Kiss Me by Susan Mallery
“After Phoebe Kitzke’s kind heart gets her suspended from her job in LA, she swears off doing favors—until her best friend begs for help on the family ranch in Fool’s Gold. Unfortunately, sexy cowboy Zane Nicholson isn’t exactly thrilled by the city girl’s arrival.
Thanks to his brother’s latest scheme, Zane has been roped into taking tourists on a cattle drive. What Phoebe knows about ranching wouldn’t fill his hat, but her laughter is so captivating that even his animals fall for her. One slip of his legendary control leads to a passionate kiss, but she’s exactly the kind of woman a single-minded loner needs to avoid.
In his arms, Phoebe discovers she’s a country girl at heart. Yet no matter how much the small town feels like home, she can’t stay unless Zane loves her, too…but is this cowboy interested in forever?”
Review: Last month, I went on a crazy Susan Mallery kick and read her entire Fool’s Gold series. Or at least what had been published up until that point. So, by the time I got to Kiss Me, I was basically sick of the entire town and the people. It took me a while to get into this book. And I ended up putting the book down about 50 pages in and taking break. However, this week it’s due back at the library so I decided to finish it. The break from Fool’s Gold was exactly what I needed. I found myself enjoying returning to the town and did like this book in the end.
This book, while set in the Fool’s Gold Universe, didn’t actually take place in the town. Most of the book took place on Zane’s farm or on the cattle drive he is forced into doing. The distance from Fool’s Gold was a nice change of pace and it made me a little nostalgic for the town. Kiss Me was set in a different vein then previous Fool’s Gold books in addition to the settting. It also took a while for Phoebe and Zane’s relationship to bloom. While there was chemistry between them, a lot of the book was the characters getting to know each other as well as the cattle drive they were on. Basically, they didn’t have sex til late in the book.
One of the issues I had with the Fool’s Gold series is there is almost always a scene where the heroine tells the hero she loves him and the hero just turns and walks out. In Kiss Me, Zane did have commitment issues, stemming from a bad childhood. As his relationship with Phoebe grew, he got over those issues and did not let them stand in the way of his happiness. Because he and Phoebe acted like adults, the reappearing Fool’s Gold Breakup party didn’t happen. Shame. Well, actually, I did like the breakup party the first few times it happened. But then it got old.. fast.
This book featured a dangerous, action sequence. Very similar to When We Met. I do like Mallery’s new trend of introducing somewhat dangerous situations to the more recent Fool’s Gold books, such as in Just One Kiss. These scenes spice up a sometimes monotonous small-town book and makes the story-line more interesting.
Finally, I really enjoyed the subplots in this book. Basically, Zane’s younger brother Chase, who Zane raises, hatched a get rich scheme which failed spectacularly and led to Zane being forced to host a vacation cattle-drive. The array hysterical minor characters on the cattle drive, such as Eddie and Gladys, Fool’s Gold favorites, a vegetarian couple and couple of foster kids, round out the story. The subplot with CJ and Thad and their experience with the foster kids adds a heartwarming edge to the story.
Overall, while not my favorite Fool’s Gold book, this book was a welcome break from the small town but yet still included familiar characters. It renewed my interest in the town and made me excited for Thrill Me.
Rating: 4 out of 5.