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Ain't She Sweet?

Ain't She Sweet?

4.4 129
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Sugar Beth Carey's come back to Parrish, Mississippi, and she'sbrought her reputation for wreaking havoc with her. She's broke,desperate, and too proud to show it, even with her old enemieslining up for a chance to get even. Her former girlfriends havetheir eyebrow pencils sharpened into lethal points. Winnie Davis,her longtime rival, is fully armed with the money,


Sugar Beth Carey's come back to Parrish, Mississippi, and she'sbrought her reputation for wreaking havoc with her. She's broke,desperate, and too proud to show it, even with her old enemieslining up for a chance to get even. Her former girlfriends havetheir eyebrow pencils sharpened into lethal points. Winnie Davis,her longtime rival, is fully armed with the money, power, andprestige that had once been Sugar Beth's. But worst of all isColin Byrne, the man whose career Sugar Beth had destroyed — and not exactly accidentally.

Now Colin's a famous novelist living in Sugar Beth's old mansion,and this modern day dark prince is using his writer's imaginationto figure out how to bring the town's beautiful former princessto her knees. But despite her sassy mouth, feisty spirit, andhardheaded ways, Sugar Beth's no longer the spoiled rich girlthey all remember. No, now she's a woman to be reckoned with ...and a great big reckonin' is about to happen, not least of allfor one dark prince who might — just might — be thinking aboutfalling in love with the wickedest girl in town.

Ain't She Sweet? A funny, heartwarming, oh-so-spicy story of love, friendship, and the possibility of happily-ever-after.

Editorial Reviews

Oakland Press
“Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes a story that wraps around your heart and doesn’t let go.”
Detroit Free Press
“A considerable talent.”
Publishers Weekly
A small town's prodigal daughter returns to face her past in bestseller Phillips's latest cheeky, diverting fairy tale. Sugar Beth Carey, "the wild child of Parrish, Mississippi," was once the queen of all she surveyed, but after 15 years and three marriages, she's a broken (and broke) husk of her former self. Who's loving the schadenfreude? The Seawillows, for starters-the gaggle of Southern belles Sugar dumped years ago, plus Winnie Davis, the half-sister she treated like dirt. And there's more: not only did Sugar stomp on gorgeous Ryan Galantine's heart (luckily, Winnie caught him on the rebound), she also got Colin Byrne, the sexy British high school teacher, fired for ostensibly coming on to her. Colin now owns her family's manse, and she's inherited the carriage house on his property-along with a highly valuable painting, location unknown (might it be hiding in Colin's attic? Or is it right under her nose?). Phillips keeps the tension high, with Colin (now a successful writer and member of the town's "in" crowd) and all of the rest of Parrish looking to make Sugar pay for past misdeeds. Colin hires her to be his housekeeper, and soon their days are filled with bickering, backstabbing and lots of orgasmic sex. A subplot involving Gigi, Winnie and Ryan's rebellious teenage daughter, who somewhat improbably turns to Sugar Beth for advice, detracts from the primary drama. The novel is at its best when Phillips sticks with what she does best-fast-paced romps featuring two headstrong people who finally realize that they're soul mates. 7-city author tour. (Feb. 3) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Read by Anna Fields. (See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/05) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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6.74(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.18(d)

Read an Excerpt

Ain't She Sweet?

"I am afraid," confessed Pen, "that I am not very well-behaved. Aunt says that I had a lamentable upbringing."
Georgette Heyer, The Corinthian

Chapter One

The wild child of Parrish, Mississippi, had come back to the town she'd left behind forever. Sugar Beth Carey gazed from the rain-slicked windshield to the horrible dog who lay beside her on the passenger seat.

"I know what you're thinking, Gordon, so go ahead and say it. How the mighty have fallen, right?" She gave a bitter laugh. "Well, screw you. Just ..." She blinked her eyes against a sting of tears. "Just ... screw you."

Gordon lifted his head and sneered at her. He thought she was trash.

