Book Review | All Summer Long | Susan Mallery

His Assets are So Hot it Takes a Firefighter to Tame Them

“Clay Stryker, model, movie butt double. His ass had been flashed in magazine ads, calendars and on the big screen. He had a killer body and his face was even better. He was the kind of man for whom, on the promise of a smile, the earth would change it’s rotation.”
Narrative, Ch. 1, pg. 12, para. 2

Within the Leaves of All Summer Long

Firefighter Chantal Dixon, 'Charlie' to everyone, is secure about where she belongs in her community. She knows she is great at her job and when a friend needs her, she is always there.

As strong as she may be for everyone else, Charlie has a secret buried so deep, that it has made her insecure in who she is as a woman and in her ability to trust herself to open up to a man.

Problem is, Charlie wants to start a family and she knows that she will need to get right with herself first if she is going to be able to provide the secure atmosphere she want’s for her future children.

“She was broken. Maybe not where anyone could see and she sure learned how to fake normal. But she knew the truth.”

Narrative, Ch. 1, pg. 15, para. 6

Coming home for a fresh start is retired underwear model and body double Clay Stryker, who is desperate to his put own past behind him and be taken more seriously than just an... asset. 

Clay puts the earnings from his successful career and his business degree to use starting a destination tourist experience - ‘Haycations’.

“With Rafe, Shane and their mother all settling in Fool’s Gold, Clay wanted to move close as well. It was the perfect location for his Haycation. The strong sense of community was an added bonus.”

Narrative, Ch. 1, pg. 20, para 4

He is also determined to become part of that community and joins the volunteer firefighter training course where he is put through his paces by Charlie. 

Charlie knows of Clay. Her best friend is married to one of his older brothers and because she is willing to look beyond his fine self, they quickly become friends.

When Charlie turns to her friend Clay with her crazy idea for healing, will they work together to put both their painful pasts behind them without risking their hearts?

Sweet-Tea Rating for All Summer Long:

 Sugar Lumps

My best friend had this on one of her many book shelves and told me I would like it. She hasn’t steered me wrong yet!

Luckily, she is a great friend and will let me re-read this one again before asking for it back!

The Cast: 

The bulk of the cast in All Summer Long are strong female characters. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story.

May Stryker is the head and heart of the Stryker family. She has a tendency to Mother those who she brings into her sphere and will lend a hand to all who are in need. She too has secrets from her past, which come to light in this story.

Marsha Tilson is the business friendly Mayor of Fools Gold. She knows how to gather the troops when someone is in trouble and shows herself to be a good friend when an ear or some down to earth advice is needed.

Dominique Guerin - Dixon, a retired prima ballerina and Charlie’s Mom. The opposite of Charlie, she is dainty, graceful and self centered. She suddenly shows up back into Charlie’s life at a time when Charlie is working on getting herself back on track. The question is Why?

Characters I would most like to share a Cuppa with:

I would love to share a Cuppa with Bernard and Ernie, but I may need to be careful what I wish for! These two gentleman may have wilder life experience than I am ready for. 

However, I sure would love to sit down with them while they tell their tales!

“You’re one of us. Okay, you’re a slick city kid, but that’ll fade. In a few years you’ll be able to tell anyone who asks that you’re a farmer. Salt of the earth.” He gave a wink. “Saying you’re a farmer makes the ladies hot. Trust me. I’ve been milking that line for years.”
Bernard, Ch. 19, pg. 342, para. 7.

Element Ratings for All Summer Long

Story Flow: 

This book was an easy and quick read throughout.

With so many strong female characters, each woman contributed something to the overall storyline. With their own subplots blending into the main story seamlessly and keeping the pace moving forward.

Nail Biting: 

The building intimacy between Charlie and Clay is the stuff that all little girls dream of.  Slowly building around friendship, respect and small thoughtful acts, like morning coffee and danish, lends a realism to the conclusion for them.

When strong emotions tore Clay and Charlie asunder, as the reader I was pleased to be let into their private, innate struggles, to watch as they each dealt with their individual grief and the desire to get it back together.

I kept my nails for these two. Just nibbled of the ends a bit.


“She was in love with him. Wildly, desperatly, madly in love with him. Somewhere between the laughs and the sighs, she’d given her heart. Just like her friends had warned her could happen. Talk about being a complete idiot.”
Narrative, Ch. 18, pg. 336, para 6

“But sometime in the past few weeks, she’d worked her way inside of him. Into his heart. She’d become important. He loved her.”
Narrative, Ch. 19, pg. 352, para. 8

Charlie and Clay are just so darn compatible in constitution, activity, how they relate to family and friends and their mutual love for Fool’s Gold.

I can see a long future ahead for these two.


OK, so in many novels the hero is aesthetically godlike and good at almost everything. Strong on the outside and a teddy bear on the inside. So is Clay.

What I loved about him was despite the outer perfection his vulnerabilities are ones that everyone, male or female can relate too. Who isn’t frightened by being hurt in love or failing to succeed in front of those whose good opinions matter most to you.

Clay embraced his vulnerabilities and we watched as step by step he met them head on. I admire the hades out of that and swooned for the man within.

Emotion Coaster: 

I was swept up in the many friendships that I met within the story. In this small town, not only does everyone know everyone else, but there is always someone there to lend a hand. (Bernard and Ernie to the rescue on pages 341 & 342)

The bulk of the story centered around the emotion coaster ride that Charlie and Clay take to each deal with the tragedies in their past. I was sad, angry, hopeful and happy along with them both.

When May’s past comes to the fore during a football game my heart broke for her, from one Mom to another. This sub-plot was not concluded in All Summer Long and I am looking forward to reading about this in future books.

Hot-Tea Rating for All Summer Long: 

The premise of the story revolves around sex. Though there is a lot of intimacy, there isn’t a lot of description. The emotional aspects are described in more detail than the physical. 

However, the physical is described off and on. Clay is a retired underwear model after all!

The Last Drop:

The relationships are the stars of this book and there are many of them. 

As the reader you are welcomed into the town of Fool’s Gold and invited to share in the romance, family drama, hardships and celebrations of the many family and social circles.

This is a great story and if you are a reader who gets emotionally invested, All Summer Long will take you on a ride that will stay with you long after the back cover has closed. 

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