I am excited to bring you an exclusive excerpt from Susan Mallery’s upcoming installment in the Fool’s Gold series, Thrill Me. Excerpts will be released sequentially so check out the rest of the tour stops here to follow along and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win!
AVAILABLE JULY 28TH, 2015
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Meet the Mitchell brothers of Fool’s Gold, California—five gorgeous men who’ve left a trail of broken hearts in their wake…
Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she could—she ran. Stunned, Del left Fool’s Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports.
Now ten years later, Maya’s been hired to promote her hometown’s new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward!
Although Del’s not the type to hold a grudge, he’s determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He’s a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya’s kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all.
She was smooth, Del thought, watching Maya from across the small conference table. Professional. She’d stayed friends with his mother, so he heard about her every now and then. How she’d been promoted to senior producer at the local news station in Los Angeles, and how she wanted to get to a network position. Showing up in Fool’s Gold was an unexpected left turn in her career path.
Just as unanticipated had been the call from Mayor Marsha, inviting him to be a part of the town’s new publicity project. She’d phoned about fifteen minutes after he’d already decided he was coming home for the summer. The woman had mad skills.
“How about tomorrow?” Maya asked. “Why don’t you call me in the morning and we’ll set up a day and time?”
“Works for me.”
She gave him her cell number.
Mayor Marsha’s desk phone beeped.
“Excuse me,” the mayor said. “I need to take this call. I’ll leave you two to work out the details.”
They all rose. Del and Maya walked into the hallway. Once there, he half expected her to bolt, but she surprised him by pausing.
“When was the last time you were back?” she asked.
“It’s been a couple of years. You?”
“I came home to visit Zane and Chase a couple of months ago and never left.”
, he thought. Technically her stepbrothers, but he knew they were the only family she had. While he’d grown up in a loud, close-knit, crazy family, Maya hadn’t had anyone but an indifferent mother. She’d made her own way in the world. Something he’d respected about her, until that trait had turned around and bit him on the ass.
“You’re a long way from Hollywood,” he said.
“You’re a long way from the Himalayas.”
“So neither of us belongs here.”
“Yet here we are.” She smiled. “It’s good to see you, Del.”
He thought the words, but didn’t say them. Because it was good, damn her. And he didn’t want it to be. Maya was born trouble. At least she had been for him. Not that he would make that mistake again. He’d trusted her with everything he had and she’d thrown it back in his face. Lesson learned.
He nodded at her, then swung his backpack over his shoulder. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
Her smile faltered for a second before returning. “Yes, you will.”
He watched her go. When she was out of sight, he thought about going after her. Not that there was anything to say. Their last conversation, a decade ago, had made everything clear.
He told himself the past was the past. That he’d moved on and was long over her. He’d gone his way and she’d gone hers. Everything had worked out for the best.
He walked out of City Hall and toward the lakefront. There was a continuity to the town, he thought as he looked around and saw tourists and residents coexisting. City workers were changing the banners, taking down those celebrating the Dog Days of Summer Festival and hanging the ones proclaiming the Máa-zib Festival. This time last year, they’d been doing the same thing. And the year before and a year from now. While there were a handful of recent businesses opening, truth was the heart of the town never changed.
Brew-haha might be a new place to get coffee, but he knew that when he walked inside he would be greeted, very possibly by name. There would be a bulletin board advertising everything from dog walking services to upcoming civic meetings. That while some of the friends he’d had in high school had moved on, most of them had stayed. Nearly all the girls he’d kissed as a kid were still around. Most of them married. This was their home and where they felt they belonged. Their kids would grow up to go to the same elementary school, middle and high school. Their kids would play in Pyrite Park and go to the same festivals. Here, life had a rhythm.
Once Del had thought he would be a part of it. That he would stick around and run the family business. Find the right girl, fall in love and—
Talk about a long time ago, he told himself. Talk about being a child himself. He could barely remember what it had been like back then. Before he’d left. When his dreams had been simple and he’d known that he was going to spend the rest of his life with Maya.
For a second he allowed himself to think of her. Of how in love he’d been. Back then he would have said been in love, but she’d proved him wrong. At the time he’d been devastated, but now he was grateful. Because of her, he’d left Fool’s Gold. Because of her, he’d been free to leave and could return home the conquering hero.
He waited for the flush of pride. There wasn’t any. Maybe because in the past couple of months, he’d started to realize he had to figure out a new direction. Since selling his company, he’d been restless. Sure there were offers, but none that interested him. So he’d come back to where it all started. To see his family. To celebrate his dad’s sixtieth birthday. To figure out where he went from here.
For the second time in as many minutes, he thought about Maya. How nothing had ever been as beautiful as her green eyes when she smiled up at him. How—
Del hesitated for a nanosecond before crossing the street, then he brushed the memory away, as if it had never been. Maya was his past. He was moving forward. Mayor Marsha wanted them to work together, which was fine by him. He would enjoy the challenge, and then move on. That’s what he did these days. He moved on. Just as Maya had taught him.
Susan Mallery Fool’s Gold Getaway
Enjoy a weekend getaway with your favorite author from July 31 – August 1 in Chicago. For full details and tickets, visit http://harlequin.ticketleap.com/foolsgoldgetaway/.