cover image Summer Days

Summer Days

Susan Mallery. HQN, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-77683-2

Mallery opens her third trilogy set in Fool’s Gold, Calif. (after Only His), with a tender tale based on a flawed premise. Heidi Simpson’s grandfather Glen sold part of her ranch to May Stryker—without Heidi’s knowledge, and even though it’s her name on the deed—to help a friend pay for cancer treatment. May’s son Rafe, a ruthless, savvy businessman, nonetheless co-signed the papers without reading them. When he realizes the sale isn’t legitimate, he reluctantly returns to the town of his miserable, impoverished childhood to have Glen arrested. Heidi must find a way to pay May back so Glen won’t go to prison; she also, implausibly, fears losing the ranch altogether. Mallery infuses her story with eccentricity, gentle humor, and smalltown shenanigans, and readers undeterred by the flimsy underpinnings will enjoy the connection between Heidi and Rafe, two proud, hardworking people wary of romantic love who willingly sacrifice for their families. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (June)