The Bayless family is the royalty of rural Passcoe, N.C., owners of a hometown bottling company that makes the popular cherry soda Quixie. Annajane Hudgens is shirttail kin — best friends since childhood with Bayless daughter Pokey, she has worked at Quixie bottler since high school and was a favorite of company owner Glenn Bayless. She also was briefly married to Mason, Pokey’s eldest brother.
But Annajane is about to put all things Bayless in her rearview mirror. In five days, she’s leaving for a new job in Atlanta close to her fiance, bluegrass musician Shane Drummond. First, though, she’s going to watch her ex marry the lovely Celia Wakefield, a Passcoe newcomer who has wiggled her way into Quixie management and Mason’s heart. Annajane’s former mother-in-law, frosty Miss Sallie, may be frowning at the presence of the first wife at the second wedding, but Annajane’s just fine sitting next to pregnant Pokey because Annajane is so over Mason. Or not.
When a family emergency interrupts the wedding, Annajane has time to reconsider her feelings for Mason, recalling their history together from the time he rescued her dressed as a Quixie Pixie. Of course there are serious obstacles to any re-romance — her new love Shane, for one, and the charming Bayless child Sophie, for another. Then there’s seemingly perfect Celia, only her recent behavior at Quixie raises suspicions as to her true agenda regarding the Bayless family’s fortunes.
Annajane is another of Andrews’ smart-but-insecure heroines confounded by matters of the heart. Time for her to put on her big-girl panties, trade in the flip-flops for killer heels, take a swig of Quixie, and go after what she really wants.
Open Book: I am way partial to Spring Fever (St. Martin’s, ARC), MKA being a longtime friend of Caroline Cousins. Also when I was going to UNC-Chapel Hill, my suitemate Katrinia kept a case of Cheerwine under her bed. The North Carolina cherry soda was our mixer of choice. Cheers!