Susan Mallery’s ‘The Stepsisters’ [EXCERPT]

Two women by pool
They may be stepsisters, but they are as different as night and day. (Photo courtesy Canva)

There are few things in life that are as precious—or as aggravating—as family. They can make you feel like a million bucks when they love you, but when they hate you they try your patience like no one else can. In Susan Mallery’s forthcoming novel, The Stepsisters, two women bound by marriage have one of these love/hate relationships. But when their family spews new, unexpected drama like Mount Vesuvius, they’ll need to try and bury the hatchet if they’re going to survive startling new revelations. We hope you enjoy this sneak peek at Mallery’s juicy new book! — J&H


EXCERPT

She finished her work and coaxed Krissa closer to the car only to notice the BMW driving by again, but with the sun hitting the side window, she couldn’t see who was driving.

Better to ignore them, she told herself, slipping off her daughter’s school uniform polo shirt and putting on a T-shirt with Elsa from Frozen on the front. Sadly she had nothing for herself to change into. She wiped up her pants and shoes and was about to try to buckle Krissa in when the BMW pulled up to the curb behind her car.

Daisy told herself not to panic, even as she wished for lethal training in some kind of karate. Or a can of pepper spray. Was that legal in Los Angeles? Before she could decide, the driver’s door opened and a tall, beautiful blonde woman stepped out.

Daisy silently ran through all the swear words she knew, created a few unique combinations, then wanted to know why God currently hated her because there was no other explanation for Sage Vitale to be walking toward her, looking as fabulous as only Sage could in skinny jeans and a flowy top that made her appear sexy and ethereal at the same time. Four-inch-heel boots completed the look. Daisy, on the other hand, had been up since four, hadn’t showered since yesterday and hey, the vomit.

Susan Mallery's THE STEPSISTERS
Mira

Last she’d heard, Sage was in Italy, married to a count. Because that was Sage’s life. Race car drivers and counts and being tall and skinny and beautiful. Daisy was smart and had a sparkling personality. It just wasn’t fair.

Sage looked from her to her daughter. “Daisy? I thought that was you when I drove by. Are you okay?”

No. No, she wasn’t. Any idiot could see that. Her kid was obviously sick, Daisy had puke on her pants and shoes, so no. Not okay.

“We’re fine,” Daisy said, trying not to clench her teeth. Her dentist had told her that if she didn’t learn to relax, she was going to have to wear a mouth guard at night to stop herself from grinding her teeth. She felt her bedtime routine already lacked a certain sex appeal and she sure didn’t need a mouth guard adding to the problem.

“You don’t seem fine,” Sage said, her nose wrinkling, no doubt from the smell. 

“Who are you?” Krissa asked.

“I’m, um, I’m…”

“This is Sage. She’s my stepsister.” Or at least she had been, once.

Krissa rubbed her suddenly running nose. “So you’re my aunt?”

“No,” Daisy said firmly. “Please buckle up so we can get home.”

For once, Krissa didn’t complain or talk back. Instead she buckled her seat belt, twisting her head to keep looking at Sage. Daisy thought about warning her of the danger of that. Sage was like the sun and if you stared at her too long, there was permanent damage.

Later she would think about what quirk of fate had her former stepsister driving by at the exact moment she was at her lowest. LA had a population of what, eight million people? What were the odds? Although she supposed they did live close. Sort of. But still!

She forced a tight smile. “Thank you for stopping. It was very kind.”

“I couldn’t believe it was you, standing there on the side of the road,” Sage admitted. “I knew you had kids, but seeing you with your daughter… It’s just strange.”

“We haven’t really kept in touch,” Daisy said, inching toward her door.

“Right. We haven’t seen each other since your wedding.”

Daisy stared at her stepsister. Really? Sage had gone there? “Yes, my wedding twelve years ago, where you announced to everyone in the room that you were still in love with the man I was marrying. It was great.”

Sage flushed. “It wasn’t exactly like that.”

Oh, yes it was, but Daisy didn’t want to stay and chitchat. “Thanks again.” She waved and ducked into her car.

“She’s really pretty,” Krissa said admiringly. “I like what she’s wearing.”

“It’s jeans and a shirt,” Daisy snapped before she could stop herself. “Sorry. I’m tired. Let’s get you home.”

In the rearview mirror she saw Sage get back in her car. Their eyes met briefly in the mirror, then Daisy focused her attention on starting her car. She pushed the button to engage the engine…and nothing happened. The dashboard lights came on, along with the red Check Engine light, but the engine stayed silent.

Daisy grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and tried not to scream. She didn’t want to scare her daughter and possibly herself by giving in to the crazy building up inside of her but why did this have to happen?

ABOUT THE STEPSISTERS

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.

Susan Mallery
Susan Mallery
(Photo by Annie Brady)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Mallery is the number one New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and 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 been 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. Visit Susan online at SusanMallery.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Instagram, BookBub, and Amazon.

THE STEPSISTERS
By Susan Mallery
416 pp. Mira. $28.99.

Preorder The Stepsisters direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Harlequin, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

The Stepsisters 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.

2 Responses to Susan Mallery’s ‘The Stepsisters’ [EXCERPT]

  1. Pingback: Susan Mallery, author of THE STEPSISTERS, on tour May 2021 | TLC Book Tours

  2. Pingback: Spotlight + Excerpt: The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery – Escape Reality, Read Fiction!

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