When We Met [NOOK Book]

Overview


New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery invites you back to Fool's Gold, where a newcomer to town might finally meet the man she never knew she needed?

Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can't be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool's Gold, California, he's cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he's not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.

...

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When We Met

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Overview


New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery invites you back to Fool's Gold, where a newcomer to town might finally meet the man she never knew she needed…

Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can't be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool's Gold, California, he's cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he's not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.

Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe-to-toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses.

Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/31/2014
Mallery’s heartwarming 13th contemporary set in the fictional town of Fool’s Gold, Calif. (after Three Little Words), is the first of a planned three-book arc built around newcomers to the town. On the outside, clotheshorse Taryn Crawford seems to have it all together: she’s a partner in a successful sports-focused public relations firm that has recently moved to Fool’s Gold, and she seems to have confidence to spare. But Taryn’s designer dresses hide her deepest secret: surviving horrific abuse at the hands of her father has left her unable to trust anyone. Angel Whittaker, a former military man who now works for Fool’s Gold’s security-training academy, still grieves the car accident that claimed the lives of his wife and son. Paired to help lead a group of seven-year-old girls for a local service organization, Taryn and Angel sense the crackling chemistry between them, but they may not be able to set their fears aside and pursue happiness. Deft characterization and an absorbing story line will keep readers coming back. (May)
From the Publisher
The wildly popular and prolific Mallery can always be counted on to tell an engaging story of modern romance." -Booklist on Summer Nights

"Susan Mallery is one of my favorites." -#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

"Mallery infuses her story with eccentricity, gentle humor, and smalltown shenanigans, and readers...will enjoy the connection between Heidi and Rafe." -Publishers Weekly on Summer Days

"An adorable, outspoken heroine and an intense hero...set the sparks flying in Mallery's latest lively, comic, and touching family-centered story." -Library Journal on Only Yours

"Romance novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling." -Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-20
Angel Whittaker and Taryn Crawford are both new to Fool's Gold, with pasts that have forged them into successful professionals with a shared aversion to serious relationships—a perfect match, until attraction flares into something more. Angel has come to town to work with Ford Maddox as the senior trainer for his security services company. Meeting Taryn, the brains behind Score, the new PR company settling into town, Angel is fiercely attracted to her, a woman who works with three retired football stars and isn't intimidated by anything or anyone: "When in doubt, she put on a power suit and killer heels." Taryn likes a guy who isn't afraid to make a move, and as the two edge toward a physical relationship, she's eager to unravel the mystery of the ex-military man who is clearly different from the men she's used to dating: "His clout didn't come from a boardroom or the right suit. He carried it in his body. It was part of who he was." Agreeing to a light, no-strings relationship, the two get to know each other better when Score does some preliminary work for a clothing line that caters to outdoor enthusiasts, something Taryn knows nothing about. Angel agrees to help her navigate sports and camping if she'll help with a volunteer project he's been wrangled into by the town's enigmatic mayor. Of course, working more closely means more emotional risk, and as their circle of mutual friends expands, both Taryn and Angel must navigate feelings they don't expect—and which may not be altogether welcome. Mallery returns to beloved Fool's Gold with another new company moving in—clearly the Score football boys are in line for their own books—as the security-company employees wrap up their romantic campaigns. Fans will be delighted with the same strong storytelling and modern-day fairy-tale quality Mallery always brings to this magical town with its mysterious mayor. Happy endings are always the theme in Fool's Gold, and satisfied romance fans aren't complaining.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460331187
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Series: Fool's Gold Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,570
  • File size: 386 KB

Meet the Author

Susan Mallery

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

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Read an Excerpt

"We both know where this is going."

Taryn Crawford glanced up at the man standing by her table and ignored the rush of anticipation when she saw who he was. He was tall, with broad shoulders and gray eyes. But the most compelling feature-the one she would guess people pretended didn't exist-was the scar on his neck. As if someone had once tried to slit his throat. Taryn idly wondered what had happened to the person who failed.

She supposed there were plenty of women who would be intimidated by the man in front of her. The sheer volume of muscle he had might make someone apprehensive. Not her, of course. When in doubt she put on a power suit and killer heels. If those failed her, she would simply work harder than anyone else. Whatever it took to win. Sure, there was a price, but she was okay with that.

Which was why she was able to stare coolly back and ask, "Do we?"

