Blog Tour Excerpt – Sisters By Choice by Susan Mallery

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Hello Sweeties and Welcome to my Blog Tour Stop for Sisters by Choice by Susan Mallery  hosted by TLC Book Tours. I have an excerpt to share with you so let’s get started and scroll down now.

Don’t forget to follow and check out the other tour stops.

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From the New York Times bestselling author of California Girls comes an all new original Blackberry Island novel told with Susan Mallery’s trademark humor and charm. Sisters by Choice is a heartfelt tale of love, family and the friendships that see us through

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Expected Publication: February 11th 2020

Publisher: MIRA

Genre(s): Women’s Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Format: Hardcover, 400 pages

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Cousins by chance, sisters by choice…

After her cat toy empire goes up in flames, Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island, determined to rebuild. Until small-town life reveals a big problem: she can’t grow unless she learns to let go. If Sophie relaxes her grip even a little, she might lose everything. Or she might finally be free to reach for the happiness and love that have eluded her for so long.

Kristine has become defined by her relationship to others. She’s a wife, a mom. As much as she adores her husband and sons, she wants something for herself—a sweet little bakery just off the waterfront. She knew changing the rules wouldn’t be easy, but she never imagined she might have to choose between her marriage and her dreams.

Like the mainland on the horizon, Heather’s goals seem beyond her grasp. Every time she manages to save for college, her mother has another crisis. Can she break free, or will she be trapped in this tiny life forever?

Told with Mallery’s trademark humor and charm, Sisters by Choice is a heartfelt tale of love, family and the friendships that see us through.

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She turned at the corner, made a left and three more rights before being forced to a stop by a barricade manned by two members of the Santa Clarita Police Department. She pulled over and jumped out of her car, grabbing her company ID and showing it to the officers.

“That’s my company,” she said. “I own it. What happened? Was anyone inside? Oh, God, the cleaners. Did they get out?”

The officers waved her past the barricade and pointed toward one of the firefighters. He looked more management and less like a climb-a-ladder-to-make-a-hole-in-the-roof guy.

At first she couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything but stare at what had once been a large warehouse with offices. Now there was only fire and smoke and heat.

Go, she told herself. She had to get going!

She rushed to the guy and identified herself again.

He nodded. “From what we can tell, the cleaning team discovered the fire. They all got out safely. We did a search, as best we could, and didn’t find anyone else. Do you know of any employees who work late?”

Sophie tried to focus on what he was saying, but it was impossible. She’d never seen a real fire before—not outside of the movies or TV. There was no way that two-dimensional image had prepared her for the real thing. The heat was incredible. Even from a hundred feet away, she wanted to step back, to get away from the climbing temperature.

Even more stunning was the sound. Fire really was alive. It breathed and roared and screamed. Her building put up a fight, but it was no match for the beast that consumed it. As she watched, the fire cried out in victory as a wall collapsed.

“Ma’am, is anyone working late?”

The question was screamed in her face. She tore her attention away from the flames.

“No. No one works late. Only me. I don’t like anyone in my building when I’m not there.” The cleaners were the exception. She trusted them. Plus, anything important was locked up.

The man’s expression turned sympathetic. “I’m sorry. The building is going to be a total loss.”

She nodded because speaking was impossible. Her throat hurt, and not just from the smoke and ash in the air. Her throat hurt because she was doing her best to keep it all inside.

Everything she’d worked for, everything she’d dreamed of, built, sweated over and fought for was gone. Just gone. Her mom had always warned her that if she wasn’t careful, people would break her heart, but no one had warned her that a building could do the same.

She turned away and started for her car. The left side of her brain said she needed to call her insurance agent, and maybe some of her employees. Thank God her accounting records and orders were all backed up externally, but CK Industries wasn’t going to open its doors anytime soon.

That was the left side. The right side of her brain only felt pain. First CK and now this. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t lose them both.

She fumbled with her phone and scrolled through her contacts until she found a familiar number. She pushed it.

“Hey, you,” her cousin Kristine said. “This is a surprise. I thought you had a date. Oh, Sophie, it’s barely eight. You didn’t dump him already, did you? I swear, you’re impossible. What was wrong with this guy? Too tall? Not tall enough? Did he breathe funny? Hang on a sec—”

Kristine’s voice became muffled. “Yes, JJ, you really do have to do your European history homework. The First World War isn’t stupid or boring and you will need the information later in life.”

