All Summer Long by Susan Mallery (Fool’s Gold #9)

Can a summer fling turn into love that lasts a lifetime? 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?

Favorite Quote:  His world was ruled by those who were flawless.  She was broken. Maybe not where anyone could see and she’d sure learned how to fake normal.  But she knew the truth.

and

She just stood there, on the sidewalk, her cheek all tingly and her insides doing some kind of fertility dance.  Even someone with her lack of experience got the message.  She was attracted to Clay.  Sexually attracted.  Based on how quickly she was thawing, after a few more meetings she would be reduced to a screaming, sobbing groupie.

Clay Stryker returns to Fool’s Gold with a goal in mind, to convince his family to go into business with him.  He’s been all over the place, as a model and movie butt-double, but his wife died a few years ago and he’s tired of the lifestyle.  Clay’s problem is not that he would not be able to make his endeavors work, it’s that everyone sees him as the butt model, not the smart, successful man that he’s become (thanks in part to his wife’s insistance that he go to college).

Charlie has finally reached a point where she’s decided that she wants a child. Her problem is that after one very disasterous experience, she’s afraid of men.  She doesn’t date and has no interest in it at all.  But she wants a child and she wants her child to have a father because her father was so important to her.  So to get over her fear, she propositions Clay to help her to ease into the intricacies of intimacy.

She could not have picked a better person. Clay’s wife was the love of his life and he doesn’t want to replace her.  So when Charlie and he become friends and she ultimately asks him to help her, he’s a little wary.  But Charlie’s not like other women.  Clay’s amazing good looks have caused many a sane woman to drop all pretence of civility and adopt a more masculine style way to show their appreciation, but Charlie doesn’t care what he looks like, she cares that he’s a nice guy. 

My thoughts:

I LOVE CLAY!  He is the best Stryker brother, BY FAR!  He’s just so genuine and sweet and decent.  Despite the random women on the street pawing at him or making innuendos towards or about him, or pinching his butt (I can’t remember if that actually happened in the book, but it’s not a long shot to think that it could), he’d just turned a blind eye.  Sure, it annoyed him, but he was so used to it and he couldn’t be an ass about it (even though I would have totally gave them the evil eye).  He eased Charlie into their relationship was just so subtley and a careful touch. 

Charlie is very much the tomboy. She’s not a woman given to romanticizing anything.  She’s straight-forward and blunt.  Charlie’s a firefighter and she pulls no punches.  She’s no delicate flower, but I loved that Clay could make her blush.  Her longing for a child was heartbreaking when you realize that she has a real intimacy issue.  I really liked her.  She never played the victim and she never compromised her integrity.  In fact, if you would accuse her of doing so, she would knock you out.  Her reactions to Clay were funny and endearing.  At the end of the day, I liked everything about her and wanted to take her home and make her tea. 

The love story was beautiful and a little unpredictable, but very sweet as it was about two friends, as different as night and day, healing with the other’s help.  Their gradual feelings for each other was realistic and the intensity of the attraction was obvious. 

The conflict at the end was a little difficult to take because I wanted and expected better from my Clay, but I guess there had to be some chink in his armor. And now, looking back, it seems a little out of character.  I wanted to rail against Clay for what he did, I wanted to cry for the pain he put Charlie through because she didn’t deserve it.  I wanted to slap him.  That would feel good.  But he’s still my favorite Fool’s Gold Hero and this is my favorite Fool’s Gold book.  We need more like this, please.

Pecans:  4.75/5

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10 thoughts on “All Summer Long by Susan Mallery (Fool’s Gold #9)

  1. Elizabeth July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm Reply

    I read the first Fool’s Gold book and was pretty unimpressed 😦 I didn’t like Charity or Josh and it made it hard to care about their story at all! Do they get better or are they all pretty similar?

    • Dixie July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm Reply

      the second one was good, i remember having to buy number three immediately after finishing it. i like the one with the triplets, but this last set was my favorite.

  2. Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm) July 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm Reply

    I just finished this one last night and it totally got rid of the bad feelings I had about Summer Nights. Clay was absolutely my favorite of the brothers, and I loved how tough yet vulnerable Charlie was. This was my favorite of the whole FG series, though I’m interested to see how she resolves Evie’s story…listening to her family talk about her, my heart was breaking for the poor girl.

    • Gone Pecan July 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm Reply

      Exactly, about Clay vs Shane. I got Evie’s story on netgally and I cannot wait to get to it.

  3. Stephanie G August 5, 2012 at 7:27 am Reply

    Great review! I really enjoyed All Summer Long. If I had to pick, it was my favorite of this year’s Fool’s Gold books. I would definately recommend it!

  4. Mel August 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm Reply

    I love Fool’s Gold! I love how All Summer Long starts out! Summer Nights is a great book & this is a great book, too!! Charlie is strong. When your only option is to be strong, then you have to be strong. I know what it is like to be strong. My daughter is disabled & has been since she was 2. I have been disabled since I was hurt at work in 2007. I am glad Susan Mallery wrote about a strong woman we can look up to.

  5. […] situation and I was very interested in it through the other books, Summer Days, Summer Nights, and All Summer Long (Rafe, Shane & Clay’s stories).  May knows she’s been a bad mother to Evie and […]

  6. […] All Summer Long by Susan Mallery […]

  7. […] probably my favorite Fool’s Gold hero, followed closely by Simon (Only Yours #5) and Clay (All Summer Long #9).  He’s funny and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I usually go for the alpha […]

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