Formats available: hardcover, large print, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: Chick Lit, relationship fiction, women's fiction
Published by Mira on May 25, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org
New York Times
bestselling author Susan Mallery pens a love story of a different sort…a heartfelt tale of friendship between two women who used to be sisters.
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.
Welcome to the Excerpt tour for The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery. She writes lovely filled with charming people in sometimes messy relationships that sweep me up, take me away, and put me right into the heart of stories that manage to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing The Stepsisters in the weeks ahead, so here’s a teaser to whet all of our reading appetites!
Excerpt from The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery (continued from Friday’s Excerpt at Jathan & Heather)
Someone knocked on her window. She rolled it down.
“You okay?” Sage asked.
“Not really. My car won’t start.”
“Want me to take you home?”
Daisy thought about saying she would call an Uber or Lyft or something, but figured that fate was messing with her and she might as well simply surrender. The sooner she got through whatever hell this was, the sooner it would be over. Later, when the kids were in bed and she had showered, she would review her life and try to decide where she’d messed up so much that she had to be punished. But for now, she had a sick kid and someone willing to give her a ride.
“Thank you,” she said through clenched teeth, looking into the beautiful green eyes of the one woman on the planet she hated more than anyone. “That would be great.”
“How long have you known my mom?” Krissa asked, suddenly sounding significantly better than she had five minutes ago. Yet more proof of Sage’s endless powers, Daisy thought bitterly as she buckled her seat belt.
“Since we were young,” Sage told her. “I think we were eight or nine.”
“I’m eight!” Krissa’s tone indicated there was magic afoot. “But I don’t understand. You were stepsisters. So Grandpa was married to…”
“Sage’s mother,” Daisy explained. “For about six years. Do you remember Aunt Cassidy?”
“I don’t think so.” Her tone was doubtful. “Is she pretty like Sage?”
“Yes.” Annoyingly so. “Cassidy is our half-sister. My father, your grandfather, is her dad and Sage’s mother is Cassidy’s mom. I’m sure you’ve met Cassidy at least once.”
She glanced over her shoulder and saw Krissa’s face scrunch up, as if she were trying to work it all out.
“She’s your aunt,” Sage offered.
“Then why don’t I know her?”
An excellent question, Daisy thought. One of the answers might be that since the divorce all those years ago, Cassidy had made it clear she preferred Sage to Daisy and once Cassidy had turned eighteen, she’d taken off to explore the world. She stayed in touch with Wallace, their mutual father, but not with Daisy.
“You don’t hear from her?” Sage asked, driving through one of the open gates that marked the entrance to Bel Air. “I’m surprised.”
Are you really? But Daisy didn’t actually ask the question. What was the point? In a battle of the sisters, she had always come in last. When she’d been a child herself, she hadn’t understood why she and Sage couldn’t be friends. Unlike many only children, she’d been delighted when her father had told her he was marrying Joanne and giving her a stepsister. She’d imagined having someone to play with, a friend to confide in. She’d wanted a connection, a best friend, a closeness that always seemed to exist between sisters she read about or saw on TV.
But Sage had rebuffed every overture. Even when she was friendly for an afternoon, the next day, she would be cold and distant. At school, she delighted in mocking Daisy. Sage might have been the new girl at their exclusive private school, but Daisy was the one who had felt left out.
Sage glanced in the rearview mirror. “Your aunt Cassidy is a travel writer. She goes all over the world and writes about interesting places and people. Right now she’s in Patagonia studying a group of women selling textiles.”
Krissa’s eyes widened. “She sounds cool.”
“Even saint-like,” Daisy murmured under her breath, before pointing to the street on the right.
“It’s just up there.”
Sage smiled. “I remember where the house is.”
“I wasn’t sure.”
It had been a long time—over twenty years since Wallace and Joanne had divorced, although they’d shared custody of their daughter. Cassidy had gone back and forth between the houses right through high school. Sage had probably dropped her off or picked her up more than once.
Daisy instinctively pointed toward the long driveway. Sage laughed and repeated, “I know where I’m going.”
Which made Daisy feel foolish—a usual state of being when Sage was around.
“I’m surprised you’re in Los Angeles,” she said, mostly to distract herself. “Aren’t you living in Italy?”
“Rome,” Sage corrected. “I was.”
“You live in Rome?” Krissa’s disbelieving tone made it sound as if her almost-aunt had a pied-à-terre on Jupiter. “That’s in the EU.”
“It’s very beautiful there.” She glanced at Daisy. “I came home a couple of weeks ago. My mom was dealing with a cancer scare.”
And just like that, all Daisy’s mad deflated, leaving her feeling small and mean-spirited.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “If you’d like a recommendation for an oncologist, I can get you some names.”
Something flickered across Sage’s perfect face. “Thank you, but it turned out just to be a scare. She’s fine now.”
She reached the end of the long driveway and stared up at the big house.
“It looks the same.”
The inside was different, Daisy thought. They’d updated the kitchen and family room. The master bedroom and bath had also been redone, a remodel completed when Wallace had moved out, allowing Daisy and Jordan to live in the big house. Not that she was going to discuss any of that with Sage.
#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.