I hope everyone had a great holiday and that you are excited to see what great things 2018 has in store! I’m happy to get back at it and super thrilled that I get to kick off things with the latest for the always awesome Susan Mallery – she’s been one of my favorite authors for a while now and it never fails to make me smile when I see that she had a new book coming out 🙂
by Susan Mallery
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: MIRA (January 23, 2018)
The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…
Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.
“Fresh and engaging… There’s a generational subtext that mirrors reality and the complexities of adult relationships…filled with promise of a new serial that’s worth following.” -Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Mallery enthralls [and] thoroughly involves readers in the lives of her characters as they face realistic, believable problems and search for their own happy endings.” -Publishers Weekly
There wasn’t a holiday on the calendar that Harper Szymanski couldn’t celebrate, cook for, decorate, decoupage, create a greeting card about or wrap in raffia. There were the biggies: birthdays, New Years, Fourth of July. But also the lesser celebrated: American Diabetes Association Alert Day, Auntie’s Day, National Massage Therapy Awareness Week. Why weren’t there greeting cards to honor that? Didn’t everyone need a good massage?
Despite a skill set that made Martha Stewart look like a slacker, Harper had never figured out a way to monetize her gift for setting a table to commemorate anything. She’d tried catering about ten years ago, but had quickly discovered that her need to overbuy and overdeliver had meant losing money on every single job. Which left her in the awkward position of trying to make a living the hard way—with two semesters of community college and sixteen years of being a stay-at-home mom.
Retail jobs and the pay that went with them hadn’t been close to enough to support herself and her daughter postdivorce. Three online aptitude tests had left her even more confused—while getting her degree in biochemistry and going on to medical school sounded great, it wasn’t actually a practical solution for an over-forty single mom with no money in the bank. Then an article in the local paper had provided an interesting and almost-viable idea. Harper had become a virtual assistant.
If there was one thing she knew it was how to take care of the details. You didn’t get good at a basket weave Fourth of July cake without paying attention. One year after filing her business permit, Harper had five main clients, nearly a dozen more who used her services intermittently and almost enough income to pay her bills. She also had her mother living in the apartment over the garage, an ex-husband dating a gorgeous blonde who was—wait for it—exactly fourteen years younger than Harper because they shared a birthday—a sixteen-year-old daughter who had stopped speaking to her and a client who was desperately unclear on the concept of virtual in the world of virtual assistants.
“You don’t have to drop off your bills every month,” Harper said as she set out coffee, a plate of chocolate chip scones that she’d gotten up at five-thirty that morning to bake fresh, a bowl of sugar-glazed almonds and sliced pears.
“And miss this?” Lucas Wheeler asked, pouring himself a mug of coffee. “If you’re trying to convince me coming by isn’t a good idea, then stop feeding me.”
He was right, of course. There was an easy, logical solution. Stop taking care of people and they would go away. Or at least be around less often. There was just one problem—when someone stopped by your home, you were supposed to take care of them.
“I can’t help it,” she admitted, wishing it weren’t the truth. “It’s a disease. I’m a people pleaser. I blame my mother.”
“I’d blame her, too, if I were you.”
She supposed she could take offense at Lucas’s words, but he was only stating the obvious.
In some ways Harper felt as if she was part of the wrong generation. According to celebrity magazines, fifty was the new twenty-five, which meant almost forty-two should be the new what? Eleven? Everyone else her age seemed so young and carefree, with modern attitudes and a far better grasp of what was in style and popular.
Harper was just now getting around to listening to the soundtrack from Hamilton and her idea of fashionable had a lot more to do with how she dressed her dining room table than herself. She was like a 1950s throwback, which might sound charming but in real life kind of sucked. On the bright side, it really was her mother’s fault.
“Speaking of your mother, where is she?” Lucas asked.
“At the senior center, preparing Easter baskets for the homeless.” Because that was what women were supposed to do. Take care of people—not have actual careers that could support them and their families.
“I, on the other hand, will be paying your bills, designing T-shirts for Misty, working on the layout of a sales brochure and making bunny butt cookies for my daughter.”
Lucas raised an eyebrow. “You do realize that bunny butt is just a polite way of saying rabbit ass.”
Harper laughed. “Yes, but they’re an Easter tradition. Becca loves them. Her father is dropping her off tomorrow afternoon and I want the cookies waiting.”
Because maybe if there were bunny butt cookies, her daughter would smile and talk to her the way she used to. In actual sentences that shared bits of her life.
“You sorry you didn’t go?” Lucas asked.
“To the memorial? Yes.” She thought for a second, then added, “No. I mean I would have liked to pay my respects and all, but Great-Aunt Cheryl is gone, so it’s not like she would miss me showing up.”
The drive from Mischief Bay to Grass Valley would take practically the whole day. Harper couldn’t imagine anything more horrible than being trapped in a car with her ex, his girlfriend and her daughter. Okay, the Becca part would be great, but the other two?
The worst of it was that while Great-Aunt Cheryl was actually Terence’s relative, Harper had been the one who had stayed in touch, right up until her death two months ago.
“Terence is forty-four. What is he thinking, dating a twenty-eight-year-old?” She glared at Lucas. “Never mind. You’re the wrong person to be having this particular conversation with.”
Because while her client was a handsome, single, fifty-year-old man, he also dated women in their twenties. In his case, their early twenties.
“What is wrong with you?” she demanded. “Is it all men or just you and my ex? Oh, dear God, the one thing you have in common with Terence is me. Did I do something to make you all date twenty-somethings?”
Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.
Critics, too, have heaped praise on “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!”
Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.
Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life.
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