"Not me, pal." She turned up the heater on her ancient Volvo against the chill of the late February day. "Griffin and Diddie Carey ruled this town, and I was their princess. The girl most likely to set the world on fire."

She heard an imaginary howl of basset hound laughter.

Like the row of tin-roofed houses she'd just passed, Sugar Beth had grown a little shabby at the edges. The long blond hair that swirled to her shoulders didn't gleam as brightly as it once had, and the tiny gold hearts at her earlobes no longer skipped in a carefree dance. Her pouty lips had lost the urge to curl in flirtatious smiles, and her baby doll cheeks had given up their innocence three husbands ago.

Thick lashes still framed a pair of amazing clear blue eyes, but a delicate tracing of lines had begun to make tiny fishtails at the corners. Fifteen years earlier, she'd been the best-dressed girl in Parrish, but now one of her calf-high stiletto-heeled boots had a small hole in the sole, and her scarlet body-hugging knit dress with its demure turtleneck and not-so-demure hemline had come from a discount store instead of a pricey boutique.

Parrish had begun its life in the 1820s as a northeastern Mississippi cotton town and later escaped the torches of the occupying Union army, thanks to the wiles of its female population, who'd showered the boys in blue with such unrelenting charm and indefatigable Southern hospitality that none of them had the heart to strike the first match. Sugar Beth was a direct descendant of those women, but on days like this, she had a tough time remembering it.

She adjusted the windshield wipers as she approached Shorty Smith Road and gazed toward the two-story building, empty on this Sunday afternoon, that still sat at the end. Thanks to her father's economic blackmail, Parrish High School stood as one of the Deep South's few successful experiments with integrated public education. Once she'd ruled those hallways. She alone had decided who sat at the best table in the cafeteria, which boys were acceptable to date, and whether an imitation Gucci purse was okay if your daddy wasn't Griffin Carey, and you couldn't afford the real thing. Blond and divine, she'd reigned supreme.

She hadn't always been a benevolent dictator, but her power had seldom been challenged, not even by the teachers. One of them had tried, but Sugar Beth had made short work of that. As for Winnie Davis ... What chance did a clumsy, insecure geek have against the power and might of Sugar Beth Carey?

As she gazed through the February drizzle at the high school, the old music began to drum in her head: INXS, Miami Sound Machine, Prince. In those days, when Elton John sang "Candle in the Wind," he'd only been singing of Marilyn.

High school. The last time she'd owned the world. Gordon farted.

"God, I hate you, you miserable dog."

Gordon's scornful expression told her he didn't give a damn. These days, neither did she.

She checked the gas gauge. She was running on fumes, but she didn't want to waste money filling the tank until she had to. Looking on the bright side, who needed gas when she'd reached the end of the road?

She turned the corner and saw the empty lot marking the place where Ryan's house had once stood. Ryan Galantine had been Ken to her Barbie. The most popular boy; the most popular girl. Luv U 4-Ever. She'd broken his heart their freshman year at Ole Miss when she'd screwed around on him with Darren Tharp, the star athlete who'd become her first husband.

Sugar Beth remembered the way Winnie Davis used to look at Ryan when she didn't think anyone was watching. As if a clumsy outcast had a chance with a dazzler like Ryan Galantine. Sugar Beth's group of friends, the Seawillows, had wet their pants laughing at her behind her back. The memory depressed her even further.

As she drove toward the center of town, she saw that Parrish had capitalized on its newfound fame as the setting and leading character of the nonfiction best-seller Last Whistle-stop on the Nowhere Line. The new Visitors Bureau had attracted a steady stream of tourists, and she could see the town had spruced itself up. The sidewalk in front of the Presbyterian church no longer buckled, and the ugly streetlights she'd grown up with had been replaced with charming turn-of-the-century lampposts. Along Tyler Street, the historic Antebellum, Victorian, and Greek Revival homes sported fresh coats of paint, and a jaunty copper weathervane graced the cupola of Miss Eulie Baker's Italianate monstrosity. Sugar Beth and Ryan had made out in the alley behind that house the night before they'd gone all the way.

