Georgia on His Mind (Harlequin American Romance #1176) [NOOK Book]


It seemed like an easy bet: All Washington lawyer Win Whittaker has to do is prove to his business partner that he can live the "simple life" in Magnolia Bluffs, Georgia, for one month. With no extra cash or credit cards, Win is forced to get a job. He might be a terrific lawyer, but his other skills are decidedly lacking. So he applies for the only job he can find—shampoo girl at Kenni McAllister's salon, Permanently Yours.

Kenni is cautious around her handsome new employee, ...

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Georgia on His Mind (Harlequin American Romance #1176)

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It seemed like an easy bet: All Washington lawyer Win Whittaker has to do is prove to his business partner that he can live the "simple life" in Magnolia Bluffs, Georgia, for one month. With no extra cash or credit cards, Win is forced to get a job. He might be a terrific lawyer, but his other skills are decidedly lacking. So he applies for the only job he can find—shampoo girl at Kenni McAllister's salon, Permanently Yours.

Kenni is cautious around her handsome new employee, but she can't help being attracted by his charm. The more time she spends with Win, the more she likes what she sees. Of course, Kenni doesn't know about Win's other life, his real life. But when a good friend of hers desperately needs a lawyer, Win's deception is revealed.

Do the country girl and the city guy have a shot at love? Win hopes so, because he's got a lot more than Georgia on his mind!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426804557
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Series: Harlequin American Romance Series, #1176
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,162,477
  • File size: 205 KB

Meet the Author

Ann DeFee is an award winning author who infuses humor into her stories of romance and the wacky world of small town America.  She's written nine novels and one novella with the Harlequin American and Everlasting lines and has twice been a RITA finalist.  Her Book Buyers Best winner, Summer After Summer, was reissued in September, 2013.  Beyond Texas, her first book with Carina Press, is now available.




