From New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery comes the story of secret desires finally fulfilled
After a family tragedy, former football hero Jack McGarry keeps the world at arm's lengtha challenge now that his PR firm has moved to neighborly Fool's Gold, California.
Larissa Owens knows where she standsJack sees her as just another one of the guys. No matter what her heart wishes, Jack's her boss, not her boyfriend. But then Larissa's big secret is revealed by her mother!
When Jack discovers the truth about Larissa's feelings, her touch suddenly becomes tantalizing, and he's not sure he wants to resist. But if he gives in to desire, heartache is sure to follow. Friendship or true lovewill Jack go for the ultimate play?
About the Author
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our livesfamily, 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 SusanMallery.com.
Read an Excerpt
"You know why I'm here."
Mrs. Nancy Owens made the statement with a firm voice and an unyielding stare. All of which were impressive.
Unfortunately for Jack McGarry, he didn't have a clue as to what she was talking about.
He knew a lot of things. He knew the L.A. Stallions wouldn't get to the Super Bowl this year, that his right shoulder ached when it was going to rain, that there was a saucy merlot waiting in his kitchen and that while every part of his being wanted to bolt right now rather than have this conversation, he couldn't. Because Mrs. Owens was Larissa's mother and even if she wasn't, she was old enough to be his mother and he'd been raised better.
Mrs. Owens sighed. "I'm talking about my daughter."
Right. But the woman had three. "Larissa?"
"Of course Larissa. Who else? You moved your business to this godforsaken town and my daughter moved with you and now she's here."
An excellent recap, he thought, struggling to find the point.
"You don't like Fool's Gold," he said, stating what was probably the obvious.
"I neither like nor dislike the town." Her tone implied he was an idiot. "That's not the point. Larissa is here.''''
He knew that, what with signing her paycheckfiguratively rather than literallyand seeing her every day. But Mrs. Owens already knew that, too.
"She is here with you." Mrs. Owens sighed heavily. "She loves her job."
Okay, fine. He was willing to admit it. He was just an average guy. Maybe a little taller, with a used-to-be-better throwing arm and a strong desire to win, but at his heart, he was pretty much like every other beer-drinking, truck-driving man in America. Ignoring, of course, the merlot in his refrigerator and the Mercedes in his garage.
Nancy Owens, an attractive woman in her early fifties, smacked her hands palm down on the table and groaned. "Do I have to spell it out for you?"
"Apparently so, ma'am."
"Larissa is twenty-eight years old, you moron. I want her to get married and give me grandchildren. That is never going to happen while she's working for you. Especially not after moving here. I want you to fire her. That way she'll move back to Los Angeles, find someone decent to marry and settle down."
"Why can't she do that here?"
Mrs. Owens sighed the sigh of those blessed with intelligence and insight most could only aspire to.
"Because, Mr. McGarry, I'm reasonably confident my daughter is in love with you."
Larissa Owens stared at the blue-eyed cat standing in the center of her small apartment. Dyna was an eight-year-old Ragdoll, with big, beautiful eyes, a sweet face and a thick coat. She had white fur on her chest and front paws and bits of gray on her face. She was the cat equivalent of a supermodel. It was kind of intimidating.
Larissa's instinct was always to rescue. Cats, dogs, butterflies, people. It didn't matter which. She knew her friends would claim she jumped in without thinking, but she wasn't willing to admit that. At least not without prompting. So when she'd heard about a cat in need of a home, she'd offered to take her in. She just hadn't thought she would be so gorgeous.
"You're a little overwhelming," Larissa admitted as she crossed to the small kitchen and put water into a bowl. "Should I dress better now that we're roommates?"
Dyna glanced at her, as if taking in the yoga pants and T-shirt that were Larissa's work wardrobe, then continued to explore the small apartment. She sniffed the sofa, checked out corners, studied the full-size mattress in the bedroom and totally ignored the small bathroom.
"Yeah, I know," Larissa said, putting the water on a place mat by the back door and then trailing after her. "The bathroom is really tiny."
There wasn't a counterjust a pedestal sink, a toilet and a stall shower.
Okay, so the apartment wasn't grand. Larissa didn't need much. Besides, the place was clean and the rent was cheap. That left her with more of her paycheck to give to her causes. Because there was always a cause.
"The windowsills are wide and you'll get a lot of light," Larissa told the cat. "The morning sun is really nice."
