From the book
Porter Armstrong stepped off the metal ladder onto the platform of the newly restored, white water tower soaring over the resurrected town of Sweetness, Georgia. "Town" was a generous description of the expanse of stark land beneath him--fields of bare red clay stretched as far as the eye could see, hemmed by stands of stunted hardwood trees that still bore the ravages of the tornado that had obliterated the small mountain town a decade ago.
Porter had happily united with his older brothers, Marcus and Kendall, in their efforts to rebuild Sweetness. With an army of strong men, they'd made great strides in clearing debris and establishing the basis for the recycling industry they hoped would provide an economic foundation for the fledgling town. One too-tall, too-perfect pine tree in the distance was actually a camouflaged cell tower erected by a communications company turned partner, eager to get in on the ground floor of the green experiment.
The project of which the brothers were most proud-- the newly paved road containing recycled asphalt--was a neat black ribbon leading from the horizon into what had been established as the town center. Granted, downtown Sweetness was more of a vision than a reality since it currently consisted of a dining hall and the boarding-house that had been built in preparation for impending visitors. But the brothers were optimistic.
Or, according to some, crazy.
Colonel Molly Maclntyre at the diner was one such person. She ruled the men and their dining hall with an iron fist, and did not cotton to the idea of, in her words, "a bunch of flibbertigibbet females" taking over the town.
Porter shrugged out of his work shirt and folded it over the railing to enjoy a rare cool June breeze. The summer heat had been brutal already, with the temperature and humidity sure to get worse before getting better. He pulled a bandanna from his jeans pocket and wiped the sweat dripping down his neck as he scanned the horizon, hoping for a glimpse of movement--anything that might indicate a response from the ad Kendall had placed in the newspaper. The ad had run in a northern town hit particularly hard by the economic downturn, and had stated their need for "one hundred women looking for a fresh start." Kendall had reasoned women were more likely to come and stay if accompanied by friends and if they relocated from a good distance. Women in nearby Atlanta, his brother had insisted, would be too likely to hightail it back home when the going got rough.
Whatever. It wasn't as if Northern women were any different from Southern ones.
The ad had hit the newspaper in Broadway, Michigan, a week ago, and Porter had climbed the water tower several times a day in the hopes of spotting a car or moving van headed their way.
Their eldest brother, Marcus, who had grudgingly agreed to the plan to import women, belly laughed every time Porter returned to their office and gave a thumbs-down. Porter dreaded going back to face his gloating big brother again. Marcus was convinced no eligible woman in her right mind would come to their remote mountain town despite the lure of lots of strapping, single Southern men.
For his part, women who weren't in their right mind were just the kind of women Porter was hoping would answer their ad. Reckless, ripe and ready for the picking. He hadn't bedded a woman in...
He cursed under his breath as he unclipped a pair of binoculars from his belt. If he couldn't remember when he'd last had a woman's legs wrapped around him, it had been way too long.
Porter adjusted the lenses to bring the distant landscape into focus, zeroing in on the brand-spanking-new road. Due to cost and labor, the...