She turned onto Broadway, the town's four-block main street. The courthouse clock was no longer frozen at ten past ten, and the fountain in the park had shed its grime. The bank, along with a half dozen other businesses, sported maroon and green striped awnings, and the Confederate flag was nowhere in sight ...

Ain't She Sweet?. Copyright © by Susan Phillips. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soared onto the New York Times bestseller list with Dream a Little Dream. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a hiker, gardener, reader, wife, and mother of two grown sons.

Brief Biography

Chicago, Illinois
Place of Birth:
Cincinnati, Ohio
B.F.A., Ohio University

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Ain't She Sweet? 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 129 reviews.
kkeating733 More than 1 year ago
Before I started this book I had read some mixed reviews, so I wasn't expecting much from it. I read somewhere that you don't get attached to the characters and that they are hard to like. Whoever said this was completely wrong. I was surprised to find that "Ain't She Sweet?" is one of the best, if not the best romance novel I have ever read (and there have been a lot). I fell in love with the characters, especially Colin. I was sorry when this book ended and I can't seem to stop picking it up and just reading random parts. It's truly amazing and I have recommended it to all of my friends! It's definitely worth the read! =)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. You feel for each of the charcters as they develop from high school kids to adults. Suger Beth was such a mean spirited girl, but life paid her back. So much so you begin to understand her evil ways, and have compasion when things go bad for her. In the end you will be pleasantly surprized how everything ties in together. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever been truly in love.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
I would have to say, I was a bit skeptical when I first started reading Ain't She Sweet? by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I had never read anything by the author before and from reading the back cover it sounded like a typical romance I might have read before... but was I ever wrong! I truly enjoyed this book very much. I most identified with Winnie Davis the girl in high school that was made fun of, was perhaps a little too smart and didn't have a lot of confidence in herself. Her secret crush on the high school football team's star. Her struggles with friendships. She was a very endearing character. But, Sugar Beth really does take center stage. This book was about growing up and becoming the person you didn't really think you were going to be. About how your choices in life shape your future, but they can't change your past. It was about not running away from who you were, but embracing it and showing who you've become. I really liked the book. The characters were very well developed and the story is one that will resonant with a lot of women and young girls who are defining or redefining themselves.
sweetpeaSP More than 1 year ago
The reader finds out from the get-go that Sugar Beth Carey ain't so sweet. She is a lying, snobbish brat who made life hell for the less-than-beautiful, not-so-rich nerdy girls at school. She made fun of them and destroyed them. And they haven't forgotten! The fun begins.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book very hard to put down but it did take me a few chapters to get into it. It has everything even some sad parts to what makes her who she is but it is also funny and a good love story! You have to hang in to see which one has the strongest will to get what they want! Eddie Rob
juls24 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read twice in one week. Its a great book, it has all the things I look for in a "unwind" book. It makes you laugh, and also makes you get a little teary eyed. Sugar Beth and Colin make a odd but oh so great couple and I absolutely loved it. I agree with another reviewer though about Sugar Beth's niece Gigi, it really wasn't necessary to involve her in so much, because without it, the outcome would've been the same. But GREAT book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ain¿t She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips introduces us to Sugar Beth Carey. When Sugar Beth left Parrish, Miss 15 years ago she was the pampered princess of the town. She doesn¿t come home that way at all. Former friends and enemies are dying to give her, her comeuppance. Leading the pack wanting to get even is a former teacher Colin Byrne. Sugar Beth ruined the start of his teaching career and that has Colin wanting payback. But Colin wasn¿t planning on the changed life had dealt to Sugar Beth or his growing feelings for her. Ain¿t She Sweet is a sensational story, its funny, sexy and will touch your heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In high school, Sugar Beth Carey and her Seawillows dominated the local scene treating everyone else with contempt. Among her victims was a young British teacher Colin Byrne, whose career she ruined. Years later Sugar Beth returns home having accomplished little in her life except regrets. She hopes to sell her deceased aunt¿s valuable painting done by renowned local artist Ceredon Ash. Sugar Beth is shocked at how well everyone has made it since she dumped her sweetheart Ryan when she left for U of Mississippi for a football star who is now her ex-husband. When she sees Colin she is sorry for what she did to him and is very attracted to him, but he does not trust her though he finds he desires her. Winnie Davis is running scared that her spouse Ryan still loves Sugar Beth. However, that does not matter to Sugar Beth as she now believes you can never go home as nothing remains the same. She wants Colin permanently in her life, but believes he could never forgive her though she hopes he lovingly deem her his forever honey.