The small apartment came with one unexpected featurea laundry room. She'd tucked Dyna's litter box next to the dryer. The cat perused the facilities, then jumped lightly onto the kitchen counter and walked to the sink. She glanced at Larissa, her gaze expectant.
Larissa knew this was why she'd always resisted actually adopting an animal before. She'd told herself it was her lifestylethat she was so focused on saving them all that she couldn't be with just one. But in her heart, she'd been afraid she simply didn't have it in her. Now, as she stared into big blue eyes, she knew she'd been right.
"What?" she asked softly. "If you just tell me what you want, I'll do it."
Dyna looked at the faucet and back at her.
"From the tap?" Larissa asked, then turned on the cold water.
The cat leaned in and delicately lapped at the water. Larissa grinned in triumph. Maybe she could conquer this pet thing after all.
She waited until Dyna was done, then picked her up. The cat relaxed in her arms, gazing at her for a second, before letting her eyes slowly close. From deep inside, came a soft, rumbling purr.
"I like you, too," Larissa told her new roommate. "This is going to be great."
She settled Dyna on the sofa, then glanced at the clock. "I hate to bring you home and run," she said, "but I have to get to work. It's only for a couple of hours and then I'll be home." She grabbed her battered handbag and headed for the front door. "Think about what you want to watch on TV tonight. You get to pick."
With that, she closed the door and raced down the stairs to the ground level of her apartment building, then out onto the street.
She'd only been in Fool's Gold a few months, but she loved everything about the town. It was big enough to be thriving, and small enough that everybody knew her name. Or at least enough people to make her feel as if she belonged. She had a great job, friends and she was a comfortable 425 miles from her family.
Not that she didn't love her parents, her stepparents, her sisters, their spouses and kids, but sometimes she felt a little overwhelmed by so much family. She hadn't been sure about leaving Los Angeles, but now she knew it had been the right thing to do. Her mother's two-day visit, while enjoyable, had been an intense campaign to get her to move back home.
"Not happening," Larissa told herself cheerfully.
Ten minutes later she walked into the offices of Score, the PR firm where she worked. The foyer was huge, with high ceilings and plenty of life-size pictures on the wall. There was a photo of the four principles of the firm, but the rest of the wall space was devoted to all things Jack, Kenny and Sam.
The three guys had been NFL stars. Sam had been a winning kicker, Kenny a record-breaking receiver and Jack was the brilliant and gifted quarterback.
There were pictures of them in action on game day and others of them at various star-studded events. They were smart, successful, good-looking guys, who didn't mind exploiting themselves for the betterment of their company. Taryn, their lone female partner, kept them in linesomething of a challenge, considering the egos she was dealing with. Larissa was Jack's personal assistant. She was also the guys' private masseuse.
She enjoyed both aspects of her job. Jack was easy to work for and not overly demanding. Best of all, he supported her causes and let her manage all his charitable giving. As for being the company masseuseeach of the men had played a rough sport professionally. They all had injuries and ongoing pain. She knew where they hurt and why and when she got it right, she made them feel better.
Now she headed directly for her office. She had phone calls to return. There would be a Pro-am golf tournament in Fool's Gold in a few weeks. She had to coordinate Jack's schedule with the publicity folks from the tournament. Later she would go over requests from a charity that helped families with a member in need of an organ donationthe cause Jack supported the most. Sometimes he was asked to reach out to a family personally. Other times he provided direct funding for the family to stay near a child in the hospital. He'd done PSAs and been in several print and internet campaigns. Larissa was his point of contact. She could gauge how much he was willing to do at any given time and when it was better for him to simply write a check.
Her other duties were of a more personal nature. He was between girlfriends, so there were no gifts to buy or flowers to send. Because, in that respect, Jack was a fairly typical guy. He liked women and they liked him back. Which meant there was a steady stream of them through his life. Lucky for him, his parents lived on the other side of the world. So he didn't have a mother demanding that he settle down and produce grandchildren.
She'd barely taken her seat when Jack walked into her office.
"You're late," he told her, sitting across from her and stretching out his long legs. His words sounded more like a statement than a complaint.
"I told you I would be. I had to see my mother off and then go pick up Dyna."
One dark eyebrow rose. "Dyna?"
"My new cat." She rested her elbows on her desk. "I told you about her, remember?"
Which was so like Jack. "That's because you weren't listening."
"She's a rescue."
"What else would she be?"
