Summer Nights, the latest entry in Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series, and she's a charmer. The sexy librarian knows who she is and what she wants. Sadly, Shane Stryker, who appeared so promising as a secondary character in Summer Days (Fool's Gold #7), proves he doesn't have the character or backbone to deserve Annabelle.
Summary: Horse whisperer Shane Stryker is done with passion. This time around, he's determined to meet someone who will be content with the quiet life of a rancher's wife. And the fiery, pint-size redhead who dazzles him at the local bar definitely does not fit the bill.
Small-town librarian Annabelle Weiss has always seen herself as more of a sweetheart than a siren, so she can't understand why Shane keeps pushing her away. Shane has formed the totally wrong impression of her but only he can help her with a special event for the next Fool's Gold festival. And maybe while he's at it, she can convince him to teach her a few things about kissing on hot summer nights, too-some lessons, a girl shouldn't learn from reading a book! – Goodreads
My thoughts: Summer Nights rivals Finding Perfect (Fool's Gold #3) for the weakest entry in Susan Mallery's otherwise enjoyable series. The quaintness of the California mountain town of Fool's Gold was a bit over the top in this book, but the biggest problem was with Shane, the hero. Quel jerk. He has all the requisite parts for a strong and sexy cowboy, but he quickly proves that he may have been kicked in the head by a horse a few too many times. Damaged by his ex-wife, Shane is determined to think the worst of Annabelle despite all evidence that she's really a decent person that any man would consider a catch. He continuously compares Annabelle to his wild ex-wife simply because of one incident at the beginning of the book. And despite the great times he spends with Annabelle, he willfully treats her like a drama-driven diva.
Annabelle herself was a cute character, and I loved that Susan Mallery created a heroine who defies popular perceptions of librarians. She's quirky, energetic, fun-loving and attractive. She's well-liked throughout the town, and she has a close group of friends who always have her back. Essentially, she's the girl next door and someone you'd happily invite to a girls' night out. I just wish she found a hero who deserved her. I also wish we'd spent less time focusing on yet another charming and wonderful Fool's Gold festival. I think I'm in the minority among readers, but I'm wearying of the never-ending cycle of town events.
Happily, All Summer Long, the ninth book in the series (to be published July 31, 2012) is one of the best entries in the series and erased the disappointments of Summer Nights. Though she is skilled at creating the small town world, Susan Mallery truly excels at character-driven romance, and that's what this most recent book lacked.
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Length: 378 pages
Other books in the Fool's Gold series: Only Mine, Only Yours, Summer Days
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.