Kristine’s voice normalized. “You know he’s going to come back to me when he’s thirty and tell me I was completely wrong about the everyday relevance of World War I.”

Sophie managed to find her voice. “Kristine, it’s gone.”

“What? Sophie, what happened? Where are you? Are you okay? Did your date do something? Do you need me to call the police?”

“No. It’s not me.” At first Sophie thought she was shaking, but then she realized she was crying so hard she could barely stand or breathe.

“There’s a fire. Right now the whole place is on fire. There’s not going to be anything left. It’s gone, Kristine. It’s just gone.”

“Are you okay? Was anyone hurt?”

“No one works late and the cleaning crew found the fire, so they’re all okay. I don’t know what to do. I can’t handle this.”

“Of course you can. If anyone can, it’s you, sweetie. We both know that. You’re in shock. Look, I’m going to get myself on the first flight out in the morning. I’ll text you the information. We’ll figure it out. We can do this together.”

Sophie stared at the hungry flames and knew she’d been bested. She’d been prepared for a hostile buyout or an all-employee mutiny, but not total annihilation.

“This is all I have and now there’s nothing,” she whispered.

“That’s not true. You have your family and, knowing you the way I do, you have more insurance than you need. This could actually work out for the best. You’ve been talking about moving your business back to the island for years. Now you can. It’ll be like it was back in high school. You’ll see.”

“I hate it when you’re perky.”

“I know. That’s mostly why I act that way. I’ll be there tomorrow.”

Sophie nodded and hung up, then she opened the driver’s door of her car and sank onto the seat. There were a thousand things she should be doing but right now all she could do was watch her entire world literally go up in flames.

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Excerpt Tour

Monday, January 20th: The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, January 21st: Sincerely Karen Jo

Wednesday, January 22nd: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, January 23rd: Novel Gossip

Friday, January 24th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Monday, January 27th: Reading Reality

Tuesday, January 28th: Tar Heel Reader

Wednesday, January 29th: Living My Best Book Life

Thursday, January 30th: Jathan & Heather

Friday, January 31st: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Monday, February 3rd: Into the Hall of Books

Tuesday, February 4th: Lori’s Reading Corner

Wednesday, February 5th: Books & Spoons

Thursday, February 6th: What is That Book About

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abouttheauthor

susanmallery#1 NYT 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. Visit her at SusanMallery.com

 

 

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Thanks for stopping by lovelies and have a wonderful day!!!

Take care and happy reading!!!

sincerelykjologo

Blog Tour Excerpt- Meant to Be Yours by Susan Mallery

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Hello and Happy Friday Lovelies!! Welcome to my Blog Tour stop for Meant to Be Yours (Happily Inc #5) by Susan Mallery hosted by Harlequin Trade Publishing. Today, I have an Excerpt to share with you so let’s get to it!

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Meant to Be Yours cover

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Publication Date: October 22, 2019

Publisher: HQN Books

Genre(s): Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 9781335041494

Format: Hardcover, 320 pages, Paperback, 464 pages

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Harlequin – Indiebound – Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Target 

Walmart – Google – iBooks – Kobo

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In Happily Inc, love means never having to say “I do”…

Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing—a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake…and eat it, too.

After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up…until his flame becomes his muse.

Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love?

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“It might just be okay,” wedding coordinator Renee Grothen murmured softly to herself as she surveyed the wedding reception. She wouldn’t risk admitting everything had turned out as planned until the last guest had left, but four and a half hours in, things were going really well.

Jim and Monica Martinez were a sweet couple with a fun firefighter theme for their big day. There was a long tradition of firefighters on both sides of the family and plenty of cute touches in the wedding and reception.

Monica’s dress laced up the back and instead of white ribbon to cinch her gown, she’d used bright red. The centerpieces were ceramic boot vases painted to look like firefighter boots, filled with red, orange and yellow flowers. There was even a walk-through fountain at one end of the reception area, created with fire hoses, a pump and a lot of engineering.

Renee walked around the perimeter of the indoor reception space, looking for problems. So far, so good, she thought with cautious optimism. The cake had been cut, the bar service was about to end and the tone of the party had faded from raucous to comfortably tired—exactly as it should. With a little luck, things would wrap up on time and without a crisis. This was Monica and Jim’s day—Renee wanted it to be as perfect as possible. While she always took care of her clients, she tended to unleash her mother bear instincts for her special couples and Monica and Jim certainly qualified.

