Happy Tuesday! Welcome to my stop on the California Girls by Susan Mallery blog tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours! Thanks to TLC for the invitation! I have an excerpt of the book today, and I’ll have a review later in March. Enjoy!
About the Book:
The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…
Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.
Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.
Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.
But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.
She inhaled to the count of four, held her breath for a count of eight, then exhaled—
She heard her door open, followed by, “Finola, we have to talk.”
Her eyes popped open. Nigel was standing in front of her. He grabbed her chair by the arms and stared at her intently.
“Nigel, what are you doing here? I go live in less than thirty minutes. What’s going on?”
Nigel, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, didn’t see patients on Fridays and they were leaving on their trip in the morning. What was so important that it couldn’t wait until after the show?
He looked at her. “I’m sorry.”
It wasn’t the words that got her attention so much as the tone, and maybe the stricken expression on his face. Her stomach clenched.
Visions of her sisters or her mother lying prone on the road filled her mind. Or maybe there had been a fire. Or a—
“I don’t know how to say it,” he began, only to stop.
Bile rose in her throat. Her heartbeat jumped a thousandfold and there was a ringing in her ears. Someone was dead—she knew it.
“I’m having an affair.”
As he spoke, Nigel released the chair and paced the length of the room. He was still talking—she could see his lips moving—but for the life of her she couldn’t hear anything. The roaring, rushing sound was too great.
The words repeated over and over in her head until their meaning sunk in. Years ago, she’d fallen off a tall porch onto the grass below. She’d landed on her side and all the air had been forced out of her lungs. This felt like that. She couldn’t inhale, couldn’t stop the surge of panic that swept through her as her body began to tremble. The lack of breath was followed by a sharp gut-wrenching pain in her heart.
How could he? When? With who? Why? They were married. They loved each other. He was her best friend. She was going to get pregnant on their trip to Hawaii.
No, there had to be a mistake. He couldn’t have. Only as she watched him watch her, she knew he wasn’t lying and that he really had, with four simple words, shattered her and their marriage.
“You have to understand,” he said, his voice low. “I’m sorry to have to tell you now. I know the timing is less than optimal.”
“Less than optimal?” she shrieked, then had to consciously lower her voice. “Less than optimal? I’m about to go on live television. It’s not enough to dump this on me, but you had to do it right this second, to screw with me even more?”
“I’ve tried to tell you so many times over the past few weeks, but you’re too busy to listen. There’s always another show.”
She felt a flicker of rage and reached for it with both hands. At least anger would provide temporary strength.
“You’re blaming this on me?” she demanded. “You waltz in here and announce you’re having an affair and it’s my fault you waited until just this second to tell me?”
“It’s not like that.”
“Oh, really?” She brushed away tears. “What’s it like?”
He turned away. “I thought you needed to know.”
Before she could figure out if she was shaking too hard to stand, he walked out. Just like that. She was alone with the nausea, the aches, the broken life and a ticking clock that warned her she had eighteen minutes and twelve seconds until she was live.
None of this is real, she told herself frantically. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t happening and Nigel hadn’t just told her about an affair. He couldn’t have. Not her Nigel. Not the wonderful, warm, loving husband who was always there for her. She knew him, not the cold stranger who had just left.
If only her ears would stop ringing, she thought desperately. If only she could breathe or cry or scream or run. An affair. Another woman had been in his life, his heart and his bed. Their bed. No. No! He’d slept with someone else, had whispered to someone else, had touched someone else, had orgasmed with someone else.
Her mind refused to believe even as her heart began to bleed. Betrayal and sadness and disbelief churned together until she choked. She had to get out of here. She had to go home and—
Her gaze settled on the clock. No, she told herself. She couldn’t leave. She had a live show in fifteen minutes. She had to go on the air and act as if nothing was wrong, as if she were fine and the world hadn’t just fallen off its axis and into a black hole from which it would never escape.
About the Author:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.
Critics have dubbed Mallery “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!” It’s no wonder that her books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list.
Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.
Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.
Have you read California Girls, or is it on your TBR? Have you read any other books by Susan Mallery? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR