Susan Mallery to turn the Swiss miss into a modern romance heroine and to make that modernization work. As the star of Summer Days, the newest entry in the Fool's Gold series, Heidi is a tough ranch-owner who has no trouble standing up to the big, bad real estate developer who comes to town to take away her land. That Rafe Stryker is actually a Fool's Gold native with no love lost for his hometown adds a further layer of drama.
Summary: Locked in an unexpected land dispute, Rafe Stryker is trapped in the one place he vowed never to return to-the Castle Ranch in Fool's Gold, California. He made millions facing ruthless adversaries in the boardroom, but nothing could've prepared him to go head-to-head against stubborn, beautiful Heidi Simpson. No one is more surprised than Rafe to discover that he's finding Heidi-and life as a cowboy-much more compelling than he wants to admit.
For Heidi, the Castle Ranch is the home she's always wanted. After a life on the road, the vivacious blonde has finally put down roots. She won't give that up without a fight, not even for a man whose late-night kisses make her yearn to be a little less...wholesome. As the two turn from passionate adversaries to passionate, period, they'll discover that summer love can last a lifetime. – Goodreads
My thoughts: Like all the Fool's Gold books, Summer Days was a cute, light, entertaining read. Much of the story focused on life on the Castle Ranch on the edge of town, so there was a bit less of the kitschy-ness that was apparent in the last few novels. The flavor of Fool's Gold was still apparent, but didn't hamper the romance or weigh down the rest of the book.
Heidi was a very likable heroine, not at all the sweet damsel in distress I'd expected. She's strong-willed and strong-minded, and I respected her ability to create a good life for herself even if I didn't fully understand her choices (her unwavering support for her thief of a grandfather frustrated me). As a heroine, Heidi is very relatable. She has a close group of girlfriends that support and love her, even when she has too many margaritas. She blurts out embarrassing comments when she comes across a sexy man right out of the shower. Hey, we all have our moments, right?
Rafe began the book as a cookie cutter, hot, bad guy businessman, and his only redeeming quality at the beginning of the novel was his love for his mother. As he spent more time working on the ranch, though, he became more three-dimensional and it was easier to understand the desires that drives him. He's rather high-handed throughout the whole book, but his actions at the end of the story redeemed him in my eyes.
The attraction between Heidi and Rafe was apparent from their first meeting in court, but their romance develops as they spend time together. Things get pretty hot n' heavy at the Castle Ranch when they finally do act on their attraction. Of course, even though they're sleeping together, each has their own agenda that involves winning control of the ranch. Heidi's plot to save her land from Rafe was just downright stupid, though, and I was irritated that anyone as savvy as Heidi would stoop to it, no matter how desperate. She later acknowledged how ridiculous her plan was, thereby saving herself some respect from this reader.
Summer Days is a very good book to curl up with this time of year, and whether you've read every Fool's Gold book or none of them, you'll enjoy this one. Susan Mallery will publish two more Fool's Gold books this summer, Summer Nights and All Summer Long. I know Mallery has more Fool's Gold books planned, and I sincerely hope one of them features Rafe's younger sister – she was one of the most intriguing parts of the novel and was obvious heroine material from the get-go.
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
Length: 378 pages
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.