AIN¿T SHE SWEET is an engaging relationship drama that focuses on whether a former teen pack leader can ever go home especially as a failure. The story line is character driven as the audience understands what makes key players tick, especially the fear that motivates the lead couple, the former Seawillows, and the Davis duo. Though not much action occurs, to fans of tales that go deep inside the soul of its stars Susan Elizabeth Phillips provides a delightful read.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"My straw? What is it?" She giggles, playing with a strand of his hair.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He tilted his to look at her. "It comes with a pr<_>ice."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently discovered SJP books and I am amazed at how I much I enjoy each and everyone them. The depths of the characters, the frailness of human nature and the way love heals is very real. This book was amazing, I went thru all emotions, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me remember the past, the insecurities of adolescence and how time and maturity heals. I hated and loved every character atbsome point but you find that you could side with anyone and everyone. Definitively worth reading and saving for the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my faves. Loved the audio book even better. Anna fields had a gift for narrarating. Her range of voices from deep southern male to cute baby voices is amazing.
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
★★★½ I've never been around to attend my high school reunions when they pop up, but sometimes I wish I could go just to see how far some of those wannabe socialites have fallen from their high horse. I know it's kind of mean, but let's just say my school years were not kind. In Ain't She Sweet, a whole town is granted this satisfaction. When the once powerful and cutthroat Sugar Carey comes home with her tail between her legs, all the roles are suddenly reversed. No one likes her anymore, no one has time for her anymore, and EVERYONE wants her to know it. Ms. Phillips never disappoints with her characters and Ain't She Sweet is a great example. It has humor, romance, and a life lesson. One lesson I learned from this story and the characters is that people can change...life changes each and every one of us, and we should give others the emotional opportunity to start fresh again. If you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips's writing then don't miss out on this one! My favorite quote: “We’re all works in progress, honey." Note: I was conflicted about my rating. While this wasn't my favorite SEP novel, I did enjoy it. One factor that may have affected my overall enjoyment was the audiobook experience. I typically adore Kate Flemings' (aka Anna Fields) narration but the male lead's voice just didn't work for me. In my opinion, the romance felt less than romantic during the male-toned narration. Reading it off the page may be a better way to go if I do a re-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a person newly discovering this author, I hesitated after reading some of the reviews. But if you've ever lived in the South, or a small town, or with a reputation you may or may not have deserved; you won't waste a Memphis minute picking this one up. Laugh, cry, think, and bless your heart if you don't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great banter between the protagonists. The dialogue sparks an interest with a wonderfully creative, witty rapport but, the duel romance doesn't do it for me. I skimmed over the secondary character's story, finding it dull. I did Love Sugar Beth and Colin's story, however, and the ending was perfectly spicey! S.A.K.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Sugar Beth grew up in a small town and when she was in her high school years she was both popular and a mean girl.  She is returning but only to get some things from her inheritance and then leave, but she is confronted by people from her past and she has to choose how she is going to respond.   Sugar Beth ends up living in the guest house of her childhood home and I loved how one of the people she persecuted ended up living in her childhood home.  The many times that she is hurt by the people in the past, I loved her many reactions.  Eventually the story gets to the love part and I completely loved it.  The relationship didn't start easy and had some speed bumps, but I loved how Colin treated her and didn't completely forgive her of her past at the beginning.  
GoddessPhD1 More than 1 year ago
