Pub Date: August 2010
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
FTC: Digital galley from Netgalley
When Pia O'Brian's best friend dies, Pia expects to inherit her cherished cat. Instead, the woman leaves Pia three frozen embryos. With a disastrous track record in the romance department and the parenting skills of a hamster, Pia doesn't think she's meant for motherhood. But determined to do the right thing, Pia decides to become a single mother. Only to meet a gorgeous, sexy hunk the very same day.
A former foster-care kid now rich beyond his wildest dreams, Raoul Moreno runs a camp for needy children in Fool's Gold, California. After his last relationship, Raoul thought he was done with women and commitment. Still, he can't get sweet, sexy Pia out of his mind—and proposes a crazy plan. But can such an unconventional beginning really result in the perfect ending?
Susan Mallery's fictional town of Fool's Gold continues to be a sweet setting for her contemporary romance trilogy. We learn far more about the people in the community this time and less about the physical setting. Good for readers of the rest of the trilogy, but it may weaken the sense of place for those new to the series.
I had some major suspension of disbelief issues with this book. Pia O'Brian is supposed to be hyper-organized. But her approach to her friend's legacy is anything but. She doesn't research the heck out of the procedure until after Raoul does. She is completely unprepared for the reality of being a parent, and I just found that inconsistent with the rest of her character.
Raoul last appeared in Susan Mallery's Bakery Sisters trilogy as a teenager, so it was a bit odd to see him in his 30s here. Some kind of romance land hyper-aging process, apparently. It was cute, but also distracting. He does provide a quiet strength that Pia needs, but I found his determination to stay aloof kind of phony. I'm not sure I ever really bought into it.
I thought it was interesting that Pia, the girl the whole town seems to love, was a reformed high school mean girl. Small towns can be resentful, so it was unusual to see that the only one who remembers what Pia was like in high school seems to be Pia.
Despite being frequently tossed from the story by some WHAT THE HELL? moments (usually prompted by Pia not thinking something through) I did enjoy reading the last Fool's Gold book. It's a sweet story about good people. Even if the premise is wildly improbable and not especially suited to courtship and romance.
My Grade: B/B-