Ain't She Sweet?

Ain't She Sweet?

by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Ain't She Sweet? Not exactly . . .

The girl everybody loves to hate has returned to the town she'd sworn to leave behind forever. As the rich, spoiled princess of Parrish, Mississippi, Sugar Beth Carey had broken hearts, ruined friendships, and destroyed reputations. But fifteen years have passed, and life has taught Sugar Beth its toughest lessons. Now she's come home—broke, desperate, and too proud to show it.

The people of Parrish don't believe in forgive and forget. When the Seawillows, Sugar Beth's former girlfriends, get the chance to turn the tables on her, they don't hesitate. And Winnie Davis, Sugar Beth's most bitter enemy, intends to humiliate her in the worst possible way.

Then there's Colin Byrne. . . . Fifteen years earlier, Sugar Beth had tried to ruin his career. Now he's rich, powerful, and the owner of her old home. Even worse, this modern-day dark prince is planning exactly the sort of revenge best designed to bring a beautiful princess to her knees.

But none of them have reckoned on the unexpected strength of a woman who's learned survival the hard way.

While Sugar Beth's battered heart struggles to overcome old mistakes, Colin must choose between payback and love. Does the baddest girl in town deserve a second chance, or are some things beyond forgiving?

Ain't She Sweet? is a story of courage and redemption. . . of friendship and laughter. . . of love and the possibility of happily-ever-after.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061801211
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 8,114
File size: 555 KB

About the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soared onto the New York Times bestseller list with Dream a Little Dream. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a hiker, gardener, reader, wife, and mother of two grown sons.


Chicago, Illinois

Place of Birth:

Cincinnati, Ohio


B.F.A., Ohio University

Read an Excerpt

Ain't She Sweet?

"I am afraid," confessed Pen, "that I am not very well-behaved. Aunt says that I had a lamentable upbringing."
Georgette Heyer, The Corinthian

Chapter One

The wild child of Parrish, Mississippi, had come back to the town she'd left behind forever. Sugar Beth Carey gazed from the rain-slicked windshield to the horrible dog who lay beside her on the passenger seat.

"I know what you're thinking, Gordon, so go ahead and say it. How the mighty have fallen, right?" She gave a bitter laugh. "Well, screw you. Just ..." She blinked her eyes against a sting of tears. "Just ... screw you."

Gordon lifted his head and sneered at her. He thought she was trash.

"Not me, pal." She turned up the heater on her ancient Volvo against the chill of the late February day. "Griffin and Diddie Carey ruled this town, and I was their princess. The girl most likely to set the world on fire."

She heard an imaginary howl of basset hound laughter.

Like the row of tin-roofed houses she'd just passed, Sugar Beth had grown a little shabby at the edges. The long blond hair that swirled to her shoulders didn't gleam as brightly as it once had, and the tiny gold hearts at her earlobes no longer skipped in a carefree dance. Her pouty lips had lost the urge to curl in flirtatious smiles, and her baby doll cheeks had given up their innocence three husbands ago.

Thick lashes still framed a pair of amazing clear blue eyes, but a delicate tracing of lines had begun to make tiny fishtails at the corners. Fifteen years earlier, she'd been the best-dressed girl in Parrish, but now one of her calf-high stiletto-heeled boots had a small hole in the sole, and her scarlet body-hugging knit dress with its demure turtleneck and not-so-demure hemline had come from a discount store instead of a pricey boutique.

Parrish had begun its life in the 1820s as a northeastern Mississippi cotton town and later escaped the torches of the occupying Union army, thanks to the wiles of its female population, who'd showered the boys in blue with such unrelenting charm and indefatigable Southern hospitality that none of them had the heart to strike the first match. Sugar Beth was a direct descendant of those women, but on days like this, she had a tough time remembering it.

She adjusted the windshield wipers as she approached Shorty Smith Road and gazed toward the two-story building, empty on this Sunday afternoon, that still sat at the end. Thanks to her father's economic blackmail, Parrish High School stood as one of the Deep South's few successful experiments with integrated public education. Once she'd ruled those hallways. She alone had decided who sat at the best table in the cafeteria, which boys were acceptable to date, and whether an imitation Gucci purse was okay if your daddy wasn't Griffin Carey, and you couldn't afford the real thing. Blond and divine, she'd reigned supreme.