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Read an Excerpt

Good grief! Kendrick "Kenni" McAllister resisted the urge to beat her head on the three-way mirror. At five foot nothing and a hundred pounds soaking wet, everything she tried on made her look like she was playing dress-up. Fashion designers obviously didn't cater to folks who were built more like Peter Pan than Paris Hilton.
Kenni glared at the pair of three-inch stilettos in the corner. Combine those instruments of torture with the pink sequined number that would be too long for Naomi Campbell, and well, you could see where this was going.
Jeez, Louise!
Shopping had to be one of the seven circles of hell, but giving up wasn't an option. Kenni had a wedding to attend; and by gosh, she planned to be babe-a-licious if it killed her. However, if today was any indication, her demise might be slow and exceedingly painful.
Using the door as a shield, she peeked out to get her cousin's attention. "Liza, bring me something else. No more sequins, no more bare midriffs and no more ruffles. I need classy and short, very short."
A few seconds later the door popped open and Mary Stuart, cousin number two, flew in with another armload of gowns. Mary's fraternal twin, Liza, was right on her heels. Mary Stuart "Maizie"
Walker and Elizabeth "Liza" Henderson were as physically dissimilar as the sun and the moon. Liza was petite with dark hair and big brown eyes. She was gorgeous in an exotic kind of way. Maizie was tall, blond, voluptuous, and Marilyn-Monroe beautiful.
"Try these on. Swear to goodness, we've looked at every size two in Atlanta." Maizie waved a hand in the air as she plopped down on the padded bench. "I think size two should be illegal, but that's neitherhere nor there." She tossed Kenni a small squishy package. "With that black lamé number you'll have to have these."
"What in tarnation is this?" Kenni ripped open the wrapping and held up two flesh-colored half-moon bra cups-just the cups, nothing else.
"They're supposed to be adhesive," Liza offered. "If you hook them together, they give you cleavage."
Kenni responded with an unladylike snort. "Cleavage? Puhleeze, a girl with A-minus bazooms does not now, nor will she ever, have cleavage."
"Shut up and put "em on. This-" Liza held up the gown
"-doesn't have a back."
Kenni sighed as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. "You guys are troupers." They'd accompanied her through every boutique and department store in Lennox Square, Atlanta's glitziest shopping center. Plus, they'd endured a sea of sequins, silk, linen, tulle and something that suspiciously resembled colored cellophane. "No foolin", I appreciate you giving up a Saturday to do this."
"Are you kidding?" Maizie gave Kenni a playful punch on the arm. "We have a vested interest in making sure the jerk's tongue hangs out when he gets a gander at you."
The jerk in question was Walter Harrington, Kenni's exhusband. He was also the best man for the upcoming festivities.
"I still have that hideous lavender bridesmaid dress from your wedding." Liza tossed in that painful reminder.
Kenni didn't mention the fact that her wedding dress resided in a trunk in the attic. Her family assumed that when she and Walter called it quits, she'd ditched everything associated with her ill-fated nuptials.
Wrong. Not that she still hankered for him. On the contraryher favorite fantasy included a thousand fleas infesting his armpits. She kept the dress merely as a reminder to be very careful in the relationship game. But considering she hadn't had a date in a month of Sundays, her chances of getting involved in a male-female thingy were slim to none.
Talk about depressing.
But back to the mission at hand-finding the perfect dress. The black-sequined number wasn't even in the ballpark. Not only was it backless and virtually frontless, it was short enough to be a tennis skirt-minus the bloomers.
"Classy, I want classy with just a hint of sexy." Her proclamation drew dual eye rolls from Maizie and Liza.
Kenni couldn't blame them; she realized she was being difficult. This high-end boutique was not only well out of her price range, it was also her last resort. As the owner and operator of the Permanently Yours Salon in Magnolia Bluffs, Georgia, she wasn't exactly rolling in money.
However, if she could find an outfit that would make Walter rue the day he'd dumped her, she'd be willing to strip down naked and whistle Dixie in the town square. Not that she thought she could make more than a buck fifty doing a striptease-heck, half the girls in the sixth grade had more curves than she did.
"Ladies, I found something in our new inventory." The sales clerk sounded almost as frenzied as Kenni felt.
Not expecting much, Kenni opened the door and encountered Nirvana in the form of a pale pink silk suit-short, short skirt, camisole top and formfitting jacket. The color was ideal for her platinum-blond hair and emerald-green eyes. It was love at first sight.
KENNI DIDN't REALIZE the dress was simply the starting point. She had to have shoes, a lacy push-up bra, the perfect earrings and a twenty-dollar pair of hosiery.