One corner of his mouth curved slightly in a sort of half smile. "Sure, but if you're more comfortable pretending we don't, I can make that work, too."

"A challenge. Intriguing. You don't expect that to be enough to make me defensive so I start saying more than I had planned, do you?" She made sure she was plenty relaxed in her chair. She would guess the man was paying as much attention to her body language as her words. Maybe more. She hoped he wouldn't make things easy. She was tired of easy.

"I would hate for you to be disappointed," she murmured.

The smile turned genuine. "I'd hate that, too." He pulled out the chair opposite hers. "May I?" She nodded. He sat.

It was barely after ten on a Tuesday morning. Brew-haha, the local coffee place she'd escaped to for a few minutes of solitude before she returned to the current chaos at her office, was relatively quiet. She'd ordered a latte and had pulled out her tablet to catch up on the latest financial news. Until she'd been interrupted. Nice to know this was going to be a good day.

She studied the man across from her. He was older than the boys, she thought. The three men she worked with-Jack, Sam and Kenny, aka "the boys"-were all in their early to mid-thirties. Her guest was nearer to forty. Just old enough to have the experience to make things intriguing, she thought.

"We've never been introduced," she said.

"You know who I am."

A statement, not a question. "Do I?"

One dark eyebrow rose. "Angel Whittaker. I work at CDS."

Otherwise known as the bodyguard school, she reminded herself. For a small town, Fool's Gold had its share of unusual businesses. "Taryn Crawford."

She waited, but he didn't make a move.

"We're not shaking hands?" she asked, then picked up her latte with both hers. Just to be difficult, because being difficult would make things more fun.

"I figured we'd save the touching for later. I find it's better when that sort of thing happens in private."

Taryn had opened Score, her PR firm, eight years ago. She'd had to deal with unwelcome passes, assumptions she was an idiot, being asked who the boss was, pats on her butt and people presuming that if she worked with three ex-football players, she must have gotten her job by sleeping with them. She was used to staying calm, keeping her opinions to herself and gaining victory through the unanticipated side run.

This time Angel had been the one to put the first points on the board. He was good, she thought, intrigued and only slightly miffed.

"Are you coming on to me, Mr. Whittaker? Because it's still a little early in the morning for that sort of thing."

"You'll know when I'm making my move," he informed her. "Right now I'm simply telling you how things are."

"Which takes us back to your comment that we both know where this is going. I'll admit to being confused. Perhaps you have me mixed up with someone else."

She uncrossed, then recrossed her long legs. She wasn't trying to be provocative, but if Angel got distracted, it was hardly her fault.

For a second she allowed herself to wonder how she would have been different if she'd been able to grow up in a more traditional home. One with the requisite 2.5 children and somewhat normal parents. She certainly wouldn't be as driven. Or as tough. Sometimes she wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not.

He leaned toward her. "I hadn't taken you for the type to play games."

"We all play games," she told him.

"Fair enough. Then I'll be blunt."

She sipped her coffee, then swallowed. "Please."

"I saw you last fall."

"How nice," she murmured.

When she'd been scouting locations. Moving a company required time and effort. They'd only truly settled in Fool's Gold a couple of months ago. But she had been in town the previous fall, and yes, she'd seen Angel, as well. Found out who he was and had wondered about…possibilities. Not that she was going to admit that to him.

"I watched you," he continued.

"Should I be concerned you're a stalker?"

"Not when you were watching me right back."

He'd noticed? Damn. She'd tried to be subtle. She thought about lying but decided to simply stay silent. After a second, he continued.

"So we've finished sizing each other up," he said. "Now it's time to move on to the next phase of the game."

"There are phases?" Which was an actual question. No point in mentioning the game. She knew what they were doing. Still, it was entertaining to pretend she didn't. "Several."

"Do you provide instructions or a scorecard?" His cool gray eyes stayed focused on her face. "You don't play that way."

"Be careful with your assumptions."

"I'm not assuming."

He had an appealing voice. Low with a hint of… Not the Deep South, she thought. But there was a cadence. Virginia? West Virginia?

She put down her mug. "If I buy in to your assertion-which I'm not admitting I do."

"Of course not."

She ignored the words and the amusement tugging at his lips. "Where do you see this going?"

He leaned back in his chair. "This is a mating game, Taryn. Or didn't you know?"