She hadn't always been a benevolent dictator, but her power had seldom been challenged, not even by the teachers. One of them had tried, but Sugar Beth had made short work of that. As for Winnie Davis ... What chance did a clumsy, insecure geek have against the power and might of Sugar Beth Carey?

As she gazed through the February drizzle at the high school, the old music began to drum in her head: INXS, Miami Sound Machine, Prince. In those days, when Elton John sang "Candle in the Wind," he'd only been singing of Marilyn.

High school. The last time she'd owned the world. Gordon farted.

"God, I hate you, you miserable dog."

Gordon's scornful expression told her he didn't give a damn. These days, neither did she.

She checked the gas gauge. She was running on fumes, but she didn't want to waste money filling the tank until she had to. Looking on the bright side, who needed gas when she'd reached the end of the road?

She turned the corner and saw the empty lot marking the place where Ryan's house had once stood. Ryan Galantine had been Ken to her Barbie. The most popular boy; the most popular girl. Luv U 4-Ever. She'd broken his heart their freshman year at Ole Miss when she'd screwed around on him with Darren Tharp, the star athlete who'd become her first husband.

Sugar Beth remembered the way Winnie Davis used to look at Ryan when she didn't think anyone was watching. As if a clumsy outcast had a chance with a dazzler like Ryan Galantine. Sugar Beth's group of friends, the Seawillows, had wet their pants laughing at her behind her back. The memory depressed her even further.

As she drove toward the center of town, she saw that Parrish had capitalized on its newfound fame as the setting and leading character of the nonfiction best-seller Last Whistle-stop on the Nowhere Line. The new Visitors Bureau had attracted a steady stream of tourists, and she could see the town had spruced itself up. The sidewalk in front of the Presbyterian church no longer buckled, and the ugly streetlights she'd grown up with had been replaced with charming turn-of-the-century lampposts. Along Tyler Street, the historic Antebellum, Victorian, and Greek Revival homes sported fresh coats of paint, and a jaunty copper weathervane graced the cupola of Miss Eulie Baker's Italianate monstrosity. Sugar Beth and Ryan had made out in the alley behind that house the night before they'd gone all the way.

She turned onto Broadway, the town's four-block main street. The courthouse clock was no longer frozen at ten past ten, and the fountain in the park had shed its grime. The bank, along with a half dozen other businesses, sported maroon and green striped awnings, and the Confederate flag was nowhere in sight ...

