A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery (Fool’s Gold #10)

The unrelenting cheer in Fool’s Gold, California, is bringing out the humbug in dancer Evie Stryker. She learned early on that Christmas miracles don’t happen, at least not for her. And this year seems like no exception. An injury has forced her to return to the family fold, no matter that they’re estranged. She won’t add to the awkward scenario by being seduced by the bad-boy charms of her brother’s best friend, the last man she should ever want to date. Even when she’s recruited to stage the Fool’s Gold winter festival, she vows to do as promised, then move forward with her life anywhere but here.  Jaded lawyer Dante Jefferson is getting used to the backwater town he now reluctantly calls home, but the pounding of little dancers’ feet above his temporary office is more than any man should have to take! When he confronts their gorgeous teacher, he’s unprepared for the attraction that sears him down to the soul. Evie is his best friend’s sister—off-limits unless he’s willing to risk his heart. Dante has always believed that love is the most dangerous force in the universe, but that was before he had to reckon with the magic of a certain small town, where miracles do seem to happen.

The story of Evie, the unwanted product of a one-night-stand by a grieving widow May Stryker, was not supposed to be sweet and light-hearted, but that’s just what it was.  Evie has always felt unloved and unwanted, but when she is brought by her brothers to Fool’s Gold to recover from an injury, and back into the family fold, she realizes that she either has to continue to feel the simmering contempt for her family, or she can grow up and put it behind her.  Because of  lingering feelings of neglect, Evie is not sure exactly if she can put it behind her, but she takes a job in Fool’s Gold in order to get back on her feet, so to speak.  And then she begins taking on other assignments and projects and becomes engaged with the town and the people there.  Soon she finds she might just want to stay.

The book takes place during the Christmas season (duh) and because of her past, Evie is not a fan.  She finds a kindred spirit in her brother Rafe’s best friend and lawyer, Dante.  They’re both outsiders and a little wary of such a friendly town, so they band together because they have a bit of a shared background being that they both kind of raised themselves.  And of course, there’s this wicked sexual chemistry.

Evie’s story was intriguing.  Her mother seemed to be the most loving mother, at least what we came to know of her through her sons, but May, embarrassed by her one-night-stand that produced Evie, and has always held her daughter a bit away from herself.  It really was a very sad 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 wants her forgiveness and it’s nice to see her try to make it up to Evie. 

The love story was nice and with it’s typical romantic obstacles (he can’t let himself fall in love or THE WORLD WILL END), but the best part was Evie’s interactions with the town.  Sometimes, in previous stories, Fool’s Gold seems to be a little too good to be true (well, it is fictional & all), and it became a little irritating for it’s perfection.  But this time, I found I liked all the little quirks and people.  I really liked seeing more of Charlie, from All Summer Long.  Overall, it was a nice, sweet romance and an entertaining book. 

Pecans:  3.5/5

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