Lisa Kleypas has enthralled millions of readers with her powerfully seductive novels. Now she delivers a story featuring her most unforgettable characters yet....in Sugar Daddy
SHE'S FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS
Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas---if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn't need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.
HE'S THE ONE MAN SHE CAN'T HAVE
When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon---a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family's past.
WILL THEY FIND THEIR HEARTS' DESIRES OR WILL HEARTBREAK TEAR THEM APART?
Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you'll root for every step of the way. A love story you'll never forget.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
When I was four, my father died in an oil-rig accident. Daddy didn’t even work for the drilling outfit. He was a company man who wore a suit and tie when he went to inspect the production and drilling platforms. But one day he stumbled on an opening in the rig floor before setup was completed. He fell sixty feet to the platform below and died instantly, his neck broken.
It took me a long time to understand Daddy was never coming back. I waited for him for months, sitting at the front window of our house in Katy, just west of Houston.
Some days I stood at the end of the driveway to watch every car that passed. No matter how often Mama told me to quit looking for him, I couldn’t give up. I guess I thought the strength of my wanting would be enough to make him appear.
I have only a handful of memories of my father, more like impressions. He must have carried me on his shoulders a time or two—I remember the hard plane of his chest beneath my calves, the sensation of swaying high in the air, anchored by the strong pressure of his fingers around my ankles. And the coarse drifts of his hair in my hands, shiny black hair cut in layers. I can almost hear his voice singing “Arriba del Cielo,” a Mexican lullaby that always gave me sweet dreams.
There is a framed photograph of Daddy on my dresser, the only one I have. He’s wearing a Western dress shirt and jeans with creases pressed down the front, and a tooled leather belt with a silver and turquoise buckle the size of a breakfast plate. A little smile lingers in one corner of his mouth, and a dimple punctuates the smoothness of his swarthy cheek. By all accounts he was a smart man, a romantic, a hard worker with high-carat ambitions. I believe he would have accomplished great things in his life if he’d been given the gift of more years. I know so little about my father, but I’m certain he loved me. I can feel it even in those little wisps of memory.
Mama never found another man to replace Daddy. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say she found a lot of men to replace him. But hardly any of them stayed around for long. She was a beautiful woman, if not a happy one, and attracting a man was never a problem. Keeping one, however, was a different matter. By the time I was thirteen, Mama had gone through more boyfriends than I could keep track of. It was sort of a relief when she found one she decided she could stick with for a while.
They agreed they would move in together, in the east Texas town of Welcome, not far from where he’d grown up. As it turned out, Welcome was where I lost everything, and gained everything. Welcome was the place where my life was guided from one track to another, sending me to places I’d never thought of going.
On my first day at the trailer park, I wandered along a dead-end road that cut between rows of trailers lined up like piano keys. The park was a dusty grid of dead-end streets, with a newly built loop that circled around the left side. Each home sat on its own concrete pad, dressed in a skirt made of aluminum or wooden latticework. A few trailers were fronted by patches of yard, some featuring crape myrtle with blossoms crisped a pale brown and the bark shredded from the heat.
The late afternoon sun was as round and white as a paper plate tacked to the sky. Heat seemed to come equally from below as above, uncurling in visible waves from the cracked ground. Time moved at a crawl in Welcome, where people considered anything needing to be done in a hurry wasn’t worth doing. Dogs and cats spent most of the day sleeping in the hot shade, rousing only to lap a few tepid drops from the water hookups. Even the flies were slow.
An envelope containing a check crackled in the pocket of my denim cutoffs. Mama had told me to take it to the manager of Bluebonnet Ranch, Mr. Louis Sadlek, who lived at the redbrick house near the entrance of the trailer park.
My feet felt like they’d been steamed inside my shoes as I shuffled along the broken edges of asphalt. I saw a pair of older boys standing with a teenage girl, their postures relaxed and loose-limbed. The girl had a long blond ponytail with a ball of hair-sprayed bangs in the front. Her deep tan was exposed by short shorts and a tiny purple bikini top, which explained why the boys were so absorbed in conversation with her.
One of the boys was dressed in shorts and a tank top, while the other, dark-haired one wore a weathered pair of Wranglers and dirt-caked Roper boots. He stood with his weight shifted to one leg, one thumb hooked in a denim pocket, his free hand gesturing as he talked. There was something striking about his slim, rawboned form, the hard edge of his profile. His vitality was almost jarring in those heat-drowsed surroundings.
Although Texans of all ages are naturally sociable and call out to strangers without hesitation, it was obvious I was going to walk by this trio unnoticed. That was just fine with me.
But as I walked quietly along the other side of the lane, I was startled by an explosion of noise and movement. Rearing back, I was set upon by what appeared to be a pair of rabid pit bulls. They barked and snarled and peeled their lips back to reveal jagged yellow teeth. I had never been scared of dogs, but these two were obviously out for the kill.
