Meet the Mitchell brothers of Fool's Gold, Californiafive gorgeous men who've left a trail of broken hearts in their wake
Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she couldshe ran. Stunned, Del left Fool's Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports.
Now ten years later, Maya's been hired to promote her hometown's new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward!
Although Del's not the type to hold a grudge, he's determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He's a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya's kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all
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 www.SusanMallery.com.
Read an Excerpt
Maya Farlow told herself there was a perfectly good explanation for the mayor of Fool's Gold to have a picture of a man's naked butt on her computer screen. At least she really hoped there was. She'd always liked Mayor Marsha and didn't want to find out something more than a little icky about the woman who was now her boss.
Mayor Marsha sighed heavily and pointed to the screen. "You're not going to believe this," she said, and tapped a key. The picture moved as the video played and the audio started up.
"The contest closes on Friday at noon. Text your guess to this number."
Maya stared at the computer. When the picture stopped again, she studied the phone number onscreen, the seventy-something female host frozen midgesture and the picture of the naked butt behind her. The naked, male butt, Maya corrected mentally, not sure the gender mattered as much as the nakedness.
"Okay," Maya said slowly, knowing that she would be expected to say something else. Possibly something, you know, intelligent. But honestly, she couldn't think of what that could be. How on earth was she supposed to make an old lady in a tracksuit talking about a naked butt contest make sense? Of course, that was a much happier concern than finding out Mayor Marsha watched porn.
Mayor Marsha pushed a couple of buttons on her computer and the image disappeared. "You can see the problem we're having with Eddie and Gladys's cable access show."
"Too many naked butts?" Maya asked before she could help herself. Stating the obvious was never helpful, but what on earth else was there to say?
Mayor Marsha Tilson was California's longest serving mayor. She looked exactly as she had twelve years ago when Maya had been a nervous sixteen-year-old, moving to a strange little town and hoping to fit in. The mayor still wore classically tailored suits and elegant pearls. Her white hair had been swept up in a tidy chignon. As a teenager, Maya hadn't known what to make of the mayor. Today, she thought the other woman was someone to be admired. Mayor Marsha ran her town with a firm but fair hand. Even more important to Maya, the mayor had offered her a job right when Maya had known she had to make a change in her life.
So here she was, the shiny new communications director for Fool's Gold, California. And the old lady with the naked butt contest was apparently now her problem.
"Eddie and Gladys have always been colorful," Mayor Marsha said with a sigh. "I admire their zest for life."
"And interest in younger men," Maya murmured.
"You have no idea. Their cable access show is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike, but we've been getting some emails and phone calls about some of the content."
"You need me to rein them in."
"I'm not sure if that's possible, but yes. We don't want to have to deal with the FCC. I know two of the commissioners and I don't want to be fielding calls from friends in high places, so to speak." The older woman shuddered. "Or explain what on earth is going on in this town."
After seeing a clip of the show, Maya would have guessed there was nothing anyone could say for the rest of the day that would surprise her more than a woman pushing eighty showing a naked butt on television and inviting viewers to text in their guess on which famous local celebrity it might be. Maya would have been wrong. Mayor Marsha personally knowing an FCC commissioner or two beat naked butts hands down.
So to speak.
She made a few more notes on her tablet. "Okay. I'll talk to Eddie and Gladys and explain about the indecency restrictions for broadcast shows."
She had a good idea what the requirements were but would have to look up the specifics. She had a feeling the TV duo were not the types to be intimidated by vague rumblings of FCC rules. She would have to go into the discussion armed.
"You are getting thrown in the deep end, aren't you?" Mayor Marsha smiled at her. "This is only your second day. I hope you're not regretting your decision to take the job."
"I'm not," Maya assured her. "I love a good challenge."
"Then consider yourself blessed." The mayor glanced at her notepad. "Next up we need to discuss our new video campaign. The city council wants a two-pronged approach. The first set of videos will be about our town slogan. Fool's Gold: A destination for romance. The second set will be in support of general tourism."
They'd discussed the new campaign at Maya's interview. "I have a lot of ideas for both," she said eagerly.
"Good. We're still coming up with more ways to use the videos. They'll be put on the town's website, of course. But we'll also want them to be used for commercials. Both on the internet and television."
