Series: Sugartown, #1
Published on November 3rd, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
Ana Belle never wanted anything more than to hang up her apron, jump on her Vespa and ride off into the sunset, leaving Sugartown in the dust.
Elijah Cade never wanted anything more than a hot meal, a side of hot arse and a soft place to lay his head at night where he could forget about his past.
But you know what they say about wanting: you always want what you can’t have.
Nineteen year-old virgin Ana is about to discover that’s not quite true because a six foot three, hotter than hell, tattooed, Aussie sex god just rode into town. He’s had a taste of her pie and he wants more– no really, Ana bakes pies for a living, get your mind out of the gutter.
She’d be willing to hand over everything tied up in a big red bow, there’s just one problem; Elijah has secrets dirtier than last week’s underwear. Secrets that won't just break Ana’s heart, but put her life at risk, too. When those secrets come to light, their relationship is pushed to breaking point.
Add to that a psychotic nympho best friend, an overbearing father, a cuter than humanly possible kid brother, a wanton womanizing cousin, the ex from hell, and more pies than you could poke a ... err ... stick ... at.
And you thought small towns were boring.
Welcome to Sugartown.
*Content Warning. Intended for a mature 18+ audience. Contains explicit sex, oodles of profanity and a crap-tonne of AWKWARD.
“Thanks for the ride, Ana No Last Name.”
“Welcome to Sugartown, Elijah Cade.”
Sugartown is just a stop on the highway for people heading to somewhere else. Ana has lived there all her life and wants nothing more than to get away from the monotony and small town gossip. Her family owns the local diner and the auto shop. Since her mom passed away, she has been working at the diner making pies and helping to take care of her adorable little brother while her dad runs the garage. When her dad hires a new employee, things get much more interesting.
With the garage directly across the street from the diner, Elijah has ample opportunity to see Ana and for sparks to fly. Right away you can feel the sexually tension between them. Elijah is pretty irresistible, being the good looking, dirty mouthed, tatted up, charming bad boy that he is.
“You came strutting in here all cocky, with your dimples and your tattoos and your big brown eyes and expected us to swoon.”
“Baby girl, if that’s all it takes to make you swoon then you just wait ‘til you see what I do with my hands.”
Ana’s dad, Bob, is very protective and he is no small guy. So, when he’s warned to stay away, Elijah knows that’s probably a good idea if he wants to keep all of his body parts intact.
“You’re not gonna touch her, are you, son.”
That really wasn’t a question. He meant: do not fucking touch my daughter!
“You keep your mind on the job and your dick in your pants, are we clear?”
“Yes, Sir.” I gulp. “Crystal.”
“Gah! This is because of him isn’t it? Dad tell Elijah he’s welcome to come to the BBQ tonight.”
“Yes, Elijah, why not come and eat my food, drink my beer and manhandle my daughter some more?”
After a few more encounters, a drink here, a kiss there, things really start to heat up between Ana and Elijah. Then all hell breaks loose. The beginning of this story is all fun, sexy banter until we find out there is a whole lot more to Elijah Cade than meets the eye. I really don’t want to give anything away but, he has a past and the past always has a way of catching up to you. Secrets, mistakes made by both him and Ana, and forces neither of them saw coming bring many obstacles for these two to overcome.
“I fucked up, baby girl,” I whisper. She nods and more tears roll down her face. I smooth them from her skin with my thumbs.
“Tell me how to fix it.” Ana gently shakes her head. “I don’t think you can.”
“Yes I can. I can fix this,” I say resolutely. “I’ll put us back together with my bare hands, just don’t walk away. No more secrets, no more mistakes.”
This book shocked the hell out of me. Looking at the original cover (the cover was changed a few days prior to release) I was thinking this was going to be a light, fluffy, cute romance. I mean, come on, it’s called, Welcome to Sugartown. How can I not expect something sweet? I couldn’t have been more wrong. Like I said, it starts out sexy, snarky and fun but then it gets really gritty. There are some really dark moments in this. (view spoiler)
I wasn’t expecting the depth this story brought. My heart hurt and broke, raced with anticipation; I had major anxiety and was on the edge of my seat. It packed a huge punch in the emotion department. There were a couple different moments that had me on the verge of tears. The author really didn’t hold back. I felt like I was RIGHT THERE with the characters.
“Hey.” I tilt her chin up so she can read the sincerity in my eyes.
“There’s never been a woman more beautiful than you, Ana.” I press my lips to her forehead and smooth my thumb over her cheek to catch her tears.
“There never will be.”
I have massive love for these characters. Ana was a great heroine, imperfect, strong, resilient. Elijah was of course hot as hell, with a bad streak, but surprisingly he had a lot of depth and damn did he fight for his girl. That gets me every time. The side characters, Ana’s dad (Bob), best friend (Holly), brother (Sammy), and cousin (Jackson) added so much too. Plenty of laughs and witty dialogue to keep me thoroughly entertained.
Welcome to Sugartown is told in first person dual POV, by Ana and Elijah. I wasn’t sold on Elijah’s POV in the first 10% or so. It just felt a bit rocky to me. Then I don’t know what happened, but it just clicked into place. There was never a dull moment and I was completely enthralled by the story from that point forward. I have been known to complain when there is too much going on a story. Somehow everything just worked for me here. I felt like the pacing, the character development, the writing, it all balanced the story in such a great way.
So, do not let the cover or title fool you. All is not always so sweet in Sugartown. I am completely and totally impressed with this. It blew my expectations out of the water. It brings the hot, searing chemistry, snarky banter, surprising plot twists, and intense emotion. I am so proud of Carmen Jenner for writing such a phenomenal debut novel and I can’t wait for the next book.
Enjoy Your Stay is book #2 in the Sugartown series. It is Holly and Jackson’s story and has a tentative release date of Early 2014.
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