Thursday, January 21, 2021

Blog Tour: Excerpt of The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery

Author: Susan Mallery
Publication date : February 9, 2021
Publisher : HQN Books; Original edition 

Step into the vineyard with Susan Mallery’s most irresistible novel yet, as one woman searches for the perfect blend of love, family and wine.

Mackenzie Dienes seems to have it all—a beautiful home, close friends and a successful career as an elite winemaker with the family winery. There’s just one problem—it’s not her family, it’s her husband’s. In fact, everything in her life is tied to him—his mother is the closest thing to a mom that she’s ever had, their home is on the family compound, his sister is her best friend. So when she and her husband admit their marriage is over, her pain goes beyond heartbreak. She’s on the brink of losing everything. Her job, her home, her friends and, worst of all, her family.

Staying is an option. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews—but as an employee, nothing more. Or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own. If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.

We are excited to share this excerpt with you today!

They each asked for a glass of cabernet. While Stephanie simply sipped her wine, Mackenzie took a moment to study the color, before sniffing the aroma. She swirled the wine twice, then inhaled the scent again, liking the balance of fruit against the—
“For heaven’s sake, just drink the wine, I beg you,” Stephanie said with a laugh. “It’s fine. It was fine when you watched the grapes being crushed, it was fine in the barrels, it was fine when it was bottled and it was fine when it won what I’m sure is a thousand awards. Okay? It’s good wine. Relax and stop being a winemaker for one night.”
“You’re crabby.” Mackenzie took a drink and smiled. “For the record, it’s much better than fine.”
“You would say that. It’s your wine.” Stephanie looked over Mackenzie’s shoulder and smiled. “Here comes your handsome husband. I’m guessing he wants your first dance.”
Mackenzie turned and watched as Rhys approached. He enjoyed the dancing at the Solstice Party and took all the female guests for a turn around the dance floor, but he always saved the first one for her.
“Shall we?” he asked, holding out his hand.
 She passed her wineglass to Stephanie, then followed her husband to the small dance floor. No one else joined them, but she knew that would change as soon as they got things started.
 “We need to check the Seven Hills drip system,” she said as they moved in time with the music. “The forecast says we’re going to get hotter and drier in the next few weeks, and I want to control the exact amount of moisture.”
One of the advantages of “new world” vineyards was the ability to control quality by providing exactly the right amount of irrigation. Once the fruit was established, she could stress the vines, causing them to focus more intensely on the fruit.
“I know better than to point out we walked the vineyard last month,” Rhys said lightly.
“That was a general check. Now I have a specific concern.”
“As you wish.” He spun them in a tight circle. “Maybe the rest of the work conversation could wait until tomorrow.”
“What?” Why wouldn’t they talk about— “Oh. The party. Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. You’re never truly off duty, but if we could put it on hold for the night, I would appreciate it.”
Because he enjoyed events like these. He liked talking to his friends and meeting new people and generally being social. Rhys was much more extroverted than she was. If someone new joined the tight circle of vineyard owners in the area, he was the first one to go introduce himself.
She nodded her agreement and tried to think of something to talk about that wasn’t vineyard or wine related.
 “I hope Kyle leaves Stephanie alone,” she said, thinking that was a more neutral topic. “She’s trying hard to move on.”
“She has to figure out what she wants. He’s always going to ask—it’s up to her to tell him no and mean it.”
She knew he was right, but for some reason his blunt assessment irritated her.
 “That’s not very understanding,” she said before she could stop herself. “Kyle’s a big-time Seattle sportscaster with the ability to find a different woman every night. Stephanie’s a small-town single mom working at the family business. Where, exactly, is she supposed to meet someone?”
 Her husband stared at her. “What does her dating someone else have to do with whether or not she’s still sleeping with Kyle?”
 “There aren’t any other options for her. She’s lonely.”
 “She’s going to stay lonely until she gets herself out there.”
“What there are you talking about? The giant singles scene here in Walla Walla?”
 They stopped dancing and stared at each other. Mackenzie realized this was the closest she and Rhys had come to having an actual argument in years. She had no idea why she had so much energy about the topic or what was causing her growing annoyance. But whatever it was, the Summer Solstice Party was not the place to give in to unexplained emotions.
“I’m sorry,” she said quickly. “You’re right, of course. Stephanie has to find a way to change her circumstances so Kyle is less of a temptation.”
 His tight expression softened with concern. “I want my sister to be happy.”
“I know you do.”
 “I want you to be happy.” There was something in the way he said the words. As if he wasn’t sure that was possible.
 “I am,” she said quietly, thinking she was almost telling the truth.
“I hope so.”
 She faked a smile and waved her hand toward the growing crowd of guests. “You have a lot of women to dance with tonight. You’d better get started.”
He studied her for a second, as if assessing her mood. She kept the smile in place until he turned away. When he was gone, she looked longingly toward her house. Disappearing into the quiet tempted her but wasn’t an option. Tonight was a command performance and there was no leaving early. But soon, she promised herself. In the quiet of her room, she wouldn’t feel the low-grade unease that had haunted her for the past few months. Alone in the dark, she would be calm and happy and think only of good things, like the coming harvest and the wine she would make. Alone in the dark, she would be herself again.

About Susan Mallery

No.1 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.

Connect with Susan
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Excerpt Tour:
Monday, January 18th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, January 19th: Helen’s Book Blog
Wednesday, January 20th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm
Thursday, January 21st: From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 22nd: Jathan & Heather
Monday, January 25th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, January 26th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, January 27th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Thursday, January 28th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, January 29th: Literary Quicksand
Saturday, January 30th: The Romance Dish
Monday, February 1st: Leighellen Landskov
Tuesday, February 2nd: The Sketchy Reader
Wednesday, February 3rd: Audio Killed the Bookmark
Thursday, February 4th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, February 5th: What is That Book About
Saturday, February 6th: Books & Bindings
Sunday, February 7th: Books & Spoons
Monday, February 8th: Books Cooks Looks
Tuesday, February 9th: Romantic Reads and Such

1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

Thank you for sharing this! Sara @ TLC Book Tours