Maya nodded as she typed on her tablet. "So thirty-second spots for sure, with additional cuts of the material in one- and two-minute lengths? The message varying, depending on the target audience?"
"I'll leave the technical aspects of it to you, Maya. Also, any ideas you have for increasing viewership of the videos would be appreciated. The city council is a dynamic group, but we're not tech savvy. You're going to have to lead the way on that."
She had some contacts, she thought. Not anyone at the FCC, but friends in advertising who would be happy to brainstorm ideas. It would be easy to edit material so that it appealed to different interests. Focus on the outdoor activities the town had to offer on ESPN and sports websites. Show family-friendly things to do on cable channels more traditionally watched by women, with links on websites that appealed to women with children.
While this kind of work was different from what she was used to, she was excited by the possibilities. Her previous job, at a local TV station in Los Angeles, had become too comfortable. And her attempts to get hired by the network had failed, leaving her at loose ends. The job offer in Fool's Gold had come along at exactly the right time.
"You're going to need some help," Mayor Marsha told her. "There's simply too much work for one person. Especially if we want the videos done by the end of summer."
Maya nodded in agreement. "I'd prefer to do the editing myself. There's an art to it." And trusting someone else with her content would be difficult. "But I could use someone to help preproduction and during the shoots."
"Yes. Plus an on-air talent person. Is that what it's called? Or is host a better word?"
Maya felt a minor twinge. After all, in a perfect world, she would be hosting the videos. But the truth was, the camera didn't love her. It liked her well enough, but not so much with the love. And in the business that was any kind of recorded media, passion was required. Which meant they needed someone who dazzled on-screen.
"Someone local?" she asked, thinking of all the sports celebrities in the area. Plus, she knew that action movie superstar Jonny Blaze had just bought a ranch outside of town. If she could get him, that would be a coup.
"I had someone else in mind," Mayor Marsha said.
As if on cue, the mayor's assistant knocked on the door and then stepped into the room. "He's here. Should I send him in?"
"Please do, Bailey," Mayor Marsha told her.
Maya glanced up, curious as to whom the mayor would consider for such an important job. There was a lot on the line for the town and Mayor Marsha always put Fool's Gold first. If he
Maybe it was a trick of the light, Maya thought frantically as her eyes focused. Or a mistake. Because the tall, broad-shouldered, slightly scruffy guy walking toward them looked alarmingly familiar.
She took in the too-long curly hair, the three-day beard and the oversize, well-worn backpack slung over one shoulder. As if he'd just stepped off a pontoon plane direct from the Amazon forest. Or out of one of her dreams.
Delany Mitchell. Del.
The same Del who had stolen her virginity and her eighteen-year-old heart and had promised to love her forever. The Del who had wanted to marry her.
The Del she'd walked out on because she'd been too young and too scared to take a chance on believing that she was the least bit lovable.
His jeans were so worn they looked as soft as a baby's blanket. His white shirt hung loose, the long sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He was that irresistible combination of disheveled and confident. The ultimate in sex appeal.
How could he be back in town? Why hadn't she known? And was it too late to bolt from the room?
Mayor Marsha smiled with pleasure, then rose. She crossed to the man and held out her arms. Del stepped into her embrace, hugged her, then kissed her cheek.
"You haven't changed at all," he said by way of greeting.
"And you've changed quite a bit. You're successful and famous now, Delany. It's good to have you back."
Maya stood, not sure what she was supposed to do or say. Back as in back? No way, no how. She would have heard. Elaine would have warned her. All living, breathing, handsome proof to the contrary, she thought.
Ten years later, Del still looked good. Better than good.
She found herself fighting old feelingsboth emotional and physical. She felt breathless and foolish and was grateful neither of them was looking at her. She had a second to get herself under control.
She'd been so young back then, she thought wistfully. So in love and so afraid. Sadly, fear had won out and she'd ended things with Del in a horrible way. Maybe now she would finally get the chance to explain and apologize. Assuming he was interested in either.
The mayor stepped back and motioned to her. "I think you remember Maya Farlow. Didn't the two of you used to see each other?"
Del turned to glance at her. His expression was an ode to mild curiosity and nothing else. "We dated," he said, dismissing their intense, passionate relationship with casual disregard. "Hello, Maya. It's been a long time."
"Del. Nice to see you."
