All Summer Long by Susan Mallery
- ISBN-13: 9780373776948
- Publisher: Harlequin
- Publication date: 7/31/2012
- Format: Mass Market Paperback
- Pages: 384
- Source: Netgalley
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?
All Summer Long is by far my favorite Fool’s Gold book so far. I have always felt a connection with Charlie and her strong atypical job as a firefighter. There was always something that made me want to know more about what made her the way she was and All Summer Long delivered that and so much more. The main story line is that of Charlie and Clay. Clay is Rafe and Shane’s younger brother. Now that both of these men have found the love’s of their lives it is Clay’s turn. The problem is that Clay thinks that he has already had the love of his life who died year earlier. Charlie feels that she is damaged good since she was raped as a teen and no one believed her. She has not been able to be with a man since then but she really wants to have kids and in order to do that she must heal. Charlie knows she doesn’t have to have a man to have a baby but she does not want to pass her issues on to her children. Charlie proposes a deal to Clay, he will teach her that it is okay to have sex and that’s it no strings attached just fun. Well, we all know how deals like this go. It was a blast watching these two fall in love even though neither realize it is happening until Clay makes a huge mistake, will it end them?
As always, there are many other plot lines running. While Charlie is in the middle of all of this with Clay her mother comes to town. A woman that treated her very poorly, especially with the rape. She wants back in Charlie’s life and has no idea what the issue is. May, the boy’s mother, is kind enough to try and explain all of the shortcoming’s Dominique has as a mother in order to try to fix the relationship. This was a very nice side plot and lead to even more since later in the story Dominique realized that May is not the perfect mother she though May was, when while watching a football game May’s daughter, who she has not spoken to in years, is injured. This give Dominique new hope that she can overcome the past and tries to help May being to fix hers.
Clay is also faced with some issues with his new business idea for Fool’s Gold, Haycations. It is an amazing idea that bring people into Fool’s Gold for a working vacation and helps to support all of the business in town. The problems start when bones are found in the field he was going to plan in which brings the archaeological community back to town and puts a damper on his plans. Next, is picking a farm manager he just does not know what to do follow his guy or logic. And then there is a problem with the plants he plants. It just seems that nothing is coming together and maybe he should just give it up.
There was just a lot about All Summer Long that I enjoyed and I really did not want to put the book down. It was a bit steamier that the last few and that was just fine with me. The sparks between Clay and Charlie are amazing. As always, I highly recommend this series for a feel good read with real life issues along the way.