"I'd kill for a margarita," Liza uttered as the three ladies left Rich's department store laden with bags.
"Isn't that the truth? Dinner's on me, and we're not going to the food court," Kenni said. "What do you guys think about the Prime Steakhouse?" It was expensive, but it was the least she could do for her two best friends.
"Whoo, hoo!" The twins expressed their approval in unison.
KENNI DEBATED between a strawberry daiquiri and a piña colada but finally decided on the latter. "I want one of those little umbrellas in it," she instructed the waiter.
He was cute, young and best of all, he winked. "Sure. The drinks will be right up."
Kenni flopped back on the leather seat. She was exhausted, her feet hurt and her spiky hairdo had long since passed trendy and was rapidly heading toward dumpy. Not to mention she was working on a raging headache. Fortunately, or unfortunately, her cousins didn't look much better.
"Did our boutique experience remind you of the dress-up box Aunt Eugenie gave us for Christmas when we were what, nine or ten?" Elizabeth asked her sister.
"I think we were ten," Maizie answered.
Kenni knew exactly how old she was when she first spied the dress-up box. It was indelibly imprinted in her brain because it was the first Christmas after Mama died, and she moved in with Eugenie and Annie Belle Carpenter. "I'll never forget the look on your face when Mom gave you the dress-up box." Maizie and Liza's mother, Eleanor, was the third Carpenter sister. "Gosh, we were teenagers by that time and you were just a little squirt." The twins were six years older than Kenni and they had always treated her like a favorite little sister. Although they weren't Kenni's cousins by blood, Maizie and Liza were relatives of the soul.
Just the thought of the dress-up box sent Kenni's memories spiraling back to the night her mama didn't return to the singlewide they called home. Kenni finally cried herself to sleep, and the next day Mama still wasn't home. So like a good little girl, she ate her Cocoa Puffs and trudged to the school bus stop. Once or twice the thought flitted through her mind that Mama might not ever come home again. That couldn't happen! Mama was her only family.
Then during recess she broke down and confided in her teacher, Mrs. Christiansen. Just the thought of going back to that dark empty trailer scared her witless.
Before Kenni knew it, the school principal, Mr. Bayliss, was holding her hand and they were standing on the porch of the prettiest house in town. When she and Mama used to walk to the grocery store they always stopped at the white picket fence and admired the place. Mama would say, "One day, honey, we'll live in a house like that."
Kenni never really believed her, but there she was on a front porch that was bigger than their whole trailer. And the front door-Lordy mercy-it was gigantic!
Then it hit her like a ton of bricks. This was an orphanage! No, no, no way! But where else did little kids go when their mamas went missing? Kenni had a death grip on her school bag. Young as she was, she'd already read Dickens, and by gosh, an orphanage wasn't a place she wanted to visit, let alone live.
Don't, don't wet yourself. Kenni was concentrating so hard she didn't quite understand what Mr. Bayliss was saying. She did hear the chime as it echoed through the house.
Kenni jumped backward when the door creaked open, revealing a woman who was almost as round as she was tall. She had the prettiest smile on her chubby face.
"Land's sakes child, come in, come in. I'm Cora," she said as she called back over her shoulder. "Miss Anna Belle, Miss Eugenie, our little guest is here."
"Mosey on back to the kitchen now, ya hear. I have a fresh pot of coffee brewing for you, Mr. Bayliss. And I have some chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven." She winked at Kenni. "I bet you like cookies, don't you?"
Kenni managed a nod. At this point even a small smile was impossible, so she was grateful the woman kept up the chatter. That way she didn't have to talk.
Cora led the way down the wide center hall of the antebellum home to a kitchen at the back of the house. And what a kitchen! Kenni almost swallowed her tongue. She'd seen places like this in magazines-gleaming copper pans hanging over an island at least the size of Hawaii, an acre of spotless red brick floor, and the appliances-holy moley-they could feed an army out of this place.
"Sit down and I'll get those cookies. My, oh, my, you're going to love my goodies." Cora toddled over to the stove and expertly flipped the chocolate morsels from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack. "Miss Anna Belle and Miss Eugenie will be down in two shakes of a lamb's tail. They've been fussin" over that room for hours."
Almost simultaneous to her proclamation, a wiggly mass of white fur with a black button nose jumped into Kenni's lap and bathed her face in puppy kisses.
She couldn't help herself; a giggle bubbled up. No matter how bad things got, she couldn't resist a puppy.