The words sounded normal enough, she told herself. He wouldn't guess that her heart was pounding and her stomach had flopped over so many times she feared it would never be right again.
Was it that he didn't remember the past, or had he truly put it all behind him? Was she just an old girlfriend he barely recalled? She would have thought that was impossible, and she would have been wrong.
He looked good, she thought, taking in what was new and what was exactly as it had been. His features were sharper, more honed. His body bigger. He'd filled out. Grown up. There was a confidence to his gaze. She'd fallen in love with a twenty-year-old, but before her was the adult male version.
The puzzle pieces fell into place. Her meeting and discussion with the mayor. What was expected of her as far as promoting the town. The need for a well-known person to host the videos.
Her lips formed the word No even as her brain held in the sound. She turned to Mayor Marsha.
"You want us to work together?"
The older woman smiled and took her seat at the conference table, then motioned for Del to sit, as well.
"Yes. Del's back in town for a couple of months."
"Just for the rest of the summer." He settled in a chair that seemed too small for him. His grin was as easy as his posture. "You guilted me into helping."
Mayor Marsha's blue eyes twinkled with amusement. "I might have done what needed doing to get you to agree," she admitted. She turned to Maya. "Del has experience with filming. He's made some videos himself."
He shrugged. "Nothing that special, but I do know my way around a camera."
"As does Maya. I would like the two of you to collaborate on the project."
Maya told herself to keep breathing. That later, when she was alone, she would scream or keen or throw something. Right now, she had to remain calm and act like a professional. She had a brand-new job she very much wanted to keep. She loved Fool's Gold, and since moving back to town, she'd felt more content than she could remember ever feeling before. She didn't want that to change.
She could handle Del being back. Obviously he was 100 percent over her. Which was a good thing. She was over him, too. Way over. So over as to almost not remembering him. Del who?
"Sounds like fun," she said with a smile. "Let's set up a meeting to brainstorm what has to be done."
She was smooth, Del thought, watching Maya from across the small conference table. Professional. She'd stayed friends with his mother, so he heard about her every now and then. How she'd been promoted to senior producer at the local news station in Los Angeles, and how she wanted to get to a network position. Showing up in Fool's Gold was an unexpected left turn in her career path.
Just as unanticipated had been the call from Mayor Marsha, inviting him to be a part of the town's new publicity project. She'd phoned about fifteen minutes after he'd already decided he was coming home for the summer. The woman had mad skills.
"How about tomorrow?" Maya asked. "Why don't you call me in the morning and we'll set up a day and time?"
"Works for me."
She gave him her cell number.
Mayor Marsha's desk phone beeped.
"Excuse me," the mayor said. "I need to take this call. I'll leave you two to work out the details."
They all rose. Del and Maya walked into the hallway. Once there, he half expected her to bolt, but she surprised him by pausing.
"When was the last time you were back?" she asked.
"It's been a couple of years. You?"
"I came home to visit Zane and Chase a couple of months ago and never left."
Her brothers, he thought. Technically her stepbrothers, but he knew they were the only family she had. While he'd grown up in a loud, close-knit, crazy family, Maya hadn't had anyone but an indifferent mother. She'd made her own way in the world. Something he'd respected about her, until that trait had turned around and bit him on the ass.
"You're a long way from Hollywood," he said.
"You're a long way from the Himalayas."
"So neither of us belongs here."
"Yet here we are." She smiled. "It's good to see you, Del."
He thought the words, but didn't say them. Because it was good, damn her. And he didn't want it to be. Maya was born trouble. At least she had been for him. Not that he would make that mistake again. He'd trusted her with everything he had and she'd thrown it back in his face. Lesson learned.
He nodded at her, then swung his backpack over his shoulder. "I'll talk to you tomorrow."
Her smile faltered for a second before returning. "Yes, you will."
He watched her go. When she was out of sight, he thought about going after her. Not that there was anything to say. Their last conversation, a decade ago, had made everything clear.
He told himself the past was the past. That he'd moved on and was long over her. He'd gone his way and she'd gone hers. Everything had worked out for the best.
He walked out of City Hall and toward the lakefront. There was a continuity to the town, he thought as he looked around and saw tourists and residents coexisting. City workers were changing the banners, taking down those celebrating the Dog Days of Summer Festival and hanging the ones proclaiming the Maa-zib Festival. This time last year, they'd been doing the same thing. And the year before and a year from now. While there were a handful of recent businesses opening, truth was the heart of the town never changed.
