Hold Me (Fool's Gold Series #16)

Hold Me (Fool's Gold Series #16)

by Susan Mallery

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New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery's classic blend of lighthearted humor and intense emotional conflict works its magic on two newcomers to the California town of Fool's Gold, which Library Journal calls "a setting so real and appealing readers will want to start scoping out real estate."

Destiny Mills believes passion has its place—like in the lyrics of the country songs that made her parents famous. After a childhood full of drama and heartache, she wants a life that's calm. Safe. Everything that Kipling Gilmore isn't. Her temporary assignment with the Fool's Gold search and rescue team puts her in delicious proximity to the former world-class skier every day. Part of her aches to let go for once…the rest is terrified what'll happen if she does.

Though an accident ended his career, Kipling still lives for thrills—and a hot fling with a gorgeous redhead like Destiny would be a welcome diversion. Yet beneath his new coworker's cool facade is a woman who needs more than he's ever given. With her, he's ready to take the risk. But love, like skiing, is all about trust—and before you soar, you have to be willing to fall.

Look for Best of My Love, the next title in Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373779970
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Series: Fool's Gold Series , #16
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 375,327
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives—family, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Read an Excerpt

No one woke up in the morning and thought to themselves, Today I'm going to get lost in the woods. But even without a plan, it happened.

Maybe it was simply that innate human need to explore. Maybe it was bad luck, or maybe it was just people being idiots. Grandma Nell had always loved to say, "Beauty is skin deep, but stupid goes clear down to the bone." Not that Destiny Mills was going to be judgmental either way. People got lost, and her job was to make sure they got found. It was kind of like being a superhero. Only instead of laser vision or invisibility, she had a brilliant computer software program and a finely honed search and rescue team.

Well, technically the team wasn't hers. It belonged to whatever town or county had hired her company. Her firm had created the software program, and she was one of three facilitators who helped those wanting to use it. She showed up, trained the search and rescue group and then moved on to the next assignment.

If it was Monday, she must be in Fool's Gold, she thought humorously as she stepped into her small, temporary office. Fool's Gold, California. Population 125,482 per the sign she'd seen on her way in. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the town attracted tourists by the thousands. They came in winter to ski, in summer to hike and camp and all year long to attend the dozens of festivals that had put the community on the map.

None of which concerned her. What was of more interest were the literally hundreds of thousands of acres right outside the city borders. Uncharted wilderness with plenty of slopes, gullies, streams and caves. Places where people got lost. And when someone was lost, who you gonna call?

Destiny chuckled as the Ghostbusters theme music played in her head. She didn't know about anyone else, but for her, life was a soundtrack. Music was everywhere. Notes formed melodies, and melodies were little more than memories to be recalled. Hear a song from your high school prom and you were back in your boyfriend's arms.

She settled in her chair and plugged her laptop into the docking station. She only had a week or so to get up and running before the real work began. For the next three months she would be mapping the terrain, feeding the information into the incredibly intelligent software her company used and training the local search and rescue team. She was the point of contact, the human connection. And in three months she would move on to another part of the country and do it all again.

She liked the moving around. She liked always being somewhere new. She made friends easily and then just as easily left them behind when it was time to go. There would be more friends at the next new place. Sure, there was a lack of continuity, but on the upside, she was spared the emotional drama that went with long-term friendships. Whether it was her getting close to them or them getting close to her, relationships could be exhausting.

She'd grown up in a family that made any of the "real housewives" shows look as interesting as reading the phone book. Reality TV had nothing on her parents. As an adult, she got to choose whether or not she wanted that drama, and she'd decided she didn't. Destiny had deliberately picked a job and a lifestyle that allowed her to forever be moving on.

But for the next few months she would enjoy the small-town quirkiness of Fool's Gold. She'd already read up on the place and was looking forward to sampling plenty of local flavor.

Right on time, the door to her small office opened. Destiny recognized the tall, blond, good-looking guy standing in the doorway. Not that they'd met before—she'd been hired by the mayor, not by him—but she'd seen him on plenty of magazine covers, television interviews and internet articles.

She stood and smiled. "Hi, I'm Destiny Mills."

"Kipling Gilmore."

His eyes were a darker blue than she'd expected, and he had that easy grace that most likely came from a lifetime of being an athlete. Because he wasn't just Kipling Gilmore. He was the Kipling Gilmore. Famous athlete. Superstar skier. Olympic gold medalist. The press had called him G-Force, because on skis, at least, he went for speed. Rules of physics be damned. He could do things that had never been done. At least until the crash.

