Spotlight Review: Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery
Fool’s Gold, California – Present Day
Best-selling author Liz Sutton grew up in Fool’s Gold on the wrong side of the tracks, but it didn’t stop her from loving Ethan Hendrix. However, their secret relationship soured when he publicly rejected her in front of friends. Humiliated, she left town to start a new life. Liz soon learned she was pregnant and two attempts to try to tell Ethan failed. Now, more than ten years later, she’s returned to town to claim her two nieces, who are parentless. First order of business is to finally inform Ethan that he is a father. She didn’t entirely expect his reaction, one of outrage that she kept his son from him, or that long buried emotional feelings for him would surface again.
Ethan’s the oldest of his siblings and the rock that runs the family business since his father’s death. When Liz comes back to town, he immediately spots her and makes contact with her, only to learn to his shock that she had his son. Angry, Ethan lashes out at Liz, while fearing that the son he just found will be taken away from him once more. But old feelings haven’t died, and he’s caught between hating her and wanting to make love to her. She makes it clear she still doesn’t trust him to not hurt her—or their son.
Meanwhile, Liz meets the nieces she never knew she had and adjusts to taking over their guardianship since her brother will be in prison for a long time and their mother is dead. Suddenly she’s the head of a family of three kids, while trying to keep Ethan from demanding she remain in town.
An emotional journey of rekindling love and finding a new life in a town she thought she’d left behind is in store for Liz in ALMOST PERFECT. Her childhood was raucous, with a drunken mother and being teased by classmates, but a shining light had been her love for Ethan. When he shattered that love, she did the only thing she could do, run away. A child conceived out of that love hadn’t been expected, but now she can’t imagine a life without her son Tyler. Liz didn’t waste much time telling Ethan he had a son once she was back in Fool’s Gold; however, that doesn’t matter to the man. Even as she defends her reasons, she can’t help but feel the attraction that still lies between them. But to get involved again would be a mistake.
Ethan once had a promising cycling career, but gave that up when he was injured and then his father passed away. As an honorable person, he would have married Liz if he’d known she was pregnant, and the fact she didn’t tell him leaves a black mark against her in his eyes. The information that she will be returning to San Francisco with their son once her business in Fool’s Gold is finished has him seeing red. He strikes out, suing her for custody. The judge orders them to remain in town for the summer and work out a deal. Can they, or have they reached the point of no return?
Chemistry burns hotly between Liz and Ethan in ALMOST PERFECT. The main focus is about learning to trust each other and building on the emotional connection that still burns, and melding together a family. Susan Mallery has penned a charming tale with ALMOST PERFECT that I found hard to put down, and I can’t wait to return to Fool’s Gold for more.