The Dixie Belle's Guide to Love [NOOK Book]


What every Southern gal knows . . . when her two-timing husband leaves her with nothing but ownership of the local Pig Rib Palace, Rita Stark decides to get her life back into high gear and turn the rib joint into a cash cow. But her best girlfriends are sure the former Miss Dixie Belle Duchess needs help getting the eatery -- and her recently broken heart -- back into shape. So they've hired the sexiest man ever to hit Hellon, Tennessee, Will "Wild Billy" West, to lend a hand.

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The Dixie Belle's Guide to Love

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What every Southern gal knows . . . when her two-timing husband leaves her with nothing but ownership of the local Pig Rib Palace, Rita Stark decides to get her life back into high gear and turn the rib joint into a cash cow. But her best girlfriends are sure the former Miss Dixie Belle Duchess needs help getting the eatery -- and her recently broken heart -- back into shape. So they've hired the sexiest man ever to hit Hellon, Tennessee, Will "Wild Billy" West, to lend a hand.

Will's suddenly relighting a fire that Rita was sure went out long ago. What could a sexy prize like him possibly see in a small-town gal like her, especially when he's planning to skip town at summer's end? So she decides to revive everything she ever learned about being a true "dixie belle." After all, there are surefire ways to win a man's heart -- and food is only one of them!

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Rita Butcher Stark's two best friends, Cozie Harvey and Jillie West, force Rita to take a good look at her life when they convince Jillie's brother, Will "Wild Billy" West, to renovate Pernel's Pig Rib Palace, the restaurant left to Rita by her cross-dressing ex-husband. The fact that Rita and Will share a slight history Rita told Will off eight years ago adds a wrinkle to the whole renovation process, but before she knows it Rita isn't just getting a new restaurant, she is getting a whole new chance at life and love. Written with sass and style and brimming with endearingly eccentric yet wonderfully memorable characters, this is an unabashed delight. Jones, whose first book, Sweethearts of the Twilight Lanes, was an equally addictive blend of Southern charm and humorous romance, lives in Kentucky. John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061976896
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 586 KB

Meet the Author

Winner of the HOLT medallion for Southern Themed Fiction, Luanne Jones has a personal mission statement: to delight, uplift, and empower others. Some days, she admits, she succeeds only in delighting her dogs (a rescued racing greyhound and a cocker spaniel/shag bathmat mix), uplifting the lid of the cookie jar, and empowering her hubby and kids to make their own dinners. She can live with that.

A former "Air Force brat" who was born in Japan and lived all over America, she cannot recall a time when stories rich with unique characters and interesting settings did not fascinate her. That she can now create such stories as a full-time writer is a source of wonder for her continually. Currently, she lives with her husband, daughter, and son in Kentucky.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Every Dixie Belle Knows:
When loved ones overstep bounds or your ego needs a little oomph, nothing flat out puts the frosting on the cake and says you mean business like a four-inch-high glittering headpiece of gold and rhinestone.

"No, no, no, no, no." Rita pushed past Jillie. They were standing in the kitchenette -- kitchen-not was more like it -- but it was all the cramped apartment over Pernel's Pig Rib Palace had to offer.

"What are you trying to tell us, sugar?" Cozette's words dripped like honey from her smiling lips, but her eyes shimmered with tart mischief.

Rita went on tiptoe to reach to the back comer of her top cupboard and hauled out a big red-and-white mixing bowl. She clunked it down on the table. "I'm saying no. No, no, and no."' Cozette and Jillie exchanged disbelieving glances.

Rita huffed and reached inside the bowl to fish out the dazzling object she kept hidden there. Gently, she placed it on her head. Then she grabbed up her best wooden spoon and pointed it directly at Cozie, who had sprawled her long body over the sagging green couch in the other half of the room. "And in case you think that's the least bit ambiguous, let me say it again. No!"

"You know when she says it like that?" Jillie leaned back against the baby blue fridge, ruffling the clippings and photos of Rita's daughter covering the door. "You can almost believe she means what she's saying."

"It's that...that...thing on her head," Cozie said.

Rita touched the Dixie Belle Duchess crown she had just perched precariously over what she felt sure was an adorablymessy topknot. She'd seen a lot of years and a lot of pounds since it was first placed on her head. She didn't put the thing on every day -- not every day. But it still held magic for her. Wearing it, even as a gesture of pure smart-assness for her friends, never failed to remind her that she still had dreams and life still held possibilities.