My instincts took over, and I spun to escape. The bald soles of my old sneakers slipped on a scattering of pebbles, my feet went out from under me, and I hit the ground on my hands and knees. I let out a scream and covered my head with my arms, fully expecting to be torn to pieces. But there was the sound of an angry voice over the blood rush in my ears, and instead of teeth closing over my flesh, I felt a pair of strong hands take hold of me.
I yelped as I was turned over to look up into the face of the dark-haired boy. He gave me a swift assessing glance and turned to yell some more at the pit bulls. The dogs had retreated a few yards, their barking fading to peevish snarls.
“Go on, damn it,” the boy snapped at them. “Get your hindquarters back home and stop scaring people, you sorry pair of sh—” He checked himself and darted a quick glance at me.
The pit bulls quieted and slunk backward in a startling change of mood, pink tongues dangling like the half-curled ribbons of party balloons.
My rescuer viewed them with disgust and spoke to the boy in the tank top. “Pete, take the dogs back to Miss Marva’s.”
“They’ll git home by theirselves,” the boy protested, reluctant to part company with the blond girl in the bikini top.
“Take ’em back,” came the authoritative reply, “and tell Marva to stop leaving the damn gate open.”
While this conversation was taking place, I glanced down at my knees and saw they were oozing and peppered with gravel dust. My descent into the pit of soul-shriveling embarrassment was complete as the shock wore off and I started to cry. The harder I gulped against the tightness of my throat, the worse it became. Tears runneled from beneath my big plastic-framed glasses.
“For God’s sake . . .” I heard the boy in the tank top mutter. Heaving a sigh, he went to the dogs and grabbed them by the collars. “Come on, troublemakers.” They went with him willingly, trotting smartly on either side as if they were auditioning for the 4H state dog show.
The dark-haired boy’s attention returned to me, and his voice gentled. “Here, now . . . you’re okay. No need to cry, honey.” He plucked a red handkerchief from his back pocket and began to mop at my face. Deftly he wiped my eyes and nose and told me to blow. The handkerchief held the sharp bite of male sweat as it clamped firmly over my nose. Back then men of every age had a red handkerchief tucked in the back pocket of their jeans. I’d seen kerchiefs used as a sieve, a coffee filter, a dust mask, and once as a makeshift baby diaper.
“Don’t ever run from dogs like that.” The boy tucked the kerchief in his back pocket. “No matter how scared you are. You just look to the side and walk away real slow, understand? And shout ‘No’ in a loud voice like you mean it.”
I sniffled and nodded, staring into his shadowed face. His wide mouth held the curve of a smile that sent a quiver down to the pit of my stomach and knotted my toes inside my sneakers.
True handsomeness had escaped him by millimeters. His features were too blunt and bold, and his nose had a crook near the bridge from having been broken once. But he had a slow burn of a smile, and blue-on-blue eyes that seemed even brighter against the sun-glazed color of his skin, and a tumble of dark brown hair as shiny as mink fur.
“You got nothing to fear from those dogs,” he said. “They’re full of mischief, but as far as I know they’ve never bitten anyone. Here, take my hand.”
As he pulled me up and set me on my feet, my knees felt like they’d been set on fire. I hardly noticed the pain, I was so occupied with the fury of my heartbeat. The grip of his hand was strong around mine, his fingers dry and warm.
“Where do you live?” the boy asked. “Are you moving into the new trailer on the loop?”
“Uh-huh.” I wiped a stray tear off my chin.
“Hardy . . .” The blond girl’s voice was sweetly cajoling. “She’s all right now. Come walk me back. I got somethin’ in my room to show you.”
Hardy. So that was his name. He remained facing me, his vivid gaze shifting to the ground. It was probably just as well the girl couldn’t see the wry smile secreted in the corners of his mouth. He seemed to have a pretty good idea of what she wanted to show him.
“Can’t,” he said cheerfully. “I have to take care of this little one.”
The disgruntlement I felt at being referred to as if I were a toddler was promptly replaced by the triumph of being chosen over the blond girl. Although I couldn’t figure out why in the world he wasn’t leaping at the chance to go with her.
I wasn’t a homely child, but neither was I the kind people made much of. From my Mexican father I had inherited dark hair, heavy eyebrows, and a mouth I thought was twice the size it needed to be. From Mama I had gotten a skinny build and light-colored eyes, but they weren’t a clear sea-green like hers, they were hazel. I had often longed to have Mama’s ivory skin and blond hair, but Daddy’s darkness had won out.