She spotted Pallas Mitchell, her boss, walking toward her. It was nearly ten on a Saturday night and Pallas, a pretty brunette only recently returned from maternity leave, yawned widely. When she spotted Renee she held up her hands, palms up.

“What can I say? I’ve been home with an infant. These wild latenight hours are going to take some getting used to.”

“No one’s judging,” Renee told her. “As I said at seven, at eight and again at nine, go home. I can handle this. You’re barely back and you need to give yourself time to adjust to the schedule.”

“You’ve been running things for nearly six months. You need a break.”

In truth, Renee was a little ragged around the edges, but she’d loved handling Weddings Out of the Box while Pallas had been gone. She’d enjoyed the challenges each unique wedding presented and watching all the details fall into place on the big day.

“I had lots of help,” Renee pointed out. “Hiring college students on summer break was a good idea.” And what they’d lacked in experience, they’d made up for in energy and enthusiasm.

“Now that I’m back, things can return to normal,” Pallas said, covering another yawn.

“Go home,” Renee urged. “Please. I can handle things here. I promise.”

“Okay. I will. Thanks. Don’t you dare come in tomorrow.” Pallas’s voice was firm. “For once, we don’t have a Sunday wedding. Enjoy the break.”

“I will.” Renee would probably pop in to do a little paperwork, but she wouldn’t stay long. “Are you coming to The Boardroom on Monday night?”

In a wedding destination town, the rhythms of the residents were determined by weekend weddings. Happily Inc’s workweek started on Wednesdays as the businesses geared up for the dozens of nuptials that occurred in multiple venues. Which meant the town’s Friday night was actually on Monday.

The Boardroom, a local bar, hosted game nights on Mondays. Board games ruled and tournaments were heated and fun as friends crushed each other at everything from Candy Land to Risk.

Pallas shook her head. “I’ll admit to being a bit of a worrier. When we went a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about Ryan. He’s only five months old. It’s too soon to leave him at night.”

Renee held in a smile. “Sure. I get that.”

“I know you don’t, but thank you for pretending. Have fun for me, too. Oh, Jasper’s back, so tell him hi, if you think of it.”

Jasper was back? Renee hadn’t heard. She liked knowing he’d returned from his big book tour. Not for any reason in particular, she amended hastily. Sure, he was nice, but there were a lot of nice guys in the world. There was just something about Jasper. Maybe it was because in addition to being good-looking and just a little dangerous, he wasn’t a forever kind of guy.

“I saw that!” Pallas grinned. “I totally saw that. You did the predatory smile thing I was never good at. You want to use him for sex! Did I know this?” She stomped her foot. “Did this happen while I was on maternity leave? What else went on while I was off having a baby?”

Renee laughed. “You’re reading way too much into my smile. I’m happy he’s home from his book tour. That’s all.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Jasper and I are not involved. I doubt we’ve had more than a three-sentence conversation.”

Not that it took many sentences to ask Your place or mine? And while the description of predatory was nice, it gave her too much credit. Would she stalk him and pounce? Not even on her best day. Would she say yes if the man asked? She smiled again. Oh, yeah, she would. Definitely. Okay, probably. If she was feeling brave. Because while she worked her butt off to give her couples their perfect happily-ever-after day, she knew it was never going to happen for her. Those who could—did. Those who couldn’t became wedding planners.

Avoiding relationships might be the smart choice, but it was also a lonely one. She knew Jasper was into the long-term, monogamous, not-serious kind of thing and she was pretty sure she could handle that. Assuming she was his type and he was interested. They could have some laughs, lots of sex and walk away completely unscathed in the heart department. Where was the bad?

“There’s something going on and you can’t convince me otherwise,” Pallas said. “You have depths. I’m very impressed. Okay, use Jasper and then tell me the details because hey, he’s got to be great.” She yawned again. “I’m such a lightweight. I’m leaving now.”

“Good night. Hug Ryan for me.”

“You know I will.”

Pallas walked out of the reception hall. Renee continued to circle the space, looking for any forgotten handbags or phones, and noting how long it would take the cleaning service to return the huge room to order. Doing her job and not thinking about the fact that Jasper was back—that was her.

A loud whoop got her attention. She turned and saw three teenaged guys running through the fountain at the far end of the big, open room. Each of them jumped, trying to touch the arc of water dancing overhead.