Ah, his first mistake. She kept her eyes locked with his and didn't let her triumph show. "You want to marry me?"

A muscle in his jaw twitched. "Not that kind of mating."

"If you're not precise, it's difficult to be sure. So you want to sleep with me."

"Yes, but it's about more than that."

She let her gaze drift down his chest, then moved to his arms. Despite the cool late-April temperatures, he wore a T-shirt and no jacket. She could see a tattoo of a rose, along with several scars on his arms. His hands were strong and equally battered.

She returned her attention to the scar on his neck and decided to ask the obvious. "What happened to the other guy?"

He touched the side of his throat, then shrugged. "He had a very bad day."

Taryn lived in the world of business. She could talk finance and sales projections, but her real gift was designing public relationship campaigns that were innovative and successful. At Score the work was divided among the four partners. Kenny and Jack were the rainmakers. They found prospective clients and reeled them in. Sam handled the money. But Taryn was the creative engine that steered the ship.

She was used to executives, graphic artists, bankers and everything in between. In her sphere, she was a power player and no one crossed her. But Angel was from a different sphere altogether. His clout didn't come from a boardroom or the right suit. He carried it in his body. It was part of who he was.

She knew a few odds and ends about him. People she respected and trusted liked him. But the details? They were still a mystery. One she would like to solve.

"What makes you think I'm the least bit interested?" she asked.

"You're still here."

A good point. She didn't want another executive- he would be too much like her. As for sports heroes, she worked with three and they exhausted her. Angel was different. Right now different sounded like exactly what she needed.

"Effort will be required," she told him.

"Ditto."

She laughed at the unexpected statement.

"You didn't think I'd be easy, did you?" he asked.

"Apparently not."

He stood. "Don't worry. I'm good at planning the right op for the right mission and then seeing it through." He crossed to the door, then turned back to her. "And I'm good at waiting."

He walked out, leaving her with her rapidly cooling coffee and an article on consumer confidence that had just gotten a whole lot less interesting than her encounter with an intriguing man named Angel.

Smug felt good, Angel thought as he crossed the street and headed for City Hall. He'd been waiting for the right moment to talk to Taryn, and when he'd seen her having coffee by herself, he'd decided to act. She was as intriguing as he'd hoped-intelligent, confident and sexy as hell. A combination he would have trouble resisting under the best of circumstances. But in this town, with her always around… He'd wanted to make his move the first day.

Waiting had been better, he told himself as he jogged up the stairs to the front of the government building. Now he could put his plan into action. The one that led them down a road of temptation, with an ultimate objective that should satisfy them both.

He took more stairs to the second floor and followed the signs to the mayor's office.

Mayor Marsha Tilson was California's longest-serving mayor. She served the town well and seemed to know everyone's secrets. Angel had yet to figure out where she got her information, but from what he'd seen, she had a network that would put most governments to shame.

He entered her office exactly fifteen seconds before the time of his appointment.

Her assistant, an older woman in a black blazer, looked up at him with red and puffy eyes. Angel immediately sensed bubbling emotion and glanced around the room to discover all available exits.

The woman, a full-figured brunette, sniffed. "You must be Mr. Whittaker. Go right in. She's expecting you."

Angel did as instructed, hoping to find a calmer atmosphere in the mayor's office. His cautious optimism was rewarded. Mayor Marsha looked as she always did-perfectly put together. She wore a light green suit and pearls and had her white hair neatly swirled up in a bun. She smiled and stood when she saw him.

"Mr. Whittaker. You made it."

"Angel, please." He crossed the room and shook hands with her, then settled in the seat across from hers.

Her office was large with several windows. Behind her desk were the flags of the United States and the state of California, along with a large seal he would guess represented the city of Fool's Gold.

"Your assistant's upset," he said.

"Marjorie's worked with me for years. But her twin daughters have settled in Portland, Oregon. They're both pregnant. Marjorie's husband retired, so they're going to move closer to family. While she's excited about being nearer to her daughters and future grandchildren, she's sad about leaving all of us here."

More than he wanted to know, he thought, keeping his expression polite.

Mayor Marsha smiled. "Now I'll have to find someone new. Hiring staff is relatively easy, but an assistant is a different matter. There has to be chemistry and trust. One can't let just anyone know the town's secrets." The smile widened. "Not why you came to see me today." She leaned forward and picked up a file from the stack on her large desk.

