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Willaful Review: All Summer Long by Susan Mallery

Sensuality Rating: steamy, sweet, and plenty of both

I started this in a dubious frame of mine. I haven’t been that crazy about the series (I’ve mostly kept reading it for relaxation,) I didn’t really like the heroine from previous books, the hero sounded improbable, and I tend to be put off by “abused heroine must be gently coaxed into liking sex” plotlines.  To my surprise, I liked almost everything about it.

What got me is the characters. Charlie (she eschews her birth name, Chantel) is a tall, strong firefighter who’s always felt oversized and unfeminine, especially next to her tiny ballerina mom.  As she sees it, the one time she tried to be stereotypically “feminine” it backfired in the worst possible way, so now she’s just given up on the whole idea. Here’s a typical thought:

“He was taller than her. Stronger. Masculine enough to make her feel feminine. Sort of.”

(If you’re worried Charlie is going to be made-over, don’t be. That’s about as girly as she gets throughout the entire book.) (more…)