If you can't afford a real getaway this month, then perhaps
you'd like to go on an imaginary trip. I would suggest the
little town of Fool's Gold...but be warned if you're looking
for a romantic fling of your own there is a man shortage,
and you'll have to satisfy yourself with reading the story
of Charity Jones, and Josh Golden.
Along the way you're bound to meet some of the other
residents of the town, and get drawn into their lives as
well, and if you're anything like me when you close the last
pages of CHASING PERFECT you're going to be marking the days
on the calendar until you can get Susan Mallery's next
release in your hands.
Charity was raised by a rather unconventional mom, and
wanted nothing more than the ability to settle in once place
and plant some roots. Josh also had an unusual upbringing,
and overcame not only some of the emotional battles that
Charity did, but also some physical ones to become a world
Now, both are residing in Fools Gold and still have some
issues to overcome, but if I were to tell you what those
were then you would really have no need to read CHASING
PERFECT for yourselves, and I would be taking away your
chance to escape for a few hours.
I personally love ongoing series books, and have enjoyed
Susan Mallery for the last several years. I believe with
the creation of Fool's Gold she has done for herself what
Robyn Carr did when she created Virgin River...given herself a
town that readers can feel good about, and allow it to grow
with new industry and bring readers back for new stories,
and reunions with favorite characters.
CHASING PERFECT has a perfect blend of humor, romance, and
even a bit of a mystery. I do believe that like me, you'll
be enjoying your time in Fool's Gold, and be ready for more.
There is only one thing wrong with the charming community of
Foolâ€™s Gold, California: the men donâ€™t stick around!
This problem has to be fixed, fast, and Charity Jones may be
just the city planner up to the challenge. Charity
immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to
offer â€“ except its sexy, famous world-class cyclist Josh
Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters sheâ€™s not
about to take a chance on another bad boyâ€¦but it may just be
what they both need!
Charity Jones loved a good disaster movie as much as the
next personâ€”she would simply prefer the disaster in
question not be about her life.
The sharp crack of an electrical short, followed by a
burning smell, filled the conference room on the third
floor of City Hall. A thin wisp of smoke rose from her
laptop, pretty much ending any hope of her Powerpoint
presentation going smoothly. The presentation sheâ€™d stayed
up nearly all night perfecting.
It was her first day on the job, she thought,
breathing deeply to ward off panic. The first official hour
of her first official day. Didnâ€™t she get at least a
sixteenth of a break? Some small sign of mercy from the
She glanced from her still smoldering computer to the
ten member board from California University, Foolâ€™s Gold
campus, and they did not look happy. Part of the reason was
theyâ€™d been working with the previous city planner for
nearly a year and still hadnâ€™t come up with a contract for
the new research facility. A contract she was now
responsible for bringing to life. She would guess the
unpleasant burny smell was the other reason they were
shifting in their seats.
â€śPerhaps we should reschedule the meeting,â€ť the head
guy said. He was tall, with graying hair and glasses. Mr.
Berman. â€śWhen youâ€™re more...â€ť He motioned to the smoldering
Charity smiled warmly when what she really wanted to
do was throw something. She was prepared. Sheâ€™d been on the
job all ofâ€”she glanced at the clock on the wallâ€”eight
minutes, but sheâ€™d been prepping since she accepted the
position as city planner nearly two weeks ago. She
understood what the university wanted and what the town had
to offer. She might be new, but she was still damned good
at her job.
Her boss, the mayor, had warned her about this group
and had offered to put off the meeting, but Charity had
wanted to prove herself. Something she refused to let be a
â€śWeâ€™re all here,â€ť she said, still smiling as
confidently as possible. â€śWe can do this the old fashioned
She unplugged her computer and took it out into the
hall where it would no doubt stink up the rest of the
building, but her first priority had to be the meeting. She
was determined to start her new job with a win and that
meant getting California University at Foolâ€™s Gold to sign
on the bottom line.
