Book Excerpt: Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery

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Release Date: January 23, 2018

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: MIRA 

About The Book:

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.

Book Excerpt:

Harper pulled her cell phone from her jeans pocket and glanced at the screen. “That’s Becca,” she said, sounding relieved. “They’re pulling up now.”
Everyone walked toward the front of the house. Kit grabbed Stacey’s hand and squeezed her fingers. She looked at him and sighed.
“I know,” she told him.
“You’ll get there.”
Stacey hoped he was right.
They all went out front, careful to avoid the rabbit footprints. A large black BMW pulled into the driveway. Stacey noted that Terence’s girlfriend was driving rather than him, which was unusual, but not as unexpected as the three incredibly large dogs in the backseat with Becca.
The car came to a stop and Terence nearly fell out of the passenger’s side. His face was red, his eyes practically swollen shut and he was coughing and choking. Alicia, his girlfriend, got out and shook her head.
“I guess he is really allergic to dogs, huh?”
Becca was the last to leave the vehicle, followed by three huge Dobermans. The dogs were sleek and muscled, black-and-tan, with alert but wary expressions. Stacey watched her sister stare at her daughter, then at the dogs.
“No,” Harper breathed. “She didn’t.”
“Mom, it’s not what you think!”
All the Bloom women had dark hair and blue eyes, with heart-shaped faces. Stacey was the tallest at five-seven. Bunny and Harper were both a few inches shorter, and Becca was in the middle. Seeing them together, no one could miss the family resemblance.
Alicia sighed. “Don’t get your panties in a twist, Harper. Great-Grandmother Cheryl or whatever she was to you didn’t leave you the dogs.” The blonde woman’s expression turned smug. “She left them to Becca. All three of them. Good luck.”
Harper took a step toward her daughter. “She left you the dogs and you never thought to give me a heads-up?”
Her daughter’s chin rose. “I knew you’d overreact and tell me I couldn’t bring them home.”
Terence continued to choke and cough. Becca looked at him.
“Dad is allergic to dogs, like you said. He took all kinds of meds but he still had a hard time. I guess it was being in the car and everything.”
Harper barely glanced at her ex, instead keeping her attention on Becca. “We cannot have three dogs.”
“They’re huge and dangerous,” Bunny piped in. “And that one’s pregnant.”
“Her name is Bay,” Becca said, still sounding defiant. “And they’re mine. Great-Aunt Cheryl wanted me to have them and you can’t take them away from me.”
Kit put his arm around Stacey. “To think we almost named our daughter Bay,” he murmured. “Awkward.”
She appreciated his attempt at humor but was more concerned about Becca and Harper fighting. If her sister couldn’t get along with her daughter, what chance did Stacey have with her child? Harper was the perfect mother. She knew how to do everything.
“Becca, be reasonable,” Harper said. “They’re huge dogs. We don’t have enough room for them. Plus, they’re specially trained. Shouldn’t the government take them?”
Becca’s eyes filled with tears. “I knew you’d be like this. You never want me to have what I want.”
Alicia had opened the trunk. She started pulling out bags and boxes. “No one needs to help me,” she said sarcastically. “I’m fine.”
Both Kit and Lucas walked over and finished emptying the trunk. Terence stumbled into the car while Alicia got behind the wheel. They drove off without saying a word.
Lucas glanced at the dogs. “What’s the boy’s name?” he asked.
“Thor and the other one is Jazz.”
“Thor, come.”
Lucas’s voice was firm. The male Doberman trotted over and sat in front of him. Lucas held out his hand. Thor sniffed, then looked at him.
“Good boy.” Lucas patted him on the head. “I’ll take him.”
Harper spun to face him. “You’ll what?”
“I’ll take him. I have a yard and I’ve always wanted a dog. It’ll be great.”
Becca sniffed. “That would be okay, if you promise to be a good puppy dad.”
“I do promise.”
Stacey met the gaze of the pregnant dog. The animal looked calm and kind of sweet, in a very large, I could eat you in a hot minute kind of way.
“We’ll take, um, Bay,” she said without thinking. Maybe she could learn something when the dog had her puppies. If nothing else, it would be nice to have another pregnant female around.
“Stacey,” Bunny said disapprovingly. “You can’t just blurt out things like that. You have to talk to your husband first. What if Kit doesn’t want a dog?”
Kit met Stacey’s gaze. She saw the understanding in his eyes and knew he got what she’d been thinking. Still, she should have asked him—a dog was a big responsibility and she spent her days at the lab.
Kit smiled at her, then he called Bay. The Doberman hurried to sit in front of him.
“Want to come home with us?” he asked.
She tilted her head as if considering the offer.
Persimmon clapped her hands together. “This is so wonderful. Like a Hallmark movie. The whole family pulled together.” She smiled at Harper. “Now you have to let your daughter keep the dog because it’s just one. I could so cry right now.”
“Me, too,” Harper muttered. “Becca, the only way we’re keeping a dog is if you take responsibility for it. I mean that. You have to do everything. If you don’t, it goes. Am I clear?”
“I’ll do it, Mom. You’ll see. I’ll handle it all.”
“I want to believe you,” Harper began, then stopped herself. “All right. Let’s sort through all this stuff and figure out what goes where. Did Great-Aunt Cheryl leave an instruction sheet or something?”
“There’s a whole book,” Becca said eagerly as she wiped away tears. “They know some really cool stuff, Mom. You’ll see.”
“I’ll do research on pregnant dogs,” Kit said. “We’re going to have puppies.”
And a baby, Stacey thought, knowing there was no way she could tell her mother the truth today. As Harper said, Stacey either had the best or worst luck in the world. She just couldn’t decide which.

About The Author:

3A384349-8FD4-495C-9C82-7F8FD9233BC0Susan 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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