They shook hands. He handed her a small, pink bakery box. "To help you settle in."

She lifted the lid and saw a half-dozen doughnuts. The scent of glaze and cinnamon drifted to her. It was intoxicating and made her instantly want fifteen minutes alone with her sugar fix.

"Thank you," she said. "Way better than flowers."

"I'm glad you think so. When did you get to town?"

"Yesterday. I got to Sacramento the night before and made the short drive in the morning."

"You're settling in okay?"

"I am, and I'm excited to get to work."

"Then let's get to it."

They both sat. She angled her laptop toward him and tapped on several keys.

"There are two major parts to getting the search and rescue software functional," she began. "Mapping the physical geography of the area and then getting you and your team trained on how to use it."

"Sounds easy enough."

"It always does, and then reality sets in."

One eyebrow rose. "Is that a challenge?"

"No. I'm simply saying the process takes time. STORMS can adapt to nearly any situation. The success or failure of a search is usually a combination of information and luck. My goal is to take luck out of the equation."

STORMS—Search Team Rescue Management Software—worked with the rescue team. Data was fed into the system, and the program then projected the most likely areas to search first. The more information known about the person missing, terrain, time of year and weather conditions, the faster the search went. Each searcher had GPS tracking information on his or her person. That information was sent back to the software so the search could be updated in real time.

As more areas were eliminated, the search was narrowed until the missing person was found.

"I'll start mapping the area in the next day or so," she continued.

"How does that happen?"

"First by air. We use a helicopter and various kinds of equipment to supplement the satellite data we already have. The heavily wooded areas and steep mountainsides will have to be mapped on foot."

"You do that?"

While the question was polite enough, the tone suggested he wasn't a believer. Silly man, she thought with a smile.

"Yes, Kipling. I can hike when necessary. If the areas are too remote, I take in local guides."

"I thought you were a city girl. Didn't someone tell me you live in Austin?"

"That's home base for me, yes. But I grew up near the Smoky Mountains. I can hold my own in the great outdoors."

What she didn't mention was that when she'd been younger, she'd spent several years living with her maternal grandmother in those same mountains. In addition to knowing her way around rugged terrain, she could fish and knew three ways to cook squirrel, but she wasn't going to share that. Tell someone you grilled a mean steak and you were applauded. Mention squirrel stew with root vegetables and they looked at you like you were in league with cannibals. People were funny, but she'd known that for a long time.

"Then I'll trust you to take care of business," he told her. "When does your helicopter arrive?"

She checked her calendar. "By the end of the week. It's going to be a busy summer. Once we get the geography into the database, we'll start testing the system. That means looking for people who aren't really lost."

Humor pulled at the corner of his mouth. "I read the material."

"Good to know. Does that mean you also open instruction manuals?"

He hesitated just long enough for her to start laughing.

"I didn't think so," she said. "What is it with men and instructions? Or asking for directions?"

"We don't like to admit when we don't know something."

"Ridiculous. No one knows everything."

"We can try."

No surprise there, she thought. Bravado seemed to go hand in hand with being male. Another reason she'd had so much trouble finding the right one. She wanted an absence of bravado and minimal ego. When emotions got riled, the opposite sex could be counted on to act crazy, and there was no place for crazy in her life.

"Are you going to have a problem taking instructions from me?" she asked. "Because if you are, we need to get that taken care of right this minute. I can arm wrestle you into submission, if necessary."

Kipling laughed. "I doubt that."

"Be careful with your assumptions. My grandma taught me a lot of dirty tricks. I know places to dig in a knuckle and make a grown man scream like a little girl. And not in a happy way."

"There's a happy way to scream like a little girl?"

She wrinkled her nose. "I've had to use that threat before, and some men think I'm talking about sex.

I'm not."

His gaze settled on her face. "Interesting."

"So, am I going to have a problem with you?"


"Then this will be a good summer. I've never had a job in California before. I'm looking forward to getting to know the area."

"The town is a little strange."

"In what way?"

He sat easily in his chair. There was no squirming, no sense that he wanted to be somewhere else. He had patience, she thought. He would have to. Waiting out bad weather, waiting out the seasons. Needing conditions to be right.