When she stepped back into the conference room, she
walked over to the dry erase board and picked up a thick
blue pen from the small rack attached to the board.
â€śThe way I see it,â€ť she began, writing the number one
and circling it, â€śThere are three sticking points. First,
the length of the lease.â€ť She wrote a number two, â€śSecond,
the reversion of improvements on the land. Namely the
building itself. And three, the freeway off-ramp signal.â€ť
She turned back to the ten well-dressed people watching
her. â€śDo you agree?â€ť
They all looked to Mr. Berman, who nodded slowly.
â€śGood.â€ť Charity had reviewed all the notes on the
previous meetings and talked to the mayor of Foolâ€™s Gold
over the weekend. What Charity couldnâ€™t figure out was why
the negotiating process was taking so long. Apparently the
previous city planner had wanted to be right more than he
wanted the research facility in town. But Mayor Marsha
Tilson had been very clear when sheâ€™d offered Charity the
jobâ€”bring businesses to Foolâ€™s Gold and fast.
â€śHereâ€™s what Iâ€™m prepared to offer,â€ť she said, making
a second column. She went through all three problems and
listed solutions, including an extra five seconds of left
turn time on the signal at the top of the off-ramp.
The board members listened and when she was done,
they once again looked at Mr. Berman.
â€śThat does sound good,â€ť he began.
Sound good? It was better than good. It was a once-in-
a-lifetime deal. It was everything the university had asked
for. It was zero calorie brownie with ice cream.
â€śThereâ€™s still one problem,â€ť Mr. Berman said.
â€śWhich is?â€ť she asked.
â€śFour acres on the county line.â€ť The voice came from
Charity turned and saw a man entering the conference
room. He was tall and blond, good-looking to the point of
being almost another species, and he moved with an easy
athletic grace that made her feel instantly awkward. While
he looked vaguely familiar, she was sure theyâ€™d never met
He gave her a quick smile. The flash of teeth, the
millisecond of attention, nearly knocked her into the wall.
Who was that guy?
â€śBernie,â€ť the stranger said, turning the mega-watt
grin on the group leader. â€śI heard you were in town. You
didnâ€™t call me for dinner.â€ť
Mr. Berman actually looked interested. â€śI thought
youâ€™d be busy with your latest conquest.â€ť
Blond guy shrugged modestly. â€śI always have time for
anyone from the university. Sharon. Martin.â€ť He greeted
everyone else at the table, shook a few hands, winked at
the old lady at the end, then turned back to Charity.
â€śSorry to interrupt. You come highly recommended and
under normal circumstances could deal with this problem
without breaking a sweat. But thereâ€™s something you donâ€™t
know. The reason we donâ€™t have a deal isnâ€™t the lease
reversion or the traffic light.â€ť He moved close and took
the pen from her hand. â€śItâ€™s the four acres the university
has been offered by a very wealthy alumni family. They want
their name on the building and theyâ€™re willing to pay for
He flashed another smile at Charity, then turned back
to the Board. â€śIâ€™m going to explain why thatâ€™s a bad idea.â€ť
And then he started talking. She had no idea who he
was and probably should have told him to get out, but she
couldnâ€™t seem to move or speak. It was as if he projected
some space alien force field that kept her immobilized.
Maybe it was his eyes, she thought, gazing into the
hazel green depths. Or his sun-bleached lashes. It might
have been the way he moved or the heat she felt every time
he walked by her. Or maybe sheâ€™d simply inhaled some weird
gas when her computer had sparked, flamed out and died.
While she enjoyed a boy-girl encounter as much as the
next woman, sheâ€™d never been mesmerized by a man before.
Certainly not during a professional meeting that she was
supposed to be running.
She knew the type, though. Had seen the power of the
havoc they brought with them everywhere they went. Self-
preservation stated she should stay far, far away. And she
would...just as soon as the meeting was over.