All Summer Long (Fool's Gold Series #9)

All Summer Long (Fool's Gold Series #9)

by Susan Mallery

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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Former underwear model turned entrepreneur Clay Stryker has loved, tragically lost and vowed that he'll never risk his heart again. After making his fortune, the youngest of the rugged Stryker brothers returns to Fool's Gold, California, to put down roots on a ranch of his own. But he's frustrated to discover that even in his hometown, people see him only for his world-famous…assets.

Firefighter Chantal (Charlie) Dixon grew up an ugly duckling beside her delicately beautiful mother, a feeling reinforced long ago by a man who left soul-deep scars. Now she has good friends, a solid job and the itch to start a family—yet she can't move toward the future while she's haunted by painful memories.

Clay finds an unexpected ally, and unexpected temptation, in tomboyish Charlie, the only person who sees beyond his dazzling good looks to the real man beneath. But when Charlie comes to him with an indecent proposal, will they be able to overcome their pasts and find a love that lasts beyond one incredible summer?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455896752
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 07/31/2012
Series: Fool's Gold Series , #9
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 2.81(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.39(d)

About the Author

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives—family, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt

"Don't take this wrong, but seriously, a cat of your size needs to keep all four paws firmly on the ground."

Charlie Dixon continued up the ladder, aware that Daytona was watching her with serious contempt in his large, green eyes. The black-and-white cat was about twenty-six pounds of attitude. His climbing skills might be excellent, but his ability to get down a tree left much to be desired. At least once a month he got his big furry butt to the top of Mrs. Coverson's sycamore and yowled to be rescued. About an hour later, the old lady would panic and call the fire department. Daytona, named for Mrs. Coverson's love of all things NASCAR, glared and hissed and threatened, but in the end, he submitted to being safely carried to the ground.

"Come on, you," Charlie said, climbing the last two rungs of the ladder. "You know you're getting hungry and I'm your ride down to your food bowl."

On cue, the cat flattened his ears and gave an impressive growl.

"Cheap talk, big guy," Charlie said, then reached for the cat. Daytona took a swipe at the back of her hand, but the movement was halfhearted at best. He was already inching toward her, then allowed himself to be picked up and held against her.

"Don't worry," someone called from the sidewalk. "I've got your ladder."

Charlie sighed heavily. "Civilians," she muttered. "How do they always find me?"

Daytona didn't offer a response.

Charlie looked down and saw some guy hovering by the base of her ladder. "I'm fine," she yelled. "Step back."

"Someone needs to hold the ladder," the dark-haired man insisted.

"Not really."

Charlie tucked Daytona securely under one arm and started her descent. She went quickly, aware that Daytona's attention span was often shorter than the trip to safety. When he started squirming, they were both in danger of tumbling. This time she cut it a little too close.

Daytona pushed all four paws against her, then twisted in an attempt to climb down the rest of the way by himself. Charlie hung on. Not only didn't she want to fall herself, there was no way she was going to face old lady Coverson with a less-than-perfect Daytona beside her.

"Stop it!" she told the cat.

"Need me to come up?" the guy asked.

Charlie briefly wondered how much trouble she would be in for kicking him with her steel-toed boots and if it would be worth it. Some of her best friends were civilians, but honest to God, there were people who totally lacked common sense.

"Stay back," she yelled. "Step away from the ladder and don't interfere."

"I'm not interfering. I'm helping."

Before Charlie could respond, several things happened at once. Daytona gave one final push for freedom. Charlie leaned over to make sure she kept a grip on the squirming cat. The ladder lurched, the idiot below started up and everyone had a moment to rediscover the power of gravity.

Daytona fared the best. He used his claws to dig in to the side of the tree, then scurry down. Charlie came in second. She was maybe six or seven feet from the ground. It came up fast, but instead of hitting the sidewalk or even the grass at the base of the tree, she slammed into the guy who'd been trying to "help."

As she lay on top of the idiot and sucked in air, Charlie watched Daytona stroll over and give a last annoyed hiss. The cat stalked away, his tail high. Charlie rolled off the guy, aware that at five-ten and well-muscled, she weighed a whole lot more than was considered fashionable. No doubt he'd had the wind knocked out of him. With luck, only his pride was hurt and then she could lecture him on why it was never good to be stupid. At worst, she was about to have to call for an ambulance.

