All Summer Long by Susan Mallery ( website | tweet )
Part of the Fool’s Gold series.
Publication Date: 7/31/2012
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: mother/daughter relationships, second chances, stereotypes
Format read: ARC from NetGalley. (Thanks!)
Summary: Charlie is used to people misjudging her, but who would believe she would have this in common with Clay, an ex-butt model who has been living it up in the big city? Convinced she can help others see him for more than his good looks, she propositions him with hopes of getting over her own painful past.
I had heard the rumor that All Summer Long sizzled even more than the previous book in the Fool’s Gold series, Summer Nights.
And golly, that rumor was true.
From the start, Charlie and Clay have this easy chemistry, and despite the lack of trust she has had in men all of these years (and rightfully so) she has a hunch about Clay. Can he possibly get her to the place where she can date men again and not shrink away from their touch?
I’ll give you one guess.
For all the touchy feely goodness and the slow, sensual scenes (that are so ridiculously hot) Mallery manages to weave in a sub-storyline about stereotypes and the roles and expectations of sexes in society. Charlie is a firefighter and Clay is an ex-model. Charlie gets treated like she’s one of the boys and Clay’s career seems to make it okay for every single woman to hit on him and think he’s all about having a good time and doesn’t have a brain in his head.
It was nice to see that from both sides.
In addition, Charlie’s mom, a famous dancer, makes an unexpected (and unwanted) appearance in Fool’s Gold and Clay is trying to get a business off the ground. Despite these interlaced storylines, the book remains light and fast-paced but still suffers from Mallery’s tendency to overcompensate and repeat certain key phrases and emotions.
All of that is forgotten, though, when Clay and Charlie’s relationship overwhelms their agreement and the two start to open up to one another. While their steamy scenes are more than comparable to Shane and Annabelle’s in Summer Nights, there’s this urgent intimacy that resonates with them and makes their relationship even sexier and more meaningful. (Although at one point Annabelle confides in Charlie about her relationship with Shane: “We each want to be the person who gives more.” I just loved that.)
While Mallery’s work is a bit formulaic it’s all in good fun and, like the best romance novels, so incredibly addicting. Fool’s Gold feels like a little piece of paradise, and it’s lovely that you can just jump in and out of the series as you please, as well as reunite with old characters and try to decipher who will take center stage in the next volume.