She waited for him to say more or tell her why he was here. There was only silence. The kind of silence that she understood as clearly as words.
She'd first been hired in 2010 when Jack had left the L.A. Stallions and joined Score. He'd been a silent partner since the firm's inception and Larissa would love to know how Taryn had reacted to Jack changing from the guy who had fronted her the cash to an actual working member of the team. She would guess there had been fireworks. Or maybe not. Jack and Taryn had a past.
Larissa had graduated from college with plans to work for a nonprofit. Paying jobs in her chosen field had been impossible to find and she'd quickly learned she couldn't support herself on volunteer work. So she'd gone looking for another job.
She wasn't the type of person who enjoyed faceless corporations and had settled into waitressing while putting herself through massage school. Then a friend had told her about a job as a personal assistant at a PR firm. That had sounded like a better paying option than her shifts at the diner.
Her interview had been with Taryn. It had lasted two hours and had ended with words that Larissa had never forgotten.
"Jack is a good-looking guy with beautiful eyes and a great ass. But make no mistake. He's not interested in more than a couple of nights with any given woman. If you fall for him, you're an idiot. Still interested?"
Larissa had been intrigued. Then she'd met Jack and she'd been forced to admit Taryn hadn't been lying about Jack's appeal. She'd taken one look at his studly manliness and had felt the shivers clear down to her toes. But instead of flirting with her, the former quarterback had rubbed his shoulder and sworn.
She'd recognized the pain and reacted instinctively. She'd dug her fingers into the scarred and tense muscles, all the while explaining that she was only a few weeks away from graduating from massage school. She'd gotten a job offer thirty seconds later.
In the past four years Larissa had become a part of the Score family. By the end of the second week, she'd ceased to see Jack as anything but her boss. Six months later, they were a good team and close friends. She regularly chided him about his choices in women, made sure he used ice and anti-inflammatories when his shoulder acted up and offered a daily massage to any of "the boys" and Taryn. She loved her job and she loved that they'd moved to Fool's Gold. She had a new kitty waiting at home. Life was very, very good.
She returned her attention to Jack and waited. Because that was the kind of silence in the room. The one that said he had something to tell her.
"You seeing anyone?"
The question surprised her. "You mean like a man?"
He shrugged. "You never said you dated women, but sure. Either sex will do."
"I'm not dating right now. I haven't met anyone in town and besides, I'm too busy."
"But it would be a guy?"
Amusement danced in his dark eyes.
Jack was one of those men blessed by the gods. Tall, handsome, athletic, charming. He pretty much had it all. What very few people knew was that there were demons he carried around with him. He blamed himself for something that wasn't his fault. A trait Larissa could relate to, because she did it to herself all the time.
"Yes, it would be a guy."
"Good to know." He continued to study her. "Your mother is worried about you."
Larissa slumped back in her seat. "Tell me she didn't talk to you. Tell me!"
"She talked to me."
"Crap. I knew it. She stopped by, didn't she? I knew there was something going on." Her mother was nothing if not determined. "Let me guess. She wanted to know if I was seeing anyone. I hope you told her you didn't know. Or did you tell her I was? Because that would seriously help."
"She didn't ask me if you were seeing anyone."
"Oh." She straightened. "What did she ask?"
"She wants me to fire you so you'll move back to Los Angeles, fall in love, get married and give her grandchildren."
Larissa felt heat flare on her cheeks. Humiliation made it hard to think, let alone come up with something reasonably intelligent to say.
"She already has two married daughters," she muttered. "Why can't she leave me alone?"
"She loves you."
"She has a funny way of showing it. Are you going to fire me?"
Jack raised both brows this time.
She drew in a breath. "I'll take that as a no. I'm sorry. I'll do my best to keep her away from here. The good news is Muriel is due in three months and the new baby will be a distraction." In the meantime Larissa would figure out a way to convince her mother that she'd moved to Borneo.
"Anything else?" she asked.
