Author: Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold, #9
Published: July 2012, Harlequin HQN
Format: e-book, 384 pages
Source: Personal copy
Former underwear model turned entrepreneur Clay Stryker has loved, tragically lost and vowed that he'll never risk his heart again. After making his fortune, the youngest of the rugged Stryker brothers returns to Fool's Gold, California, to put down roots on a ranch of his own. But he's frustrated to discover that even in his hometown, people see him only for his world-famous...assets.
Firefighter Chantal (Charlie) Dixon grew up an ugly duckling beside her delicately beautiful mother, a feeling reinforced long ago by a man who left soul-deep scars. Now she has good friends, a solid job and the itch to start a family—yet she can't move toward the future while she's haunted by painful memories.
Clay finds an unexpected ally, and unexpected temptation, in tomboyish Charlie, the only person who sees beyond his dazzling good looks to the real man beneath. But when Charlie comes to him with an indecent proposal, will they be able to overcome their pasts and find a love that lasts beyond one incredible summer?
My thoughts: I was definitely right when I said I was going to love this latest trilogy in the Fool's Gold series involving the Stryker brothers and this most recent one, I think, is going down as my favorite. Charlie and Clay just stole my heart as their story was told and we really got to know them.
What I loved about this love story is that while at first glance Charlie and Clay appear to be completely different, they really are very much alike. Both have trouble being taken seriously. No on believed that anything horrible could happen to tough-girl Charlie and everyone assumes that underwear model Clay is just too pretty to be smart or even reliable. But, as they get to know each other, they come to appreciate each other for who they really are. Clay appreciates Charlie for being strong and honest. She listens when he discusses his plans for the future rather than laughing at him. And Charlie appreciates that Clay recognizes her beauty as she is, without all the fuss and bells and whistles that other females go through. While neither one was looking to fall in love, it certainly was fun watching as they did.
There are a few new characters introduced in this book and some familiar ones continue to pop up. As not all the characters we've met so far have had their stories told, it will be interesting to see who gets paired up with who in the upcoming books.
Books in this series:
1. Chasing Perfect 8. Summer Nights
2. Almost Perfect 9. All Summer Long
2.5 Sister of the Bride 9.5 A Fool's Gold Christmas
3. Finding Perfect 9.75 Halfway There
4. Only Mine 10. Just One Kiss
5. Only Yours 11. Two of a Kind
6. Only His 12. Three Little Words
6.1 Only Us 12.5 Christmas on 4th Street
6.2 Almost Summer
7. Summer Days