Saturday, January 28, 2017

Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery (Fools Gold #14)

Rating: ★★★ | 05/27/2014 | Contemporary Romance | 8 hrs 57 minutes | HQN 

It’s the job of a lifetime for event planner Dellina Hopkins when she gets asked to plan a weekend party for Score, a local sports PR firm. The only problem ? Her contact for the event is Sam Ridge, Score’s VP of finance, former pro football player….and her Valentine’s Day one night stand. Dellina just wants to plan a party, but love has other plans.

Now, you may be wondering why a sports PR firm run by three former NFL players is located in a small town in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada. To that all I can say is. . . you must be new here.

My first Fool’s Gold was Hold Me and it holds one of my lowest review on this blog and just re-reading that review made me mad all over again, but as much as I hated Hold Me's plot I was charmed by parts of Fool’s Gold and wanted to dig back in. Before We Kiss brings back that setting that grabbed me and has a wonderful balance of humor and romance as Sam and Dellina build a very slow burn romance that worked waaay better than the one in Hold Me.

My favorite thing about these books is all the Competency Porn. Mallery really digs into the nuances of her heroines chosen professions and it's fun to follow along with them. I know an event planner and Mallery seems to have captured the work they do expertly.

I picked this book up because I needed something kind of light after finishing some heavier series and there is just something so cathartic and emotionally satisfying about Fool's Gold. I couldn't figure out what it was until I got to a scene where Sam, who is new to Fool’s Gold , looks out the window :

"After parting the curtains, he stared into the night. Not that there was anything to see. They were in a residential area of Fool's Gold. Everyone was asleep. Nothing bad ever happened here."

I think what makes this town feel so cozy (aside from everyone and their mother falling in love) is that nothing bad ever happens in the town's limits. Yes, there are darker background stories involving abusive fathers, war widows and career ending injuries but  once a character comes into town they are protected and cared for by everyone else in the town.

Tanya Eby lends her pleasant voice to this audiobook. While some of the men sound similar, she has a wide range for female voices.There are 20 + books in this series so kudos to her for creating all those unique voices for each couple. I did this on CD (Library FTW) and at the end and beginning of each CD there is just this delightful music. I really enjoyed it. It was fun.

My only criticism is at the Mallery tends to have her characters carry idiot balls a lot of the time to make a plot work. I was really annoyed by one where Dellina had to basically have Sam mansplain billing to her. Also at the last 11% Mallery throws in like two quick plot lines that threw off the perfect pacing. I think she was trying to really drive home the 'look how nice everyone in town is' and it felt heavy handed.

Before We Kiss officially has me on the Fool's Gold train and if I find out this town exists, I am packing my bags immediately.

In this book we get to see the backstory of how Kipling Gilmore, the injured Olympic Skier protagonist of Hold Me ended up in Fool's Gold. He will eventually accidentally gets a virgin pregnant while drunk and then immediately marry her even though she's not interested in a relationship. Needless to say the moment he agrees to come to Fool's Gold I was like:

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