When We Met, by Susan Mallery (early review)

April 21, 2014 Book Reviews 2 ★★★★

When We Met, by Susan Mallery (early review)When We Met by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #13
Published by HQN Books on April 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Also in this series: Three Little Words, A Fool's Gold Christmas, Christmas on 4th Street, Before We Kiss, Until We Touch, Yours for Christmas, Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Marry Me at Christmas, Best of My Love
Also by this author: Three Little Words, A Fool's Gold Christmas, Christmas on 4th Street, Before We Kiss, Until We Touch, Yours for Christmas, Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Marry Me at Christmas, Best of My Love, The Ladies' Man, Second Chance Girl

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.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Review

I enjoyed When We Met as much for the exploration and growth of Angel’s character as for the romance itself. Angel has intrigued me for several books now. Like many of Susan Mallery’s heroes (and not a few of heroines as well), he carries a lot of pain that he’s been hiding — or perhaps hiding from. When Fool’s Gold’s insightful mayor persuades him to help out with a scout troupe, she knows exactly what she’s doing… but when Angel finds out exactly who and what he has agreed to take on, he panics and has to ask Taryn for help.

The scenes with Angel, Taryn, and their scouts are funny and heartwarming, and they show a softer side of Angel that we haven’t really seen before. We get to know Taryn through those interactions as well, and also through her friendships with the three football players she works with. She’s strong and sophisticated, but she, too, has had to overcome a painful past that has left her almost unable to trust.

When We Met feels like one of the stronger books in an always enjoyable series. The chemistry between Angel and Taryn is sizzling. I’m not usually a fan of the “I’ll get physically involved but I won’t risk my heart” type of relationship, but it is obvious pretty early on that these two are both just kidding themselves about that. They are perfect for each other.  But it’s not the steamy romance that makes the book work so well for me; it’s how much and in what ways each of the main characters grows, and the blend of humor and poignancy that pervades their dealings with their troupe, their friends, and each other.

One final note: The more of this series I read, the more I want to know about the town’s mayor. She has an uncanny — one could even say supernatural — sense of who is in need and what will help them heal. She reminds me in some ways of Celeste Blessing from Emily March’s Eternity Springs series, but she’s less spiritual and more assertive. Part of me hopes I’ll find out her backstory someday, but I suspect her character works best as a bit of a mystery. She’s a delightful character regardless, and I’ve begun looking forward to her occasional appearances.

 

four-stars

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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