Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Source of my copy: publisher/MLM Media
Series: Fool's Gold #14
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
After a family tragedy, former football hero Jack McGarry keeps the world at arm's length—a challenge now that his PR firm has moved to neighborly Fool's Gold, California.
Larissa Owens knows where she stands—Jack sees her as just another one of the guys. No matter what her heart wishes, Jack's her boss, not her boyfriend. But then Larissa's big secret is revealed…by her mother!
When Jack discovers the truth about Larissa's feelings, her touch suddenly becomes tantalizing, and he's not sure he wants to resist. But if he gives in to desire, heartache is sure to follow. Friendship or true love—will Jack go for the ultimate play?
I wish the town of Fool's Gold was real because I'd move there in a second. Is there a more idyllic place to live? Super friendly townspeople, hardly ever any crime, great shopping... I wouldn't even mind the eccentric mayor that gets into everyone's business and bewitch you into volunteering for town stuff...
Until We Touch opened with Larissa's mom telling Jack to fire Larissa so she'd move back to L.A., meet a nice man and get married. Jack wanted to know why Larissa couldn't do all that in Fool's Gold and her mom replied with "you moron, because my daughter's in love with you!" Before Larissa's mom dropped that bomb, Jack and Larissa had a comfortable relationship. Larissa was known for her causes--if there's a cat, dog or feral beast that needed rescuing she's there. Jack provided the monetary means for Larissa to do her "rescuing," and this worked out for him because he was able to help out and be the hero without actually getting too close to and interacting with anyone or anything.
Before reading Until We Touch I read a few reviews about it on Goodreads and many readers complained that the way Jack acted frustrated them. I liked Jack's character. He's a good guy despite wanting to distance himself from people. Jack had his issues and who wouldn't after what he's been through. I knew where he was coming from, but I still wanted to punch the guy. And when he spiraled out control and went on a rampage against all the people who cared for him towards the end, I was all "YEAH!!" when Kenny and Sam punched him in the face. He had that punch coming to him.
Larissa was a sweetheart and really down to earth, though. She had issues too, like keeping herself from going forward with her career because she felt comfortable where she was, unconsciously using Jack as a crutch and hiding behind her causes. I connected with her character. We had some of things in common, like our love for wearing comfy yoga pants and eschewing high heels and wearing makeup everyday, and some of her issues are ones I also grappled with.
The romance was slow going on this one. Sure, there were some kissing before then but it wasn't until about 200 pages in that we finally see some real sparks between Larissa and Jack. Both have known each other for years and have an easy relationship. In other friends-to-lovers themed romance novels I've read, it didn't take that many pages for the characters to jump into bed. But here the author took the time to transition their comfortable friendship to a romantic one in a believable way. I appreciated that and I wasn't bored at all. I was actually surprised with myself because my preference is for in-your-face super steamy romance novels where the smexy parts happen right away. However, I do wish there was an epilogue. The ending scene just kind of cut off. I would've liked to see just a little bit more of Jack and Larissa in that last scene or a completely new scene in an epilogue.
Until We Touch is only the second book I read by Susan Mallery (my first was When We Met--my review). I couldn't say this after just reading one book by her but after reading this book I think I found another go-to author for a super readable small-town romance. Until We Touch was fun, sweet slice-of-life read. It wasn't very steamy like the romances I usually favor and it took a lot of pages until the sparks truly flew but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself.
**We posted an excerpt of Until We Touch a few weeks ago. Read it here. It's the scene where Jack confronts Larissa after her mother told him Larissa is in love with him.