The younger brother, she thought as she made her way toward them. And his friends. No doubt they were bored after so many hours with not very much to do. Regardless, she was not going to have them disrupt the reception when it was so close to being over.

As she approached the running, jumping teens, she saw both sets of parents, along with the bride and groom, still dancing. They swayed in time with the music, oblivious to the fountain and the idiots messing with it. Then several things happened at once.

The younger brother started an extra long run toward the fountain. Jim let go of Monica and spun her out the length of their arms. Monica bumped her mom, who stumbled a little. Dad grabbed Mom, moving all of them closer to the fountain and the younger brother running, who had to swerve suddenly to avoid them. As he swerved, he lost his balance and slipped, tumbling into the fountain mechanism. One of the hoses broke free, wiggling and spraying water everywhere.

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Renee saw it all happening and knew there was no way she was going to allow her beautiful bride to get soaked. She lunged for the hose, caught it and held it tightly against her chest as the bride’s father rushed to turn off the water to the hose. It took only seconds, but by then the entire fountain had spilled over and Renee was drenched, shivering and had water up her nose even as she wondered if she looked half as ridiculous as she felt.

The new Mrs. Martinez hurried over. “Renee, are you all right?” She turned on her brother. “How could you? This is a wedding, not a water park.”

Aware that end-of-wedding exhaustion could easily lead to emotions spiraling out of control, Renee quickly faked a smile.

“Monica, it’s fine. Don’t worry. Keeping you and the rest of the wedding party dry was my only concern.” She glanced at the water draining onto the floor and realized part of the fountain was still pumping out water. That couldn’t be good. If she couldn’t get everything turned off, she was going to have to call in one of those companies that took care of disasters like flooding. “Really. It’s no problem.”

“You’re dripping and the water’s rising. My dad went to find the main shutoff.”

Renee wrung out her hair and hoped her makeup wasn’t too badly smudged. Then she realized the water level in the reception hall was indeed climbing and hoped Monica’s father found the shutoff soon.

She was just about to go help him when he returned.

“All turned off.” He glanced at the mini flood. “Sorry about this.”

“It’s fine,” Renee lied, her tone soothing, because that was part of her job. To pretend all was well even when they needed to be figuring out how to build an ark.

The rest of the guests were heading out. Nothing like the threat of an unexpected flood to get people moving, she thought, trying to find the humor in the situation.

“I’m so sorry,” Monica told her as she held her dress out of the water and slipped out of her shoes.

“Don’t be. You had a wonderful wedding and reception. Why don’t you and Jim start gathering your things? I have a spare set of clothes in my office. I’ll get changed, then help you make sure you have everything.”

As she spoke, she noticed the water seemed to have settled at about the six- or seven-inch level. Yup, she was going to have to call someone. No doubt she would be here all night. Oh, joy.

“I’m really sorry,” Jim said. “We thought we’d planned for every contingency.” He glared at his new brother-in-law. “Except for stupid.” He turned back to her. “Let us know the cost of cleanup. We’ll pay for it.”

“Thank you. I think the deposit should take care of it but I’ll let you know if there’s a problem. Now if you’ll let me go get changed, I’ll be back with you in ten minutes.”

Monica nodded.

Renee slipped out of her shoes and walked through the ankle-deep water. When she reached her office upstairs, she carefully closed the door behind her before undressing, then slipped on jeans and a T-shirt. Not exactly professional, but she wasn’t going to worry about that right now. Before she returned to her bride and groom, she looked up the local disaster cleaning service. The number was in her files, but wasn’t one she had had to use before.

They picked up on the first ring.

“Happily Inc CleanUp. This is Hilde. How can I help you?”

“Hi. I’m Renee Grothen at Weddings Out of the Box. We had a firefighter wedding tonight with a big fountain. There was an accident with one of the hoses and now our main reception hall is flooded.”

There was a pause. “Um, did you say firefighter wedding? Never mind. How much water?”

“About six inches.”

“That’s a lot.”

“It was a big fountain.”

“Give us thirty minutes and we’ll be there.”

“Thank you.”

Renee hung up, gave herself a second to catch her breath, then headed back to deal with the bride, the groom, the flood and anything else that might happen tonight. Because with a wedding, it was always something.

Excerpted from Meant to be Yours by Susan Mallery, Copyright © 2019 by Susan Mallery, Inc.. Published by HQN Books.

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abouttheauthor

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SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

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Thanks for stopping by lovelies! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

sincerelykjologo