Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're playing host to a stop along the TLC Book Tours promotion featuring a NEW TITLE set to release THIS AUGUST from author Susan Mallery! You know her name and you probably already know her work, so right now, you're buzzing with excitement. Don't deny it...I can tell because SO WAS I! I adored her Fools Gold series and several other works I've read (the latest being The Summer of Sunshine and Margot ), so when I caught wind of this one and the chance to participate in the tour came round, I knew I had to sign up! Hence, today's post, and hence my exuberance is going to stop randomly typing now and get on with the show. First, the intro, then the excerpt! Read on for today's fabulous title in the spotlight coming soon via HQN...
The Friendship List
About the book...
[ ] Dance till dawn
[ ] Go skydiving
[ ] Wear a bikini in public
[ ] Start living
Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…
Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.
So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?
The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.
~~~ EXCERPT ~~~
Ellen couldn’t figure out why a six-foot-five-inch, seventeen-year-old guy crying bothered her more than pretty much any teenage girl crying. Was it reverse sexual discrimination? Because boys cried less often, their tears had more value? Was it the sheer size of Luka juxtaposed with the implied vulnerability of tears? As she was unlikely to figure out an answer, she decided to ignore the question.
“Luka, you’re going to be fine,” she said, reaching up to pat the teen on his shoulder as Cooper hovered nearby. “You’ll take the online Spanish class and you’ll do great. You’re plenty smart. You just got complacent.”
“He thought because he’s such a hotshot on the field, his shit didn’t stink,” Coop said, then groaned. “Sorry, Mom. Um, I meant to say, ah, poop.”
She turned to her son and raised her eyebrows. She was pleased that, despite his age and size, he took a step back and swallowed.
“I’m really sorry,” he added.
“As you should be. Luka, Coach isn’t throwing you off the bus.”
“You didn’t see him. He was really mad. He said I was an idiot.”
Not exactly the word she would have chosen, but then she didn’t spend much time in the jock/jockette world.
“You’re a leader, so he expects better of you.”
More tears filled Luka’s eyes. Next to him, Coop winced.
“What if I can’t get an A?”
“You won’t with that attitude.”
Luka sniffed. “That’s what Coach said.”
Cooper leaned close. “It’s a teacher thing. They think alike. Welcome to my world.”
She did her best not to smile. Her boys, she thought fondly. Cooper and his friends had been running in and out of her life since he’d been old enough to invite kids back to play. Luka had been a staple in her life for nearly a decade. He and his family had moved here from Yap (a tiny island in Micronesia—she’d had to look it up). Luka and Coop had met the first day of second grade and been best friends ever since.
“Luka, I forbid you to think about this anymore today. Your mom is waiting for you. Go have a nice dinner and relax this evening. Tomorrow, get your butt in gear and get going on the Spanish studies.” She hesitated. “I’ll talk to Coach and make sure you’re still on the college trip.”
His dark eyes brightened. “You will? Thanks, Ms. F. That would be great.”
Before she could step back, Luka grabbed her and lifted her up in the air. It was not a comfortable feeling, but all of Coop’s friends seemed to do it. He swung her around twice before setting her down. Both teens headed for the door.
“I’ll be back by ten,” Coop yelled over his shoulder.
Ellen gave herself a little shake to make sure nothing had been crushed, then stepped out on her small deck to check out the heat level. The front of the house faced south, leaving the backyard in shade in the early evening. The temperature was close to eighty, but bearable.
The deck overlooked a small patch of lawn edged by fencing. Nothing fancy, but it was hers and she loved it. She quickly wiped off the metal table and dusted the chairs before putting out placemats, plenty of paper napkins and a cut-up lime. She’d already made a green salad to counteract the calories from the fried chicken. Shortly after six, she heard a knock on the front door, followed by a familiar voice calling, “It’s me.”
“In the kitchen,” she yelled as she opened the refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of beer. Dos Equis for him and a Corona for herself. She glared when she saw the extra to-go container in his hand.
“What?” she demanded. “We agreed on chicken.”
He held up the KFC bucket. “I brought chicken. Original, because you like it.”
“Don’t distract me. Are those potatoes? I can’t eat those.”
“Actually you can. I’ve seen you. You have no trouble using a fork.”
She set his beer on the table. “Do you know how many calories are in those mashed potatoes? I’m not some macho athletic guy.”
Keith gave her an unapologetic smile. “I’d still be friends with you if you were.” He set down the food. “Stop worrying about it. You look fine.” He glanced at her. “As far as anyone can tell.”
She ignored that and refused to look down at her oversize tunic and baggy pants. “I like to be comfortable. Loose clothing allows me to move freely on the job.” She ducked back into the house to get the salad, then joined him at the table.
He’d already taken his usual seat and opened both to-go containers. The smell of fried chicken reminded her she hadn’t eaten since lunch, which felt like two days ago. Her stomach growled and her mouth watered.
Keith put a chicken breast on her plate, then handed her the mashed potatoes. She put slices of lime in both their beers. Their movements were familiar. Comfortable.
#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.
Special thanks to TLC Book Tours for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour to catch all the excerpts for more bookish fun!
Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!