Just a few quick thoughts on the series as a whole…
This past summer’s visit to Fools Gold takes us through the lives and loves of the bodyguards who have moved to town to set up their training academy.
As I was saying to someone the other day, there is something so lovely and comforting about a place like Fools Gold. The world that Susan Mallery has created for this series brings forth memories of a place you can remember visiting as a kid – and loving it. For me, a visit to Fools Gold is like taking a summer vacation and getting to catch up with all the people you’ve missed spending time with.
With many long-running series, there is always the concern that it will get to a point for you where the series feels as if it has jumped the shark. I’m super happy to say that this series is still managing to be fresh and interesting with each installment, while not ignoring those that have made it such a lovely world to revisit.
♥♥♥ And now for the reviews ♥♥♥
Just One Kiss
Falling for Justice Garrett was a high point in Patience McGraw’s otherwise awkward adolescence. Even after he disappeared, Patience never forgot the boy who captured her heart. Now, he’s back in Fool’s Gold, California, and her passion for him is as strong as ever. But how can she trust that he won’t abandon her again-and her daughter, too?
When bodyguard Justice Garrett was a young man, witness protection brought him to this idyllic town and he never forgot its warmth, or the sweet beauty of his childhood friend. He’s returned to open a defense academy, and the Patience he once knew is all grown up. He can’t resist her smile, or her curves. But Justice’s past doesn’t make him husband, or father, material.
Patience and Justice think they’ll succumb to just one kiss… Then one more… Okay, just one night together. But they might learn that falling in love is beyond anyone’s control.
Patience’s whole life has been lived in Fool’s Gold. She was raised there and it’s never really crossed her mind to go anywhere else. Following a disastrous marriage, she’s been raising her daughter alone – working as a hairdresser and dreaming of opening her own coffee shop.
Justice’s life has not always been easy. Spending his early life in and out of witness protection, outrunning a danger he should never had to deal with, Justice had very little in the way of family and support until he joined the military.
Except for during his time in Fools Gold as a teenager. Justice found a rare light and friendship in the form of Patience. Just as they were growing ever closer, and before either could admit their feelings, Justice’s past caught up with him and he was forced to run.
Now he’s back, setting up a bodyguard business with ex-military friends, and when the two childhood friends see each other again, the old feelings come rushing back and friends very quickly become lovers. But will self-doubt and past pains derail their budding romance?
Now this could have quite easily been one of those “neatly tied up in a bow nice and early” romances – reunion, sexytimes, love, marriage, BAM! We’re done – but thankfully, Susan Mallery has resisted the urge to do that. Both Patience and Justice still feel the pull towards each other, and the chemistry that they share now as adults is powerful. Both have something in the past that hinders their move towards happiness – Patience having been abandoned by her ex-husband and Justice’s fear that he will turn out like his horrific father – and neither is ready to get hurt again. Susan Mallery has woven these issues into the story in a way that makes sense and adds to the romance and the drama.
This is a wonderfully sweet and lovely romance, and an excellent start to the bodyguard trilogy of the Fool’s Gold series.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 28 May 2013
Two of A Kind
Felicia Swift never dreamed she’d hear a deep, sexy voice from her past in tiny Fool’s Gold, California. The last time Gideon Boylan whispered in her ear was half a world away…on the morning after the hottest night of her life. Her freaky smarts have limited her close friendships, and romance, but she came to Fool’s Gold looking for ordinary. Gorgeous, brooding Gideon is anything but that.
Black Ops taught Gideon that love could be deadly. Now he pretends to fit in while keeping everyone at arm’s length. Felicia wants more than he can give-a home, family, love-but she has a lot to learn about men…and Gideon needs to be the man to teach her.
As these two misfits discover that passion isn’t the only thing they have in common, they just might figure out that two of a kind should never be split apart.
As I said when I first read this book a few months ago, Felicia (alongside Charlie from All Summer Long) has got to be one of my favourite Fools Gold heroines. I think what I loved about her is that what makes her different – she’s scary intelligent and socially inexperienced, yet to the friends she has made, she is intensely loyal. A character such as Felicia could have come across as irreversibly awkward and naive, but in the hands of Susan Mallery, we’ve been able to meet a very strong and capable woman with a heart.
Gideon has been through some unimaginable things, in his time as a soldier and as a POW, and as a result, sees himself as broken and not capable of deep feelings and love. You hurt a little for him, because you can see there is a good man underneath all that dark exterior.
They have such a wonderful connection. The banter between them is witty and funny, and their physical chemistry is off-the-charts. Each draws from the other something special, something they’ve never been able to show before.
I wasn’t super keen on the introduction of Carter (the secret son) – I just think this didn’t quite ring as true for me as it could have. His acceptance of the situation he is in and need to match-make was a little too immediate. However to be honest, this was about the only dim point in the story for me.
Two of a Kind is both heartwarming and heartwrenching, both hot and sweet. Felicia and Gideon are such wonderful characters, and I was totally invested in their romance.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 25 June 2013
Three Little Words
Isabel Beebe thinks she’s cursed in the romance department. Her teenage crush, Ford Hendrix, ignored all her letters. Her husband left her for another…man. So Isabel has come home to dust off her passion for fashion and run the family bridal shop until her parents are ready to sell it. Then she’ll pursue her real dreams. At least, that’s the plan, until sexy, charming Ford returns and leaves her feeling fourteen all over again…..
Seeing Isabel all grown-up hits bodyguard trainer Ford like a sucker punch. Back when heartbreak made him join the military, her sweet letters kept him sane. Now he can’t take his eyes-or his lips-off her. The man who gave up on love has a reason to stay in Fool’s Gold forever-if three little words can convince Isabel to do the same.
So Ford is finally back. The other Hendrix son, only ever alluded to in the first nine books, has retired from the Navy and with Justice, Angel and Consuelo, is setting up the bodyguard/security school. Long ago jilted by his ex-fiancée, Ford has remained resolutely single. But his mother has other ideas! No sooner is he back in town than she starts advertising for a wife for him. How will he get himself out of this one? I’m sure he wasn’t expecting his ex-fiancée’s younger sister to be his saving grace.
Isabel is back in Fool’s Gold too, ready to sell her parents’ bridal business and more than ready to head back to New York and her life in fashion. After her husband left her for another man, Isabel has also remained on her own. Then her sister’s ex, the love of her own teenage life, Ford re-enters her life. Then he asks her to help him, to be his “girlfriend” so that his mother will leave him alone. This is the guy she wrote to religiously and in prodigious detail throughout her young years, the guy who fuelled endless adolescent dreams. They may be friends, but can she do this without putting her heart on the line again?
Ford and Isabel are fantastic together. Watching them navigate the whole “fake girlfriend” scenario while realising both want more than just pretend was just lovely. The way they interact and banter is a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing them fall in love. They were pretty hot together in the sexytimes as well.
One lovely thing about the Fool’s Gold series are the supporting characters and the town itself, and another are the secondary romances that flow through the stories. In this, it is the love story of Ford’s older brother, Kent and Consuelo. Total opposites, their romance is just gorgeous and very sweet.
Something that was a little bit over-the-top was Denise and her all-consuming drive to marry off the remaining children. Love, your kids know you love them and that you only have their best interests at heart – just ease up on the crazy a bit.
I am really looking forward to the next instalment in the Fool’s Gold series. There are lots of lovely hints throughout this book to whet your appetite.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 30 July 2013
Note: I was provided with advanced reader copies of books two and three by Harlequin via NetGalley in return for an honest review.