Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery ( tweet | web )
Part of the Fool’s Gold series.
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Target audience: Adult / romance / fiction
Keywords: childhood friends, single parents, family secrets
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley (Thanks!)
Summary: When she was a teenager Patience’s crush disappears without a trace. Fifteen years later, Justice returns to Fool’s Gold, to the only place has ever felt at home to find Patience and see if he can repair their friendship. Can Justice move on from his past? Can their old feelings bring on something meaningful now that they are adults?
Very few love stories can top the FRIENDS REUNITED SPARKS FLYING approach for me.
From the very minute Justice walks back into Patience’s life in Just One Kiss, the chemistry is alive and swirly; time after time, I couldn’t wait to get back to reading to see if these two characters could finally get it together.
It’s kind of a given in these novels that the characters come with a good amount of baggage. While Patience is wondering if she can trust Justice to stick around, Justice is having his own inner struggle. Is he a violent, heartless man like his father was? Is he capable of being in a loving relationship after the things that he has done? But, friends, how sweet and romantical is it that he cannot stay away from Fool’s Gold because of the Patience he grew up with? Swoon!
Even though Patience’s story is a little more prominent in this one and we get a little too much of Justice’s work partner when we could have had more kissing, I really liked the idea of Justice seeking solace in a place he was ripped from too suddenly as a kid. He’s so comfortable with Patience’s mom, and even Patience’s young daughter warms up to him and asks him if he can “protect” her from a boy at school. (Don’t worry; it’s an adorable little storyline.)
I swear, life just knows when I need a little bit of Fool’s Gold. There’s such a great sense of community there (even if everyone knows the other’s business) and it does truly sound like the perfect place to live. Even more so when Patience gets the capital to start her dream: a coffee shop called Brew-ha-ha. (How adorable is that?) There’s even talk of a Christmas stop opening up in the near future. (I love how I’m always trying to guess if this character will star in the next book.)
Again, I was totally charmed and I can pretty much call Just One Kiss my favorite Mallery book so far. A delicious couple that can’t keep their hands off each other, strong female bonds, a little suspense, and a celebration of small town living. With the warmer weather on its way, I can’t imagine a better pairing than a vacation and a Mallery romance.
(Two notes: 1) Even though this is book 11, feel free to start anywhere in the series. It’s definitely easy enough to catch on. 2) The characters in this book are in their late 20s and early 30s. In case you were curious!)