Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.
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She wasn’t sure which she loved more—that he fussed over her by fixing her meals and making sure she was taking her vitamins, that he called her sweetie, or that he had a collection of funny science T-shirts. She supposed there was no reason she had to pick any one thing. Until meeting Kit, she’d never been sure that she believed romantic love existed. She could have explained the chemical processes that took place in the brain but that wasn’t the same as believing in the feelings themselves. Now she knew differently.
He set two plates on the table, then sat across from her. A pot of herbal tea sat in the center of the table. She poured them each a cup. Kit wouldn’t drink coffee in front of her although she guessed he had it when she wasn’t around.
“Harper called,” he said. “She invited us over for dinner tomorrow night. Becca will be home from the memorial.” He frowned. “Who is Great-Aunt Cheryl? She didn’t come to the wedding.”
“She’s not related to Harper and me. She was Terence’s great-aunt, but she and Harper were always close, which our mother found threatening. Great-Aunt Cheryl was an army nurse during World War II and some kind of spy in the 1950s. She raised dogs.”
Stacey smiled at her husband. “No, these were specially trained dogs used in spy missions. Apparently their training was far more advanced than regular military canines. I tried to get her to talk about her work, but she said it was all top secret and I didn’t have clearance. Still, what she did tell me was fascinating to hear about. I was most intrigued by the lack of morality involved. When someone is trained to kill, there are psychological ramifications, but with animals, there is simply the task. Pushing a button that will ultimately arm a bomb requires little more than the command and subsequent reward for good behavior.”
Kit chuckled. “That’s my girl, always with the cheerful breakfast conversation.”
“So much of life is interesting to me.”
“I know, and you are interesting to me. Now, about the elephant in the room…”
She automatically glanced at the calendar on the wall. It was about one square foot and rather than show the date, it counted up to 280. Kit tore off a sheet each morning. Today was day 184.
Stacey involuntarily put her right hand on her round belly. Right hand rather than left because she was right hand dominant and therefore would be in a better position to protect with said right hand. Not that there were any threats in the room—they came from outside the haven that was their home.
Her gaze returned to her husband. Kit’s kind expression never changed. His brown eyes danced with amusement from behind his wire-rimmed glasses, his mouth smiled at her. He needed a haircut because he always needed a haircut.
They’d met nearly three years ago, when Stacey had spoken at the Mischief Bay High School career day. As a science teacher, Kit had reached out to Stacey’s biotech company and asked for someone to address his students. He’d specifically requested a woman to inspire the young women in his classes.
Stacey had volunteered. She spoke regularly at conferences and symposiums, so had no fear of talking in front of a crowd. Lexi, her assistant, had helped her put together a presentation that assumed little or no knowledge of disease pathology, or science, for that matter. The students had appeared interested but the bigger surprise of the day had been meeting Kit.
She’d found herself flustered in his presence and when he’d invited her out for coffee, she’d accepted. Coffee had turned into a long weekend and by the end of their third week together, he’d moved in with her.
She had never been swept away before, had never fallen so completely for anyone. More importantly, she’d never felt so accepted by a man who wasn’t family.
In the vernacular of the day, he got her. He understood how her brain worked and wasn’t the least bit intimidated by her intelligence or success. When regular life confused her, he was her buffer. He was normal. Just as important, he took care of her in a thousand little ways that made her feel loved. While she tried to do the same with him, she was confident she failed spectacularly, but Kit never seemed to mind.
“I’ll tell her,” she murmured, getting back to the topic at hand.
“Technically you don’t have to. In about ninety-six days you’ll pop out the baby. I’m pretty sure Bunny will be able to figure it out from the broad strokes. You know, when she holds her granddaughter for the first time.” He paused to sip his tea. “Unless you weren’t going to say anything then. I mean, we can wait until Joule learns to talk and we can let her tell Bunny herself. Most kids start forming sentences around eighteen months or so but with your genes floating around in our daughter, she will probably be on her second language by then. I say we let her tell her grandmother who she is.”
She knew Kit was teasing. She also knew the problem was of her own making. She’d been the one to put off telling her mother she was pregnant. She’d told Harper right away because Harper was her sister and they’d always been there for each other. Harper was easy and accepting and would understand. Bunny wouldn’t. Bunny had very clear ideas on what women should or shouldn’t do in their lives and Stacey was confident she’d violated every one she could so far. Having a child would only make things worse.
Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.
Critics, too, have heaped praise on “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!”
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, January of 1992. 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 Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life.
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