Flirting with Disaster (Charleston Series #2)

( 68 )

Overview

Opposites attract, but they don't last.

At least that's what improper Southern belle Maggie Forsythe thinks after being unceremoniously dumped two weeks before getting hitched to a man even her mother approves of. Maggie has never given two figs what anyone thinks, so why is she hiding away from her South ...

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Flirting with Disaster (Charleston Series #2)

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Overview

Opposites attract, but they don't last.

At least that's what improper Southern belle Maggie Forsythe thinks after being unceremoniously dumped two weeks before getting hitched to a man even her mother approves of. Maggie has never given two figs what anyone thinks, so why is she hiding away from her South Carolina Low Country home?

That is until concerned -- albeit scheming -- friends arrive with three options:

One: Sit and mope.

Two: Go home to her gallery.

Three: Help them build a house for a needy family and make a difference for once.

But one look at Maggie, and project foreman Josh Parker knows what kind of sweet-tea-swilling debutante he's dealing with. Even if she does know her way around a circular saw. Sure, they have enough sparks to ignite a bonfire, but he's corn bread to her caviar. And if there's anything he's learned from growing up broke, it's better to aim low than risk everything and lose.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Woods...is noted for appealing character-driven stories that are often infused with the flavor and fragrance of the South."
-Library Journal

"A whimsical, sweet scenario...the digressions have their own charm, and Woods never fails to come back to the romantic point."
-Publishers Weekly on Sweet Tea at Sunrise

"What better way to welcome spring back into our lives than to be able to sit down with a book by a beloved author, a cool drink, and dreams of young love blooming?"

-Romance Review on Home in Carolina

"Woods' readers will eagerly anticipate her trademark small-town setting, loyal friendships, and honorable mentors as they meet new characters and reconnect with familiar ones in this heartwarming tale."
-Booklist on Home in Carolina

"Warm, complex, and satisfying."
-Library Journal on Harbor Lights

"Sparks fly in a lively tale that is overflowing with family conflict and warmth and the possibility of rekindled love."
-Library Journal on Flowers on Main

"Launching the Chesapeake Shores series, Woods creates an engrossing...family drama."-Publishers Weekly on The Inn at Eagle Point

"Woods is a master heartstring puller, and her endearingly flawed characters deal with their plethora of problems in a predictable but satisfying manner."
-Publishers Weekly on Seaview Inn

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455822805
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 7/28/2011
  • Series: Charleston Series , #2
  • Format: Other

Meet the Author

With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. She's also especially partial to small towns, wherever they may be. A member of Novelists Inc., Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America, Sherryl divides her time between her childhood summer home overlooking the Potomac River in Colonial Beach, Virginia, and her oceanfront home, with its lighthouse view, in Key Biscayne, Florida.
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Read an Excerpt


