Title: When We Met
Author: Susan Mallery
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: April 29th, 2014
Stand alone or series: Series
How did I get this book: Review Copy
What made me want to read it: I love the Fool’s Gold series!
Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can’t be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool’s Gold, California, he’s cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he’s not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.
Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe-to-toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses.
Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.
When We Met is another great chapter in the Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallery. Although it is part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone. Taryn Crawford finds herself a resident of Fool’s Gold, California, after being outvoted by her business partners about relocating to the small town. A city girl at heart, Taryn is doing her best to adjust to the change of pace. Angel Whittaker is also a new resident of Fool’s Gold that relocated to work at as bodyguard trainer. Both carry scars from their past, some physical and some emotional. Neither of them is looking for a commitment, just a little no-strings-attached fun. Of course, even the best laid plans can go off course. Taryn finds herself falling for Angel, but he’s loved and lost so much already. Can she convince him that loving her is worth the risk?
I really like Taryn. She’s independent, strong, and not afraid to go head to head with any of the alpha males she works with at her PR Company. She is also very feminine, with an expensive taste in fashion. Her “take charge” persona covers up her vulnerable side from others. She’s been hurt by people that should have protected her as a child, which left her with major trust issues as an adult. Her struggle with moving on from her past and opening herself up to Angel is heartrending.
Angel has loved and lost in the past. He’s a protector, ex-military, and a badass alpha male. He is determined to never get emotionally involved with anyone again. He already failed once, and doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes. His past has left both emotional and physical scars that he will carry forever. He shields himself by closing his heart off to any emotional attachments. He can’t resist his attraction to Taryn though, and despite himself thinks of her as his woman. He struggles with the need to have her open up and place her trust in him while trying to keep himself emotionally unavailable. I like that he wasn’t afraid to show his softer side to Taryn. I think it helped her to connect with him when she saw his emotional pain manifest itself physically. He wears the hurt like a protective shield, and Taryn is drawn to him by her need to heal him.
Susan Mallery’s writing is flawless. She weaves a beautiful and poignant tale of two strong but damaged souls that come together in search of connection, someone to belong to. Taryn and Angel’s love story is not an easy one. They have many internal obstacles to overcome so they can be together. I loved seeing how Taryn and Angel brought out the best in each other. Both stubborn to a fault, they fight and love with a passion that was entertaining to read. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a good contemporary romance, especially if you like the ones where people get a second chance at a happily-ever-after.
“Angel was different in every way possible. When he looked at her with those cool gray eyes, she had no idea what he was thinking. That was kind of fun, She just hoped it didn’t mean he was a serial killer.”
“Of course I want you, Taryn. I’m breathing, aren’t I? Because it would take being dead to not want you. You told me you wanted me to work for it and I’m more than willing to do that. To wait to feel your skin against mine, your mouth, your breasts, all of you. But when we are together, it’s going to be my way. It’s going to be slow. There won’t be an inch of you I won’t touch, won’t please. I want to learn everything you like and then figure out how to do it so well I can make you come anytime, anywhere. And I will.”
**An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 5 out 5 stars