Susan Mallery’s ‘The Summer of Sunshine and Margot’ [EXCERPT]

Two sisters make a change in Susan Mallery’s latest novel. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Now that Memorial Day has passed and summer has unofficially begun, it’s time to start packing up our beach bags with juicy reads populated with addictive characters and loads of plot twists. Susan Mallery has provided such a novel in The Summer of Sunshine and Margot, a tale of two sisters determined to change their lives for the better and perhaps find a little romance in the process. Enjoy this exclusive excerpt! J&H


EXCERPT FROM THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE AND MARGOT

Her great-grandmother had talked about star power. She couldn’t say what it was, but she’d been able to recognize it when she saw it. Bianca had star power. When she smiled, Mar- got instantly felt like the most special person on earth. Even as she reacted viscerally, the intellectual side of her brain cataloged how Bianca stood, smiled and moved toward them. She was looking for clues to the problem, along with any information that would help her do her job to the best of her ability.

“Have you thought about what I said, Alec?” Bianca asked as she approached. She wore jeans and a loose T-shirt. Nothing out of the ordinary, yet both suited her perfectly. Her feet were bare, her toes painted with little American flags. “I’m sure they would enjoy it.”

Alec exhaled. “My mother thinks I should invite a few nuns over for lunch.”

Margot glanced at him. “You know nuns?”

“No. She wants me to find a local convent and ask them over.”

“Why?”

He looked at her, his expression clearly indicating there was no reasonable explanation and with luck, this, too, would pass.

Bianca stopped in front of them. She was maybe five-four or five-five, at least three inches shorter than Margot.

“Because of what Alec has done with the monastery,” she said, her voice light and happy. “They would be delighted to see how you’ve kept the spirit of the building while modernizing it.”

“The master bedroom is in what used to be the church,” he said drily. “I doubt the nuns would approve.”

Bianca linked arms with him. “Oh, darling, don’t worry about that. It’s not as if you’re having sex there.” She winked at Margot. “Alec goes out for that sort of thing. He’s a little bit like a groundhog. Once a year he makes an appearance, so to speak, then retreats to his regular world.”

Margot wasn’t sure if the comment was meant to shock her or test her or humiliate Alec. Given the warm tone and loving expression, she doubted it was the latter. Still, it was an unusual thing to say to a stranger—especially about her own son.

“I’m Margot. It’s nice to meet you.” Margot held out her hand. Bianca shook it. “It’s nice to be met.” Her smile broadened. “I’m a fairly hopeless case, as I’m sure Alec has told you. I’m impulsive and reckless and not the sort of person who should be marrying a professional diplomat. But here we are, trying to make it work.” Her smile faltered. “It’s just that Wesley is all I’ve ever wanted. I love him and I don’t want to be the reason he loses his job.”

For a second her eyes were no longer bright but instead filled with fear and uncertainty. Margot studied the f lash of emotions and saw the exact moment self-preservation kicked in.

“Imagine falling in love at my age!” she said with a laugh. “What a ridiculous thing. Until now I’ve only really loved one person and that’s Alec.” She smiled up at him. “I’m sure he’ll be delighted to have someone else share that burden.”

Margot nearly felt dizzy from the emotional ping-pong. Bianca had shifted from the odd comment about Alec’s sex life to a f lash of honest vulnerability with a quick return to fact, all couched in a protective shield of humor. There was a lot more going on here than the desire to learn which fork to use.

One of the advantages of being socially awkward—not that there were many—was the ability to recognize it in others. Bianca might be more beautiful than 99 percent of the population, but that didn’t mean she was comfortable in her own skin. She was obviously afraid of disappointing everyone she cared about. Perhaps she thought she’d been doing it for years. How intriguing, Margot thought, suddenly itching to get on her computer and begin working on her development program.

Alec squeezed his mother’s hand. “I just want you to be happy.”

Bianca flashed him a smile that was brighter than the sun Alec had mentioned earlier, then turned to Margot. “Shall we have a little talk to see if we suit?”

“I’d like that.”

Bianca led her to the table in the center of the paved garden while Alec retreated to the house. When they were seated across from each other, Bianca studied her for a second.

“You don’t need to wear glasses, do you?”

The question surprised Margot. “No. How did you know?”

“I’ve worn prop glasses before. Why do you do it? No, don’t tell me. Let me guess.” Her gaze turned probing. “You want to look smart. Oh, because you’re pretty. You must be very serious about your work. I never was. I liked acting but I was never passionate about it.” The mega smile returned. “However, they do pay me a ridiculous amount of money for it, so why not?”

One shoulder rose and lowered. “Tell me. Can I be fixed? Do you have the skills to make me just like everyone else?”

Margot saw the trap in the question immediately. She sensed that Bianca was testing her in a hundred different ways and wasn’t sure what that meant. If she was the one who had requested assistance, then surely she was motivated to change. Yet the way she phrased the question…

“I can certainly teach you how to behave in formal occasions, whether social or political,” she began. “As for fixing you, I’m afraid that’s not my job. I want to make you feel comfortable so everyone can get to know who you really are.”

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Bianca said quickly. “They couldn’t handle the real me.”

“Then the you you want them to know.”

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ABOUT THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE AND MARGOT

HQN

The Baxter sisters come from a long line of women with disastrous luck in love. But this summer, Sunshine and Margot will turn disasters into destiny…

As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. But she’s never faced a client like Bianca, an aging movie star who gained fame—and notoriety—through a campaign of shock and awe. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a proper diplomat’s wife requires intensive lessons, forcing Margot to move into the monastery turned mansion owned by the actress’s intensely private son. Like his incredible home, Alec’s stony exterior hides secret depths Margot would love to explore. But will he trust her enough to let her in?

Sunshine has always been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her, then threw her away. No more. She refuses to be “that girl” again. This time, she’ll finish college, dedicate herself to her job as a nanny, and she 100 percent will not screw up her life again by falling for the wrong guy. Especially not the tempting single dad who also happens to be her boss.

Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year!

Susan MalleryABOUT THE AUTHOR

Number one 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.

Visit her at SusanMallery.com or like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE AND MARGOT
By Susan Mallery
368 pp. HQN. $26.99

Purchase The Summer of Sunshine and Margot is brought to you in association with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

The Summer of Sunshine and Margot is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

3 Responses to Susan Mallery’s ‘The Summer of Sunshine and Margot’ [EXCERPT]

  1. susanmallery says:

    Thank you for sharing this excerpt with your followers! I love that you and the TLC Book Tours team are spreading sunshine all across the web! 🙂

  2. Sara Strand says:

    Susan Mallery is a guaranteed fun read for summer! Thanks for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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