"All right, Angel, let's see what we have here." She slipped on reading glasses. "You're interested in a project that will involve you with the community."

Angel had been to some of the most dangerous parts of the world in various capacities. He'd taken his sniper training into the private sector and now designed curricula for people training to be professional bodyguards. Not much surprised him. But he would swear he hadn't told anyone his reason for making his appointment with Mayor Marsha, which begged the question: How did the old lady know?

She glanced at him over her glasses. "Did I have that correct?"

He decided he had little choice but to simply nod and say, "Yes, ma'am."

The smile returned. "Good. You have a unique background and an unusual skill set. I've given the matter a lot of thought and I think you'd be a perfect Grove Keeper."

Grove what? "Ma'am?"

"Are you familiar with the history of the town?" she asked, then closed the folder. "This is California, so there was the expected exploration by the Spanish in the 1700s, but long before that, Fool's Gold was settled by the Maa-zib Tribe."

Angel had heard something about that. "A branch of Mayans," he murmured. "Matriarchal."

"Yes." The smile returned. "I would guess you'd respect a group of women who only want to use a man for sex."

Angel wasn't sure if he should flinch or pat the old lady on the back. Instead he cleared his throat. "All right," he said slowly. "Interesting."

"It is. We have long celebrated our Maa-zib culture, and that includes a youth group. Future Warriors of the Maa-zib. Young people start with a two-month introduction to what it's like to be in the FWM. That's followed by four years of membership. We have Acorns, Sprouts, Saplings, Sky-Reachers and Mighty Oaks. Each group or troop is known as a grove, and the person in charge is a Grove Keeper."

She put down her glasses. "We have a grove in need of a keeper, and I think they need you."

Kids, he thought with surprise. He liked kids. His goal had been to get involved with Fool's Gold because he'd decided to stay here and he'd been raised to give back to the community. He'd thought maybe he could volunteer on some advisory committee or teach a continuing ed class-although his skill set didn't exactly fit in the regular world. Still…kids.

He hesitated only a second, then realized it had been long enough since he'd lost Marcus. The pain was still there-would always be a part of him, like a scar, or his heart-but it had become manageable. He thought by now he would be able to work with teenaged boys without wanting to argue with the heavens about how unfair it had all been.

"Sure," he said easily. "I can run a grove."

Amusement twinkled in Mayor Marsha's blue eyes. "I'm glad to hear it. I think you'll find the experience fulfilling on several levels. I'll make sure you get your material in the next few days. Then you can meet with the Grove Council."

He grinned. "Seriously? There's a Grove Council?"

She laughed. "Of course. These are Future Warriors of the Maa-zib. What else would there be?"

She rose and he did, as well. "Thank you, Angel. Usually I have to go out and convince new residents to pitch in. I appreciate that you came to me." She studied him. "I assume your interest in giving back is the result of your background. You grew up in a coal mining town, didn't you? West Virginia?"

While the information wasn't secret, it wasn't something he shared very often. "You're a spooky woman," he told her. "You know that, right?"

The smile broadened. "Not many people have the courage to say it to my face, but I do hope that's what they're saying behind my back."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 371 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(273)

4 Star

(81)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 371 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 11, 2014

    This book grabs you, right from the first line, and doesn't let

    This book grabs you, right from the first line, and doesn't let go. We'll written, great chemistry between all of the characters, a few tugs on the heart strings and some laughter. Perfect recipe for an excellent read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2014

    This was not my favorite Fool¿s Gold novel. It was fun catching

    This was not my favorite Fool’s Gold novel. It was fun catching up with prior characters but otherwise, I struggled to enjoy this book. 
    I felt like I had stepped into the middle of the story on the first page. The storyline was eventually enjoyable and the book was an easy read.
    Unfortunately, the difficult beginning made it hard for me to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the author’s other stories. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2014

