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I get so excited when I see anything new from Susan Mallery and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this tour!

*****

The Stepsisters

by Susan Mallery

Paperback: 416 Pages

Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (May 25, 2021)

Blurb:

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.

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*****

Excerpt:

“Your dad is going to be staying nearby for a little while,” she said, furious that they were winging this rather than deciding what to say in advance. But that was how Jordan rolled—create a problem, then leave her to clean it up. “You’re going to see him all the time. Once he and I talk some things out, we’ll go back to how it was.”

As she spoke, she glared at him, silently daring him to contradict her. He only shrugged.

“Are you getting a divorce?” Ben asked.

“No. Goodness, no. We haven’t talked about that at all.”

Which was true. They hadn’t talked about anything.

“You’re going to stay right where you are,” she continued. “Going to school, hanging out with your friends.”

“You’ll be here?” Krissa asked earnestly.

Daisy kissed her. “I will.”

“And Esmerelda?”

Jordan stiffened at that question.

“And Esmerelda,” Daisy confirmed. “This is just for a little while. Like I said, you’ll be seeing your dad a lot. And you can always text him on my phone.”

Jordan approached the bed. “I love you guys. You know that, right?” 

The kids released her and stretched out in the bed. They looked at their dad and nodded. Daisy stood, motioning for the dogs to resume their places.

It took another fifteen minutes of quiet conversation and reassurances for order to be restored. Krissa insisted on staying in Ben’s bed and for once, her brother didn’t object. Proof of their upset, Daisy thought bitterly as she and Jordan finally went downstairs. Once they were in the kitchen, she turned on him.

“How could you just blurt it out without us talking first? Dammit, Jordan, they’re kids. This is not a problem they should be dealing with. I said you and I should talk, not that you should drop a bomb on our kids. We should have had a plan.”

He drained his wineglass. “Sometimes life happens, Daisy. You’re the one always telling me how busy you are. I was just trying to help you get through your to-do list so I can get out of your way. No need to thank me.”

The casual cruelty of his words shocked her. Jordan could be difficult, but he wasn’t usually so mean to her.

“You were wrong and you know it,” she snapped. “You can try to distract me by being a jerk, but that doesn’t take away from what you did.”

Instead of fighting back, he gave her a half smile. “I’m wrong so much around you that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t.”

“So none of this matters to you? We’re all a joke?”

The smile faded. “You have no idea what I’m going through here. You don’t know what it’s like dealing with you and your life. I’m last on your list every time. The only joke around here is me and you go out of your way to make sure I know it.”

With that, he walked out. Stopping him wasn’t an option because she couldn’t speak. Or breathe. Or understand what had just happened.

He wasn’t a joke—he was her husband. They were married and she had no idea why he was acting this way. Something was wrong—she got that—but she had no idea what.

She sank onto a stool by the island and poured herself another glass of wine. She was tired and sad and scared and a thousand other emotions she didn’t want to name. She had work in the morning and for the first time maybe ever, she didn’t want to go.

Esmerelda walked into the kitchen. “He’s gone?”

Daisy nodded. “He told the kids.” She felt her jaw clench and consciously relaxed.

“I thought you were going to come up with a plan together.”

“Jordan isn’t a fan of my plans.”

Esmerelda stepped close and put a reassuring hand on Daisy’s shoulder. “You’re strong enough to handle this.”

“I don’t feel very strong right now.”

“That doesn’t matter. The truth is, you’ll get through this because you have to. Your children need you.”

Daisy knew at the very least, she had to fake holding it together. The alternative was to start screaming and that wouldn’t end well. “Why do you always know the right thing to say?”

“I’m blessed with wisdom.” Her humor faded. “Daisy, I worry about you.”

“I’m fine.” A lie, but what choice did she have? She was the one they all depended on. As her housekeeper had pointed out, holding the family together had always been her job. She forced a smile. “I mean it. You’re right. We’ll get through this.”

“Good. Can I get you something to eat?” 

Food was the last thing on Daisy’s mind, but she knew she needed to pretend normal for as long as she could. “Yes, please. Let’s go with the pork chop. That sounds delicious.”

*****

Author Info:

No.1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives – family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

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*****

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