Series: Fool's Gold (Book 12)
Isabel Beebe thinks she's cursed in the romance
department. Her teenage crush, Ford Hendrix, ignored all her letters.
Her husband left her for another…man. So Isabel has come home to dust
off her passion for fashion and run the family bridal shop until her
parents are ready to sell it. Then she'll pursue her real dreams. At
least, that's the plan, until sexy, charming Ford returns and leaves her
feeling fourteen all over again…..
Seeing Isabel all grown-up hits bodyguard trainer Ford like a sucker
punch. Back when heartbreak made him join the military, her sweet
letters kept him sane. Now he can't take his eyes -- or his lips -- off
her. The man who gave up on love has a reason to stay in Fool's Gold
forever -- if three little words can convince Isabel to do the same.
I have been looking forward to Ford's story and it was definitely worth the wait. Ford has returned to Fool's Gold to run his security business with his friends. After ten years in the military it is a bit of an adjustment. One of the changes he has encountered is his ex-fiancee's little sister - who isn't so little anymore. Isabel used to write to him when he was deployed and even though he never wrote back those letters had been important to him. If anyone can make him believe he can love it's Isabel.
I loved Isabel. In spite of the troubles she has had she is basically an upbeat person.
Her husband left her for another man. Their marriage hadn't been all that great, but she hadn't seen that one coming. It has left her with some real hangups when it comes to intimacy.
Her teenage crush on Ford resulted in her writing letters to him for many years, even though he never wrote back. Those letters ended up being like a diary, and now that she's an adult and living in the same town with him, she is a bit embarrassed about them. Seeing him again brings back those feelings. When he asks her to help him out by being his fake girlfriend she can't say no. I loved the way that they started out as friends. She teases him about his attitude that it's his patriotic duty to make sure women are happy with him even though he will never settle down. She can also see past the charming, sexy surface to the pain that he still feels from some of the things he saw in the service. She has a great way of subtly coming to his rescue when situations, especially with his family, start to overwhelm him. I loved the way that their fake relationship started to become real, even though neither one would admit it. Isabel is able to trust Ford with the whole story of her marriage. That opens the door to a new closeness between them. Eventually Isabel has to admit to herself that she wants it to be real.
She is back in Fool's Gold to help out her parents who are on an around the world cruise. She is running the family bridal shop until they get back and put it up for sale. Her plans are to leave Fool's Gold and start a new fashion business with a friend in New York. The more time she spends doing this, the more she enjoys it. Isabel is very good at helping brides find just the right dress and also dealing with the crises that come with the job. She has various ideas on things to do to improve the stores, but reminds herself that she is leaving. I loved seeing the way that her goals changed.
Isabel has been reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I love her relationships with those friends. They all support each other and help out wherever needed. I really enjoyed the conversations they had, especially about relationships. They are also there for Isabel when she hits a rocky spot with Ford.
Ford is a really nice guy at heart. He's a badass former SEAL and a bodyguard trainer now, but underneath he's sweet. Being back home has put him too close to his family at times. His mother is determined to get him married, to the point where she took applications for the "job" at one of the festivals. Ford feels that he's a bad bet relationship wise because he has never been able to commit to any woman for very long. He doesn't want to hurt his mother's feelings by telling her that, so he talks Isabel into being his fake girlfriend.
Ford left Fool's Gold when his fiancee (Isabel's older sister) broke off their engagement. He has spent the next ten years as a SEAL and avoiding coming home whenever possible. He remembers Isabel as Maeve's little sister and is stunned when he gets back home to see her all grown up. Even though he never answered Isabel's letters getting them is all that kept him grounded during some of his roughest times. Getting her to pose as his fake girlfriend has another benefit. He can try to get Isabel in bed with him. He really puts some effort into showing her his charming sexy persona and is a little put out when she just laughs at him. I loved the way that his boyfriend act starts to become more than just acting though he keeps insisting that's all it is. I really enjoyed his patience with Isabel when he found out what a number her ex-husband had done on her view of herself as a woman. Besides the superhot chemistry between them, Ford really takes to being her "boyfriend". I loved all the nice little things he does for her. I also enjoyed his whining about the estate she dragged him to and the way he ended up enjoying it after all. He also gets to know her well enough that he can see when something is troubling her and tries to fix it. I loved his panic when she was crying about her New York plans and how he called in reinforcements.
Most of the time Ford is really well adjusted at being back in civilian life. Sometimes, though, in social situations he starts to feel overwhelmed by everything going on around him. He finds that being around Isabel still grounds him. She notices when he starts to get tense and has a way of distracting him or the people around him until he get get himself back together.
I loved seeing Ford's relationships with his coworkers. His level of competition with Angel is so much fun to watch, especially when Consuelo threatens to hurt them both. He is also rebuilding his relationships with his brothers in the typically non-emotional way they do. I also enjoyed the way he and his former best friend, who married his ex-fiancee, cleared the air between them. He then helped Leonard set up a workout plan because Leonard wanted to look better for his wife (a little jealousy of Ford going on there). I loved the way that Leonard returned the favor by pointing out to Ford just what he really felt about Isabel, because Ford was just too dense to see it.
There is also a great secondary romance between Ford's coworker Consuelo and his brother Kent. Consuelo had trouble believing that Kent was interested in her. In her view she is nowhere near good enough for him because of her lack of education and the things she has had to do for her job. Kent thinks that he's way too boring for someone as capable and fascinating as Consuelo is. She is really interested in him but has no idea how to relate to him, and frequently runs away as soon as things start to go well between them. I loved the way that they finally started to communicate with each other and realized that they wanted to be together.
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