Excerpt: The Stepsisters
Title: The Stepsisters
Author: Susan Mallery
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Find it here: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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
She opened her eyes and studied her neighbor. He was about her age, with blond hair, like Adam’s. Only it couldn’t be him, could it?
The man glanced up and caught her staring at him. He smiled.
“How do you know who I am?” She supposed her mother could have told him but Joanne wasn’t the type to be friendly with the neighbors.
“I’ve known you since we were thirteen.” He pressed a hand to his chest. “You’ve forgotten me. I’m devastated.”
It couldn’t be him, could it? “Adam? Is that you?”
He smiled. “Bingo.”
She grinned. “Bingo? Did you just say that?”
“It’s my word when I’m surprised.”
“You need a different word.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe it’s really you.” She took in the broad shoulders and chiseled face. “You look different.”
“And you’re exactly the same.” She sipped her water. “If only. So you still live at home?” That was sad. Hadn’t he ever wanted a life? Adam smiled at her. “No. I bought the house from my mom after my dad died and she moved to Vegas. Of the two of us, you’re the only one still living at home.”
She had no idea how he meant to deliver the words, but they landed like a slap. She offered him a tight smile as she grabbed her glass and stood.
“And here you are, back in the neighborhood,” she said as lightly as she could. “It was really great to see you, Adam.”
“Sage, wait,” he said, coming to his feet. “I didn’t mean it like that. Please.”
She waved as she walked to the sliding glass door and stepped inside.
Once she’d locked the door behind her, she hurried to her room and sank onto the bed. She wasn’t a failure—she wasn’t. Nor did she care what someone as ordinary and stupid as Adam thought of her. She didn’t care about anyone. She never had. It was safer that way. And being safe was the most important thing of all.
By Saturday, Ben and Krissa had both recovered from the stomach flu. They rose early and started the morning with a loud rendition of Marco Polo in the pool. By the time Daisy had dried them off, fed them and walked the dogs, it was time to get Ben to soccer practice. Jordan would be meeting them at the practice to take both kids for the day.
Daisy did her best to act casual, as if splitting their time between their parents was no big deal, but on the inside, she was a mess. Her stomach churned, she was tired from not sleeping and from one second to the next she wasn’t sure if she was going to start yelling at everyone or burst into tears.
Most days she didn’t mind the chaos of her life, but lately it was getting to her, no doubt the result of Jordan leaving her. She didn’t know what his absence meant for their marriage. Worse, she had no idea why he’d left or what it would take to get him to come back. So far they weren’t even talking. All communication continued to occur through texts, a practice that unsettled her, although not enough to make it stop. She supposed a part of her was terrified of what he would say if they actually did start having a conversation.
Which made her a coward, she thought, walking down the hall toward the kids’ wing. Something she could live with because the alternative was knowing exactly what her husband was thinking and she had a bad feeling there wasn’t going to be a “them” anymore.
Where had it gone? Once they’d been so good together. She remembered when Ben had been almost five and had wanted to play soccer. Daisy had confessed to Jordan that she didn’t know the first thing about the game.
He’d immediately taken her out into their big backyard and had taught her the basics. They’d continued practicing together for several weeks until she was good enough to play with her five-yearold. Jordan had been sweet and loving and supportive. Where had that man gone?