It didn’t help matters that I was shy and wore glasses. I was never one to stand out in the crowd. I liked to stay in corners. And I was happiest when I was alone reading. That and the good grades I got in school had doomed any chance of being popular with my peers. So it was a foregone conclusion that boys like Hardy were never going to take notice of me.
“Come on,” he urged, leading the way to a tan single-wide with concrete steps at the back. A hint of a strut livened Hardy’s walk, giving him the jauntiness of a junkyard dog.
I followed cautiously, wondering how mad Mama would be if she found out I’d wandered off with a stranger. “Is this yours?” I asked, my feet sinking into the crackling beige grass as we went toward the trailer.
Hardy replied over his shoulder. “I live here with my mom, two brothers, and a sister.”
“That’s a lot of people for a single-wide,” I commented.
“Yeah, it is. I’ve got to move soon—there’s no room for me in there. Mom says I’m growing so fast I’m like to bust the walls of the trailer out.”
The notion that this creature still had some growing to do was almost alarming. “How big are you going to get?” I asked.
He chuckled and went to a spigot attached to a dusty gray garden hose. Turning it with a few deft twists, he started the flow of water and went to find the end of the hose. “Don’t know. I’m already taller than most of my kin. Sit on that bottom step and stretch your legs out.”
I obeyed, looking down at my scrawny calves, the skin covered with childish dark fuzz. I had experimented a few times with shaving my legs, but it hadn’t yet become an established routine. I couldn’t help comparing them to the smooth tanned legs of the blond girl, and the heat of embarrassment rose inside me.
Approaching me with the hose, Hardy sank to his haunches and warned, “This’ll probably sting a little, Liberty.”
“That’s all right, I—” I stopped, my eyes widening in amazement. “How did you know my name?”
A smile lurked in one corner of his mouth. “It’s written on the back of your belt.”
Name belts had been popular that year. I had begged Mama to order one for me. We’d chosen pale pink leather with my name tooled in red letters.
I inhaled sharply as Hardy rinsed my knees with a stream of tepid water, washing off the blood and grit. It hurt more than I expected, especially when he passed his thumb over a few stubborn particles of rock to loosen them from my swollen skin.
He made a soothing sound as I flinched, and talked to distract me. “How old are you? Twelve?”
“Fourteen and three quarters.”
His blue eyes sparkled. “You’re kind of little for fourteen and three quarters.”
“Am not,” I replied indignantly. “I’m a sophomore this year. How old are you?”
“Seventeen and two fifths.”
I stiffened at the gentle mockery, but as I met his gaze, I saw a flicker of playfulness. I had never felt the allure of another human being this strongly, warmth and curiosity mixing to form an unspoken question in the air.
A couple of times in your life, it happens like that. You meet a stranger, and all you know is that you need to know everything about him.
“How many brothers and sisters do you have?” he asked.
“None. It’s just me and Mama and her boyfriend.”
“Tomorrow if I get a chance, I’ll bring my sister, Hannah, to meet you. She can introduce you to some of the kids around here and point out the ones to stay clear of.” Hardy took the water off my raw knees, which were now pink and clean.
“What about the one you were just talking to? Is she someone I should stay clear of?”
A flash of a smile. “That’s Tamryn. Yeah, stay away from her. She doesn’t like other girls much.” He went to turn the water off and came back to stand over me as I sat on the doorstep, his dark brown hair spilling over his forehead. I wanted to push it back. I wanted to touch him, not with sensuality but in wonder.
“Are you going home now?” Hardy asked, reaching down for me. Our palms locked. He pulled me to my feet and made certain I was steady before letting go.
“Not yet. I have an errand. A check for Mr. Sadlek.” I felt for my back pocket to make sure it was still there.
The name caused a frown to tug between his straight dark brows. “I’ll go with you.”
“You don’t have to,” I said, although I felt a surge of shy delight at the offer.
“Yes I do. Your mama should know better than to send you to the front office by yourself.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You will after you meet him.” Hardy took my shoulders in his hands and said firmly, “If you ever need to visit Louis Sadlek for any reason, you come get me first.”
The grip of his hands was electrifying. My voice sounded breathless as I said, “I wouldn’t want to put you to trouble.”
“No trouble.” He looked down at me for a moment longer and fell back a half step.
“That’s real nice of you,” I said.
“Hell.” He shook his head and replied with a smile, “I’m not nice. But between Miss Marva’s pit bulls and Sadlek, someone’s got to watch out for you.”
We walked along the main drive, Hardy shortening his long stride to correspond with mine. When the pace of our feet matched perfectly, I felt a deep inner pang of satisfaction. I could have gone on walking like that forever, side by side with him. There had been few times in my life I had ever inhabited a moment so fully, with no loneliness lurking at the edges.
When I spoke, my voice sounded languid to my own ears, as if we were lying in lush grass beneath a shade tree. “Why do you say you’re not nice?”
