Discovering a pair of hot as sin sexy red panties in her husband’s briefcase is enough to rock Carlene’s world and that of the rest of small town, Cadillac, Texas. An old feud, new chances, importance of friendship, family and a contest for the ages heat up the end of summer for three cousins and their mamas. I keep saying just how Carolyn Brown’s stories take me to a good place. I am nostalgic for places and people that don’t really exist. It’s like slipping into a comfy pair of worn jeans and my favorite shirt, grabbing a tall glass of iced lemonade, and walking barefoot across the grass on a firefly studded summer night listening to the kids play and my neighbors chat over the fences in the gloaming hour. And yes, I live in a small old town where generations of families gossip, snipe, support, and live together (not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse or both, haha) so there is a ring of authenticity to her heartwarming and humorous tales that I can’t resist.
A Heap of Texas Trouble is book two in the Cadillac, TX series that is more women’s fiction than contemporary romance though it straddles that fence. It can be read standalone just like any of the books, but there is also a flow of an ongoing story thread from the earlier story. I also want to point out that there was a title change just in case someone might not realize this one and the first book had other titles and covers. The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off was renamed A Heap of Texas Trouble.
Carlene learns her husband has cheated on her with a sexy young thing from his business and has been lying for months about all his business trips and late appointments. Actually, he’s been lying for years and she just didn’t want to see it. Lenny’s mama, Kitty, never liked big boned and curvy down to earth Carlene for her son and neither of them approved of Carlene’s business, Bless My Bloomers, hand-crafted lingerie for all size women that she shares with her two cousins. Alma Grace is big into her prayers and is now praying that Carlene will get back with her husband while her other cousin, Patrice, tells her she needs to move on. And Josie the old gal who helps her sew her creations offers the wry wisdom of age.
The town is consumed with gossip of what will happen next. Carlene wonders that as well. However, when Lenny gets nasty with his demands and petty meanness and Kitty goes after her too, Carlene decides to hit her cheating husband where it hurts- the chili cook-off. Lenny and his team always win and there has never been a women’s team in the competition. Well there is now. Carlene, her cousins, and their mamas are going to take Lenny down.
But Carlene isn’t the only one with troubles. Alma Grace is pushed out of her work as the Easter concert coordinator by Kitty’s friends saying she’s tainted by association with her nearly divorced cousin and her sinful panty shop, her mama is riled by the rumors that Kitty flirted with her husband, she and Patrice fight over what is best for Carlene, and her life seems to be all topsy turvy since Carlene found those panties. Is that a bad thing? Now she has met Rick, Patrice and Yancy are better than ever, and Carlene has sexy Jack now speaking up that he always was into her, but he was too late by the time he got back from the Army and he isn’t missing out on a second chance. It’s one spicy hot pot of chili that might decide it all.
Alright, this was a fun and feisty story of three girl cousins living in a lively small town that makes gossip and fussing an Olympic sport. These Texas gals kick up their heels and the fun is on. I loved all the colorful characters, the sassy dialogue and the antics. Underlying it all is the importance of family, friendship, and community when all is said and done.
I liked seeing the secondary plot line of love in its many facets for Carlene, Alma Grace, and Patrice as they learn to love worthy men and not settle for less, as they revel in the love of their parents for each other and for their children, and the love of friends, and love for their community.
The cook-off, the church Easter program, and the lingerie shop all made a splendid setting for the story. Bringing back the old feuders, Agnes and Violet from the first story and letting the gals from Claudy’s restaurant and their ongoing stories get cameos was great, too. I’ve already read the third book in the series and it keeps the fun going along.
In summary, these are the best escape reads and I love diving in for the sassy humor, the small town quirky characters, and the antics of everyone including the main characters and their attempts to live, love, and be happy.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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