Summer Days (Fool's Gold Series #7)

Summer Days (Fool's Gold Series #7)

by Susan Mallery

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Locked in an unexpected land dispute, Rafe Stryker is trapped in the one place he vowed never to return to—the Castle Ranch in Fool's Gold, California. He made millions facing ruthless adversaries in the boardroom, but nothing could've prepared him to go head-to-head against stubborn, beautiful Heidi Simpson. No one is more surprised than Rafe to discover that he's finding Heidi—and life as a cowboy—much more compelling than he wants to admit.

For Heidi, the Castle Ranch is the home she's always wanted. After a life on the road, the vivacious blonde has finally put down roots. She won't give that up without a fight, not even for a man whose late-night kisses make her yearn to be a little less…wholesome.

As the two turn from passionate adversaries to passionate, period, they'll discover that summer love can last a lifetime.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459230057
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Series: Fool's Gold Series , #7
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 49,681
File size: 568 KB

About the Author

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

Read an Excerpt

Only in Fool's Gold would a Mercedes be brought to a stop by a goat. Rafe Stryker turned off the engine of the powerful sedan and climbed out. The goat in the middle of the road surveyed him with a confident gleam in her dark eyes. If he hadn't known better, he would have sworn she was telling him this was her road and if anyone was going to back down in this battle of wills, it would be him.

"Damn goats," he muttered, looking around for whomever owned the wayward animal. Instead, he saw a few trees, a broken fence line and, beyond all that, mountains soaring up to the heavens. Some would describe this as God's country. Rafe knew that God, being smart and all knowing, would have nothing to do with Fool's Gold.

Hard to believe that a three hour drive west would return Rafe to San Francisco—land of fine dining, high-rise buildings and beautiful women. It was where he belonged. Not here, on the outskirts of some town he'd promised himself he would never set foot in again. And yet he had returned, drawn by the one person he could never turn his back on—his mother.

Swearing under his breath, he eyed the goat. He would guess she weighed about a hundred and twenty pounds, give or take. While he'd spent the past eighteen years doing his best to forget his time in Fool's Gold, the lessons he'd learned on the Castle Ranch lived on. He figured if he'd been able to wrestle an adult steer as a scrawny fourteen-year-old, he should be able to take a goat now. Or at the very least, pick her up and move her to the side of the road.

He lowered his gaze to her hooves, wondering how sharp they would be and what they would do to his suit. He rested his elbow on the roof of his car and pinched the bridge of his nose. If his mother hadn't sounded so broken on the phone, he would turn around and go back home. In San Francisco he had a staff, minions even. People who would take care of things like goats in the road.

He chuckled, imagining his starchy assistant facing down a goat. Ms. Jennings, a fifty-something powerhouse with an innate ability to make the most successful of executives feel incompetent, would most likely stare the goat into submission.

"You found her!"

Rafe turned toward the voice and saw a woman jogging toward him. She had a rope in one hand and what looked like lettuce in the other.

"I was so worried. Athena lives to get into trouble. I can't find a gate lock that will keep her contained. She's smart. Aren't you, baby girl?"

The woman approached the goat and patted her on the back. The goat moved toward her, like a dog seeking affection. She took the lettuce and the rope around her neck with equal acceptance.

The woman glanced back at him. "Hi. I'm Heidi Simpson."

She was maybe five-nine, with blond hair she wore in braided pigtails. A cotton shirt tucked into jeans showed him she was leggy and curvy, a combination that normally appealed. Just not today. Not when he still had to deal with his mother and a town he despised.

"Rafe Stryker," he said.

The woman—Heidi—stared at him, her green eyes widening as she took a single step back. Her full mouth trembled slightly and she lost her smile.

"Stryker," she whispered and swallowed. "May is your—"

"Mother. How do you know her?"

Heidi took another step back. "She's, ah, at the ranch right now. Talking to my grandfather. There seems to be a mix-up."

"Mix-up?" He used what Ms. Jennings referred to as his scary, serial-killer voice. "Is that how you'd describe what happened? I was thinking more along the lines of fraud and theft. Felony theft."