A low, rueful-sounding chuckle. “Because I’m an unrepentant sinner.”
“So am I.” It wasn’t true, of course, but if this boy was an unrepentant sinner, I wanted to be one too.
“No you’re not,” he said with lazy certainty.
“How can you say that when you don’t know me?”
“I can tell by looking.”
I darted a covert glance at him. I was tempted to ask what else he read from my appearance, but I was afraid I already knew. The unkempt tangle of my ponytail, the modest length of my cutoffs, the big glasses and unplucked brows . . . it didn’t exactly add up to the picture of a boy’s wildest fantasies. I decided to change the conversation. “Is Mr. Sadlek mean?” I asked. “Is that why I shouldn’t visit him alone?”
“He inherited the trailer park from his parents about five years ago, and ever since then he’s harassed every woman who crosses his path. He tried it with my mother a time or two until I told him if he did it again I’d make sure he was nothing but a smear on the ground from here to Sugar Land.”
I didn’t doubt the claim for a minute. Despite Hardy’s youth, he was big enough to inflict quite a lot of damage on someone.
We reached the redbrick ranch house, which clung to the flat arid land like a deer tick. A large black-and-white sign proclaiming bluebonnet ranch mobile home estates had been planted on the side of the house closest to the main drive, with clusters of faded plastic bluebonnets tacked to the corners. Just beyond the sign a parade of pink yard flamingos riddled with bullet holes had been arranged precisely along the roadside.
I was to find out later it was the habit of some residents from the trailer park, including Mr. Sadlek, to visit a neighbor’s field for target practice. They shot at a row of yard flamingos that bobbed and sprang back whenever they were shot. When a flamingo was too full of holes to be useful, it was strategically placed at the front entrance of the trailer park as an advertisement of the residents’ shooting skills.
An open sign hung in the little side window by the front door. Reassured by Hardy’s solid presence beside me, I went to the front door, knocked tentatively and pushed it open.
A Latina cleaning lady was busy mopping the entranceway. In the corner, a cassette player spat out the cheerful polka rhythm of tejano music. Glancing upward, the girl spoke in rapid-fire Spanish. “Cuidado, el piso es mojado.”
I only knew a few words of Spanish. Having no idea what she had meant, I shook my head apologetically. But Hardy replied without missing a beat, “Gracias, tendremos cuidados.” He put a hand on the center of my back. “Careful. The floor’s wet.”
“You speak Spanish?” I asked him in mild surprise.
His dark brows lifted. “You don’t?”
I shook my head, abashed. It had always been a source of vague embarrassment that despite my heritage I couldn’t speak my father’s language.
A tall, heavy figure appeared in the doorway of the front office. At first glance Louis Sadlek was a good-looking man. But it was a ruined handsomeness, his face and body showing the decay of habitual self-indulgence. His striped Western shirt had been left untucked in an effort to hide the billow of his waist. Although the fabric of his pants looked like cheap polyester, his boots were made of blue-dyed snakeskin. His even, regular features were marred by the florid bloat around his neck and cheeks.
Sadlek stared at me with casual interest, his lips pulling back in a dirty joke of a smile. He spoke to Hardy first. “Who’s the little wetback?”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the cleaning lady stiffen and pause in her scrubbing. It seemed she had been exposed to the word often enough to know its meaning.
Seeing the instant tension in Hardy’s jaw, and the clenching of the fist at his side, I broke in hastily. “Mr. Sadlek, I’m—”
“Don’t call her that,” Hardy said in a tone that made the hairs rise on the back of my neck.
They stared at each other with palpable animosity, their gazes level. A man well past his prime, and a boy who hadn’t yet entered it. But there was no doubt in my mind how it would have ended if there had been a fight.
“I’m Liberty Jones,” I said, trying to smooth the moment over. “My mother and I are moving into the new trailer.” I dug the envelope from my back pocket and extended it to him. “She told me to give you this.”
Sadlek took the envelope and tucked it into his shirt pocket, letting his gaze slide over me from head to toe. “Diana Jones is your mama?”
“How’d a woman like that get a little dark-skinned girl like you? Your daddy musta been a Mexican.”
He gave a scornful snicker and shook his head. Another grin eased across his mouth. “You tell your mama to drop off the rent check herself next time. Tell her I got stuff I want to talk about.”
“All right.” Eager to be out of his presence, I tugged at Hardy’s rigid arm. After a last warning glance at Louis Sadlek, Hardy followed me to the door.
“You’d best not run with white trash like the Cateses, little girl,” Sadlek called out after us. “They’re trouble. And Hardy’s the worst of the lot.”
After a scant minute in his presence, I felt as if I’d been wading through chest-high garbage. I turned to glance at Hardy in amazement.
“What a jerk,” I said.