1
At six, running away from home had been a scary proposition. It should have been easier and less traumatic at thirty-two.
It wasn’t, Maggie concluded with regret after three weeks in hiding. Oh, the logistics were easier, but the emotional wear and tear were about the same.
Way back then, lugging a Barbie suitcase packed with Oreos and her favorite stuffed toys, Maggie had set out to show her parents that she didn’t need them anymore. But by the time she’d wandered a few blocks away from their Charleston home onto unfamiliar streets, and by the time darkness had closed in with its eerie shadows, she’d begun to wonder if she hadn’t made a terrible mistake.
Still, she’d been far too stubborn to consider backing down. She’d climbed onto a wicker rocking chair deep in the shadows of a deserted front porch and, tightly clutching her tattered Winnie the Pooh, gone to sleep. Her frantic parents had found her there the next morning, thanks to a call from the owner of the house, who’d been alerted to her presence by his son. Leave it to terrible Tommy Henderson to rat her out. No wonder no one in first grade liked the little tattletale.
It seemed more than a bit ironic that twenty-six years later, Maggie was running away from home again and that she was still trying to prove things to her parents. The only difference this time was that Tommy Henderson was nowhere around. Last she’d heard, he was working somewhere overseas as a CIA operative for the United States government. At least he’d put his capacity for sneakiness to good use.
Sitting in a rocker on the front porch of a tiny rented beach house on Sullivan’s Island, Maggie sipped her third glass of sweetened iced tea and watched the fireflies flicker in their endless game of tag in the evening sky. The air was still and thick with humidity, the night quiet and lonely. Even though she was all grown up, in many ways she was just as scared now as she had been at six, and just as stubbornly determined to stay away till she made sense of things.
She couldn’t recall exactly what had sent her fleeing into the night back then, but now it was all about a man, of course. What else could possibly drive a reasonably sane and mature woman to run away from her home and business and fill her with enough self-doubt to keep her on a shrink’s couch for years? She didn’t miss the irony that it was, in fact, a shrink who’d turned her world upside down.
Safe, solid, dependable Warren Blake, Ph.D., had been the kind of respectable, charming man her family had always wanted for her. Her father had approved of him. Predictably, her mother had adored him. Warren didn’t make waves. He didn’t have any pierced or tattooed body parts. He could carry on an intelligent conversation. And he was Southern. What more could they have asked, after the parade of unlikely candidates Maggie had flaunted in front of them for years?
Basking in all that parental approval for the first time in her life, Maggie had convinced herself she loved Warren and wanted to marry him. The wedding date had been set.
And then, with the invitations already in the mail, Warren had called the whole thing off, saying he had come to his senses and realized their marriage would be a mistake. He’d done it so gently, at first Maggie hadn’t even understood what he was trying to say. But when the full import had finally sunk in, she’d been furious, then devastated. Here she’d finally done the right thing, made the right choice, and what had she gotten in return? Total humiliation.
She’d packed her bags -- Louis Vuitton this time -- and run away from home again. In terms of distance, it really wasn’t that much farther than she’d run all those years ago, but Sullivan’s Island was light-years away from Charleston in terms of demands on her shattered psyche. She could sit on this porch, swatting lazily at mosquitoes, and never once have to make a decision that she’d come to regret the way she regretted her decision to get engaged to Warren.
She could eat tomato sandwiches on white bread slathered with Miracle Whip for breakfast and an entire pint of peach ice cream for lunch. She could play the radio at top volume and dance around the living room at any hour of the day or night, if she could summon the energy for it. She could go for a swim without waiting a whole hour after eating, and she could track sand through the house, if she felt like it.
In fact, she’d been doing all that for a while now and, she was forced to admit, it was getting on her nerves. She was a social creature. She liked people. She missed her art gallery in Charleston. She was almost ready to start seeing her friends again, at least in small doses.
But she’d made up her mind that she wasn’t going home until she’d come to grips with why the devil she’d been so determined to marry Warren in the first place. There had to be a reason she’d talked herself into being in love with a man who was the complete opposite of every other male she’d ever dated in her life. When she was willing to give Warren credit for anything, she conceded that he’d only saved them both a lot of misery. So why had the broken engagement sent her packing?
It wasn’t the humiliation. Not entirely, anyway. Maggie had never given two figs what anyone thought of her, unlike her mother, who obsessed about everyone’s opinion and had been horrified by her daughter’s broken engagement.
It certainly wasn’t a broken heart. Her ego might have been a little bruised, but her heart had been just fine. In fact, in a very short time she’d found herself breathing a sigh of relief. Not that she intended to admit that to Warren. Let the man squirm.
So, if it wasn’t her heart or her pride that had been wounded, what was it? Maybe nothing more than watching a last desperate dream crash at her feet, leaving her with no more dreams, no more options.
On that disturbing note, Maggie dragged herself out of the rocker and went inside to retrieve another pint of ice cream -- chocolate-chocolate chip this time -- from the freezer. At this rate she’d be the size of a blimp by the time she decided to go back to Charleston. She shrugged off the possibility and dipped her spoon into the decadent treat. If she never intended to date again, what difference did it make if she was the size of a truck? Or a blimp?
She flipped on the radio and found an oldies station. She preferred country, but wallowing in love-gone-wrong songs at this particular moment in her life struck her as overkill.
She was dancing her way back toward the porch when she spotted three people on the other side of the screen door. Unfortunately, even in the dark, she knew exactly who they were -- her best friend, Dinah Davis Beaufort, Dinah’s new husband, Cordell, and the traitorous Warren.
If she’d had the energy, she would have bolted for the back door. As it was, she resigned herself to greeting them like the proper Southern belle she’d been raised to be. She could hear her mother’s words echoing in her head. Company, even unwanted company, was always to be welcomed politely.
But even as she forced a smile and opened the door, she also vowed that the next time she ran away from home, she was going to choose someplace on the other side of the world where absolutely no one could find her.
As interventions went, this one pretty much sucked. Not that Maggie knew a whole lot about interventions, never having been addicted to much of anything -- with the possible exception of truly lousy choices in men. She was fairly certain, though, that having only three people sitting before her with anxious expressions -- one of them the very man responsible for her current state of mind -- was not the way this sort of thing ought to work.
Then, again, Warren should know. He’d probably done hundreds of them for his alcohol- or drug-addicted clients. Hell, maybe he’d even done a few for women he’d dumped, like Maggie. Maybe that was how he’d built up his practice, the louse.
"Magnolia Forsythe, are you listening to a word we’re saying?" Dinah Davis Beaufort demanded impatiently, a worried frown etched on her otherwise perfect face.
Dinah and Maggie had been friends forever. It was one reason, possibly the only reason, Maggie didn’t summon the energy to slap Dinah for using her much hated given name. Magnolia, for goodness’ sakes! What had her parents been thinking?
Maggie regarded her best friend -- her former best friend, she decided in that instant -- with a scowl. "No." She didn’t want to hear anything these three had to say. Every one of them had played a role in sending her into this depression. She doubted they had any advice that would drag her out of it.
"I told you she was going to hate this," Cordell Beaufort said.
Of everyone there, Cord looked the most relaxed, the most normal, Maggie concluded. In fact, he had the audacity to give her a wink. Because Maggie’s futile attempt to seduce him before Dinah’s return to town last year from a foreign assignment was another reason she was in this dark state of mind, she ignored the wink and concentrated on identifying all the escape routes from this room. Not that a woman should have to flee her own damn living room to get any peace. She ought to be able to kick the well-meaning intruders out, but -- her mother’s stern admonitions be damned -- she’d tried that not five minutes after their arrival and not a one of them had budged. Perhaps she ought to consider telling them whatever they wanted to hear so they’d go away.
"I don’t care if she does hate it," Dinah said, her expression grim. "We have to convince her to stop moping around in this house. Look at her. She hasn’t even combed her hair or put on makeup." She surveyed Maggie with a practiced eye. "And what is that she’s wearing? It looks as if she chopped off her jeans with gardening shears."
"I’m at the beach, for heaven’s sake! And stop talking about me as if I’ve left the room," Maggie snapped.
Dinah ignored Maggie and went right on addressing Cord. "It’s not healthy. She needs to come home. She needs to get out and do something. This project of ours is perfect."
"In your opinion," Cord chided. "Maggie might not agree."Dinah frowned. "Well, if she doesn’t want to help us with that, then she at least ought to remember that she has a business to run, a life to live."
Maggie felt the last thread holding her temper in check snap. "What life is that?" Maggie inquired. "The one I had before Warren here decided I wasn’t his type and dumped me two weeks before our wedding? Or the humiliating one I have now, facing all my friends and trying to explain how I got it so wrong? Or perhaps you’re referring to my pitiful and unsuccessful attempt to seduce Cord before you waltzed back into town from overseas and claimed him for yourself?"
Of all of them, only Warren had the grace to look chagrined. "Maggie, you know it would never have worked with us," he explained with great patience, just as he had on the night he’d first broken the news that the wedding was off. "I’m just the one who had the courage to say it."
"Well, you picked a damn fine time to figure it out," she said, despite the fact that she’d long since conceded to herself that he’d done exactly the right thing. "What kind of psychologist are you that you couldn’t recognize something like our complete incompatibility a year before the wedding or even six months before the wedding?"
Warren regarded her with an unblinking gaze. "We were only engaged for a few weeks, Maggie," he reminded her in that same annoyingly patient tone. "You were the one who was in a rush to get married. Neither one of us had much time to think."
"I was in love with you!" she practically shouted, irritated by his determination to be logical when she was an emotional wreck. "Why would I want to waste time on a long engagement?"
Warren’s tolerant expression never wavered. It was one of the things she’d grown to hate about him. He wouldn’t fight with her. He was always so damn reasonable. It might be a terrific trait in a shrink, but in a boyfriend it had been infuriating, especially for a woman who enjoyed a good argument.
"Maggie, as much as I would love to think that you fell head over heels in love with me so quickly we both know the rush was all about keeping up with Dinah and Cord. The minute they got married, you started to panic. You hated being left behind and I was handy."
"You’re wrong," she protested stubbornly, not liking the picture he was painting.
"Am I?" he asked mildly. "We’d already stopped seeing each other after just a few mostly disastrous dates, but right in the middle of Cord and Dinah’s wedding reception, you decided we should give it another chance."
"Because my family adored you, because everyone said you were perfect for me. I was being open-minded," she countered. "Isn’t that what the sensible women you so admire do?"
Cord tried unsuccessfully to swallow a chuckle. Warren and Dinah scowled at him.
"I have to say, I think Warren is right," Dinah chimed in. "I think you latched on to Warren as if he were the last life raft in the ocean."
"Oh, what do you know?" Maggie retorted. "You and Cord are so into each other you barely know anyone else is around."
"We’re here, aren’t we?" Dinah asked, completely unfazed by Maggie’s nasty tone. "We can’t be that self-absorbed."
"How did you find me, by the way? I thought I’d covered my tracks pretty well." The truth was, she hadn’t tried all that hard. In fact, in her state of self-pity, she hadn’t been able to imagine anyone caring enough to come after her.
"I’m a journalist," Dinah reminded her. "I know how to make phone calls. Besides, I know you. I knew you’d never go too far from home. Charleston is in your blood."
"More’s the pity," Maggie grumbled. She really did need to broaden her horizons. Maybe that was what was wrong with her life. She’d never had any desire to be anyplace except South Carolina’s Low Country. Maybe if she’d traveled the world the way Dinah had during her career as a foreign correspondent for a TV network, Maggie would have discovered some other place where she could be perfectly happy. At least it would have gotten her out from under her mother’s judgmental gaze.
"Do you really want to talk about the pros and cons of living in Charleston?" Dinah inquired tartly.
"Not particularly," Maggie said.
"Then let’s focus on getting your life back on track. Moping around out here all by yourself is not you, Maggie."
"I’m not moping," Maggie retorted. "I’m on vacation."
"Oh, please. You were halfway through that pint of ice cream when we walked in," Dinah responded. "That’s moping. Believe me, I know all the signs. It’s obvious you’re in trouble and we want to help."
"I really don’t need the three of you sitting here with these gloomy expressions on your faces trying to plan out my life. Hell, Dinah, you’re the one who talked Warren into going out with me in the first place. Considering how things turned out, I should hate you for that."
In fact, she was pretty darn irritated about it. If it hadn’t been for Dinah’s meddling, Maggie would never in a million years have fallen, however halfheartedly, for a man like Warren Blake. Rock-steady and dependable might suit a lot of women, but such traits had always bored Maggie to tears. She preferred dark, dangerous and sexy. Men like Cord Beaufort, as a matter of fact.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 68 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong character driven contemporary romance

