Reading the latest Fool’s Gold tale is like coming home after being away at school for a few months. It’s comfy, cozy, you know all your neighbors & that you can get a strong cup of joe down the street at the local Starbucks. The ninth installment of Susan Mallery’s hit series is no different.
Clay Stryker, former underwear model and butt double, is looking to settle into Fool’s Gold now that his mom and two brothers have done the same. He’s traveled, modeled, got his degree, married his one true love, and is ready to get involved in a community as well as start a new business with his brothers (“Haycations” where a family comes & works on a farm to get away from modern life…can’t say I’d do it!) Between meetings with the City Council to gain support for his project, he starts the journey to become a volunteer firefighter in the community.
Enter Charlie Dixon. Charlie is one of Fool’s Gold’s female firefighters & one of the strongest (physically and emotionally) characters I’ve read in a while. I loved her spirit of growth, of wanting to be better for her future, for the opportunity at a real family. Charlie has the opposite problem Clay does. She grew up with a ballerina star for a mother, and she was never pretty enough, girly enough, or good enough. Then, to make her scars worse, when she was in college she was raped at a party and her mother blamed her. It made me irate. It made me wish I could scream and bitch slap that woman for even thinking that not being on your daughter’s side against anyone else was even an option. But I digress.
In order to get over her fears of intimacy, Charlie asks Clay for his help, which of course being a man, he agrees. Neither expect anything but friendship from the arrangement (of course!) but both come to trust each other in a way that he hasn’t had since his wife passed away, and she never experienced with anyone of the male persuasion. Watching them fall for each other was truly enjoyable and you end up wanting nothing but good things for them.
While I couldn’t feel too bad for Clay & his greek godness, it was an interesting change of perspective – being too pretty to be taken seriously as a professional. It’s hard to get past a nice ass! But I loved watching him prove himself to Fool’s Gold as a valuable member of society and how Charlie stood up for him constantly, even when she didn’t understand what that meant.
Mallery has proven once again that she deserves her spot on NYT Bestsellers list & I can’t wait to see who will be falling in love in Fool’s Gold next!
*ARC Provided by HQN via NetGalley
All Summer Longby Susan MalleryRelease Date: July 31, 2012Publisher: HQN