"Yeah, there is. Your mother said you're never going to settle down and get married because you're secretly in love with me."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jack and Larissa embark on an affair to In a effort to "get over" the inconvenient attraction they can no longer ignore which leads to disaster. Each must resolve feelings about the past and their own self-worth before they can reach their full potential. Many familiar Fool’s Gold characters from earlier novels and several interesting critters add interest and humor to the story. Susan Mallery has written a great book that is romantic, funny and very entertaining! Fool's Gold comes to life in each successive trio of books. It is a town one would love to visit. As always, while reading Until We Touch, Susan Mallery's words create a movie playing in the reader's mind. Larissa's causes and Jack's support of them create laugh out loud situations. The supporting characters in the book add so much to the storyline. Getting pieces of the lives of the other people from previous books is very welcome. I eagerly look forward each summer to the next trio of books and the new people we will be introduced to and seeing how they adapt to life in Fool's Gold. There are the quirky citizens of the town and their festivals, the deep friendships between the women and a happy ending. One might think that it is totally predictable, but Susan manages to put in plot twists that leave you thinking “I didn’t see that coming”. It’ a good read that is easy enough to bring out to the beach, but has enough soul and heart to make you care about the characters and wonder what the future holds for them. Jack is one of the principals in SCORE, a PR firm and Larissa is Jack’s masseuse/assistant. They have a very comfortable and symbiotic relationship. Larissa is forever finding causes and rescuing animals. Jack is always happy to bankroll Larissa’s projects and contribute to various charities, as long as he doesn't have to be emotionally involved. Larissa’s mother throws a curve ball into this relationship by telling Jack that Larissa is in love with him. Every comfortable part of their working and personal relationship is scrutinized as they wonder if this shocking statement is true. Both Jack and Larissa are forced to look deep inside themselves to evaluate their lives. Jack is a good guy that suddenly feels overwhelmed. He takes it out on the one woman that he has the deepest feelings for but, doesn't understand that until her mother has the "talk" with him. Not a spoiler, you learn that in the first few pages of the book. Susan Mallery has strong storytelling capabilities and the power to evoke powerful emotions from her readers. This book is an excellent example of her talent.
Until we Touch is the last of the Fools Gold series for now. It is the story of Jack and Larissa. They are part of the PR firm SCORE, Jack is one of the partners, Larissa is his assistant and also the masseuse for all four partners. Jack is a handsome ex pro football player, the ex part due to an injury. He has had a troubled past that has led him through life always being on guard, not letting anyone in. Larissa has a similar issue, out to save the world with her causes, but maybe using them to ignore her own needs and wants. One day, a talk with her mom changes everything. As moms have a habit of doing, Larissa's mom pointed to the facts right in front of her face, and as much as she denies it, reality creeps in and Larissa realizes her mom is right. Jack and Larissa spend a lot of time together. When Larissa tells Jack her true feelings towards him, everything changes. He can't be around her the same as he could before. She knows his past with other women, he doesn't get involved. She comes up with a plan that will let her get over her feelings. The adventure they took me on left me laughing and crying. I loved Jack and hated him, and then loved him all over again. I adored their story and the way I felt reading this. It was so real. They were so real. Fool's Gold comes off as a place you want to go to, raise your family and live. With their friends around them, their journey is wonderfully entertaining. I found myself lost in this book. I couldn't put it down; I had to find out what was going to happen with them next. The bumps in the road, the people they met along the way, but the entire time I found myself just wanting them to figure out that maybe, just maybe if you do allow your heart to open up and take a chance, the rewards can be oh so well worth it. Susan Mallery really did out do herself this time.
Until We Touch is the final Fool’s Gold book of the summer. We get Kenny’s story as a Christmas novella, but not until later this year. I don’t want time to pass any faster than it already is, but I really, really want to read that book so I hope it arrives soon. Thankfully the last Fool’s Gold book of the summer is not published at the end of the summer. There is still much summer left to be enjoyed and this book makes perfect summer reading. We’ve watch Taryn and Sam fall, now it’s Jack’s turn. Instead of falling for a local girl, he falls for the girl next door, so to speak. Larissa is part of the Score family; she’s Jack’s assistant and a masseuse to all the partners. She moved with them from LA to Fool’s Gold. This book has one of my favorite openings of all time. I think most of us can relate to a meddling mother who just wants her children to be happy; and married, preferably with grandchildren for her to spoil. Larissa’s mom takes Jack on a journey to discover that the best things are often right in front of you and letting others in is a very good thing. Jack and Larissa seem to struggle the most with letting others in. However, when they finally open themselves up, it is a wonderful experience for them and the reader. I routed for both of them to get what they wanted as the story progressed. This is not necessarily the best place to start if you haven’t been a regular visitor to Fool’s Gold. However, if you are a frequent guest you will settle into Jack and Larissa’s story quite nicely. New visitors should start with When We Met to ensure the greatest enjoyment.
