REVIEW AND EXCERPT TOUR: Stubborn as a Mule by Juliette Poe

Down in Whynot, NC, there are three things that hold true: 1) life moves just a little bit slower, 2) family means everything, and 3) you don’t mess with history.

When his family decides to sell a home that’s been part of their history for over a century, Lowe Mancinkus is madder than a hornet. To add insult to injury, the woman who purchased it is some fancy pants, city girl looking to fix it up and sell it off. Doesn’t matter that she’s sexy as hell or that just being near her gets his blood racing like never before. That home belongs to his family, or at least it did until she came to town.

Well that just won’t do, now will it?

From the moment that she laid eyes on the historical home in rural North Carolina, Melinda Rothschild knew Mainer House was something special. The perfect escape from life in New York City, Melinda signed the papers and set to work restoring the house to its natural beauty. That is until an angry Lowe showed up on her doorstep one day. With a scowl on his handsome, chiseled face. And a shotgun in his strong, muscular arms.

Is it getting hot in here?

Melinda’s about to get a lesson on life in the south, but Lowe is about to learn a lesson of his own – this city girl doesn’t back down from a fight.

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Review

Stubborn as a Mule is quite an appropriate name for a hero and heroine who hold steadfast to their principles, refusing to budge on any aspect, even when their personal squabble turns into a courtroom showdown after a few hundred nails and some hot pink paint turn Mainer House into a war zone. And while Lowe and Melinda’s inability to see one another’s stance on this issue leads to pushing each other’s buttons with malicious words and intolerable actions, the outcome of the judge’s decree forces Lowe to accept what the circumstances are and to realize that Mely’s plans for Mainer House and for her life may be exactly what Lowe needs to move past losing the house because it just might gain him everything he never knew he wanted.

Lowe Mancinkus is a southern boy through and through and while his unhappiness with a Yankee coming to Whynot and purchasing Mainer House brings out his ornery side, he’s actually an easy going and intelligent man who knows his manners and uses his southern charms to prove his gentle and caring nature.

Melinda Rothschild may be a New Yorker who comes from money, but she’s not the ice princess people assume she is by her reaction to Lowe’s changes to the outside of Mainer House, which is exactly what Lowe figures out once he accepts Mely’s purchase of the historical home and her plans for it.

Lowe and Mely’s relationship may have started out on the wrong side of the law and with them butting heads over a property that Mely lays claim to, but it turns into something truly magical once they both realize each other’s true nature and how much they enjoyed riling one another up. And, once their connection is explored without them being a thorn in each other’s side, all of the bad feelings dissipate and their journey to something meaningful begins.

Adding in the Whynot citizens’ gossip mill to the chapters of Lowe and Mely’s story provides readers with an onlooker’s perspective of what’s occurring between Lowe and Mely and what their actions seem to mean, at least to those who like to manipulate what people say and do according to what they believe it suggests about the situation. Including a few townspeople’s views and then illustrating how quickly those thoughts spread to become more than just speculation is an important aspect of this small town and the cost of everybody wanting to know everybody else’s business even when they don’t truly understand it.

Whynot, North Carolina, is quickly becoming one of my favorite fictional small towns because Juliette Poe does a great job of illustrating all of the nuances that make it the southern community that it is, even the negative qualities it possesses such as its close-minded nature when it comes to people and actions that they’re unaccustomed to. And while Lowe and Mely could probably do without the gossip mongers of Whynot and a few citizens’ closed-mindedness, its charm, slower pace, and historical relevance make it the perfect place to revel in its past and look to make and share new memories with each other.

4 Poison Apples

Excerpt

“Looking good, Lowe Mancinkus,” I hear a woman call out as I stretch upward to paint the top of the frame around the window. Turning my head to look over my shoulder, I see Lynette Carnes getting ready to walk into Sweet Cakes across the street. She’s our town’s very own Daisy Duke. By that, I mean she struts around in miniscule jean shorts, high heels, and a sleeveless blouse tied off just underneath her very ample chest.

She’s definitely nice to look at, although she doesn’t have much going on above the cleavage.

“Morning, Lynette,” I call back. “Lookin’ good yourself.”

She grins and blows a kiss at me before walking into Larkin’s shop.

The front door opens and Mely steps out onto the porch, carrying a cup of coffee. There’s no doubt in my mind she witnessed that exchange from the other side of the doorway. It’s obvious by the pinched expression she has on her face. Still, she brings the coffee over to me and sets it on the porch rail.

“Thanks, darlin’,” I tell her as I go back to brushing paint over the layer of primer I’d put on a few hours ago. I’d decided to work half a day here at Mainer House, not because I was anxious to get the work done, but because I wanted to be around Melinda Rothschild.

She may not be strutting around in little shorts and a low-cut blouse, but she is most definitely a prettier picture than I’ve ever seen around these parts. She’s wearing a white sundress with a halter top, and her shoulders are lightly tanned with tiny freckles. Her legs are long, bare, and perfectly adorned with nothing more than a pair of simple white sandals. Her silky blonde hair is pulled away from her face at the top of her head and she looks like a breath of fresh air.

Mely leans against the porch rail, crosses her arms low under her breasts, and watches me work for a minute. I wonder if she likes what she sees.

I think so.

There was going to be another kiss last night if Morri hadn’t managed to ruin that little moment. And while I’d never stoop to mention this to Mely, I’m pretty sure he’d been hovering at the top of the stairs, just waiting to ruin it.

“Much better than hot pink,” Mely says as I continue to apply paint to the casing. I have no clue what the hell I was thinking when I painted her house pink. It was an attention getter and since the two people whose attention it got were Mely and Judge Bowe, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out I might have been pulling on her metaphorical pigtails a bit.

“I should have this finished by tomorrow,” I tell her. “Then all will be right again.”

“Odd since it took you a single night to do the damage,” she quips. I don’t look back at her, but I hear the laughter in her voice.

“Well, neon pink isn’t all that easy to cover up,” I tell her with a laugh.

She snickers and I can’t believe she was trying to get me thrown in jail last week. My how the mighty have fallen.

“When in Rome and all that,” Mely says and I turn to look at her from my perch on the ladder. She jerks her chin over her shoulder in the direction of Sweet Cakes. “Is that the standard southern girl uniform?”

Chuckling, I cut my eyes over to Sweet Cakes where sexy Lynette just disappeared into. I’m not about to tell Mely that I have actual carnal knowledge about that southern girl, even if it was back in my younger years.

Looking back to Mely, I take in her stylishly sweet dress that doesn’t reveal much but is still sexy at the same time. Giving her a wink, I say, “There’s nothing standard about you, Melinda Rothschild, so I’m advising you to stay away from that look. I think you’re mighty fine just the way you are.”

Juliette Poe is the sweet and swoony alter ego of New York Times Best Selling author, Sawyer Bennett.

A fun-loving southern girl, Juliette knows the allure of sweet tea, small towns, and long summer nights, that some of the best dates end sitting on the front porch swing, and that family is top priority. She brings love in the south to life in her debut series, Sex & Sweet Tea.

When Juliette isn’t delivering the sweetest kind of romance, she’s teaching her southern belle daughter the fine art of fishing, the importance of wearing Chucks, and the endless possibilities of a vivid imagination.

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