Brew-haha might be a new place to get coffee, but he knew that when he walked inside he would be greeted, very possibly by name. There would be a bulletin board advertising everything from dogwalking services to upcoming civic meetings. That while some of the friends he'd had in high school had moved on, most of them had stayed. Nearly all the girls he'd kissed as a kid were still around. Most of them married. This was their home and where they felt they belonged. Their kids would grow up to go to the same elementary school, middle and high school. Their kids would play in Pyrite Park and go to the same festivals. Here, life had a rhythm.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A beautiful story in Susan Mallery style. I had difficulty putting the book down. It was great to revisit many of the characters from other Fool's Gold books. I'm looking forward to Madeline and Jonny Blaze's story. LA-TXN
I love every book in the Fools Gold series and this one doesn't dissapoint. We've all had the thought of what it would be like to meet up with "the" love from our younger years and Susan Mallery delivers the perfect story.
I usually love her books, but on one issue I have a problem. I am a beast cancer survivor and there is no way you can keep the surgery or treatment from your family. I had a lumpectomy and the surgery is quite extensive and you also have to check the lymph nodes to see if it has spread. She would have had two incisions, how would her husband miss them? I went though chemo and radiation and there is no way she could have kept this from her family. The rest of the book I really enjoyed I just couldn't get past the cancer part of the story.
Another successful addition to the Fool's Gold series! You can't help but fall for all the characters in this series. Susan Mallery has created a magical city with endearing people & places. I've enjoyed reading all the books in this series and all their antics. Go ahead folks, I dare you not to get hooked.
Another wonder Fools Gold story. No my favorite but not disappointed. Looking forward to the next one!
I have loved my visits to Susan Mallery's quirky town of Fools Gold including this time around. I enjoy each visit meeting new people and catching up with the others. I mean who doesn't enjoy keeping up with Mayor Marsha not to mentionEddie & Gladys, I know I do! If this is your first time to Fools Gold I strongly urge you to read Ms. Mallery's other books! I am very glad to know there will be more stories! Thank you Susan Mallery.
Fantastic! I loved this story. I seem to love each book even more than the last. Of course Mayor Marsha works her magic to provide a reason for Maya to come home. But lessons learned as children are hard to overcome. This is a story of love, family and second chances. And who would of thought--that Eddie and Gladys would do something besides they're usual troublemaking, something wonderful. The stories about Fool's Gold and the people in it are so good. I'd recommend the series to anyone.
Love Fool's Gold and this did not disappoint but my heart longs for updates on the original characters.
Wonderful second chance romance. Maya and Del had been in love ten years earlier, but their relationship hadn't worked out. Both of them left Fool's Gold to pursue other dreams. Now, through the efforts of Mayor Marsha, they have been recruited to work on publicity videos for the town, forcing them to deal with their past. Maya had been raised by a mother who bounced from man to man. Her happiest time had been when her mom was married to Zane and Chase's dad (Kiss Me), giving Maya the most stable life she'd ever had. That was when she fell in love with Del, but the strength of her feelings and her fear of being like her mother, caused her to break things off with him and leave. When her current plans didn't work out she accepted the opportunity to come home to Fool's Gold and work with Mayor Marsha. She's stunned when she finds out Del will be working with her. She has never forgotten him and still feels guilty about the way she broke up with him. She hopes to have a chance to apologize to him. Del grew up as the oldest of five boys in his family. His father is a famous and very self-centered artist who had no use for anyone who wasn't following in his footsteps. When Maya broke up with him, Del left Fool's Gold and got involved in extreme sports, and later made a fortune with the production of sports equipment. He has come back to Fool's Gold after selling his company to celebrate his father's birthday and to decide what is next for him. Working with Maya seems to be a good fit. I loved the fact that they talked about their past early on and moved past it. Because they had been friends first way back then, they were able to move forward as friends again. There's also no shortage of the attraction either, but both are determined to resist that. Maya knows that Del isn't planning to stay in Fool's Gold past the end of summer, and she has no plans to leave. Falling for him again would be asking for trouble. Del feels the same way. He had trusted his heart to her once and he wasn't about to do it again. I loved seeing how well they were able to work together. Each of them had strengths that, when combined, made the work they were doing go wonderfully. Spending that much time together also gave them a chance to get to know each other again. Del is more