    Two weeks before their marriage, dependable Dr. Warren Blake dumps Maggie Forsythe. The Charleston iron magnolia flees her home, leaving her art and antiques gallery Images to be run by her employees, and hides on Sullivan Island. Her best friends Dinah and Cordell Beaufort and Warren arrive to bring her home. She hides from them the real reason she retreated that has nothing to do with humiliation but feeling that for whatever reason she is unlovable. Still they persuade her to help build a house for a widow with three kids. --- Heading the construction project is a reluctant Josh Parker who assumes that Maggie is cotton candy only to be surprised she is good with tools having renovated Images by herself. They are attracted to one another, but neither wants to ignite the spark as she fears rejection and he presupposes that a working stiff with a matriarchal hang-up is way beneath her level. When his mom comes out of nowhere and teams up with Dinah as matchmakers, neither one of the hesitant duet stand a chance unless they run away from love. --- FLIRTING WITH DISASTER is a strong character driven contemporary romance starring two wonderful protagonists and a powerful support cast with many facing complex problems. The return of the stars from the BACKUP PLAN augments the fine story line in which he and she both agree on two things: they want one another and they do not belong together. The social issues are deftly handled due to the powerful characterizations. Fans will appreciate this fine look at modern society in which it takes a community coming together to help parents raise children. --- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 11, 2011