Kipling Gilmore had won big at the Sochi Olympics, then disaster had struck a few months later. She wasn't one to follow sports, so she didn't know many of the details. Obviously, he'd recovered enough to take the job of heading the Fool's Gold search and rescue team. She wondered if he'd had trouble adjusting to regular life.

She knew it could be difficult for those cursed with fame to try to live like ordinary mortals.

"Everybody here knows everybody's business," he said.

Right. She'd asked him about the town. "That's not uncommon for small towns."

"Yeah, but it's different here. People here are more involved. We'll talk in a couple of weeks and see what you think. The festivals are interesting, and you don't have to lock your doors at night. If you live near the center of town, you don't need a car very often."

"Sounds nice." Despite having her home base in Austin, she wasn't really a big-city girl. She preferred the eccentricities of a small town.

"Have you met Mayor Marsha yet?" Kipling asked.

Destiny shook her head. "No. She hired me, but it was all done through my boss. I have a meeting with her later today."

Amusement returned to his eyes. "I'll be there, too. I think you're going to like her. She's California's longest-serving mayor. She looks like a sweet old lady, but she's actually pretty tough and keeps firm control over her town. She gets things done, and sometimes I've left wondering what just happened."

Qualities she could totally get behind. "I like her already."

"I thought you might." He stood. "Welcome to Fool's Gold, Destiny."

She rose, as well. "Thank you."

As he left her office, she let her gaze drift over his body. He was in great shape, she thought, admitting he was just charming enough to make her wonder if there was any potential there.

She shook her head, because she already knew the answer, and it was no. No way, no how. She wanted ordinary. Regular. The kind of man who understood that life was best lived quietly. Kipling, aka G-Force, had roared down a mountain at who knew what speed. He was a thrill seeker at heart, which meant not for her.

She would simply keep looking. Because the man of her very own calm, rational dreams was out there, and one day she would find him.

Kipling crossed the street. As he waited for one of the few traffic lights in Fool's Gold to change to green, he glanced up at the mountains. Now that it was late spring, he could look at them and not feel anything. The only remaining snow was up at elevations that didn't allow for skiing. So there was no sense of loss, no reminder that he would never again be able to fight the mountain and win. That the sense of flying on snow was lost forever.

He knew what his friends would say, what the doctors would tell him. That he was damned lucky to have made as much of a recovery as he had. That he could walk and that was its own miracle. Anything else was gravy.

Kipling heard the words. On his good days he even believed them. But the rest of the time, he avoided thinking about what had been lost. When it got bad, he simply stopped looking at the mountains.

The light changed, and he crossed the street. As he walked he considered the fact that it might have been easier to simply find a job somewhere there weren't mountains. There were flat places. Maybe in the Midwest or Florida. Only he couldn't imagine what that must be like. To look up and see nothing but sky. He might have an uneasy relationship with the mountains; he might equally love and hate them, but there was no way he could be away from them. They were a part of him. It would be easier to cut off an arm than live without them.

"Hey, Kipling."

He waved automatically at the woman pushing a stroller who had greeted him. Fool's Gold was a friendly kind of place. Where neighbors knew each other and tourists were welcomed as much for their presence as the money they brought with them.

He was used to people he'd never met knowing who he was. That came with the celebrity he had been. Only being in Fool's Gold was different. More intense, maybe. This town wasn't just a place. It was a living, breathing essence.

He shook his head, wondering where all that had come from. He didn't usually think too much about things. He was a doer, preferring to move than sit still. Which had made his recovery a particular brand of hell. But that was behind him now. Except for the scars, the limp and the dull aches that would be with him always, he was healed. And walking.

He headed into his offices at the corner of Eighth Street and Frank Lane, right by one of the fire stations and the police station. No one was going to break in, he thought with a grin. Or party too hard in this neighborhood.

As he unlocked the front door and stepped inside, he reminded himself that years ago he would have chafed at being so close to any kind of authority. That he'd believed that with the ability to fly down a mountain came the right to party as hard as he wanted, and damn the consequences. As long as he beat the clock by even a thousandth of a second, he was a god. At least until the next race.

But time had a way of maturing people. He'd been dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood, and here he was, running the town's search and rescue program. Who would have guessed?

