I need to go. So if you could just point me in the direction of my keys.”
“See here?” Jace walked over to her car and squatted down. She did her best not to notice the way his jeans cupped his backside—tried and failed. He filled out a pair of Levi’s like nobody’s business. “Teeth marks. Looks like you got yourself a raccoon or possum problem.”
Seems she had lots of pest problems these days. “So can you just throw some new tires on it and I can be gone?”
“You don’t need new tires, what you need are new valve stems.” And wasn’t that just like a man, telling her what she needed. “Which for your sporty, two-door tiara on wheels is a special order. Imagine that.”
“So what you’re telling me is that I’m stuck here? With you. And my car won’t be ready until—”
“Best-case scenario, end of the week.”
She let out a completely undignified huff and resisted the urge to stomp her feet. She’d begged the universe for a way out of dinner, and apparently whoever was in charge of granting wishes had chosen today to listen.
She looked at her phone, considered calling Ben, and then realized she could only handle one man from her past at a time. Plus, he was on a date with the new nurse from radiology, which meant Charlotte was stranded. Something that must have shown on her face because Jace set the tool down and stepped closer—so close he was all up in her personal space, which did crazy things to her emotional space.
“I can take you home.” He looked at her buttons and back into her eyes. “Or I can take you across the street to the Saddle Rack and buy you a drink.”
Then he did something he hadn’t done in over four years, he cupped his palms around her hips and drew her to him, and damn it if she didn’t shuffle closer.
“Why would I let you buy me a drink?” she asked quietly, although her brain kicked off a hundred and one reasons on its own. The first being that was how their relationship had started.
Charlotte had been a stressed-out resident in Atlanta, lonely and so homesick it hurt, when she’d walked into a bar and seen Jace. He flashed her that bad-boy smile, bought her a drink, then another, and before she knew it he had sweet-talked her into his bed, then down to the Justice of the Peace.
“Because I think you could use a shot of something strong right now,” he said. “And we need to talk.”
“You lost the right to tell me what I need a long time ago. As for that talk you want, you’re about four years too late.”
“Not according to the great state of Georgia,” he said, and her stomach dropped. “Since legally we’re still married.”