"Looks like you've met Ruffles." Kenni recognized that slow Southern drawl-it was Miss Carpenter, one of the fifth-grade teachers. She was tiny and blond, like Mama, but older.
"I don't know if you remember me, I'm Anna Belle Carpenter," she said, squatting down to stroke Ruffles' fur. "My sister Eugenie will be here in a minute."
"Miss Anna Belle, can I fix you up a nice glass of iced tea?" Cora asked, bustling around the kitchen.
"I'll get it myself. Why don't you sit down with us?" Anna Belle asked Cora while gently pushing a lock of hair off Kenni's face. "Cora takes good care of us. If you ever need anything, you can always ask her.And as you can tell, she makes a mean cookie."
What was the lady talking about? It was all so confusing! Kenni's trailer was clear across town, why would she make that kind of trip to get a cookie? And more importantly, where was Mama?
"I can't stay. Mama will be worried when she gets home and I'm not there." Kenni could tell from the looks on the grown-ups' faces they didn't agree. "Really, I can walk. You don't even have to drive me."
"Don't you worry, not one little bit. We'll tell your mama where you are." The voice belonged to a tall man with a kind smile and a huge gun planted on his hip. His companion was also tall and she was one of the most beautiful creatures Kenni had ever seen.
The dark-haired woman leaned over to speak to Kenni. "You're going to stay with us for a while. I'm Miss Eugenie and this is Sheriff Madison. Would you like to sit in my lap while I tell you something?" she asked.
"No, ma"am. I'm just fine where I am." Something terrible had happened. Kenni knew that as well as she knew her own name. Would it go away if she ignored it? Probably not.
Then when Miss Eugenie and the sheriff gave each other another one of those grown-up looks, Kenni knew deep down in her soul her life was about to change. That's when one fat tear rolled down her cheek. "Kenni, sweetie," Miss Eugenie said, taking her hand. "Your mom was hit by a car when she was walking home last night. She's in the hospital. We didn't know you were by yourself until this morning. I think everyone assumed you were at a babysitter's." She patted Kenni's hand. "A nice policeman went by your house and knocked, but no one answered. Were you afraid to go to the door?"
Kenni nodded. She really wished she could stop crying, but she couldn't.
"I'm sorry you had to stay by yourself, but you won't be alone again. I promise.You're going to live with us. Is that okay with you?"
All Kenni could do was nod. She didn't want to spend the night at the trailer alone. "Can I see her?" She couldn't help ending her question with a sniff.
"Just as soon as she feels better we'll take you to the hospital," the sheriff assured her.
Although the words should have been comforting, the expression on his face was grim. But maybe that was the way he always looked.
"For now, we'd like you to stay with Miss Anna Belle and Miss Eugenie."
"I don't know. Mama doesn't know these people."
The sheriff gave Mr. Bayliss another one of those looks.
"Kenni, sweetie-"
Uh-oh, big trouble. A principal never called a kid "sweetie."
"Your mother knows and trusts me, and I certainly wouldn't ask you to do something she wouldn't like. You realize that, don't you?"
"Yes, I guess," Kenni admitted reluctantly.
"Great. Now that's settled."
Miss Eugenie smiled as she took Kenni's hand. "Why don't you bring Ruffles with you and we'll show you your room. We're so glad you're staying with us."
Miss Anna Belle and Miss Eugenie kept talking as they led the way upstairs to a bedroom so grand Kenni was sure she'd stepped into a fairy tale. It was a little girl's dream come true with a four-poster bed, yellow flowered wallpaper and a sea of white eyelet.
Kenni had to force her mouth shut. She was so confused. This room obviously belonged to a princess, and princesses didn't live in a mobile home park.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    In Georgetown, Yuppie friends, attorneys Winston Andrew Whittaker IV and Colby Wharton, enjoy their upscale singles life especially the women. However, they also like betting one another with weird stakes. Colby bets Win that he cannot survive living the 'simple life' in Magnolia Bluffs, Georgia, for one month the stipulation being only $200 in cash and no car credit cards. Win cannot resist the challenge accepts the wager. If he wins he makes partner. In Magnolia Bluffs, Win obtains work as a shampoo girl at Kendrick ¿Kenni¿ McAllister's salon, Permanently Yours. As they work together, they fall in love. However, to win his beloved, Win must tell her the truth about himself he fears his deception will destroy their relationship once he reveals who he is. --- GEORGIA ON HIS MIND is a very humorous contemporary romance starring a male who seems like a fish out of sea when he invades the south and the woman who educates him that there is life outside the beltway. The story line is fast-paced even on the Connector as readers will laugh with the antics of the townsfolk who help Kenni educate Win. --- Harriet Klausner

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