“You could say that.”
“Does he have a wife and kids?”
Hardy shook his head. “Far as I know, he’s been divorced twice. Some women in town seem to think he’s a catch. You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but he’s got some money.”
“From the trailer park?”
“That and a side business or two.”
“What kind of side business?”
He let out a humorless laugh. “You don’t want to know.”
We walked to the loop intersection in contemplative silence. Now that evening was settling there were signs of life at the trailer park . . . cars turning in, voices and televisions filtering through the thin walls, smells of frying food. The white sun was resting on the horizon, bleeding out color until the sky was drenched in purple and orange and crimson.
“Is this it?” Hardy asked, stopping in front of my white trailer with its neat girdle of aluminum siding.
I nodded even before I saw the outline of my mother’s profile in the window of the kitchenette. “Yes, it is,” I exclaimed with relief. “Thank you.”
As I stood there peering up at him through my brown-framed glasses, Hardy reached out to push back a piece of hair that had straggled loose from my ponytail. The callused tip of his finger was gently abrasive against my hairline, like the tickle of a cat’s tongue. “You know what you remind me of?” he asked, studying me. “An elf owl.”
“There’s no such thing,” I said.
“Yes there is. They mostly live to the south in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond. But every now and then an elf owl makes its way up here. I’ve seen one.” He used his thumb and forefinger to indicate a distance of five inches. “They’re only about this big. Cute little bird.”
“I’m not little,” I protested.
Hardy smiled. His shadow settled over me, blocking the light of sunset from my dazzled eyes. There was an unfamiliar stirring inside me. I wanted to step deeper into the shadow until I met his body, to feel his arms go around me. “Sadlek was right, you know,” he said.
“I am trouble.”
I knew that. My rioting heart knew it, and so did my weak knees, and so did my heat-prickling stomach. “I like trouble,” I managed to say, and his laugh curled through the air.
He walked away in a graceful long-legged stride, a dark and solitary figure. I thought of the strength in his hands as he had picked me up from the ground. I watched him until he had disappeared from sight, and my throat felt thick and tingly like I’d just swallowed a spoonful of warm honey.
The sunset finished with a long crack of light rimming the horizon, as if the sky were a big door and God was taking one last peek. Good night, Welcome, I thought, and went into the trailer.
Copyright © 2007 by Lisa Kleypas. All rights reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This ebook should not cost the same as the regular paperback. Other Nook owners please fight back.
I loved this book. I enjoyed it very much. I thought the characters were well rounded. I loved the rest of the series, "Blue Eyed Devil" and "Smooth Talking Stranger". I love the way the characters are carried over into the rest of the books. They have a chance to grow and become more well rounded. Hoping there is a book for "Joe". I have recommended these to my niece and she enjoyed them as much as I did. Will re-read all of them.
Enjoyed this quick read. I loved the powerful and the wealthy characters that live in Texas. The storyline is fast paced and full of life. As always lisa kleypas keeps you wanting more. There is love, lust and heartbreak. And the 2 books that follow are just as good.
SUGAR DADDY is the story or Liberty Jones, following her life from the time she and her mama move to the Bluebonnet Ranch mobile home park in Welcome, Texas, through her teenage years and into adulthood. Liberty loves Hardy Cates but he is unwilling to give up his dream of getting out of Welcome and making something of himself. Soon after he leaves, tragedy strikes. With the odds stacked against her, Liberty doesn't cave under pressure. When she becomes good friends with billionaire tycoon, Churchill Travis, he makes her an offer she can't refuse. With his son Gage, she discovers a passion that she never thought to experience. Just as everything seems to be falling into place, Hardy enters back into Liberty's life, forcing her to choose between the two men, Hardy, who she has loved forever and Gage, who she is just discovering. Who will she choose? SUGAR DADDY is not your typical romance, it was nothing like I had expected and I found it a refreshing change. First person is not my favorite perspective to read, in fact I usually avoid it, but Lisa Kleypas made it work for me. Her storyline and characters captivated me from the start. While at first I was leary of where the story was going, soon I was so enthralled, I just couldn't wait to see how it all unfolded! I really liked Liberty, she was a strong person, that no matter what obstacle came up, she was able to overcome it. I liked that she had friends who helped her through difficult times, and she wasn't to stubborn to accept it when it was truly needed. I thought she was doing the best to raise her sister. I could understand Hardy's determination to make something of himself. His leaving to chase his dreams, while hurtful to Liberty was the right choice. There was a heat between that had me wanting to see them get together, at least until she met Gage. Gage was a strong man with a great sense of integrity. He knew what he wanted, but he was smart enough not to give Liberty and ultimatum. The chemistry between Gage and Liberty was intense. NightOwlReviews.com
One of my favorite books in my library of 500! Wow what a great name for a character...Liberty... A character trying to break through her stuggles in her childhood years, raising her younger sister from a baby, as if her own child. Loved that she meets a strong, wealthy, well connected Texac billionaire, Churchilll, who see's her inate strength of character, and helps try to silently nurture it and help her grow more confident. All her childhood she loved Hardy Cates, but he was poor like her and searching for a better more fulfilling life and promised to return. Liberty waited, and waited. When opportunites arose to go on with her life she tried to change her life for her and her sister even through many struggles, and men who didnt want the excess baggage and no sparks anyway. Churchill proposes a new opportunity for her and when she accepts, his sons introduce an eye opening epiphany in regards to her old love Hardy Cates. The rest...well its definitely a wonderful modern day Cinderella story you will love and like I have, mark it as your very favorite story. Read it and enjoy.
