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When We Met: Fool’s Gold #13 by Susan Mallery with Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I have a review and excerpt from Susan Mallery’s new installment to her Fool’s Gold Series, When We Met.  Read an excerpt, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway where one US winner will get a paperback copy of the title!  Drawing will end on 23.59 EDT on 20 May: winner will have 24 hours to respond.

Book Review:

I’m a relative newcomer to the Fool’s Gold series, and starting in later in the series I never expected to like it as much as I do, or for it to continue to feel ‘fresh’, after such a long run.  But, I’m learning about the characters from earlier stories, and getting to know some of them as I devour their stories.

When We Met was no different:  Angel and Taryn are delightful characters who have strengths and scars that are perfectly suited to their connection, even when they don’t see it themselves. 

Angel is an ex-military man, and very much a man’s man, and is understandably concerned with everyone’s safety after his wife and son were lost in a car accident.  Being one of those men capable of handling himself and his own safety, the bodyguard training school is a perfect occupation for him post-service, and his gruff and often curt exterior hide a heart of gold.  His interaction with the little troop of 7 year old girls, daunting to any man, was absolutely adorable.   He’s noticed Taryn, who wouldn’t with her heels and slinky power suits, but has finally decided to make a move: not for long term, but for a no-strings fling.

Taryn is a woman in PR who has found a sense of confidence and comfort in her power suits and heels: looking the part of powerful, in control woman has her feeling more capable. She works with ex-NFL players, and is comfortable with their regime, no-nonsense approach to problem solving and very direct communication, and she has adapted that to her life. Like the suits, her personal demeanor and approach help to provide a sense of security and act like armor against simple hurts.

These two are adorable together, and the discovery that a fling just won’t be enough is mind-boggling to both of them.  Other characters from earlier books pop through for a quick check in and to interact with our couple, and the sweetness and caring in the real enjoyment that people seem to find in this community and with one another just shines through.  This is a small town that has plenty to recommend it, and lots of people just waiting to welcome you.

 

 

When We Met: Fool’s Gold #13 by Susan Mallery with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: When We Met
Author: Susan Mallery
Published by: Harlequin HQN
Format:Paperback
Source: Media Muscle/Book Trib
Pages: 352
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 26 minutes
Rated: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

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.

A copy of this title was provided via Media Muscle/Book Trib for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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.”

 

Giveaway

About Susan Mallery

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived.



 
 

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