Ain't She Sweet?. Copyright © by Susan Phillips. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Ain't She Sweet? 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 139 reviews.
kkeating733 More than 1 year ago
Before I started this book I had read some mixed reviews, so I wasn't expecting much from it. I read somewhere that you don't get attached to the characters and that they are hard to like. Whoever said this was completely wrong. I was surprised to find that "Ain't She Sweet?" is one of the best, if not the best romance novel I have ever read (and there have been a lot). I fell in love with the characters, especially Colin. I was sorry when this book ended and I can't seem to stop picking it up and just reading random parts. It's truly amazing and I have recommended it to all of my friends! It's definitely worth the read! =)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. You feel for each of the charcters as they develop from high school kids to adults. Suger Beth was such a mean spirited girl, but life paid her back. So much so you begin to understand her evil ways, and have compasion when things go bad for her. In the end you will be pleasantly surprized how everything ties in together. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever been truly in love.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
I would have to say, I was a bit skeptical when I first started reading Ain't She Sweet? by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I had never read anything by the author before and from reading the back cover it sounded like a typical romance I might have read before... but was I ever wrong! I truly enjoyed this book very much. I most identified with Winnie Davis the girl in high school that was made fun of, was perhaps a little too smart and didn't have a lot of confidence in herself. Her secret crush on the high school football team's star. Her struggles with friendships. She was a very endearing character. But, Sugar Beth really does take center stage. This book was about growing up and becoming the person you didn't really think you were going to be. About how your choices in life shape your future, but they can't change your past. It was about not running away from who you were, but embracing it and showing who you've become. I really liked the book. The characters were very well developed and the story is one that will resonant with a lot of women and young girls who are defining or redefining themselves.
sweetpeaSP More than 1 year ago
The reader finds out from the get-go that Sugar Beth Carey ain't so sweet. She is a lying, snobbish brat who made life hell for the less-than-beautiful, not-so-rich nerdy girls at school. She made fun of them and destroyed them. And they haven't forgotten! The fun begins.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book very hard to put down but it did take me a few chapters to get into it. It has everything even some sad parts to what makes her who she is but it is also funny and a good love story! You have to hang in to see which one has the strongest will to get what they want! Eddie Rob
juls24 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read twice in one week. Its a great book, it has all the things I look for in a "unwind" book. It makes you laugh, and also makes you get a little teary eyed. Sugar Beth and Colin make a odd but oh so great couple and I absolutely loved it. I agree with another reviewer though about Sugar Beth's niece Gigi, it really wasn't necessary to involve her in so much, because without it, the outcome would've been the same. But GREAT book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ain¿t She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips introduces us to Sugar Beth Carey. When Sugar Beth left Parrish, Miss 15 years ago she was the pampered princess of the town. She doesn¿t come home that way at all. Former friends and enemies are dying to give her, her comeuppance. Leading the pack wanting to get even is a former teacher Colin Byrne. Sugar Beth ruined the start of his teaching career and that has Colin wanting payback. But Colin wasn¿t planning on the changed life had dealt to Sugar Beth or his growing feelings for her. Ain¿t She Sweet is a sensational story, its funny, sexy and will touch your heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In high school, Sugar Beth Carey and her Seawillows dominated the local scene treating everyone else with contempt. Among her victims was a young British teacher Colin Byrne, whose career she ruined. Years later Sugar Beth returns home having accomplished little in her life except regrets. She hopes to sell her deceased aunt¿s valuable painting done by renowned local artist Ceredon Ash. Sugar Beth is shocked at how well everyone has made it since she dumped her sweetheart Ryan when she left for U of Mississippi for a football star who is now her ex-husband. When she sees Colin she is sorry for what she did to him and is very attracted to him, but he does not trust her though he finds he desires her. Winnie Davis is running scared that her spouse Ryan still loves Sugar Beth. However, that does not matter to Sugar Beth as she now believes you can never go home as nothing remains the same. She wants Colin permanently in her life, but believes he could never forgive her though she hopes he lovingly deem her his forever honey.