Ain&rsquo;t She Sweet is a powerful romance story of redemption. While most redemption themes are centered around the hero, Phillips, chooses to center around the heroine, Sugar Beth. And like most characters needing redemption, she is one readers most want to hate: a queen bee in high school, daughter of the town&rsquo;s most powerful man, and a ruthless wielder of social power. During her reign, she terrorized her illegitimate half-sister, Winnie, and falsely accused a teacher (our hero), Colin of sexual harassment.  But now she&rsquo;s back in town, broke and broken. Fifteen years may have faded her looks, but they haven&rsquo;t faded the townspeople&rsquo;s memories of her.  This story was also interesting because the heroine had already done most of the redeeming before the book started. Even though her third marriage was to a man much older than her, she seemed to genuinely love him and his step-daughter. Her step-daughter has a cognitive disability, lives in a private institution, and is the motivation for Sugar Beth&rsquo;s prodigal return. She must find money to support her step-daughter&rsquo;s long term financial needs. Her love for her step-daughter, Delilah, motivates her to suffer the slings and arrows from the town, yet when she finally does find the money (a.k.a the painting) she&rsquo;s looking for, the resolution seemed rushed to me. I would have enjoyed a scene between her and her step-daughter. There were a few flashback conversations between the two of them that were poignant and touching.  I was a little confused about the ending. It seemed rushed to tie up all the loose ends, but left me frayed by a few plot questions. Towards the end of the book, she tells the hero that an ectopic pregnancy has left her sterile, but then she ends up pregnant. Sugar Beth didn&rsquo;t seem the type of woman to be ignorant of her body and reproduction, so what gives? Also, the original motivation, Delilah, seemed to be forgotten and replaced by Sugar Beth&rsquo;s new motivation to stay in town: opening up a children&rsquo;s book store.  I loved the redemption story between Winnie and Ryan so much! But their romance stole the spotlight from Sugar Beth/Colin. All the minor characters stole my heart: Gigi and especially the flatulent basset hound, Gordon. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jenafyre21 More than 1 year ago
Ok, this is the very first book that I have read by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and I can promise you it will not be the last.  This is a story of anger and past hurt, of finding your inner strength and power, of finding and giving forgiveness, of being comfortable with your choices and finding happiness and love. Sugar Beth was AWFUL to her half sister Winnie.  Reading about the way that Winnie was treated might make you want to hate Sugar Beth, but here is the thing, both women had something that the other wanted.  Winnie had the love a father that would not give Sugar Beth the time of day, and Sugar Beth had a inner strength and power that Winnie never thought that she could ever have.  The dynamic between these two and they way that their story finally ended, made me cheer, made me cry and made me glad that I kept reading. The romance between Sugar Beth and Colin was so well done.  It was not an instant ~ just add water~ type of romance, it was a slow gradual romance that allowed them to get past the issues and the hurt of the past and come to understand what they did, why they did it.  It gave them the chance to really truly understand themselves and each other.  I love the ebb and flow of their banter.  Their romance made me sigh. Now onto the Seawillows.  I did not care much for them.  I understand that they were needed in this story to help us understand the dynamic with Winnie and Sugar Beth, but I think that they were just petty, spiteful, and all out mean at times.  Truly people loose touch with each other when they move away.  I think that there might have been something else that happened with them, but for them to be so cruel just because Sugar Beth turned her back on them and forgot about them seemed a bit much for me. Gordon the dog!  Every story should have a Gordon in it.  He added so much comic relief and added a little levity to a story that could have been heavy. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a real good, feel good, empowerment book about love, life and forgiveness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Near and dear to my heart as the characters are so familiar and well written
MollyJG More than 1 year ago
Phillips has a way of getting things just right. I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read this book a couple times before and wanted to buy the eBook version. I highly recommend this book.
kittyKH More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written and funny too. I could not put it down.