Fool’s Gold Series:
Summer Nights: Shane Stryker and Annabelle Weiss
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Horse whisperer Shane Stryker is done with passion. This time around, he’s determined to meet someone who will be content with the quiet life of a rancher’s wife. And the fiery, pint-size redhead who dazzles him at the local bar definitely does not fit the bill. Small-town librarian Annabelle Weiss has always seen herself as more of a sweetheart than a siren, so she can’t understand why Shane keeps pushing her away. Shane has formed the totally wrong impression of her but only he can help her with a special event for the next Fool’s Gold festival. And maybe while he’s at it, she can convince him to teach her a few things about kissing on hot summer nights, too-some lessons, a girl shouldn’t learn from reading a book!
This is my second Susan Mallery read, I started with Summer Days which was the first Stryker brother Rafe, and I think I’ve been hooked into the Fool’s Gold world. The town is just so quirky and fun it’s hard not to get sucked in. Shane is returning after spending part of his childhood in Fools Gold, he always had fond memories of the town, its where his love of horses started. Now, he is back and starting his dream, his own ranch and breeding program of thoroughbred race horses. Annabelle is a librarian, she found Fools Gold after her disastrous first marriage, the town soothed her open wounds and now she is ready to possibly find love again, if that man can accept who she really is.
Shane, oh Shane, so incredibly sexy, so incredibly sweet, so incredibly a cowboy, so incredibly almost perfect if only you weren’t so dense. Shane was once married to a not so nice female who cheated mercilessly and always had to be the center of attention. So now he’s looking for a nice sedate woman who doesn’t set his blood on fire. So when he see’s Annabelle dancing on a bar, he knows she’s not the woman for him. Then when she shows up in his barn and sets his blood on fire he’s even more convinced this girl is nothing but trouble. Now, if only Shane could get his head out of his arse and see a good thing when it’s staring him in the face, even his horse is smarter than him! A one minute impression clouds the next several hundred pages of the book, which I understand we need some conflict but geez. Despite the fact that Shane has his head up his arse, I still loved the dolt, I just couldn’t help myself, he’s just such a nice guy. He tries to find a companion for an aging elephant, he gets roped into riding lessons for young girls, he teaches his million dollar horse to dance for Annabelle, you just can’t steel your heart against that kind of kindness, you just can’t and add to that, he’s a cowboy and you’re sunk. There is just no helping it. You’re in love before you know it, just like Annabelle.
Annabelle is cute, feisty and stubborn, once she gets her claws into an idea she does what she needs to see it through. Right now she wants a bookmobile and the way to achieve that is at the next Fools Gold festival, the only problem is she needs a dancing horse and a willing male sacrifice. Having never even sat on a horse before, she doesn’t know how she is going to get a horse to dance in front of a crowd let alone stay on top of one to do it, but she is determined. Enter Shane, the resident horse whisperer and her best friend’s fiancés brother. What she doesn’t know is the first time Shane see’s her, she’s on the top of the bar dancing, so now he sees her as a wild woman which couldn’t be further from the truth. What she realizes almost immediately following her impetuous dance is that all of her life she has been molding herself to fit someone else’s needs to be loved and decided that she would no longer do that again. So when she meets Shane at first she is attracted but doesn’t act on it but as time moves on they get closer and true to her word she does remain true to herself and who she is, which I was proud of her for, but this time she made a completely different mistake and decided she had to “prove herself” to him. Which come on, let’s face it, is just as bad as changing herself to please her current whatever. She shouldn’t have to prove herself to anyone. Despite this setback she does come to her senses by the end, yay Annabelle! As a character I really enjoyed Annabelle, she was a breath of fresh air, she was positive, upbeat and genuinely cared about everyone. She is someone you would be proud to call one of your best friends and would never let you down. I wish she would have smacked some sense into Shane earlier but hey no one is perfect, not even Annabelle.
Overall, it’s a light fun read, great for the summer. There is nothing not to like about this charming book, you’ll be sucked into Fools Gold like everyone else. If I was keeping a list of great beach reads this one would be towards the top of the list. If I had one complaint about this book it was all the baby talk, there was a lot of it, everyone was having babies or wanting babies. It was a lot and for someone whose biological cloak is NOT ticking it was a bit much. However, check this title out and be prepared to be charmed I sure was.
*Review copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review, no other compensation was given.