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cover64404-mediumKiss Me

Fool’s Gold series

by Susan Mallery

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery creates the small-town destination for romance in charming Fool’s Gold, California—where a loner cowboy finds the one woman who can capture his heart

After Phoebe Kitzke’s kind heart gets her suspended from her job in LA, she swears off doing favors—until her best friend begs for help on the family ranch in Fool’s Gold. Unfortunately, sexy cowboy Zane Nicholson isn’t exactly thrilled by the city girl’s arrival.

Thanks to his brother’s latest scheme, Zane has been roped into taking tourists on a cattle drive. What Phoebe knows about ranching wouldn’t fill his hat, but her laughter is so captivating that even his animals fall for her. One slip of his legendary control leads to a passionate kiss that convinces him she’s exactly the kind of woman a single-minded loner needs to avoid.

In his arms, Phoebe discovers she’s a country girl at heart. Yet no matter how much the small town feels like home, she can’t stay unless Zane loves her, too…but is this cowboy interested in forever?

It’s time to visit Fool’s Gold again – yea!! Usually when I review one of these, I talk about how great it is to visit the little town and have a reunion with friends from previous stories but we really didn’t get that here … and I didn’t mind at all! We pretty much stay on the Nicholson ranch and get to know new people, but that doesn’t stop it from being quirky and fun and sweet and oh-so addictive just like all of the others in the series. The characters, even though they are new, are just as real and detailed as any that we’ve gotten to know over the years.

Phoebe grew up in foster care and never really had a family. It’s caused her to have a few issues, including never feeling quite good enough. So she’s spent her adult life being a pleaser … which is how she ends up on the ranch. Her best friend asks her to spend a week helping out the family and true to form she can’t say no. I love Phoebe – she’s funny and silly and caring and honest. She’s an LA girl thru-and-thru but once on the cattle drive she embraces it with everything she has. And that includes a little flirtation (or more) with Zane.

Zane has seen all the bad things that can happen when you give your heart to a woman … and he doesn’t plan on ever going there. He also knows what it is like to live with regrets so he’s trying everything he can to make sure that his little brother doesn’t have to experience it too. But it isn’t exactly causing warm, fuzzies at home. When quirky and appealing Phoebe drops into his life it not only has him looking at his relationship with his brother in a new light, but she’s also proving impossible to resist.

Like usual, there are wonderful secondary characters and a hint at the next book. There’s also a side piece involving a couple who can’t have kids but somehow have found themselves chaperoning a couple of foster kids during the drive. It’s an absolutely fantastic story of learning to let go of what you thought you wanted in order to embrace the wonders right in front of you. By delivering something so touching and well-developed as a small accessory tale with limited pages, Mallery continues to show her skill at giving readers characters and stories that mean something.

From start to finish, I couldn’t put down Kiss Me. But I didn’t expect anything less, because Mallery has always excelled at writing laugh-out-loud, give-a-little-sigh, cheer-for-the-HEA romances.

(Since these are new characters this is absolutely the perfect place for new readers to start, so don’t be shy if this is your first Fool’s Gold story. You are going to feel right at home.)