Besides in times like these, when loved ones overstepped their bounds nothing flat-out puts the frosting on the cake and said she meant business like this four-inch-high glittering headpiece of gold and rhinestones.

"That crown and the way she waves that spoon around." Cozie twirled her hand in the air. "Gives her the illusion of authority."

"It gives her the illusion of insanity."

"That's no illusion." Rita tugged at the strings of the old hospital gown she wore as a light weight robe. "My so-called friends have driven me stark raving mad."

"Then our work is done." Cozie rolled her eyes.

"Oh, no." Jillie wagged a manicured finger. "Our work here has not even begun."

"Heaven help me!" Rita hiked her sagging pajama pants up by the broken elastic waistband. "How could I be this big a peanut brain? Stupid, stupid!"

"Don't talk like that, Rita!" Cozette sat bolt upright, her long black braid flipping down to rest on the soft slope of her breast. "The things you repeat to yourself silently and outwardly to the world become your reality. If you want to change your reality, you have to change the way you speak to and about yourself."

"That is my reality." Rita shook her head.

"Stop it," Cozie demanded.

"Rita, really..."

"Well, I must be thicker than molasses in January, right?" She wiped the mixing bowl out with a soft cotton hand towel. "Here I am, a grown woman who doesn't know whom to trust and believe in anymore."

Even Cozie didn't dare deny that one.

"Who, according to you two, cannot figure out how to get her life back on its safe, reasonable track without your intervention."

Jillie had the good form to look sheepish.

"And most importantly someone who, despite far too many intrusions by well-intentioned friends, has still not learned to keep the door leading from the restaurant to my apartment locked if I want to be left alone."

"Being left alone is the worst thing that could happen to you, Rita." Jillie spoke with a conviction that told more of her own fears than of her concern for her friend.

"Well, I don't know about the worst." Cozie's warm maternal expression changed as she looked from Jillie to Rita and narrowed her eyes. "But it certainly is the least likely."

Rita thought of throwing a house shoe at her, but the way this day had begun she'd probably hit her friend smack in the head. Then Rita would feel sorry and need to fix things, to put any bad feelings right before they threw the friendship off-balance. Then Cozette would start with the touchy-feely stuff about only having the power to forgive yourself and the need to embrace life where you are at while you can.

And then Rita would have to kill her.

Rita clucked her tongue.

"How a fiftysomething woman who only wears scratchy, voluminous, hand-loomed clothes and has not shaved her legs or armpits for twenty years could pull. off an attitude worthy of one of Miss Peggy West's country-club cronies, I cannot understand."

"You don't shave?" jillie paled.

"We're not talking about me, here, we're talking about Rita." Cozie shifted her weight and visibly sank a little lower into the sad old sofa.

"Sorry, were we talking about me?" Rita pointed the spoon at her chest. "I thought we were talking about you two and your harebrained idea to barge into my life and run roughshod over my careful, considered plans."

Rita grabbed the handle of the refrigerator door.

"What plans?" Jillie stepped out of Rita's way. "You don't have any plans."

Rita took out a carton of eggs and set them on the table by the large mixing bowl, humming nothing in particular...

The Dixie Belle's Guide to Love. Copyright © by Luanne Jones. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2002


    This book was cute and at the same time very believable. It was great having a heroine who was NOT a stick-thin, blond haired, blue eyed standard issue type! Also, the recipes in the back really tied the whole book together. Applause!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2002

    humorous satirical look at small town southern living

    In Hellon, Tennessee, sixty miles or so from Memphis, Rita Stark owns and operates the Pig Rib Palace. Divorced from her husband Pernel, whose closet of female attire is superior to hers, and feeling empty nest syndrome with their daughter off to school, Rita decides to renovate her dilapidated restaurant. She hires legendary football hero Wild Billy West to do the job. <P>Rita¿s wacky best friends Cozette Harvey and Jillie West believe Billy is just the right medicine for Rita to regain her former confidence as a card carrying Dixie belle. Though she does not mind wearing the tiara or holding her head high, Rita struggles with accepting a date with Billy as her self-esteem remains in the septic tank. <P> THE DIXIE BELLE¿S GUIDE TO LOVE is a humorous satirical look at small town southern living as depicted in many a romance novel. Rita is an intriguing lead protagonist who makes the tale. Though quite amusing, the local dialogue especially when Cozette and Jillie are on center stage, disrupts the flow of the plot as the audience struggles to understand what is being said. Still Luanne Jones provides her audience with a delightfully jocular hometown romance. <P>Harriet Klausner

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