First of all I have to admit that this is my first foray into the wonderful world created by Lisa Kleypas, it was only by way of a bet between my friend Melanie Murray a talented author in her own right and myself that I even took up the gauntlet, one I'm so glad I did. So thanks Melanie, I owe you yet another thanks for introducing me to yet another incredible author. Liberty Jones has from childhood taken a can do attitude which has helped her a great deal with her less then wonderful life. Her father, the love of her mother's life died in a tragic accident on an oil rig. Since then her mother has tried to comfort herself by quantity and not quality of boyfriends none of who seem to stay around. But there's a lot that momma's not telling her and it will follow her all her life. Her one solid thing through the whole of it is Hardy Cates. Hardy has not got an easy life either, but he's convinced that Liberty is someone who needs caring for and he's going to do it, the only thing wrong with this is that as soon as Hardy can get out of Welcome Texas he's gone so the one think he doesn't want Liberty to do is to count on him indefinitely. Ms Kleypas gives us a unique modern day Cinderella story, one where the heroine has a lot of spunk, wit and panache and the fact that Cinderella only wants to take care of herself and not rely on some rich "Sugar Daddy" for her livelihood. The dialogue is a mix of urban sophistication and Texas twang, interspersed with common man slang and it's a great fit for the diversity of the characters. And let's talk about the characters which are all tremendously important to the story no matter their standing in the story line, they all fill a certain role and do it wonderfully. Her heroine Liberty is unequalled in the ranks of heroines, she's got everything in life going against her and yet just like the little engine that could, she did and she does it with style, grace and that Unsinkable Molly Brown attitude. She share the stage with multiple heros that all stand out for their various reasons and some of them more than others. Ms. Kleypas doesn't introduce us to all of them in the beginning so I'll just say they're great and let the reader find out who, what, when and where for themselves. The romance is novel worthy, it's met with constant sink holes and pit falls and she really makes her couple work hard for their Happy Ever After. Her love scenes are sensual and spicy and descriptive without being too risqué, but believe me when I tell you that romance lovers like me who love their baser love scenes, we will not be cheated. So if like me you've never had the pleasure of reading Lisa Kleypas, what are you waiting for. For those who love a great contemporary romance with a lot of heart and soul, this one's for you. Don't forget to read the other two volumes dedicated to the Travis Family. I know I'm on my way to get the next one now.
First, I HATED the narrator. It took me 5 discs into it to stop cringeing everytime she did a male voice. Second, there were so many stupid things said about Texans and Houstonians that I wish no one who wasn't one could read this book. I live in Houston, Texas and while I was entertained by her generalizations, they were just that -- NOT ALL PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN TEXAS WEAR COWBOY HATS AND HAVE HORSES. Third, it was a cute book though and GREAT to escape with. I listened to it for the past few days as I drove all over Texas visiting friends and the hours sitting in the car just *flew* by. I thought the ending was a little hurried and VeRy hokey in the last few minutes but oh well, anything else wouldn't have fit. I definitely recommend this book as a read but maybe not to listen to unless they reproduce it with a better narrator.
I like Lisa but this book is not her best. Her writing is good and in no way we feel that this is her first contemporary but half way along the book she lost track of the story. The character of Hardy was so much developed in the first part that you would be disappointed at the ending of the book (IMO). I am not disappointed at the ending but the way it was narrated was little disappointing. On the whole it was not a satisfactory read
The story started out really nice but somewhere in the middle the autor lost the plot. The sugar daddy part was undeveloped and the author spent so much time developing Hardy and Liberty's story that it was such a let down how she didn't follow through. What was the love story, we would never forget. I think the author was the first person to forget the love story.
Great story, great love interests
I couldn’t put this book down. It’s 3 am and I just finished it. Liberty Jones was a strong character and you couldn’t help but like her and respect her.