    4.75 stars It's such a nice, easy story, fun to read. When We Me

    4.75 stars It's such a nice, easy story, fun to read.
    When We Met is book # 13 in the “Fool’s Gold” Series. The main characters are Taryn and Angel. Angel was introduced in #10“One of a Kind” and Taryn in #12 “Three Little Words”. They appear briefly, with their presence increasing in the subsequent books as they near their own story. It is not necessary to read the previous books but they do give you a little more background of the characters, the town, and the idiosyncrasies of some of its quirky residents. As always it also includes an introduction to those characters that will be featured in future Fool's Gold books.
    I really enjoyed this book. It's such a nice, easy story, fun to read. I can't think of any way I'd change it. I adored the characters. They were very realistic and were placed in everyday, believable situations. The story flowed really well. I didn’t want to put it down. And most of all I could not easily predict what was coming next. I mean, you know at some point they have to have a crisis, break up, and then the happy ever after, but there isn't any blatantly obvious clues of what that crisis will be. So you shouldn’t figure the ending out by the middle of the book.
    This was an amusing book. It contains a few very funny circumstances. I especially liked Taryn’s twist on the famed “girls night”. (It’s a tradition found in most, if not all, of the fool’s gold books when the couple breaks up). And the need to change the Fool’s gold motto of “the land of happy endings”. You’ll never look at it the same again. The teasers previewing the new match-ups for future books look to have amusing situations. I am especially looking forward to Larissa’s story.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Strong

    Strong, accomplished, that's what both our hero and heroine are on the outside. But inside they are both
    tortured souls who need healing. It was a great read, watching them heal a little each day while traveling the road to happiness with each other.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

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  • Posted July 1, 2014

    Highly recommend!

    Everyone needs to read this book. It was great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    I want to live in Fools Gold! When We Met takes us back there t

    I want to live in Fools Gold! When We Met takes us back there to enjoy the people and the town. This story is about Taryn and Angel both wounded soles who learn to love again. I did enjoy this book adn look forward to the next.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    Heartwarming to the very end

    When We Met is a wonderfully heartwarming story, about two people who have been burned by love and are determined to never love again. I loved reading this story because you can’t help but root for these two characters to find happiness and love. Being a part of their journey made me laugh, cry and smile. This is a great addition to a wonderful series that just keeps getting better with each book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2014

    I loved Angel and Taryn story you never knew what the outcome wo

    I loved Angel and Taryn story you never knew what the outcome would be they both had baggage but they overcame. I look forward to Jack and Larrissa's story. Love a Fool Gold.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    awesome

    This is such a great town.Susan Mallery does it again. I can't wait to read the next book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2014

    I absolutely love this series and, so far, this one is my favori

    I absolutely love this series and, so far, this one is my favorite out of all. I've been waiting to find out Angel's story every since he was introduced in the prior books and I was not disappointed. It was refreshing to have Taryn not only understand but to show support regarding Angel's past as well as Angel helping Taryn get past her own issues. I also loved the relationship between Taryn and her partners, which left me laughing out loud multiple times. I would strongly recommend this book and the entire series to anyone.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Great story

    Ifyou have read the other Fools Gold story, then you have met Angel. I couldn't wait for his story. Ms.Mallery couldn't havedone better! Taryn was perfect forAngel and it is a perfect match for both! Can't wait for more!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Loved this book. Love this series. Taryn & Angel are two p

    Loved this book. Love this series. Taryn & Angel are two people who are afraid of loving and commitment; so they start a no strings attached affair. I liked the chemistry between Taryn and her team at Score the PR firm she runs with Jack, Sam and Kenny. I like that most of the residents of Fool's Gold pop in; especially Felicia. She reminds me of Tempe Brennen on Bones. Super smart and blunt in her comments. I always enjoy returning to Fool's Gold and can't wait to read Before We Kiss the next book in the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2014

    I can't get enough of Fool's Gold! Haven't met a character I don't love yet.

    I can't get enough of Fool's Gold! Haven't met a character I don't love yet. Anytime a new name is mentioned, I wonder where their story is going to lead us.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    .

    .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    The whole series is great. I can't wait until the next book comes out. Books can be read as stand alone but reading in order gives insight to all the people of the town. Don't wait start reading now!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent book! The story grabs you from the very first page and

    Excellent book! The story grabs you from the very first page and doesn't let you go. I highly recommend this book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    Love Fool's Gold

    I love every book in this series! It always feels like I'm home and visiting friends with each one!! Susan Mallery out does herself with each new book in the Fool's Gold Series!!! I'm never disappointed!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    A good escape

    I had been waiting for Angel to come to terms with his loss and find someone to share his future. This was a good read. I get so involved with the residents of Fool's Gold. It is a good escape for me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    absolutely great!!

    Another great book by Susan Mallery. I am loving this series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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