Monday, February 9, 2015

The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery + California Dreamin’ Prize Package Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1)
Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery, the New York Times bestselling author of Three Sisters, is world renowned for her "insightful, funny, and poignant" stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, she brings vivid color to the story of three friends on the brink of a new life.

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.
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As she measured out the oatmeal, she mentally paused to wonder if Eric was cheating on her. He was by himself every day. She didn’t know how much time he spent writing. She wasn’t here to see for herself and he didn’t volunteer the information. Once he was done surfing for the day, he could be seeing anyone.

Her stomach tightened at the thought, then she turned her attention back to getting breakfast for her son. She had to get Tyler fed and dressed with one eye on the clock. Once she got him to preschool, she had a full day of classes to teach, payroll to run for her two part-time instructors, groceries to buy and life to deal with. Worrying about Eric’s possible affairs was way down on her list.

As she carried the oatmeal over to Tyler, she thought maybe her lack of concern was the biggest problem of all. The question was—what, if anything, did she do about it?

***

Pam wrapped her towel around her body and reached for the tube of body lotion. While she stuck to a fairly faithful regimen for her face, when it came to body products, she liked to mix things up. Right now she was enjoying Philosophy’s Fresh Cream—a vanilla-based scent that made her feel like she should have chocolate-dipped strawberries for breakfast.

But for once the thick lotion didn’t make her smile. Probably because she was fully aware that while she was applying it, she was doing her best not to look in the mirror.

The shock of Jen’s impending ten-year high school reunion hadn’t gone away. It had faded, only to return. Telling herself age was a number and she was a lucky, happy woman wasn’t helping, either. It seemed as if every time she turned around, there was yet another reminder that her days of being a hot thirty-something were long over.

She put down the tube, braced herself for the horror and tossed the towel over the tub. Then she stared at her naked self in the very wide, very unforgiving mirror in the master bath.

She wasn’t fat, she told herself. She’d gained the most weight with Jen when she’d thought pregnancy meant a license to eat. And she had. Yes, her daughter had been a robust eight pounds and the rest of the associated goo had some weight and volume, but it didn’t excuse the seventy-five pounds she’d packed on.

Losing them had been a bitch, so with her next two pregnancies, she’d only gained a reasonable thirty. Still, her body bore the battle wounds—including stretch marks and a definite doughlike puddle where her once flat tummy had been.

Her breasts were worse. More tube socks than mammary-shaped. She got by with a good, supportive bra. Of course at night, when she just had on a sleep shirt, they eased back into her armpits. On the plus side, getting a mammogram wasn’t a problem. Her breasts oozed into place on the tray. Still, there’d been a time when they’d been full and round and damned sexy.

There were a handful of spider veins on her legs, a distinct lack of firmness to her jaw and—

“Kill me now,” Pam muttered out loud, then reached for her panties. What was the point in all that self-assessment? It wasn’t as if she was going to get any kind of plastic surgery. She worked out three days a week at Nicole’s studio and walked on the treadmill at least two other days. She was fifty. She’d better get used to not being anything special. She had a feeling it was only downhill from here.

She finished dressing, then combed her hair off her face. At least it was still thick and had a nice wave. She kept the length just past her shoulders and layered, to take advantage of the waves. Color and a few highlights in summer meant no one had to know about the encroaching gray.

The thing was, she thought as she applied her anti-aging serum—the one that didn’t seem to be doing its job as well as it had a couple of years ago—there wasn’t any warning. Sure, everyone knew that old age was inevitable. It was that or death and she was willing to admit she was pretty happy to be alive.

But what about the rest of it? AARP had been chasing her for the past six or eight months. In addition to their chronic invitations to join, they should send a heartfelt letter that told the truth. Something along the lines of “enjoy it now—in ten years, you’re going to look in the mirror and see your grandmother staring back at you.”

Perhaps not the most effective marketing campaign, but at least it would be honest.

She patted the eye cream into place, then used her fingertips to pull at her skin. What about a face lift?

She studied the results, liking how pulling her skin up and back gave her a nice taut look. She didn’t want to be scary—one of those women who almost seemed plastic. But maybe a little nip and tuck wouldn’t hurt.

She dropped her arms to her side and watched her face return to its normal position. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t ever going to have a face-lift. Surgery on her face for vanity? No way. She wasn’t some mega-rich celebrity. She was a normal woman freaking out about the unkindness of time and gravity.

She leaned closer to the mirror. Although maybe she could get some kind of injection. A filler or BOTOX. Didn’t everyone do BOTOX these days?

She left the bathroom and walked into the bedroom. Her morning chores awaited. John had left for the office nearly an hour before, but there was still plenty to do. Make the bed, throw in some laundry, clean up the kitchen dishes. She had a once-monthly cleaning service come in. Those hardworking women always made her feel guilty, but she still let them scrub her floors.

After preparing the marinade for the chicken pieces they would be barbecuing that night, Pam collected a light jacket for herself and a violet knit shirt for Lulu. She let the dog out for a quick potty break, then picked her up and tucked her under her arm. They had an appointment with the vet.

Text Copyright © 2015 by Susan Macias Redmond
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.


About the Author


New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly).

One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame.



Giveaway!


In celebration of Susan's new series, I'm giving away this gorgeous California Dreamin' Prize Package pictured below. This package is exclusively for Books à la Mode readers—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What is the biggest risk you've ever taken in your life? How did it turn out?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Susan and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin MIRA!
Giveaway ends February 23rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!