It took me a while to get into this book. I have always enjoyed Kleypas' historicals, so I was a little nervous about her move to contemporary romance. Also, not being a fan of reading about Sugar Daddy relationships I was a bit nervous about the relationship between Liberty and Churchill. There was a LOT of time spent on her youth and I feel that some of it was necessary to explain Liberty's character, however more time could have been spent on other things, such as the development of the relationship between LIberty & Gage. One other comment is that I found a lot of the generalizations about Texans, Texan men and Houstonians to be somewhat annoying. Many of them were perpetuating stereotypes that don't necessarily apply & some of the references completely confused me which, as a native Houstonian, I felt shouldn't be the case. This is relatively harmless, just a bit annoying to somebody familiar with the area.
Felt a little piecemeal sometimes, but her writing rocked, and overall, I loved it.
I decided to read this book because I recently had read Smooth Talking stranger by Lisa Kleypas and realized that it was a series on the Travis family. So I got the first two and this book was definitely not my favorite. If I would have started the series from book 1 I probably would have not read the rest of the books in the series. This book just took way to long to get to the good stuff. Lisa spent way to much time explaining Liberty's past and her relationship with Hardy and the Travis family. I actually found myself skipping some parts of the book like "Okay already!" Once you did get to the good stuff though it was a page turner from there! I did continue to read the Blue Eyed devil and that book was just amazing! So for those who read this book first and did not like it, do not let it ruin the series for you. The next two books are really good! :-)
Can I rate a book as higher than 5 stars?!?!? I LOVED this book!! I would have read it in one sitting, except nature played a very cruel trick on me by making my body need sleep!! It was finished the very next day, however.I LOVED Liberty. I have heard a lot of discussion about wether or not so much of her back story should have been included. I was glad it was. It made it easier for me to understand her decisions, and I truly felt for her throughout the whole book.I have also heard discussion about the "love triangle" in the book. I use quotations, because I didn't really see it. There was never any doubt in my mind who she would choose, and I was glad for the way the book ended.I do have to say that when I read this, I had no idea it was part of a series. That being said, I'm not sure how much I'm looking forward to the next book. I hope I'm not spoiling anything here, but by the end of this book, I'm not sure if I like Hardy enough to want to read his story. However, I love Lisa Kleypas, so I will give it a shot for that alone.I really enjoyed this book and will be loaning it to my friends now that I have finished it. While I'm not sure how much it's "romance" versus just "women's fiction" I would still recommend it to romance readers. And if you are a fan of Lisa Kelypas, by all means, don't hesitate to read this book!!
I bought this book last night thinking I would enjoy it as much as I did Smooth talking stranger, but I was wrong. Don't get me wrong there are some parts in the book that were really good, but I felt this is suppose to be a story about the Travis family, but you don't get anything about the Travis family until maybe half way through the book. Majority of the book is all about Liberty as a teenager and everything she went through growing up. I found some parts to be really boring and felt some parts really did not need to be in the book. Now I am going to give the second book Blue Eyed Devil a chance because I did enjoy Smooth talking stranger a lot.
Romance novels follow a certain formula that we come to expect: a girl, a boy, insurmountable obstacles, and a happy ending. Sugar Daddy had all that but the balance was different. It is told in the first person narrative of Liberty Jones starting with her childhood and focusing quite a bit on her teenage years with her mother. The boy doesn't make an appearance until half way through. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and am looking forward to more contemporary works from Lisa Kleypas.
This was my first Lisa Kleypas book, and I enjoyed it. The Texas influence was what I liked most - the cocky quips about "Texas men" and the strong alpha male stereotype are always fun.Liberty Jones is a woman who goes through a lot, and like a Texas woman, makes do with what she's dealt without complaint. A good portion of the book details her teenage years and crush on Hardy Cates. It's not a fast moving story, but you get to know Liberty inside and out.Hardy Cates is more of a mystery. Because the book is written from Liberty's point of view, everything about him is colored through her eyes. He's not as well-developed as I might have liked, especially when he makes his reappearance in the book (I'm not giving anything away, it's on the book jacket).The other love in Liberty's life is just as alpha, just as Texas, and in many ways the same as Hardy. The choice for Liberty isn't as hard as she thinks. Once he's introduced, I really started turning the pages. The story took off for me at that point.Like I said, I enjoyed it, though the book started slow for me. There's fluff and sex and hardship, and the few mysteries in the story aren't really hidden. The ending, though a little rushed was well done. I'll probably pick up another of Kleypas' books, given the chance.
An enjoyable read, but without what I'd consider the traditional romance book structure. Normally, a romance will start with the female protagonist meeting the guy she's eventually going to have the happy ending with, while it this case it starts with Liberty's childhood. In the end, it almost felt like two separate books - a coming of age novel and then a romance tacked on. That's not to say I didn't like the book - I loved Liberty's voice and character and her interactions with the others. I've read the lastest in this series - Smooth Talking Stranger - and that's what influenced me to read this book. On the whole, the other is much more polished and traditionally "romance-y".
