Title: Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery
Mischief Bay Series Book Four
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 432 pages
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.
Harper held in a sigh. She knew exactly why Stacey wasn’t eager to share the information. Their mother would have a million rules and shoulds, all of which Stacey would ignore. Then there would be fighting. Given that scenario, keeping quiet sort of made sense.
“Do you think she left you anything?”
Harper stared at her mother. “I’m sorry, I have no idea what you’re asking.”
“Do you think she left you anything?”
“Saying the same thing again doesn’t make it any clearer, Mom.”
Her mother sighed. “In the will.”
Oh, right. Because Bunny would rather buy store-bought bread than actually say Great-Aunt Cheryl’s name. Which would be really funny except Harper had a similar problem with her ex’s girlfriend. She went out of her way to never say Alicia if at all possible. Although there was a huge difference, what with Alicia being twenty-eight and gorgeous and Great-Aunt Cheryl not being a relative at all and, well, dead.
“I have no idea,” Harper admitted. “A couple of years ago she asked me if I would take her dogs. I made it clear there was no way.”
Great-Aunt Cheryl had been many things, including a former army nurse who had somehow become a spy during World War II. After that, she’d traveled the world, taken lovers and generally lived a life that would have left anyone else exhausted. In the past decade or so, Great-Aunt Cheryl had taken to training dogs for the government. Harper was pretty sure they could arm a nuclear missile if instructed. They were also huge, slightly scary-looking Dobermans that she in no way wanted in her house.
“So no jewelry? No antique silver tea service?”
“Great-Aunt Cheryl wasn’t the antique silver tea service type.”
They both knew that wasn’t true.
“I’m not expecting her to leave me anything, Mom. She was Terence’s aunt, not mine.”
“Yet you were always so close.”
There was a slight sniff at the end of the statement, but Harper ignored it.
“We were. She was lovely and I miss her a lot.” Great-Aunt Cheryl had always encouraged her to do more with her life than just take care of her family. When Becca had started kindergarten, Cheryl had offered to pay for Harper to go to college.
Harper, being an idiot, had refused. Why should she take time away from caring for her family to do something as ridiculous as going to college? It wasn’t as if she was ever going to be on her own and having to support herself and her daughter.
After the divorce Harper had wanted to tell Great-Aunt Cheryl how much she appreciated the offer, even if she hadn’t taken it. But at that point she’d been afraid it would sound too much like begging for money, so she’d never said the words. Now she couldn’t.
Regret was a mean and vindictive bitch.
Harper heard a knock at the front door, but before she could run to open it, she heard a familiar, “It’s me.”
“In the kitchen,” she yelled as she deftly maneuvered hot lasagna noodles into the casserole dish. She wiped her hands on a towel, then reached for the bowl of marinara sauce—homemade, of course—and a spoon.
She glanced up as Lucas strolled into the room, then returned her attention to what she was doing. There was no point in looking at what she couldn’t have, she reminded herself. Not that she wanted Lucas—not exactly.
Yes, the man was ridiculously good-looking. Tall and fit, with an air of confidence that was just shy of being a swagger. He was fifty, so older than her, and unexpectedly kind. While he was always underfoot, he was rarely in the way and whenever he came to dinner—which was surprisingly often—he always brought thoughtful little gifts.
He stood on the other side of the kitchen island and studied the ingredients she’d set out earlier.
“Let’s see,” he began. “Lasagna goes without saying, so there will be garlic bread. Some kind of salad.” He paused. “The chopped one with the homemade basil dressing. Which means we’re having Becca’s favorite dinner.”
“In celebration of her return.”
“She was gone three nights. How are you going to show she’s special when she heads off to college for months at a time?”
“I don’t want to think about that,” Harper admitted. Not her only child being gone nor how she was supposed to pay for out-of-state tuition. “I made a chocolate cake.”
“Of course you did. What time is dinner?”
“Terence said they’d be back between four and five, so maybe five-thirty or six.”
“I’ll be here.” He looked around at all the mess. “This big dinner is in addition to the Easter feast tomorrow?”
“Of course. They’re totally unrelated.”
“And we couldn’t just let one of them go?”
“Seriously? You’re asking that?”
“Yeah. You’re right. What was I thinking?”
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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