"You okay?" she asked, shifting into a kneeling position and glancing at the man for the first time. "Did you hit your head and—"

Crap and double crap. This wasn't some random stupid person, she thought, taking in the perfectly shaped jaw, the firm full mouth and, when his lids slowly opened, the dark eyes fringed by long lashes. This was possibly the best-looking man on the planet.

Clay Stryker, model, movie butt double. His ass had been flashed in magazine ads, calendars and on the big screen. He had a killer body and his face was even better. He was the kind of man for whom, on the promise of a smile, the earth would change its rotation.

She'd met him a couple of times. At her friend Heidi's recent wedding to Clay's brother, for starters. Plus, Clay lived at the ranch where she boarded her horse. They'd nodded at each other over stalls and hay bales. But she'd never seen him up close before. Not in the flesh, at least. Had never been so near to a flawless human.

Reluctantly, she had to admit, it was a little unnerving. One corner of that perfect mouth turned up. "Hey," he said. "I saved you."

Charlie snorted. "Not likely. Did you hit your head? Because if you did, I'm hoping it knocked some sense into you."

The slight curve became a smile. "You're welcome." He sat up.

Charlie put a hand on his shoulder. "Hold on there, hotshot. Are you injured? You were at the bottom of our pileup. Make sure nothing's broken."

"My ego's a little bruised that you don't appreciate what I did for you."

"You knocked me off the ladder and nearly killed us both. No, you don't get a cookie." She stood, then held out her hand to help him up. "Can you stand?"

The smile turned into a grin. Damn, the man was pretty, she thought absently. Despite the fact that it had literally been a decade since she'd found any man attractive, there was something about his near godlike perfection that was appealing.

He ignored her hand and stood in one easy movement. "I'm good."

"Charlie, are you all right?"

"Fine, Mrs. Coverson," Charlie said, trying not to clench her teeth. Her dentist had warned her that she needed to stop grinding her jaw when she was annoyed. Which was much of the time.

Mrs. Coverson stood on the front porch, Daytona in her arms. Behind her, Michelle Banfield, who worked with Charlie, stood with a half-eaten brownie and a look of guilt in her eyes.

"I was coming back out to help," Michelle mumbled. "Um, but there were these brownies."

"That's okay," Clay told her. "I was here."

It was all Charlie could do not to smack him upside the head.

"Here is the one place you shouldn't be. It's illegal to interfere with a firefighter at work. You do it again and I'll have you arrested."

Instead of being appropriately intimidated, Clay grinned. "You're tough."

"You have no idea."

He stuck out his hand. "Glad I could help."

"You didn't—" She shook her head. "Whatever. Fine. Thank you. Now go away."

She shook hands with him, conscious of his fingers engulfing hers. And he was taller, by at least four inches. Interesting facts, but of no earthly use.

First of all, she had yet to conquer her manphobia and if she decided she wanted to, it wouldn't be with anyone like him. She would look for safe. Nice. Normal. Second, even if she was silly enough to be attracted to him, which she wasn't, there was no way in a million billion years that a guy like him would be interested in a woman like her. Men like him fell for supermodels and…and…women like her mother. Well, back when her mother had been younger.

Charlie knew what she was. Strong and capable. She could wear the fifty pounds of gear her job required without breaking a sweat. She could haul hoses up ten stories of stairs, no problem. She was self-sufficient. She knew how to change a tire and fix a leaky faucet. She didn't need a man. Except maybe for one teeny, tiny thing.

"Ah, Charlie?"

"What?" she snapped.

Clay glanced at their still-joined hands. "Did you want me to leave? Because if you do, I'm going to need that back."

Damn. She released him instantly. "Sorry."

"No problem." He flashed a smile that would send a lesser woman to her knees. "I'll see you at the ranch."

The ranch, she thought blankly. Oh, right. He lived there; she boarded her horse there. They would run into each other. "Sure."

He waved at the two women on the porch. "Have a nice day, ladies."

They both nodded without speaking. As he strolled away, Charlie saw Michelle and Mrs. Coverson drop their gazes to his butt. Charlie allowed herself a quick look before heading toward the house and a freshly baked brownie.