Lisa Kleypas writes wonderful historical romances so when I heard about her newest release a chill went down my spine. Was another wonderful romance author moving away from romance into the realm of women's fiction or historical fiction or mystery? Visions of Candice Proctor (now writing as C. S. Harris) sprung to my mind. So I waited for the reviews to roll in but unfortunately they were a bit mixed and no one was answering the question foremost on my mind.... did it have a HEA? I had no choice, no choice people, but to find out for myself. So when I finally got my copy, the first thing I did was read the last chapter.The good news is .... yes, it has a HEA, so it didn't feel exactly like women's fiction... more like a like a hybrid cross with a contemporary romance. But it is written in first person like most women's fiction. The bad news is ... there is a love triangle and I'm not especially fond of them. But I still greatly enjoyed this book.Liberty Jones is an interesting and complex character and I admired her strength and determination to make a better life for herself and her baby sister. The story, as told by Liberty, begins when she is 11 years old and moves into a trailer park with her mother, Diana, in Welcome, Texas. She meets a boy named Hardy Cates and develops a serious crush on him. But Hardy has ambitions and burns to get out town as soon as he graduates. When he leaves town to make his fortune on an oil rig, Liberty is crushed and I started to have doubts about finishing the book. Hardy was a huge disappointment and I wanted to kick and scream at him. I had to remind myself that this was not a 'true' romance and I knew how it ended so I bravely continued on. :)When Diana becomes pregnant, she tosses her lazy boyfriend out on his ear. She has a baby girl that Liberty names Carrington and Liberty is completely devoted to her. In fact, she's more of a mother to Carrington than Diana. Life is not easy for them. Diana struggles to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs, but occasionally some extra money will 'luckily' land in their laps. But life becomes even harder when Diana is killed in a car accident and Liberty, who has just graduated from high school, is given custody of her baby sister.Liberty moves to Houston and gets a scholarship to a beauty school. After she graduates she gets a job at a ritzy beauty salon. There she meets a wealthy tycoon, Churchill Travis, who takes a fatherly interest in her and eventually offers her a job as his personal assistant. But she and her sister must move into his mansion. It's not what you think...there is no intimacy between Churchill and Liberty, they become very close friends, almost like father and daughter. But Churchill's son, Gage, doesn't believe that and he is angry and suspicious. But he eventually figures things out and they fall in love.Then lo and behold in walks Hardy back into Liberty's life and now she must make a decision. I won't spoil the ending but some secrets are revealed and Liberty ends up with the right person.I'm not sure I can recommend this book to everyone. Some reviews I read really didn't like the book or were disappointed in it. I can see their points but I really enjoyed it. If you don't like love triangles or first person POV (or kids), stay away. It's not a 'true' romance, but more of a life saga with a romantic ending. Of course, if you are a huge LK fan and read everything she writes then you'll probably enjoy this one. Her characterization is excellent and the story moves quickly. It took me a while to come up with a grade. But the characters and story are still fresh in my mind even though I finished it months ago. So must be a keeper for me. GRADE: A-
When I first heard Lisa Kleypas was going into contemporary books unlike many other readers, I wasn¿t dismayed. She is such a talented writer that I knew no matter what she wrote it would be good and since I love contemporaries too that was fine with me. I think there are a number of authors who can write good in different settings ¿ Anne Stuart for example. And then I heard she would be continuing to still write historicals and I was even happier that we would be getting both.Then I heard it was going to be in first person and I had a bit of a qualm as I don¿t normally read first person books. But since I love the Stephanie Plum books I wasn¿t really that concerned.Sugar Daddy was amazing. I loved Liberty. I loved her down to earthness. I loved the love she had for Carrington. I loved the way she didn¿t let life get her down. And another confession time here. When I was in Grade 3 I met a boy a couple of years older than me ¿ the son of good friends of my parents ¿ and I has a SEVERE crush on him for YEARS. Years I tell you. Right up until I moved to another city when I was 18 he was my main crush although others came and went. And if I were to see him today, I would still have strong feelings. So I could really relate to her feelings for Hardy and her mixed emotions when he showed back up in her life.Both Hardy and Gage were interesting men. I could see why she was torn for a while.And at the end ¿ I¿m glad Liberty made the choice that she did. I wasn¿t sure I would be ¿ but I was.My advice ¿ if you haven¿t read this book yet because it was out in hardcover, it will be coming out in paperback soon. Buy it! Do not miss this wonderful story by a wonderful author.
I love Lisa Kleypas! Her stories are my favorite reads.
This is an outstanding story, intelligently written, well researched, rich with all the right details, and entirely believable.