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Hold Me 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 243 reviews.
CHReads More than 1 year ago
So excited for Kipling's story. I loved how down-to-earth he was even though he had been this big Olympic winner. I loved Destiny's character and also appreciated the side story with Starr. While I loved the story I almost wish there had been a little more to it. It just didn't seem meaty enough. That could just be me being selfish and wanting more though. :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. What a great addition to the Fools Gold family. Destiny and Kipling were perfect. I just loved it.
HuskerD More than 1 year ago
Susan Mallery continues her captivating series in Fool's Gold.  Hold Me is the love story of Destiny and Kipling. The story line is as interesting as their names.The connection between characters  took a little longer to develop  than a normal Mallery story,  but it was totally worth the wait. If this is your first Fool's Gold story..enjoy!! If you are a returning reader I know you  will enjoy!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Susan Mallery gives readers another glimpse into Fool's Gold, however, this book lacked the excitement of all of the other Fool's Gold Books. I just can't put my finger on what was lacking. It is an overall good book. Destiny's struggles are real trying be a "normal" person with famous parents. Kipling and Destiny really balance each other out, the characters in this book are great, but it is my least favorite in the Fool's Gold series.
JCPittman More than 1 year ago
I have read all the books in the Fool's Gold series, and this is the first one that was just okay. It was predictable, and rather boring. It bothers me to say this about Hold Me, but I loved all of the other books in this series. This one didn't measure up to the others.
RobynKFLNJ More than 1 year ago
Destiny Mills has a plan for the type of man she wants to spend the rest of her life with and Kipling Gilmore doesn't fit the mold. Destiny's parents were famous Country music stars that would take her on tour sometimes. She hated that lifestyle and wanted to be as far away from the music industry as possible even though she is extremely talented. Her grandmother took her in and helped her to be the successful woman she is. Kipling Gilmore was a gold medal winning skier who suffered a career ending injury. Destiny and Kipling are brought together to work on the search and rescue team getting to know each other and learning why they act the way they do. I love this series and can't wait for the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“I Thought This Novel Had A Good Pace With Entertaining Characters (The Helicopter Pilot Was Funny As Hell!) That I Could Relate To, & Understand Well By Their Summary.” Hold Me! Thrill Me! Kiss Me! For Those Of You That Don’t Know Is A Famous Mel Carter Song. Destiny Mills Is A Drop Dead Gorgeous Redhead… & Unknown To Many The Oldest Daughter Of Famous Self-Centered Country Music Singers… She Has Become Closed Off To Love & Friendships By Seeing All The Satanic Pitfalls & Destroyed Life’s (Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song) When She Was A Child Caused By A Business That Gives The Illusion Of Being A Glorious Life Style With It’s Facade But Is Everything But On The Inside. Kipling Gilmore Is A Fixer & Former Super Speed Ski Champion Forced Into Retirement From A Career Ending Injury That He Knew Would Come Some Day. When He Meets Destiny He Sees Her As Just The Fixing Challenge He Needs To Keep His Mind Off Not Being Able To Speed Ski. ~ I Give This Novel A B+ (Bright)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read! Couldn't put it down. I just couldn't wait to see what happened next. This story was much different than the stories of the other couples in Fool's Gold, and I loved it. I wondered how it was going to turn out right up until the end. So looking forward to reading the next one in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Susan Mallery. First off I'm excited to read about Fools Gold again. I want to live there. Kipling is a great guy who wants to do the right thing and is always trying to fix things. He is so admirable. It was fun to see Destiny try and fight her true feelings for not only Kip but her life in general. I also loved reading about older characters again too. Loved seeing what they are up to and how life is going for them. If call this a homerun.
julieford More than 1 year ago
I love the Fools Gold series and it only gets better with each book I read. Hold Me is the story of Destiny and Kipling. Destiny is the child of Country Music stars and longs for a peaceful, quiet life. She works for a company that creates search and rescue computer equipment. Kipling is a former US Olympic skier who was seriously injured and now works as the head of the HERO search and rescue for Fools Gold. While Destiny fights her attraction to Kipling, he is hoping for a short term affair. One night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy. They marry as friends but soon realize that their feelings have turned into a love to last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terri36 More than 1 year ago