confident and comfortable with himself, now that he has had distance from his father. That confidence comes through in his work with Maya, especially when he opens up to her about his dreams for the future. He also begins to picture Maya as part of that future, and though his heart is all for it, his head isn't so sure about believing it. In the previous book Maya had made peace with her stepbrother Zane, and with her other stepbrother Chase, finally has a family relationship she feels that she can depend on. She also realizes that her own dreams for her future have been changing, thanks to Del's influence. Of course, with the rekindling of their friendship, the attraction they feel for each other strengthens also. Eventually it becomes too much to resist, adding another layer to the feelings growing between them. I loved how thoughts of a future together kept creeping into each one's dreams and ached for their fears of confessing their feelings and taking a chance. There are signs that it could happen until family issues and secrets create a rift that may be too much to overcome. Maya has remained good friends with Del's mom over all these years, and it's to Maya that Elaine turns whe
The Fools Gold series is one of my favorties out there and this book just landed at the top spot for me. Del and Maya are just so loveable. I love how they build a friendship they lost years prior and it also blossoms into a romantic relationship even if they refuse to acknowledge it at first. They don't just jump back in where they left off. They start to get to know each other again. Truely amazing writing from a truely amazing author..
A sweet read. Homecoming done Fool's Gold Style. I loved it.
check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The Mitchell brothers are the center of Fool's Gold and Del has returned to Fool's Gold for a quick trip to celebrate the father who wasn't really a father and while there he reconnects with a past flame from high school, but has the flame burned out or will the reconnect and end up together? There is a usual formula for romance books and this one followed it and I loved it! I loved the old love potential new fling situation and the will they/won't they part of the story. I also loved that there was a story that put a lot of focus on her work life and how for this character Maya still found joy and satisfaction from her work life.
I love the Fool's Gold series. This is a fun, easy read. I loved Maya and Del, I'm a sucker for second chance stories and enjoyed this one.
I am admitting up front that I am OBESSESED with Susan Mallery’s town of Fool’s Gold. The characters are relatable and fun. You would think 18 books in that it might be a bit stale but I am just as mesmerized by this story as I was the original. In Kiss Me (Fool’s Gold, #17), I was wondering how I would react to Maya as the main character since readers are told that she dumper the love of her life and never looked back. Thrill Me completely changed my mind about Maya and I loved her relationship with Del’s mother. I was surprised how fast Del seemed to forgive her and move on. I love Mayor Marsha and all of her schemes. I cannot wait for Marry Me at Christmas (Fool's Gold, #19).
Absolutely love the Fool's Gold series and this is a wonderful addition. I liked the new characters. I had trouble putting this one down. If you haven't read Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series, you need to start now. From the beginning.
Can't miss with Susan Mallery.
The third installment of this group of stories is just as captivating as the others. Once you start to read a trilogy of Susan's you will not stop. I am collecting the books in the sets of three so I can read the first, second and third. This time I started when she came out with the first. Had to wait a little for the second and third as I read each one in a little over a day. Going back now to read other sets. You will fall in love with these characters. It's a promise.
I love the Fools Gold series. It's great catching up with past friends and meeting new ones. Mayor Marsha rocks! I'm never disappointed. Susan Mallery delivers every time!
Susan is an auto buy for me. My grandmother and I enjoy reading her books. Another great read. Great characters, always great to see Mayor Marsha again
As always it was a fabulous read
Susan Mallery's Thrill Me takes us back to Fool's Gold, California for another romantic book. This is a second chance love. Maya and Del are our main characters who had a romantic relationship 10 years ago. Now they are back in town and must work on the same project. The storyline develops easily while making the characters and their emotions totally real to the reader. With this book Susan Mallery introduces the entire Mitchell family with Del and all his brothers. You can see how this will allow further stories involving these new characters. I recommend Thrill Me as a good romantic read.
Thrill Me is another wonderful story filling the lives of residents in Fools Gold. This is the story of Del and Maya. When they were younger they were engaged but Maya called it off because she was scared and so she lied to Del. They both left Fools Gold but have both returned and are now working on a project for Mayor Marsha. Although they have issues they learn to be friends which leads to love but again a lie may derail their relationship. This is a wonderful story.