This was bad, Heidi thought, wishing she could simply run for it. Not that she wasn't one to face her problems. But in this case, she would feel a lot better facing them around other people, rather than on a deserted road. She eyed Athena, wondering if the goat would protect her, then decided probably not. Athena would be more interested in getting a taste of Rafe Stryker's well-cut, obviously expensive suit.

The man standing in front of her looked seriously pissed. Pissed enough to plow her over with his big car and keep going. He was tall, with dark hair and eyes, and right now he looked angry enough to crush her with his bare hands. She had a feeling he was strong enough to do it, too.

She drew in a breath. Okay, maybe he wouldn't crush her, but he wanted to do something. She could read that in his brown-black eyes.

"I know what you're thinking," she began.

"I doubt that."

His voice was low, silky and made her feel unsettled. As though she couldn't predict what was going to happen next and, whatever it was, it was going to be bad.

"My grandfather overstepped his bounds," she began, thinking it wasn't the first time Glen had given in to his "ask forgiveness rather than permission" philosophy of life. "He didn't mean to hurt anyone."

"He stole from my mother."

Heidi winced. "You're close to her?" She shook her head. "Never mind. Stupid question." If Rafe didn't take care of his mother, he wouldn't be here now. Not that she was surprised. From what she could tell, May was a lovely woman who had been very understanding about the mistake. Although not understanding enough to keep her son out of it.

"Glen, my grandfather, has a close friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Harvey needed treatment, didn't have insurance, and Glen wanted to help." Heidi did her best to smile, but her lips didn't feel as if they were cooperating. "So, um, he got the idea of selling part of the ranch. To your mother."

"The ranch that belongs to you."

"Technically." Her name was the one on the bank loan. She hadn't done the math, but she would guess she had in the neighborhood of seventy thousand dollars in equity. The rest of the ranch was tied up in her mortgage.

"He took two hundred and fifty thousand dollars from my mother, and in return she owns nothing."

"Kind of."

"Your grandfather has no way to pay her back."

"He gets social security and we have some savings."

Rafe's gaze moved from her to Athena and back. "How much in savings?"

Defeat made her shoulders sag. "Twenty-five hundred dollars."

"Please move the goat. I'm going to the ranch."

Heidi stiffened her spine. "What are you going to do?"

"Have your grandfather arrested."

"You can't!" Glen was the only family she had. "He's an old man."

"I'm sure the judge will take that into account when setting bail."

"He didn't mean to hurt anyone."

Rafe was unmoved by her plea. "My family grew up here, Ms. Simpson. My mother was the housekeeper. The old man who owned the ranch paid her next to nothing. At times there wasn't enough money for her to feed her four children. But she hung on because he promised to leave her the ranch when he died."

Heidi didn't like this story. She just knew it had a bad ending.

"Like your grandfather, he lied. When he finally died, the ranch went to distant relatives back east." His dark eyes turned into lasers that seemed to bore into her, promising untold punishment. "No one is going to screw my mother out of this ranch twice."

Oh, no! It was worse than she'd imagined. Much worse. "You have to understand. My grandfather would never hurt anyone. He's a great guy."

"He's the man who stole two hundred and fifty thousand dollars from my mother, Ms. Simpson. The rest is simply window dressing. Now, move your…goat."

Unable to think of what else to say, Heidi stepped to the side of the road. Athena trotted along with her. Rafe got in his car and drove away. The only thing missing from his angry departure was a cloud of dust. However, the road was paved and well maintained by the city. One of the advantages of living in Fool's Gold.

She waited until he'd gone past, then turned toward the ranch and started to run. Athena kept up easily, for once not insisting on extending her time of freedom.

"Did you hear that?" Heidi asked, her athletic shoes pounding on the pavement. "That man is really mad at us."

Athena trotted along, apparently unconcerned about Glen's fate.

"You'll be sorry if we have to sell you to pay back May Stryker," Heidi muttered, then wished she hadn't.