I love Susan Mallery's books but this one bored me. It seemed to be forever before something interesting happen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had its moments, but I was expecting more... more drama in relationships, more things happening, more rounded/thought out events with more details. I thought someone, at least, would have gotten lost in the mountains so the whole STORMS/HERO concept would have played out. Not her best work...kind of a flop. Disappointing. If you want to read it, go to a library and get it for free instead of purchasing it. Maybe it's past time to end the FG series... get a new setting with new characters instead of adding more and more to one series and still try and tie in all characters from previous stories in the series. It gets to be too much and too confusing with character and plot development falling short.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet, beautiful story, Another Fool's Gold Treasure. Highly recommended read! You will fall in love right along with the  characters! My name is Brandy, and I approve this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brooke Clanton More than 1 year ago
Always love visiting Fools Gold, and this one didn't disappoint! Can't wait to see how this new group of characters are going to shake things up in Fools Gold!
JoyceAS More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful book in the Fool's' Gold series. I want to live in that town. Susan Mallory's talent for bringing her characters to life is evident in this book. I can picture every citizen of Fool's Gold and feel as if they are friends. I love that Mayor Marsha is once again instrumental in bringing people together. Destiny and Kipling have both had a previous life of limelight and celebrities and now want to be part of a community and fit in. I love how the residents of Fool's Gold embrace newcomers and bring them into their circle. As always, the book leaves you want more. I can't wait for the next Fool's Gold novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Five stars all the way.***** Well written, fantistic story. This novel is one you will read over & over. Enjoy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JAM28 More than 1 year ago
I love it. To watch two characters fight to find who they are and to find the love that will last forever, is always a heat warming read. Add in the other characters from Fools Gold and you have a light-hearted, fun read that kept me engrossed from start to finish. I can't wait for more!
ThreesmomDC More than 1 year ago
I so look forward to any new Susan Mallery Fool's Gold book and I was really looking forward to reading Kipling's story after the way Mayor Marsha left him. Hold Me did not disappoint me. I enjoyed learning about Destiny and her little sister and admired Destiny for wanting to build a relationship with a half-sister she just found out about. I rooted for Kipling to open up his heart and embrace Fool's Gold. It was fun to read about him learning the way that Fool's Gold works. I also liked watching Kipling and Destiny learn to trust in love and embrace not only their relationship with each other, but also their new destinies. I have all of the Fool's Gold books and look forward to the next one.
Karin Roberts More than 1 year ago
I love the Fool's Gold Series. I was recuperating from surgery when I had my daughter go get me this book to continue my love of the series. Destiny and Kipling are both from somewhat similar backgrounds. Destiny is trying to find calm in her life after the very public upbringing she had. Kipling is trying to make a go of a life that no longer features competitive skiing. Destiny's plan is to help train people for the Search and Rescue Squad in Fool's Gold headed by Kipling. As is usually the plan, things don't go according to plan. Usually you can figure Mayor Marsha has set things up how she wants them and can see who belongs together and sets those things in motion. There are many ups and downs in their relationship, as there should be. Kipling decides to open a bar that the guys can go to since the women have Jo's. However, I felt the women were a little heavy handed in their reaction to this. They have made it very clear that Jo's is predominantly a women's hang out. Why shouldn't the men have their own place. I do like how the characters always compliment each other and you bring strong men and women together. The characters and town are so believable you find yourself wishing such a place existed. Ms. Mallery always manages to keep you captivated and wishing the next release would come sooner than it does. I am anxiously awaiting the next release to continue my visit to Fool's Gold. Keep up the excellent work Ms. Mallery.
RachaelBrown More than 1 year ago
I love Fool's Gold and it's close-knit community. I would love to live in this unique town! I look forward to each new release so that I can read updates on all of the heroes and heroines from the previous Fool's Gold books, as well as meet the new members of the community. I love coming home to Fool's Gold and am looking forward to Kiss Me.
aliensan More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong, I love Susan Mallery and i love Fool's Gold. There's just something in the air that draws you in. First of all this one was different. Usually the story goes girl meets boy, they resist, they fall in love, someone messes up and then they resolve their conflict. But this one resolved itself a little differently and i'm still not sure i feel about it. I liked the character of Destiny because she reminds me of myself, she's strong but that's because she hides her feelings. Kip though.... he was a little tougher for me to like, there was just that little flaw of his that irked me. People like knowing they don't need fixing, yet he thought he could fix everything. Maybe it's just my personally, but that kind of person doesn't flow well with me. Even though their two personalities are different I really did like the way they mixed together. Her head strong-ness vs his relaxed air. They were a good match if a little rough. And of course Fool's Gold how could you not love this not so little town and it's abundance of quirky people. Though seriously i really want to know who wins the bet. XP Happy Reading Everyone. This is something different from her usual.