Sugar was easy, she thought. Deliciousness followed by a blood-sugar spike. But men—not so much. And Clay was worse than most. Because for a split second, when he'd tossed her that last smile, she would have sworn she felt something deep down in her belly.

Not attraction. That was too strong a word. But a flicker. The faintest whisper. The good news was that part of her wasn't as dead as she'd thought. The bad news was she'd discovered that fact by being in the presence of a butt model with the face of an angel. A man who could have any woman he wanted, simply by asking. Or maybe hinting.

His world was ruled by those who were flawless. She was broken. Maybe not where anyone could see and she'd sure learned how to fake normal. But she knew the truth.

Still, progress had been made. A flicker today, a tingle tomorrow. Give her a millennium or two and she might find her way to being just like everyone else.

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All Summer Long 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
RomanceReaderTX More than 1 year ago
Charlie Dixon never felt like a pretty woman. Her mother was a famous ballerina, and Charlie was big like her dad. She always knew that she was a disappointment to her mom, who wanted her to be a girlie girl. Overall, Charlie is happy with herself. She's tall and fit. Strong, which she needs to be to do her job as a firefighter. There's just one problem... she was date-raped in college, and since then, she hasn't been able to be with a man. She freezes when they kiss her. She knows that's not healthy, and she needs help. She's sick of feeling afraid. Enter Clay Stryker, maybe the sexiest man in the world... but Charlie is drawn to him because he is genuinely kind and decent, with a heart that's even more attractive than the rest of him. Although ALL SUMMER LONG deals with some serious topics, it's not at all depressing. To the contrary - I laughed from beginning to end. It was touching and emotional and heartwarming, with a happy ending that made my heart sing. Loved it! My favorite Fool's Gold book so far!
SaraBetty More than 1 year ago
If you haven't been reading all of the Fools Gold Books you have really missed some great people and some super love stories. To be fully appreciated you need to read these books starting with Book 1... Charley is the "ugly duckling" daughter of a famous ballerina who has found herself in Fools Gold where she is a paid fireman... She has good friends and is much respected... Clay Stryker is a famous underwear model who comes to town and appreciates Charlie (real name Chantel) for who she is and because she sees him as something other than a nice "butt"... Their story is very real and you will love them as individuals and as a couple. Ms. Mallery tells a great story and this is one of her really good ones... All will enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Susan Mallery and enjoy the anticipation to visit Fools Gold again
lovemyAFvet More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for "ugly duckling" tales and All Summer Long didn't disappoint on delivering a sensuous and very romantic story. Charlie is a likable heroine and Clay the kind of man we're all looking for. My only reservation with the novel is the stock presentation of the plot; it was just too slick and predictable. So while I liked the characters I think their story deserved to be told with a bit more originality and daring. With this said I do feel that newbies to Romance will find All Summer Long an eloquent read.
StephanieLynn78 More than 1 year ago
If I had to pick a favorite book out of the latest Fool’s Gold trilogy, I think it would be All Summer Long. Charlie and Clay’s story really tugs at your heart strings. Charlie is a tough firefighter who was deeply hurt in the past and is struggling to get past it so she can be whole and healthy. Clay is a former underwear model who wants to be seen as more than a pretty face and taken seriously. Susan Mallery weaves a story of overcoming difficult pasts and risking it all for love again. You won’t be disappointed with All Summer Long. If there’s only one book you decide to read, make it this one. You will not be disappointed!
665512meb More than 1 year ago
always great reading and fun stories that keep you interested till the end...then we have to wait for the next book..
Mom2Nico More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! The characters were so great. I liked that Charlie had such a traumatic experience but managed to work through it. And Clay is someone you would think should be cocky and arrogant, but was so down to earth and loving. I have read every Fools Gold book and this was one of my favorites!
izt More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful conclusion to the three Fool's gold novels this year. Charlie has so much more heart and spunk then even she knows. Start with book one and read all the way thru- YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buy all of the Fools Gold Series if you can afford it otherwise, check your local library or your friends and see if they have any available. The entire series is wonderful and you'll fall in love with the town, the characters and of course, the extremely well written words. Kudo's to Suan for another great job well done and I can't wait for book #10 to come out. Happy reading everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
misskim64 More than 1 year ago
