Now I didn't read these two books in chronological or publication order; I randomly picked up TWO OF A KIND first. In this installment of the Fool's Gold series we get events that happened just before those that took place in THREE LITTLE WORDS. It turns out that Gideon Boylan, a Fool's Gold radio sensation, is another of the mysterious military men that are somehow drawn to this sweet, happy small town. Talk about scarred and messed up. Gideon was held prisoner a few years back and was left for dead for quite a long time, wherein he suffered unimaginable torture and witnessed the deaths of his friends on his team. The man has serious complexes about who he is as a person, what he deserves (or rather, doesn't), and what he can handle.
Then Felicia Swift of the memorable night in Thailand years back relocates to Fool's Gold. She's scarily brilliant, lonely, and desperately hopes to make her mark in the town as a normal woman, one who wants to get married and have a family (though she's scared she'll fail at both). When things heat up between her and Gideon, very fun sexual shenanigans ensue leading them both into a "practice" relationship, where Gideon'll show Felicia the ropes as to what it's like so she can be confident in all future romantic endeavors. As if he's doing her a favor. AS IF.
"I wonder if Patience and Justice will have children." Her voice was wistful. "That would be nice."I love this chick! Felicia's differentness, brilliance, and disarming humor are responsible for the slow decimation of Gideon's walls. I loved seeing him scramble to fill in the gaps, then scramble at the hard, unexpected things life throws at him. These two together are fun and great to watch navigate those murky waters familiar to men and women across the ages.
He fought the need to back away. "You looking for a white picket fence?"
"If you mean I want what it represents, then, yes. In reality, I've never found that kind of fencing to be efficient. The upkeep alone would be daunting."
Okay--he didn't know how she did it. One second he wanted to run, and the next he wanted to pull her close and kiss her senseless. She could look him in the eye and tell him the specifics of her sexual interest and yet be nervous about taking a job because of her emotional connection to the town.
"You didn't come for coffee," she said.
She shook her head. "You're checking on me. You want to know if I'm okay, which is very sweet considering I'm the one who initiated our sexual encounter."
"I'm fine. The physicial intimacy was better than I remembered, which is extraordinary. I have an excellent memory. I don't want you to worry. I don't feel that I've bonded with you as a result of my orgasms, but if it starts to happen, I'll handle it myself."
Paperback / 384 pgs / June 25th 2013 / Harlequin HQN / Goodreads / $7.99
I received an e-galley of this book from Harlequin via Netgalley.
Funnily enough, JUST ONE KISS takes place just before TWO OF A KIND, featuring the love story between Patience McGraw and Justice Garrett, childhood friends and first crushes who were separated very abruptly. As it turns out, all those years ago Justice was actually in the Witness Protection Program (where better to hide than Fool's Gold?) and the day Patience was to tell him of her feelings, he was swept away by the marshals guarding him.
Mallery really seems to have a hang on all my favorite plot lines and romantic ploys in a romance book. That's what makes these books fun, engaging, and sweetly (slightly cheesily) romantic. I don't mind them as books because they're meant to be what they are: happy reads. Even though I wasn't too keen on the scenes where Patience and her girlfriends would gather together--they just weren't as enjoyable to read--I enjoyed the story. I liked the writing better this time around as well.
There's a slight ominous feel to the plot as we're all waiting for one of Justice's ghosts from the past to emerge and make things scarily thrilling. (It's funny to see such huge events take place in such an ordinary town.) Mainly, though, like with the last two books, I loved reading as Patience and Justice tried to figure things out, stumbling over their mutual sexual attraction and becoming more involved in each other's lives.
I love happy endings and these books are the perfect way to get some.
Paperback / 384 pgs / May 28th 2013 / Harlequin HQN / Goodreads / $7.99
I received a signed copy of this book at Book Expo America.