Sugar & Spice
Sugar & Spice by Christine d’Abo is the second book in her Sugar series. It’s about an internet dating site that pairs sugar daddies (or mommas in this case) with younger partners for companionship and more. I read the previous book in the series, Sugar Sweet, and quite enjoyed it so I had high expectations for this one and I’m happy to say it delivers an equally enjoyable and entertaining older woman/younger man romance.
Kayla Arnold is a millionaire running her own company, Fashion Finds. She’s divorced from a man who took advantage of her (and slept around) and hasn’t been interested in dating since. But at a friend’s urging she signs up on a sugar daddy website where wealthy people of all genders can look for younger companions. In looking through the profiles, her eye is caught by a handsome and intelligent man, and she takes the first step to see if he’d be interested in attending some social events with her as her date. She’s tired of men only dating her for her money and at least with someone contracted to go out with her, she’d know exactly what she’d be getting out of the bargain.
Devin has just finished his PhD in mathematics and is at a loss as to what to do next. After he and his roommate have had a few too many drinks, he ends up with a profile on a sugar daddy site – and with a message from Kayla. Attracted to her picture and her honest approach, he figures they should meet in person and see if this is something that could really work. He could use the money, and going out with a beautiful woman is no hardship. When they do meet up, they find themselves attracted to each other and quite happy to make a short term contract. Once they spend time together, things get more complicated as they start to have feelings for each other, too (and the sex is addictive!). Can they turn a simple agreement into something more?
Kayla comes across as an empathetic figure, a smart and overworked businesswoman who doesn’t leave herself much time for personal interactions, with the exception of some social evenings with her best friend Simone. She is understandably leery about men in general after her disastrous marriage. She’d connected with her now ex-husband at a hometown gathering after she’d made her money and she’d been devastated by his betrayal. She’s still struggling with how things ended. She’d been one of the poorer kids at her high school and now that she has money she’s one of their biggest donors of scholarships and other funds to improve the lot of the students there. As a result of her donations the school wants to rename their library after her with a special dedication service. It’s not something she can avoid, and having Devin at her side will make the stressful event easier for her. It turns out to be an even bigger deal when her ex-husband is there too, as he’s now the mayor of her hometown. Seeing him again forces her to think about what she really wants for her future.
Devin has his own issues to deal with, though they don’t involve an ex. His father passed away when he was younger and Devin has always felt that he would never be able to live up to his dad’s reputation as a excellent teacher. This has left him with the quandary of what to do with his education, especially when it’s clear to those around him that he would also do well as an educator. His roommate’s mother has cancer and he’s helping support them, plus he volunteers at a soup kitchen in his spare time. He’s an all-around nice guy, friendly and caring and he quickly sees through Kayla’s businesslike exterior to the sensitive woman underneath. He can see that she’s been hurt by a previous partner and is determined to show her that he is different.
As Devin and Kayla connect they move their relationship onto an intimate footing in some steamy love scenes. Kayla is less than ten years older than Devin so the age difference is not really a factor but Devin will have to work hard to get Kayla to consider him seriously as a partner. In finding their way to a happy ending they force each other to confront their fears and move past them to reach a satisfying conclusion. Sugar & Spice is an enjoyable and sexy contemporary romance that nicely flips the millionaire hero trope around with a savvy rich businesswoman who finds love with an unexpected hero.