I loved how Charlie throws out her suggestion to Clay and how he helps her to become whole again. This is a steamy, sensuous novel about love and family dynamics...enter Charlies mom! a great story for a great summer! Well worth the read!
greeneyesma More than 1 year ago
Susan came through again. Charlie has had a hard past and found a happy life in Fools Gold, and Clay, an underwear model coming home to be with his family and put down roots come togeter in a unconventional way. Loved how thier story unfolded!
clay_nook More than 1 year ago
Another Good Fools Gold Story Susan Mallery does it again with All Summer Long! Great summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Read ! I loved that the firefighter was female and the underware model/butt double was male. A little twist from the usual roles. I have read all the Fools Gold books and until now Liz and Ethan's story has been my favorite,now Charlie and Clay's story has tied it. Charlie has many issues to overcome and does so with many tears and many laughs. You csn't help but root for Charlie with her tough facade. One thing I did miss in this story was the Stryker farm animals but maybe they will pop up in future books.
Gramma65 More than 1 year ago
I really loved all the books in this series, I was really happy when Charlie finally found someone. This series makes you feel you know the people and live in their town.
bklvr16 More than 1 year ago
I really liked Susan Mallery's latest Fool's Gold book All Summer Long. The firefighter falls for the underwear model. I wasn't sure how this match up would work, but Charlie and Clay are a great pair. Clay, the former underwear (and movie butt double) comes home to Fool's Gold to be closer to his family and start a business. Charlie is a member of the Fool's Gold Fire Department and decides she wants to have a child. But because of a traumatic experience when she was younger she has issues with dating and men in general. You have to read All Summer Long to find out how Charlie & Clay find love and happiness.
Nat47 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book like all the others in the series. I can't wait for the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE this series. Can't wait til the next book comes out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book in the "Fool's Gold" Series. Wonderful light reading for a Fall afternoon. You do not have to read the other books in the series to enjoy this however you will have a better understanding of characters that are mentioned if you have. The whole series is fun. Enjoy!
Cidmyers More than 1 year ago
I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire Fool's Gold series. The town, the loveable characters, the scenery. It makes me want to pack my bags and move! I couldn't put the first book down...and I kept on going all summer long. I hate that it is over...and so I will just have to read them from book 1-9 again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great seies each story just keeps getting better and better cant wait for the next one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Susan Mallery did it again. A heart warming story about the journey of two individuals that have trouble with leaving the past behind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to admit I couldn't wait for Charlie's story. It turned out to be well worth the wait. I loved it and would recommened Susan Mallery to anyone who likes funny, sweet, loving stories with wonderful characters. It's a great summer read.
cx3ane More than 1 year ago
I love Fool's Gold! I love how All Summer Long starts out! Summer Nights is a great book & this is a great book, too!! Charlie is strong. When your only option is to be strong, then you have to be strong. I know what it is like to be strong. My daughter is disabled & has been since she was 2. I am glad Susan Mallery wrote about a strong woman we can look up to.
janeeyre01 More than 1 year ago
I don't know how anyone can give this book less than a 5 star rating.Charlie and Clay were so sweet. I love Charlie's spirit and Clay's determination. It was a great wrap up for this great summer trilogy. I will be reading it again. Charlie's mom a force all of her own.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Charlie and Clay's story. They are great characters and clearly bring out the best in each other. However, Charlie's "solution" to her problem was realllllly far-fetched; though I have to admit that it was ultimately handled well and of course seemed way more fun than traditional therapy. The story definitely hinged on it as a plot point, so I was more than willing to suspend belief this time in the name of fiction. Two things bothered me just a bit, though. One is that the treatment of Clay by many of the women of the town was just over-the-top inappropriate. I realize that Mallery was trying to make a point, but shouldn't a town that prides itself on its strong female presence and history be a bit more sensitive to blatant gender discrimination? Secondly, the ending/resolution seemed a bit rushed. The rest of the story was well-paced and developed, but the end had more of a slap-it-on-ending feel to it. Ultimately, though, I really liked this book. This trilogy of stories has definitely been the strongest of the series so far, and I am really looking forward to Dante and Evie's story. (Side note--is it just me, or do the cover models for this series seem completely random? They never appear to match what the characters should really look like, IMO. Not that they're not pretty, but still....)