Title: Best of My Love by Susan Mallery
Fool’s Gold Series Book Twenty
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
An irresistible new love story from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold series, set in a town Library Journal calls “so appealing, readers will want to start scoping out real estate.”
To overcome her painful past, baker Shelby Gilmore goes on the hunt for a friend—a male friend—to convince her stubborn psyche that men can be trusted. But where in a town as small as Fool’s Gold will the petite blonde find a guy willing to not date her?
Dark, charming Aidan Mitchell puts the “adventure” in Mitchell Adventure Tours…and into the beds of his many willing female tourists. Until he realizes he’s inadvertently become that guy—the one-night Casanova—and worse, everyone in town knows it. Maybe Shelby’s boy/girl experiment will help him see women as more than just conquests so he can change his ways and win back his self-respect.
As Aidan and Shelby explore the secret lives of men and women, the heat between them fires up the Fool’s Gold rumor mill. If no one will believe they’re just friends, maybe they should give the gossips something to really talk about!
Best of My Love by Susan Mallery is a delightfully charming novel with a refreshingly unique storyline. This twentieth installment in the long running Fool’s Gold series pairs up relative newcomer Shelby Gilmore with Aidan Mitchell and their unexpected friendship offers a firm foundation for their equally surprising romance.
Since moving to Fool’s Gold, Shelby has made a lot of progress in both her professional and personal lives. Having worked through a lot of her issues that stem from her abusive childhood, she has not had much luck when it comes to relationships. Her decision to fix her love life occurs at the same time an unfortunate encounter with a woman from Aidan’s past serves as a wake up call for him to make some much needed changes in his life. Deciding a platonic friendship might be beneficial to both of them, Shelby proposes she and Aidan spend the next six months hanging out together as friends. As the months pass, both of them are thrilled with how well their plan is working but will their simmering attraction derail their friendship?
Determined not to be ruled by her dysfunctional past, Shelby is self-aware enough to realize she needs help in turning around her lackluster love life. She has taken steps to come to terms with the events from her childhood but she is still struggling with trust issues. Despite being a little nervous when initially approaching Aidan, she does not shy away from telling him about her childhood and she is upfront about what she hopes to achieve through their platonic friendship. Shelby is direct and straightforward with him right from the start and despite a bit of a rocky beginning, they quickly become close friends.
Aidan’s childhood with his temperamental artist father was tempestuous and left him with a somewhat skewed perception of love and marriage. In order to avoid a committed relationship, Aidan has always stayed away from the local women while indulging in short flings with the female tourists. Deciding to clean up his reputation, he swears off women and vows to change his playboy ways. After a great deal of thought, Aidan realizes Shelby’s proposition has a lot of merit and he throws himself wholeheartedly into their friendship.
Since neither Aidan nor Shelby have had friendships with someone of the opposite sex before, their relationship immediately runs into a few snags. Deciding to alternate their weekly get togethers between “girl” and “boy” activities, they each begin to understand the very different ways that men and women communicate and interact. This insight is invaluable as they work their individual issues and genuine affection slowly develops between them over the course of several months. Neither is prepared for their mutual attraction, but they decide their friendship is more important than giving in to their desire.
With witty dialogue, a distinctive storyline and phenomenal character growth, Best of My Love is a beautiful friends to lovers romance that old and new fans of the Fool’s Gold series are sure to love. Aidan and Shelby are perfectly imperfect with fears and insecurities that are realistic and easy to relate to. The friendship between them develops slowly but naturally over the course of story and provides a solid basis for their burgeoning romance. Susan Mallery does a wonderful job keeping this latest installment fresh and unique so there are a few surprises for Aidan and Shelby as they travel the road to happily ever after.
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