    not new

    I bought this book in June 2011 with a different picture. My nook did not tell me I had already purchased it. I assume nook did not recognize it due to different publishing dates or some other change by publishers that caused nook to not recognize it.
    The cover on the June book was a picture of a ladder. Mira published both. I really feel cheated. So beware.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved this book. The story line was great and the characters w

    I loved this book. The story line was great and the characters were wonderful. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Bree

    Oh, wow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Lev

    Kels: Yep. <br>Bree: Tell me about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    time table snaffus again

    Who proof reads these?
    Here is an ex. Juliette invites maggie for lunch on a sunday while her dad goes to play golf. Juliette inquires about the relationship of maggie and josh. After that maggie walks back to her gallery and sits down for a couple of hours to do paperwork on a saturday afternoon. There was not a weeks lapse in the storyline. This time lapse also happened in the first book of this series. In my opinion, this is just another reason this book/nook is too expensive. Great characters and stories and interaction but not $6.00 worth.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    The overview for this book does not match what the author, Sherr

    The overview for this book does not match what the author, Sherryl Woods, has on her website. The characters in Flirting With Disaster are Maggie Forsyth and Josh Parker; not LIbby Carlyle and Davies.<br />
    <br />
    I have yet to figure out how Barnes and Nobles has the incorrect overview for books, but any other site I check has the correct information.<br />
    The one star rating is because of the incorrect overview only.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Nursery Tradegyclan

    Darkstar

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Not bad

    .

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    She does it again!

    Sherryl woods brings it together once again, making you laugh, cry and cling to the edge of your book (nook) with your finger nails. Mixing just a taste of mystery, along with Romance, life and learning to trust in god again. She takes you from living in past to the future, from sorrow to happiness, from anger and hate to love and hope. Sherryl's writing makes you believe you are there with friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining story

    This is the most interesting of the three books in the series. I like the relationship between the characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Wonderful.

    I really enjoyed the laughs! Warm and enjoyable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews

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