AIN¿T SHE SWEET is an engaging relationship drama that focuses on whether a former teen pack leader can ever go home especially as a failure. The story line is character driven as the audience understands what makes key players tick, especially the fear that motivates the lead couple, the former Seawillows, and the Davis duo. Though not much action occurs, to fans of tales that go deep inside the soul of its stars Susan Elizabeth Phillips provides a delightful read.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous 4 months ago
rThis book kept me on my toes not predictable.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Story about high school villain turned protagonist
khloris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Unusual and fabulous plot line. A bit more of a psychological study than she's done before, and so good. A book most women can relate to as you will recognize these characters from your own lives. And it's a very satisfying love story, to boot.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are no likeable characters in this book. Even the dog is a meanie! If you can deal with that, go for it. This is the same story line as Fancy Pants, but in this case, the characters do not come across as sympathetic. Sugar Beth sinned as a child - and now her 'friends' make her pay and pay and pay. I found this a very frustrating read.
BookishBrunette on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adore Susan Elizabeth Phillips, she is one of my favorite authors ever! Okay, just had to say that first! Now, on with the review of one of my favorite books in the entire world...Sugar Beth? Did I read that right? Sure did! How amazing is that name? When I saw this book I had gotten no further than the first sentence of the synopsis and I had already decided to buy it, I knew that with the leading character named Sugar Beth I would love this book.Ain't She Sweet is one of those books that you finish, and instantly want to reread. This book has betrayal, lies, love, sex and everything in between. The total package okay?You absolutely want to hate Sugar Beth, but you can't. Everyone makes mistakes and SB made more than her fair share! Trying to overcome her reputation as a 'mean girl' in the town she grew up in... Where her illegitimate half sister is now married to her high school sweetheart... She ends up housekeeping for her High School English teacher... The same guy she had rode out of town on a red hot rail...I find myself not even being able to describe how immensely great this book is, because all the words I put together don't do it justice. In short- JUST READ THIS BOOK.
mycutebookshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn¿t stop reading this book once I started! Susan Elizabeth Phillips never fails to amaze me. I always end up sighing when reading her books. They¿re just so awesome. This one¿s a bit different from the other ones I¿ve read by her. It has comedy, but it¿s a bit more dramatic. There¿s just a lot of problems from the past included. Yes, there are a lot of flashbacks and changes from character¿s point of views. But that¿s what makes it special. I wouldn¿t categorize it as typical romance. I felt like it was more like a relationship novel. Still, it was an amazing read. I sighed at the end. It was just so beautiful.
Vidalia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Total fun. Sheer fluffy enjoyment. 5 stars for being the best of its genre.
lldine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked it but, not very realist. Isn't it funny how they all hate her and then they are the best of friends again and rich to top it off
magst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
LOVED this book!!! Phillips did a great job with the heroine Sugar Beth. There were time when I really wanted to hate her, but couldn't. I would feel the "pang" of discomfort as some parts, but the pain was eased with love and laughter. Wonderful book!!!!
dianah2o on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Simply put, this might just be the most perfect romance ever written. SEP is a MASTER!How do you go about convincing readers to root for a heroine you would have taken a contract out on in high school??? MS. Phillips has done the impossible, inspiring compassion for a world of characters who, half the time make you hate them, the other adore them.Sugar Beth returned home in search of a painting, and must confront those she wronged years ago and prove to them all she's changed.If I had a scoring system, AIN'T SHE SWEET would be off the charts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"My straw? What is it?" She giggles, playing with a strand of his hair.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He tilted his to look at her. "It comes with a pr<_>ice."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently discovered SJP books and I am amazed at how I much I enjoy each and everyone them. The depths of the characters, the frailness of human nature and the way love heals is very real. This book was amazing, I went thru all emotions, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me remember the past, the insecurities of adolescence and how time and maturity heals. I hated and loved every character atbsome point but you find that you could side with anyone and everyone. Definitively worth reading and saving for the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my faves. Loved the audio book even better. Anna fields had a gift for narrarating. Her range of voices from deep southern male to cute baby voices is amazing.
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
★★★½ I've never been around to attend my high school reunions when they pop up, but sometimes I wish I could go just to see how far some of those wannabe socialites have fallen from their high horse. I know it's kind of mean, but let's just say my school years were not kind. In Ain't She Sweet, a whole town is granted this satisfaction. When the once powerful and cutthroat Sugar Carey comes home with her tail between her legs, all the roles are suddenly reversed. No one likes her anymore, no one has time for her anymore, and EVERYONE wants her to know it. Ms. Phillips never disappoints with her characters and Ain't She Sweet is a great example. It has humor, romance, and a life lesson. One lesson I learned from this story and the characters is that people can changes each and every one of us, and we should give others the emotional opportunity to start fresh again. If you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips's writing then don't miss out on this one! My favorite quote: “We’re all works in progress, honey." Note: I was conflicted about my rating. While this wasn't my favorite SEP novel, I did enjoy it. One factor that may have affected my overall enjoyment was the audiobook experience. I typically adore Kate Flemings' (aka Anna Fields) narration but the male lead's voice just didn't work for me. In my opinion, the romance felt less than romantic during the male-toned narration. Reading it off the page may be a better way to go if I do a re-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a person newly discovering this author, I hesitated after reading some of the reviews. But if you've ever lived in the South, or a small town, or with a reputation you may or may not have deserved; you won't waste a Memphis minute picking this one up. Laugh, cry, think, and bless your heart if you don't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great banter between the protagonists. The dialogue sparks an interest with a wonderfully creative, witty rapport but, the duel romance doesn't do it for me. I skimmed over the secondary character's story, finding it dull. I did Love Sugar Beth and Colin's story, however, and the ending was perfectly spicey! S.A.K.