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Summer Days

Cover of Summer Days

Summer Days



Locked in an unexpected land dispute, Rafe Stryker is trapped in the one place he vowed never to return to--the Castle Ranch in Fool's Gold, California. He made millions facing ruthless adversaries in the boardroom, but nothing could've prepared him to go head-to-head against stubborn, beautiful Heidi Simpson. No one is more surprised than Rafe to discover that he's finding Heidi--and life as a cowboy--much more compelling than he wants to admit.

For Heidi, the Castle Ranch is the home she's always wanted. After a life on the road, the vivacious blonde has finally put down roots. She won't give that up without a fight, not even for a man whose late-night kisses make her yearn to be a little less...wholesome.

As the two turn from passionate adversaries to passionate, period, they'll discover that summer love can last a lifetime.


Locked in an unexpected land dispute, Rafe Stryker is trapped in the one place he vowed never to return to--the Castle Ranch in Fool's Gold, California. He made millions facing ruthless adversaries in the boardroom, but nothing could've prepared him to go head-to-head against stubborn, beautiful Heidi Simpson. No one is more surprised than Rafe to discover that he's finding Heidi--and life as a cowboy--much more compelling than he wants to admit.

For Heidi, the Castle Ranch is the home she's always wanted. After a life on the road, the vivacious blonde has finally put down roots. She won't give that up without a fight, not even for a man whose late-night kisses make her yearn to be a little less...wholesome.

As the two turn from passionate adversaries to passionate, period, they'll discover that summer love can last a lifetime.
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    Only in Fool's Gold would a Mercedes be brought to a stop by a goat. Rafe Stryker turned off the engine of the powerful sedan and climbed out. The goat in the middle of the road surveyed him with a confident gleam in her dark eyes. If he hadn't known better, he would have sworn she was telling him this was her road and if anyone was going to back down in this battle of wills, it would be him.

    "Damn goats," he muttered, looking around for whomever owned the wayward animal. Instead, he saw a few trees, a broken fence line and, beyond all that, mountains soaring up to the heavens. Some would describe this as God's country. Rafe knew that God, being smart and all knowing, would have nothing to do with Fool's Gold.

    Hard to believe that a three hour drive west would return Rafe to San Francisco--land of fine dining, high-rise buildings and beautiful women. It was where he belonged. Not here, on the outskirts of some town he'd promised himself he would never set foot in again. And yet he had returned, drawn by the one person he could never turn his back on--his mother.

    Swearing under his breath, he eyed the goat. He would guess she weighed about a hundred and twenty pounds, give or take. While he'd spent the past eighteen years doing his best to forget his time in Fool's Gold, the lessons he'd learned on the Castle Ranch lived on. He figured if he'd been able to wrestle an adult steer as a scrawny fourteen-year-old, he should be able to take a goat now. Or at the very least, pick her up and move her to the side of the road.

    He lowered his gaze to her hooves, wondering how sharp they would be and what they would do to his suit. He rested his elbow on the roof of his car and pinched the bridge of his nose. If his mother hadn't sounded so broken on the phone, he would turn around and go back home. In San Francisco he had a staff, minions even. People who would take care of things like goats in the road.

    He chuckled, imagining his starchy assistant facing down a goat. Ms. Jennings, a fifty-something powerhouse with an innate ability to make the most successful of executives feel incompetent, would most likely stare the goat into submission.

    "You found her!"

    Rafe turned toward the voice and saw a woman jogging toward him. She had a rope in one hand and what looked like lettuce in the other.

    "I was so worried. Athena lives to get into trouble. I can't find a gate lock that will keep her contained. She's smart. Aren't you, baby girl?"

    The woman approached the goat and patted her on the back. The goat moved toward her, like a dog seeking affection. She took the lettuce and the rope around her neck with equal acceptance.

    The woman glanced back at him. "Hi. I'm Heidi Simpson."

    She was maybe five-nine, with blond hair she wore in braided pigtails. A cotton shirt tucked into jeans showed him she was leggy and curvy, a combination that normally appealed. Just not today. Not when he still had to deal with his mother and a town he despised.

    "Rafe Stryker," he said.

    The woman--Heidi--stared at him, her green eyes widening as she took a single step back. Her full mouth trembled slightly and she lost her smile.

    "Stryker," she whispered and swallowed. "May is your--"

    "Mother. How do you know her?"

    Heidi took another step back. "She's, ah, at the ranch right now. Talking to my grandfather. There seems to be a mix-up."

    "Mix-up?" He used what Ms. Jennings referred to as his scary, serial-killer voice. "Is that how you'd describe what happened? I was thinking more along the lines of fraud and...

About the Author-
  • New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan's prose "luscious and provocative," and Booklist says "Novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling." Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. Visit her at www.SusanMallery.com.

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