Monday, May 10, 2021

Excerpt Tour: The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery

Author: Susan Mallery
Paperback: 416 Pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (May 25, 2021)

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.

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We are super excited to be a part of the excerpt tour for The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery.  This is stop #7  To read more, check out the rest of the tour below:

“Krissa is sick,” she said instead. “She’s throwing up and she has a fever. Ben’s better, but obviously he passed what he had along to her. Is it unreasonable to ask you to check on your kid?”
“Your sarcasm doesn’t help.”
“Neither does you blaming me for everything and then walking away. If you want to have a conversation about what we’re going to tell our children about you moving out, then I suggest we get that on the calendar.”
“I’ll be there after work.”
“Great.” She opened her mouth to say more, but he’d al­ready disconnected the call.
Much like the moneyed streets of Bel Air, the private school Sage Vitale had attended from third through twelfth grade was surprisingly unchanged. The wood paneling still gleamed, the students still wore black pants and white polo shirts as their uniforms. The computers appeared sleeker, but otherwise, she could have easily thought she had stepped back in time. Even Mrs. Lytton wasn’t that different. Her short, sensible haircut had a bit of gray in it, and reading glasses perched on the edge of her nose were a change, but otherwise the stern head of the languages department looked as she had twenty years ago.
“You’re late,” Mrs. Lytton said as Sage walked into her of­fice and took a seat. “By nearly half an hour. I shouldn’t have to remind you that our students are expected to be prompt and those around them are expected to set an example. Es­pecially our tutors.”
As a teenager, Sage would have slumped in her seat, al­lowing her posture and her eye roll to demonstrate how little she cared what Mrs. Lytton thought of her. Older and (hope­fully) wiser Sage knew that attitude would get her nowhere.
“I am late,” she said, offering her best smile. The one that nearly always worked on difficult clients. “I stopped to help someone with car trouble.”
Mrs. Lytton’s thin mouth pressed into a flat line. “Really, Sage? Is that the best you can do? You were always so inven­tive with your excuses. My favorite was the time you claimed to have stopped to rescue baby ducks from a bobcat prowling the streets of Bel Air.”
“I was helping Daisy,” Sage said. It was early to play such a powerful card, but Mrs. Lytton had left her no choice. “Krissa threw up in the car and Daisy had to pull over. I saw them and stopped to help. Then her car wouldn’t start, so I drove them home. That’s why I’m late.” She offered a forgiving smile.
“You’re welcome to check with her, if you’d like. Apparently Ben got the flu first and now poor Krissa has it.”
Mrs. Lytton’s eyebrows rose. “Well, if you were helping Daisy, then of course it’s all right. I didn’t know you two were still close.”
They weren’t. Not back when their parents had first mar­ried, not after the divorce and certainly not now. If Sage went the rest of her life and never saw her former stepsister again, she could die a happy person.
“We’re family,” Sage said simply, comfortable with the lie.
“All right, then let’s get to it.” Mrs. Lytton opened a folder on her desk before saying in Italian, “I understand you lived in Italy for nearly three years. Are you conversational?”
Sage answered in the same language. “Yes, and I have a basic understanding of grammar. My French is better. I lived in France nearly fifteen years. I’m fluent in both languages.”
Mrs. Lytton switched to French. “Your first husband was French?”
“Yes.” The third had been Italian. She didn’t talk about the second one.
The department head ran her through a series of grammar drills, had her read from a book of French poetry, along with an Italian fashion magazine. When they were done, the older woman leaned back in her chair.
“You have a decent enough understanding of both lan­guages,” she said, her tone faintly grudging. “The pay is twenty-five dollars an hour with a thirty-minute minimum. We’ll get you set up on the school’s app and students can book you when you’re available.”
Her gaze dropped to the Prada handbag Sage had set in the chair next to her own. “Are you sure you want to do this, Sage? Aren’t there other things you would rather do with your time?”
“I’ve been giving English lessons in France and Italy since I moved to Europe. I think it will be fun to switch things around.”
“You’re not going to get rich doing this.”
Sage kept her smile in place as she said, “Yes, I know. But sometimes the joy of giving back is more than enough pay­ment.”
Mrs. Lytton made a sound that was suspiciously like a snort. “Very well. I’ll walk you over to the front office, where we’ll get you set up on the app. You should see bookings right away.”
Sage followed the other woman down the long hallway. She was sure her willingness to tutor rich kids in French and Italian didn’t make sense to anyone but her, and sometimes she wasn’t sure about it, either, yet here she was.
The idea, born on the long flight from Italy to Los Angeles, had surprised her, not only with its arrival but with her own willingness to actually do the work to make it happen. She knew the reason was that tutoring was very close to teaching and lately she’d been thinking that maybe it was time to see if she could do that. Maybe being the operative word. Finding a rich husband while she still had her looks probably made a lot more sense. But every now and then a girl had to do some­thing crazy, right? So she would tutor a few kids, conjugate a few verbs. If it got too tedious or she met someone inter­esting, then she could dump the whole thing. No one, least of all Mrs. Lytton, would be shocked if it turned out she had no follow-through.

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
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Excerpt tour:
Monday, May 3rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Tuesday, May 4th: Jathan and Heather
Wednesday, May 5th: Reading Reality
Thursday, May 6th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Thursday, May 6th: Reading Girl Reviews
Friday, May 7th: The Lit Bitch
Monday, May 10th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, May 11th: What is That Book About
Wednesday, May 12th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, May 13th: Romantic Reads and Such
Friday, May 14th: View from the Birdhouse
Saturday, May 15th: Literary Quicksand
Sunday, May 16th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm
Monday, May 17th: Girl Who Reads
Tuesday, May 18th: Nurse Bookie
Thursday, May 20th: Why Girls are Weird
Thursday, May 20: Novel Gossip
Friday, May 21: Books & Bindings
Saturday, May 22nd: A Holland Reads
Sunday, May 23rd: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews
Monday, May 24th: Helen’s Book Blog
Instagram tour:
Monday, May 3rd: @bookscallmyheart
Tuesday, May 4th: @mommaleighellensbooknook
Wednesday, May 5th: @jenniaahava
Thursday, May 6th: @kelly_hunsaker_reads
Thursday, May 6th: @readinggirlreviews
Friday, May 7th: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie
Saturday, May 8th: @lyon.brit.andthebookshelf
Sunday, May 9th: @k2reader
Monday, May 10th: @brianas_best_reads
Monday, May 10th: @sweethoneyandbrei
Tuesday, May 11th: @readsrandiread
Wednesday, May 12th: @mrsboomreads
Thursday, May 13th: @chill_jilland_read
Friday, May 14th: @marilyngcon
Saturday, May 15th: @bookshelfmomma
Sunday, May 16th: @pnwbookworm
Sunday, May 16th: @moonlight_rendezvous
Monday, May 17th: @booksloveandunderstanding
Monday, May 17th: @jenguerdy
Monday, May 17th: @rozierreadsandwine
Tuesday, May 18th: @nurse_bookie
Wednesday, May 19th: @readswithrosie
Thursday, May 20th: @readingwithremy
Thursday, May 20th: @novelgossip
Friday, May 21st: @bryantparkbooks
Saturday, May 22nd: @the_boozy_baking_bibliophile
Sunday, May 23rd: @bluntscissorsbookreviews
Monday, May 24th: @gingersbookclub

1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

I love Susan Mallery, I'm excited to get into this one this summer! Sara @ TLC Book Tours