Baby, Don’t Go by Stephanie Bond

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They’ve got the means, they’ve got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a Northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to arrive.…

Eldest brother Marcus Armstrong considers the estrogen-influx an irritating distraction. He’s running a town, not a dating service!

Reporter Alicia Randall thinks the Armstrong brothers are running a scam and she intends to prove it—even if it means seducing oh-so-sexy Marcus in the process. Sizzling sex and a hot story? Win-win!

At least it is, until she falls for the guy. Will love trump betrayal when the truth comes out?

This is the third and final book in the Southern Roads trilogy by Stephanie Bond about three brothers who are rebuilding their hometown, which was completely decimated ten years earlier by a tornado.  The first two books focused on brothers Porter and Kendall and explained the concept of the story.  Basically, there are hundreds of men rebuilding this isolated town and they start to get a little antsy because there are no women there.  So, in order to appease the workers and make sure the town is a success, the Armstrong brothers take out an ad in a newspaper in a northern town asking women to relocate to Sweetness.  Several women do and begin to take a strong interest in seeing this town succeed.  There are parameters that the town functions under.  The women and men are separated; women live in a boarding house while the men sleep in barracks.  There are no overnight guests.  It’s actually pretty quaint and, sure, maybe a little old-fashioned, but it works.

Alicia Randall, a journalist working for a feminist magazine, decides that the Armstrong brothers (and Marcus, in particular) are misogynistic matchmakers and it’s up to her to expose them.  Forget the fact that she knows little or nothing of the town or the people in it, she’s going down to Sweetness to out their little harem to the world.  So she goes undercover and ingratiates herself in the town, finding out all she can about the desperate and submissive women who would flock to such a place and the kind of men who would expect their women to be compliant and passive (because, after all, this is the south, where men are animals and women are weak).

Marcus, for his part, is very busy trying to get the town ready for the federal inspection that will determine if their environmentally-friendly town will remain in the hands of the men who’ve built it or revert to federal control.  There is six months left before the decision will be made and there is still a lot of work to be done.  The last thing he needs or wants is this attraction he feels toward the new woman in town, who he cannot get out of his head.

While reading the first two books, I really came to like Marcus, the ornery older brother with no use for women (other than his mother) in his life.  I don’t know why I like those types of men (I did marry one), but they’re fun.  I really love southern men, they tend to be genuine and capable.

Alicia, on the other hand, was initially pretty annoying.  As an “undercover feminist,” her first reaction to learning about Sweetness and the importing of women was to immediately suspect something shady going on (which is understandable, I guess).  She immediately sets her sights on Marcus (after seeing his picture on the website) and goes after him will all her might.  It took a while for me to warm to her because, despite all evidence to the contrary, she would not give Marcus and the town the benefit of the doubt.  I think that’s called Biased Journalism.  Hmmm.

Anyway, I did like the book and I did eventually come to like Alicia, but she made it hard.  I liked the way the series ended.

Pecans: 3/5

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