Finished Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond . This is the first book in her Southern Roads contemporary romance trilogy.
Porter Armstrong and his two brothers are trying to rebuild their hometown of Sweetness, Georgia, years after a tornado ripped through the area. So the brothers place a newspaper ad in hopes of attracting single women to the town to help with the rebuilding process. Dr. Nikki Salinger is one of the women who answers the ad. Nikki is trying to get over a bad breakup, but she’s not sure that she wants to stay in Sweetness, especially since many of the male workers don’t want to be treated by a female doctor. Porter knows that the town needs a doctor, so he decides to get Nikki to stay by any means necessary, even sabotaging her vehicle. What he doesn’t count on is how hard he falls for her — and what she’ll do when she discovers what he’s been up to …
I have to admit that the cover suckered me in on this one. I think the blue is really eye-catching, and I like the scenery in the background. I also think the publisher, Mira (Harlequin), is really good at doing attractive, real-looking guys on covers (see Linda Lael Miller’s cowboy covers). Also, I thought the premise sounded interesting — although the tornado angle made it eerily timely as well, given all the tornadoes there were earlier this year, including those in the South.
For the most part, this is a cute book. Porter schemes to get Nikki to stay in Sweetness and finds himself getting into trouble along the way, including a disastrous lunch with another woman that involves chicken salad and food poisoning. This very much reads like a romantic comedy movie, and I’m a sucker for a good rom-com movie.
The book is a little cliche in places, though. A few of Porter’s schemes are a little too over-the-top, and I wondered if every single one of the men working on rebuilding the town would refuse to see a female doctor in this day and time. (I really hope not.) Also, I thought the ending was a little abrupt and would have liked a few more pages there of Porter and Nikki’s reconciliation.