All her life she'd only wanted one thing. A home. A real home with a roof and a foundation, hooked up to sewer and water and electricity. Something most people took for granted. But she'd grown up moving from town to town, the rhythm of her days defined by the carnival where her grandfather worked.

When she'd found the Castle Ranch, she'd fallen instantly and madly in love. With the land, the old house and especially the nearby town of Fool's Gold. She had a herd of eight goats, uncounted feral cows and nearly a thousand acres of land. She'd started a business making goat cheese and goat-milk soap. She sold goat milk and goat fertilizer. There were natural caves where she could age her cheese. This was her home and she wasn't giving it up for anything.

But she might have to give it up for somebody. Glen. Who'd sold a part of what he didn't own to a woman with a very angry son.

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Summer Days 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
bookholiday More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story. There was so much to like. very good book!
PersimmonS More than 1 year ago
I bought the whole 12 book Fool's Gold series. And I would have given the first 5 about a strong 4 stars. I am on #7 Summer Days. I was enjoying the books as I went but they were starting to get very predictable. Each book focuses on 1 woman from the town and 1 man who may come from anywhere (only 1 guy so far was a long time resident of Fool's Gold). And by book 5 they are all starting to sound the same. Woman meets guy. Guy is a normaly a douche and doesn't believe in love, relationships, the whole mooshy mooshy gaga hoopla 95% of the woman are all about. The last 10 pages of each book are.....woman confesses love, man runs, man realizes he is a douche, man rushes back, woman and man live happily ever after. So if your all about the stories not really being that much different from the last, just some names, personal issues and individual background stories then you'll like these. Because by now I am getting a little bored with the stories I am giving this one a 2 for the 2nd half of the series. Unless some murders are committed, some ghosts start showing up or curses from the past start showing their ugly little heads then it is going to be tough finish the last 6 books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read every book Susan Mallery has written and loved them all I the only person that cannot grasp everyone making light of the fact that grandpa stole $250,000 from May? OMG! I am having a huge problem with Heidi not getting it and thinks Rafe is taking "her" ranch away. I love a good love story but I'm not sure I can finish this one. Heidi, a goat girl with braids, lives w/her grandfather. And is anyone as dense as May ~ she's only in her 50s.
cx3ane More than 1 year ago
I love Susan Mallery & Fool's Gold!! Rafe & Heidi has a great chemistry together even though they are both stubborn. I feel so bad for Heidi, who finally has a home of her own. Rafe swore he would never go back to Fool's Gold, but he did it for his mother. I love May. She was something else! If you are looking for a good romance book, then this is it! You won't be disappointed!
BRumsey More than 1 year ago
Who can resist a strong alpha cowboy that tries to hide a nurturing heart and a woman that will fight for who and what she loves. Susan Mallery weaves a tale of romance between two people with opposite dreams that must learn to take a chance on love. Located in the small town of Fool's Gold, CA where everyone knows your business but loves you anyway, Susan has succeeded in creating a place where you want to keep visiting. SUMMER DAYS is a refreshing adventure that keeps you turning the page. Can't wait for the next two books coming out this summer: SUMMER NIGHTS and ALL SUMMER LONG.
DyanC More than 1 year ago
Seriously, can you imagine a better place than Fool's Gold? And Rafe Stryker is right up there with the other amazing guys who have settled there! I feel the need to relocate there and maybe Susan can create cowboy for me too!!!
Cheerleader_Duck More than 1 year ago
Summer days by Susan Mallery is a great book I could not put it down. Cant wait for the next one is the series
Conkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At times, I really liked this story... however, by its end, I decided it was mostly silly and improbable. The plot had so many contrary contrivances! Maybe Ms. Mallery had leftover ideas that she just couldn't say "no" to one more time.