by Susan Mallery
Advanced Reading Copy
Published: October 29, 2013, Harlequin HQN (first published January 1st, 2012)
My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐️
Evie Stryker did not particularly look forward to Christmas. Having been hauled to Fool's Gold by her brothers and mother after a life changing injury, the dancer has no warm and cozy family memories of the season. Or any season for that matter. Born as youngest and a less than welcome surprise to a widowed mother with three young sons, Evie grew up mostly under her own steam and with a lot of resentment. Difficult to overcome, when your family was determined to bridge the chasm that had grown over the years. But here she is, in Fool's Gold, teaching kids to dance instead of dancing, and wondering how to make it through those dreaded holidays.
Having been asked to keep an eye out for his best friend's sister who also happened to be his neighbour, Dante Jefferson was pleased to have an excuse to stick close to the delectable Evie. Already having made her acquaintance since his law offices are below her dance studio, he is also painfully aware that he will have to keep his normally active libido in careful check around her. Not one for relationships or emotional entanglements, he is well aware that his reputation would be enough to have Evie's brothers hunt him down if he so much as looked at her crooked. Not that he never sneaked a peek, given the chance....
Developing a friendly cameradery based on a mutual antipathy for the Christmas season, Evie and Dante find themselves spending a lot of time together. And Fool's Gold wouldn't be Fool's Gold, if they weren't roped into a myriad of volunteer charitable holiday events leading up to the big day. Inevitably some of the reigning Christmas spirit is able to seep into their bloodstream, and slowly that big day is not so much looming, as it is promising in their future.
Of course, despite all the rampant goodwill, temptation has won out over common sense, and what started as a mutual attraction has burst into a happily blazing fire. Dante and Evie are very clear however that their 'fling' is just that......a fun fling. Except, once the spirit takes you, there really is no stopping it and before long, what was supposed to remain surface simple, has become deeply complicated. Or has it??
Another delightful Fool's Gold novel by master story-teller Susan Mallery!
As with all her novels, it is possible to read each one as a standalone, however, having read at least some of her other books in the series only enhances the overall atmosphere of the story.
Ms. Mallery paints exactly the type of Christmas preparations one would imagine for a quirky small town where everyone seems to be connected through family, work or friends somehow. Thick with holiday anticipation, both anticipatory and anxious, the sometimes conflicting experiences of the cast of characters comes across loud and clear as backdrop for this fun-filled love story.
The main characters of Evie and Dante are so much fun to get to know. Both come with nicks and dents, but have been strong enough to develop into wonderful, good and capable people who each just need a little nudge to completely let go of the past and their fears, and free-fall their way into happiness.
Not just a love story in the boy-meets-girl sense, but also a love story a lifetime in the making, between a girl that got lost in the cracks and her family attempting to reach her.
✨A warm, funny and compelling story of love discovered.✨
** ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Harlequin HQN in return for an honest review.**