Published by HQN Books on May 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
Also in this series: Three Little Words, A Fool's Gold Christmas, Christmas on 4th Street, When We Met, Before We Kiss, Until We Touch, Yours for Christmas, 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, When We Met, Before We Kiss, Until We Touch, Yours for Christmas, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Marry Me at Christmas, Best of My Love, The Ladies' Man, Second Chance Girl, Why Not Tonight
Destiny Mills believes passion has its place—like in the lyrics of the country songs that made her parents famous. After a childhood full of drama and heartache, she wants a life that's calm. Safe. Everything that Kipling Gilmore isn't. Her temporary assignment with the Fool's Gold search and rescue team puts her in delicious proximity to the former world-class skier every day. Part of her aches to let go for once…the rest is terrified what'll happen if she does.
Though an accident ended his career, Kipling still lives for thrills—and a hot fling with a gorgeous redhead like Destiny would be a welcome diversion. Yet beneath his new coworker's cool facade is a woman who needs more than he's ever given. With her, he's ready to take the risk. But love, like skiing, is all about trust—and before you soar, you have to be willing to fall.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Hold Me is a solid entry in the Fool’s Gold series, which is one of my go-to series for warm, funny, small-town romances.
I like the heroine, Destiny; I can completely understand how her messed-up childhood led her to avoid love, passion, sex, and even close friendship. Half the fun of the book was knowing that plan wasn’t going to work out for her in the long run, and wondering which domino would fall first. I also loved watching her with her sister – learning to finally show her feelings and let Starr into her heart. I did have a hard time with her denial of music; I understood it intellectually, but music is such a part of my life that I can’t imagine suppressing it to the extent Destiny does.
Starr, Destiny’s half sister, is remarkably sweet and normal given what she has had to deal with in her young life. She is deeply hurt by her father’s indifference to her, but she’s got a fairly level head on her shoulders, and the only acting out she does is understandable. Destiny had a bit more of their father’s attention in her younger days, but she seems a bit too accepting of her father’s attitude toward Starr. In her shoes, I’d have been furious at him.
As for Kilgore, the hero, on the whole I like the protective, fix-everyone’s-problem thing he’s got going on. (I can really relate; I’ve got that fixing thing too.) Most of the time, he’s pretty sensitive to Destiny’s feelings and needs, but a few times I had to roll my eyes at how badly he was bungling things (especially during and after one of their early physical enounters) or how oblivious and high-handed he was being.
Hold Me does rely on an overused romance trope (which I won’t elaborate on, because spoilers, but which is employed so often in this series that I’ve almost come to expect it.) On the other hand, it mostly avoids another trope I was starting to find repetitious in the series: Mr. I’m-never-getting-married, who can’t see his own feelings until he walks out and makes the woman and himself utterly miserable. Kilgore skirts the the edges of this trope, but he’s actually a bit more aware of his feelings and not averse to commitment well before the end of the book.
The search-and-rescue (SAR) management software described in the book is really fascinating. I did a quick Google search, and programs like this have in fact been developed in the last few years, notably the MapSAR software designed by EPSI. I’m still wondering where Mayor Marsha is coming up with the money for the program and the Fool’s Gold SAR team, but it’s a smart move for the town, given their location near the Sierra Nevada.
One thing that puzzles me about this series. . . Fool’s Gold is always described as a small town, but they have a hospital and a branch of the university as well as a ski resort and a summer camp. And now a search and rescue team. Um… sounds more like a small city to me. Yet somehow everyone seems to know everyone else, and it certainly has the feel of a small town. The other thing that puzzles me is Mayor Marsha. To all intents and purposes, she’s a normal human being. One of the books is even about her granddaughter coming to Fool’s Gold. But she seems to know secrets about people without being told, and now she apparently has an anonymous donor with very deep pockets willing to front much of the cost of the SAR program. I keep hoping that someday, we’ll find out a bit more about Marsha and her mysterious sources.
If you’re unfamiliar with Fool’s Gold, you can pretty much jump in anywhere, but it does get easier to keep track of and identify the secondary characters once you’ve read several of the books. At this point, I’ve read most of them, but I always enjoy returning to the town – and the series. I know I can count on an entertaining contemporary romance filled with real, flawed, and likable characters, and all the warmth and humor I’ve come to expect from a Fool’s Gold book.