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4 STARSOkay I am team Rafe. I have problems with some of the people being mad at Rafe in the book and blaming him for everything that goes wrong. Especially his family , after all he has done for them. Okay I know its a book but it mak es me mad.Rafe comes back to Fools gold because his mother May called and told him that the ranch she bought for 250,000. was sold to her by someone who did not own the ranch.Heidi Simpson owns the ranch and raising goats, selling milk,cheese and fertalizer. The ranch is worn down she does not have much money. Her grandfather Glen raised her in a carnival and now lives with her.His friend was dying of cancer and had no insurance and he wanted to help him. So he planned the fraud to pretend to sell Heidi's ranch.Glen and a lot of people don't see the problem with that.Rafe's mother worked as a housekeeper on the ranch for peanuts and the promise of inherting the ranch. They were so poor that Rafe went without food sometimes so his younger brothers and sisters could eat. He tried to take care of the family since he was 8. Rafe called the cops because his mother was being cheated out of the same ranch twice and now he could do somthing about it.The judge order them to share the ranch till she could decide after some research. Heidi and May were willing to try and find a solution.Rafe had ideas about the ranch that he thought he was buying with his mother. He was fixing up the place as he was asked to. Helped take care of Heidi animals when she was sick. Paid for all the repairs.People were not happy with him when the others were the cheaters, lies and stealing.Okay I got involved in the story and had strong reactions to the book. I want to read more about the town of Fools Gold. Thier were a few love scenes in the book.05/29/2012 PUB Harlequin HarlequinHQN
AngieMac1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love the Fool's Gold series by Susan Mallery. All of the books are different--some are more serious, and some are downright hilarious! It keeps the story line fresh and I don't feel like "Oh, I've read this before; this is just like the last one." Rafe and his siblings lost their father at an early age and Rafe had to become the "man of the house". He's never been able to let that responsibility go. Heidi is so glad to finally have roots, after traveling most of her life, she'll do anything to stay there. I really enjoyed getting to know this new family and can't wait to meet the other siblings. Now, I just wish there was a real Fool's Gold!
MHarden More than 1 year ago
I am giving this book 3 stars simply because I was very disappointed with then ending. The book overall was good but the ending of a book is why we read, am i right? We want to see how the story is going to end and we all expect any anticipation or build up to resolve and be juicy and overly satisfying that we never want the story to end. With this book, once I got to the end, I was like, I did not get my times worth and investment. I am still trying to figure out how Rafe's mother May and Heidi's grandfather Glen are going to get married if Heidi and Rafe are going to get married? Am I the only one who has this question? Anyway, nothing against Susan Mallery and her Fools Gold Series. I love the books and have loved every single one of them up until this book. You never find out too much about the baby sister Evangeline. There was a brief scenario between the her and Rafe however, there doesn't seem to be a follow up book about her, which I think would be great. I still have so much Faith in Susan. She has restored my love of reading and I will forever be grateful to her. Just because one book did not end with the usual bang I get from reading her series doesn't mean the rest of series will be that way. I have 100 percent confidence that her books are going to be freaking awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
julieford More than 1 year ago
Fool's Gold is one of my favorite series. This is Rafe and Heidi's story. They are in a legal battle for Castle Ranch and while the judge is deciding who will win they are ordered to try and come to a compromise. As they work the ranch together, feelings grow. Both have issues based on past experiences, so they must learn to trust what they feel and trust in each other. This is also the story where we first meet Priscilla the elephant.
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
I love the way Susan Mallery writes. I have read some of the "later" Fool's Gold series - so went and found some of the earlier ones. Love the Fool's Gold setting - and enjoyed the romances in this book. However, I did have a bit of a struggle buying into the believability of how the judge ruled in the opening situation, upon which the rest of the story rests. And then didn't enjoy the lack of integrity in a decision Heidi made later on in the story. But ... then I told myself: it's a story; just go with the flow. Otherwise, I truly enjoyed the feelings expressed and developed throughout. So you bet I'll keep reading the "older" Fool's Gold books AND wait anxiously for all the newer ones yet to come.
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This book is good. &snakes &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun book! We had wild cows and goats. What fun. Falling in love. Two couples, a senior couple and a young couple. Well written, lots of laughs. Great addition to the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HollyReadsRomance More than 1 year ago
Heidi was adorable, Rafe was a jerk. Thankfully he turned around. Loved the whole Stryker family. Clay's story was my favorite, though.
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