From New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery comes the story of secret desires finally fulfilled…
After a family tragedy, former football hero Jack McGarry keeps the world at arm's length—a challenge now that his PR firm has moved to neighborly Fool's Gold, California.
Larissa Owens knows where she stands—Jack sees her as just another one of the guys. No matter what her heart wishes, Jack's her boss, not her boyfriend. But then Larissa's big secret is revealed…by her mother!
When Jack discovers the truth about Larissa's feelings, her touch suddenly becomes tantalizing, and he's not sure he wants to resist. But if he gives in to desire, heartache is sure to follow. Friendship or true love—will Jack go for the ultimate play?
I have been reading Fool's Gold books for years (I think I have read all but 3 of the books in this series) and after reading about Taryn, Sam, Jack and Kenny (the foursome from Score) over the past two books I was more than ready to learn all about Jack and Larissa. Susan Mallery does a great job with this series so even though Until We Touch is book 15, you can pick it up and read it as a stand alone. Of course (in my opinion), I would recommend reading the first two books in this set When We Met and Before We Kiss first to get to know all the key players that show up in this story. Susan Mallery sets up most of this series in sets or trilogies within the series and Until We Touch is the third in this "trilogy".
I think I put too high of expectations on Jack and Larissa's story. It didn't deliver the exciting fast paced-can't put it down book I am used from this series. I am not sure what it was other than a big build up in my head. Larissa's character was quirky and charming with her need to rescue things. Jack was a puzzle that I still don't quite understand. He did have a trauma in his past but I don't see how that explained his complete avoidance of commitment. Getting Jack and Larissa together was not as fun as the usual Fool's Gold romance and their "plan" was absurd and then the ending all came together too fast for my taste. However, even though I didn't like how Jack and Larissa's story unfolded I still did enjoy this book because I got to re-visit with past characters (I love watching Taryn plan her wedding) and I will be curious to read more about Jack and Larissa in books to come. This is the beauty of this series, even when things don't flesh out the way you want, you still get a great read and have a good time in Fool's Gold!
Susan Mallery is a wonderful story teller. She knows when to add that touch of drama, when to tempt you with some heat and when to hold back and make you anxious. Her unfolding of plot points are entertaining and she seamlessly adds new characters and other stories into the current book getting you ready for future stories. If you have never read a Susan Mallery book before, do yourself a BIG favor and get your hands on any Fool's Gold book you will be hooked! Fans of this series will love getting to caught up on the goings on in Fool's Gold and checking in to see what Mayor Marsha is up to next!
Jack hadn't known how Larissa was going to react when he told her what her mom said, but he'd guessed it would be a show. She didn't disappoint. Her face went from red to white and back to red. Her mouth opened and closed. With her jaw tightly clenched, she muttered something like, "I'm going to kill her," but he couldn’t be sure.
Nancy Owens' words had hit him like a linebacker. Larissa in love with him? Impossible. For one thing, she knew him better than anyone except Taryn and to know him was to understand he was all flash and no substance. For another, he needed her. Love meant a relationship and having a relationship meant she would eventually leave. No. There was no way Larissa could be in love with him.
But he'd been unable to shake the words and had realized he had to get the truth from the only person who actually knew.
Larissa drew in a breath. "I don't love you. We're friends. I like working for you and the charity work is terrific and I know you have my back, but I'm not in love with you."
Relief eased the tension in Jack's always aching right shoulder. He kept his expression neutral.
"You sure?" he asked.
He shook his head. "I don't know. I'm pretty hot. I could understand you having a thing for me. You've seen me naked. Now that I think about it, your reaction is inevitable." He sighed. "You love me. Admit it."
Larissa's mouth twitched. "Jack, you're not all that."
"But I am. Remember that fan who had my face tattooed on her breast? And the one who begged me to father her child? And the woman in Pittsburgh who wanted me to lick her—"
Larissa rested her arms on the desk and dropped her head to her arms. "Stop. You have to stop."
"Stronger women than you have been unable to resist my charms."
"In your dreams."
"No. Apparently in yours."
She looked at him then, her blue eyes wide, her mouth smiling. "I give."
"In the end, they all do."
The smile faded. "I'm sorry about my mother. She shouldn't have said that. I swear, I am not, nor will I ever be in love with you. I love my job and you're a big part of that. But we're friends, right? That's better. Besides, you have terrible taste in your 'let's end this now' gifts."
"Which is why I let you buy them." He hesitated a second. "We're good?"
"The best." Her smile returned.
The last of his worry faded. This was the Larissa he knew. All funny and earnest. Hair pulled back in a ponytail and not a speck of make-up on her face. She wore yoga pants and T-shirts and always had some cause to discuss with him. She believed the world was worth saving and he didn't mind if she used his money to try. They made a good team. He didn't want to have to do without her and having her love him... Well, that would have changed everything.
Excerpted from the book UNTIL WE TOUCH by Susan Mallery. Copyright © 2014 by Susan Macias Redmond. Reprinted with permission of Harlequin. All rights reserved.
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MEET THE AUTHOR:
SUSAN MALLERY is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that define their lives. She has published more than 100 romance and women’s fiction novels beginning with two books the same month when she was just out of college. Susan has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and went on to get a master’s in writing popular fiction and has extensively studied story structure in screenwriting courses. Her goal, always, is to give readers a story that will move them, populated with characters who feel like real people. Born and raised in California, Susan now lives with her family in Seattle, where she survives the dreary days of winter with the help of a “happy lamp” and plenty of coffee.