Without a doubt I think this is one of Susan Mallery's best books. I could not put this book down. Great work Susan.
I enjoy life in Fools Gold, a place for lovers and their pets
Until We Touch is without a doubt my favorite book yet regarding the Scores characters in the Fool's Gold series. I have been waiting for Jack's story (somewhat impatiently) since April, and it definitely did not disappoint. Larissa's optimism and huge heart were a wonderful complement to Jack's wounded, stoic demeanor. My only complaint is that the book ended too soon. I can't wait to read Kenny's story!
It was not as good as other in the series
I love it. Susan Mallery is one of my favorite authors. The Fool's Gold series is great. Until we Touch is a very fun & insightful book. Jack & Larissa were best of friends & it took someone to bring to their attention that hey there just might be something there. of course it cause a lot of stress for each. Love can be strange like that, Jack had closed hislef off to love & Larissa use the causes for others to cover for her. Her mom puts it out there to Jack & as the saying goes she put the big elephant in the room. Each one was dealed with it the only way they could. Aguring & basically try to not be around each other. I really love the book It make me laugh as well as at times made me sad. I would highly recommend the book to everyone. Actually I recommend the whole Fools Gold series.
I love reading the Fool's Gold series. They are full of emotions, humor and a great storyline. This story of Jack & Larissa has both love and the fear of being hurt or losing a great friendship in it. It really had me wondering if there would be a happy ending. Looking forward to the next one in the series.
3.5 stars. Typical Fool's Gold novel...girl loves guy, guy's a jerk, he apologizes and they live happily ever after. How is it that the guy is forgiven so easily after an apology? The stories in this series are starting to all sound the same. More drama and variation in the storyline, please!
Another Great Foos Glod Book. I loved Jack and larissa's Story! Can't wait for the next book by Susan!
Hott Synopsis: “Because, Mr. McGarry I’m reasonably confident that my daughter is in love with you.” One little sentence and it completely changed a friendship. What was Larissa’s mom thinking? Sure, it’s possible that Larissa has become entirely too comfortable in her friendship with Jack McGarry to look elsewhere for a lasting and real relationship. Yes, it’s completely reasonable to admit that Larissa isn’t going to get married or have children until she gets out of her comfort zone. But to have ruined it like this? Jack knew the only way to deal with this problem was head on – so he asked Larissa flat out and got the answer he wanted. She isn’t in love with him. Except now, every time she’s near he can’t help but look at her like’s she’s, well, dinner. Can Jack and Larissa get their easy friendship back before these illicit thoughts ruin everything? Hott Review: LOVED EVERY MOMENT!! What I liked: I absolutely lived through this book — I felt like I was each of them and couldn’t help but to be overjoyed and heartbroken while reading. These characters were absolutely perfect in their flawed realistic way and I adored both of them. What I didn’t like: I cried through the entire last chapter. More… Author: Susan Mallery Source: Harlequin via Netgalley Grade: A+ Steam: Adult — a couple of pages that are descriptive but in a romantic sort of way Setting: California Series: Fool’s Gold, 15
I give this book 5 stars. Good read, love this Author. I would recommend this book.
Jack and Larrisa work at Score which is a PR company in the small town of Fool's Gold. Jack is one of the partners and Larrisa is his assistant and masseuse for the 'boys'. A big part of Larrisa's life is trying to save all animals who need help in any way. Then she spots Percy, an 18 year old boy who is homeless, and takes him in (well, takes him to Jack's), helping him to succeed in life. Until We Touch takes us through Jack and Larrisa's lives and tells us why they can't settle into relationships. There isn't much I can say about Susan Mallery's writing that hasn't already been said. She is amazing at spinning a tale and keeping readers hooked. I didn't like Larrisa much in previous books in this series because she sounded too over-the-top about saving everything - mostly animals. I had a problem with her in this book but started liking her about half way through. I enjoyed this book about two people who both had issues with getting romantically involved. I loved the surprises about exactly what and why they had their issues. I loved the ending. The way it wrapped up was another surprise.
Major disappointment! This was my least favorite of the series. Both the main plot and main characters were flat, particularly Jack, who remained that way throughout the story. I found their "love story" hard to accept on all levels. Can you really be in love and not know it??? The redeeming factors in the book were the other subplots with the introduction of some new characters.