Summer Days
by Susan Mallery
(HQN, $7.99, PG-13) 978-0-373-77683-2
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Rafe Stryker grew up in Fool's Gold and never thought he would be back. He grew up very poor with the responsibility at a young age of looking after his mother and younger siblings after his father died. He was grateful for the charity that the community gave his family, but he was extremely embarrassed.

Rafe has become very successful since leaving Fool's Gold and is not happy that he's going back to all those memories. He's on his way into town to meet his mother, May. She bought the old Ranch (Castle Ranch) they used to live and work in, but soon found out that it was a scam. The man, Glen, who sold her the property, is not the actual owner. He took May's money to help a friend pay for a life saving cancer treatment.

Heidi Simpson is Glen's granddaughter and the owner of Castle Ranch. While she is not happy with Glen for what he has done, she is not surprised at his behavior. She's worked very hard to make a life for herself after they stopped traveling with the carnival and his scam has put Castle Ranch in jeopardy.

The matter is quickly taken to court and the judge is baffled at the situation. In order to give Glen and Heidi more time to come up with a plan, the judge has delayed her final decision and stipulated that in the meantime the two families are to share the property. The only people who seem to be happy with the situation are May and Glen who have started to show interest in each other.

Rafe is not ready to concede and decides to stick around until the situation resolves. He surprises himself by being calmed by Heidi and even finds himself wanting to help and protect her. The more time they spend together, the closer they get and both realize that a compromise may be possible.

It's the beginning of a new chapter in Fool's Gold. Susan Mallery has continued her series with the first of three books set to release this year. Summer Days is book #7 in the full series and, like the previous stories, this one is light-hearted, engaging, and humorous all at the same time. While some may think the plot is far-fetched, the characters are memorable and pleasant enough to distract from that. For Susan Mallery fans or newcomers to the series, I can easily recommend this book.

--Nichole Howell


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