Monday, February 6, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins + Giveaway (continental US only)

On Second Thought
Kristan Higgins

From the New York Times bestselling author of If You Only Knew comes an irresistible look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds families together.

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is being blindsided by a breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her older half sister, Kate, who’s struggling with a sudden loss of her own.

Kate’s always been the poised, self-assured sister, but becoming a newlywed—and a widow— in the space of four months devastates her. Though the sisters were never close, she starts to rely on her sister, especially when Kate learns her late husband was keeping a secret from her.

Despite the murky, blended-family dynamic that’s always separated them, Ainsley and Kate’s heartache binds their summer together, when they come to terms with the inevitable imperfection of relationships and family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.


Nathan did meet every criteria a single woman could have—kind, steady, financially secure, interesting, intelligent, attractive. Even his divorce spoke well of him; he hadn’t been hanging around, not committing (as I had been). He had no pit in his cellar, no devices for torturing women, no collection of Nazi uniforms. I looked, believe me, making him laugh and laugh as I poked around his enormous home.

There was absolutely no reason not to marry him.

Except...

There’s always that, isn’t there?

Marriage, as nice as it might be, would throw my life into upheaval—Nathan wanted me to move to Cambry-on-Hudson, relocate my studio, sell my apartment. Of course he did. COH was his hometown, and though I hadn’t grown up there, it was where I went on holidays. It made sense. He had a gorgeous house perfectly suited to children and entertaining, with plenty of space for us both.

But still. All the adjustments, all the moving, most of the changes would be mine. Ideally, I’d take more time to ease into this. I knew I wasn’t used to being part of a couple, of joint decision-making.

Not to mention that five months wasn’t enough time to truly know each other. This would be a leap of faith that everything I believed to be true about Nathan would hold fast. If I was wrong—or if he was—we’d look like idiots.

The changes would be worth it, I believed. But it would be upheaval nonetheless, and 20 years on my own…well, it was harder to walk away from than I thought it would be. I couldn’t bring myself to sell my apartment. Instead, I rented it for a hefty amount and put my things in storage. It was December. Who wanted to schlep furniture?

If I’d been even a few years younger, I would’ve waited. There was a small, annoying voice—my mother’s—telling me that a reason not to marry him didn’t mean a good reason to marry him. That you can’t really love someone you’ve known for five months.

I confessed my concern to Paige. We were at Porto’s, our favorite bar, one of the few places in Brooklyn that predated the influx of cool people and was therefore uber-cool, the not locally farmed, not organic, not microbrewed, not free range, deemed delightfully retro by the hipsters.

We were drinking crappy vodka tonics at a table, idly watching Daniel the Hot Firefighter flirt with three nearly identical blond girls. “Maybe I should wait,” I said. “Just see how things go.”

“I think you’re a fucking idiot,” Paige said, taking a slurp of her drink.

“No, no, tell me what you really mean,” I said. “Don’t mince words.”

“Seriously, Kate. He’s great. Marry him. Move to the ’burbs and have twins. I’m so jealous I could stab you in the throat.”

“Will you be a bridesmaid?” I asked, grinning.

“Piss off.”

She wasn’t smiling. My own smile died a quick death. “Paige,” I began.

“I don’t want to talk about it, okay? You were the last single friend I had. I’d kill for a guy like Nathan, and you sit there wondering if you should marry him. Who do you think you are?”

“Um... a person? With feelings and thoughts? Come on, Paige. I thought I could talk to you—”

“Yeah, well, don’t. Okay? You have a two-carat ring on your finger. Wear white. Register for new china and hey, how about a destination wedding to make your single friends use vacation time and spend their own money to cheer you on?”

With that, she threw down her napkin and left.

“Did you two break up?” Daniel asked, appearing at my side. “Was it over me?”

I laughed reluctantly. “No. I’m getting married. She’s…”

“A bitch?”

“No. Just feeling a little left out, maybe. I’m moving to Westchester.”

He shuddered. “Well, mazel tov, Kate. Nice knowing you.”

“I’m not dying.”

“You’re moving out of the city. Same thing. See you never.” He smiled and went back to his fan club.

I forgave Paige the bitchiness, but I knew she wouldn’t forgive me. I was getting what we both always wanted, and she was not. I understood. The little voice in my head, that tremor of warning, was snuffed out.

On New Year’s Day, Nathan and I went for dinner at a restaurant with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was snowing, and we had a window table. I wore a glittery white cocktail dress and slutty red shoes, and Nathan gave me a red rose. The justice of the peace came in, and in front of a room full of strangers, with New York shimmering through the windows, I became Nathan’s wife.

One hundred and two days later, I became his widow.

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of On Second Thought—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is one moment that brought you and a sibling closer together? If you're an only child, what would you have liked to rely on a sibling for?
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. Kristan and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

My sister and I have a pretty large age gap (8 years, but 10 grade levels) so we've always had a slightly different relationship since I acted more like her babysitter or third parent. We do have our petty arguments but it's hard to relate with or be "close" to someone who's half a generation younger than you.

Recently, we have connected over things like keeping secrets from our parents, like sneaking out of the house or hanging out with certain people we aren't supposed to. When I got my ears pierced, I told her about it first, and made her swear not to tell my parents until I could get them in a good mood. Having siblings does pay off in times like that!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends February 20th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to continental US 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!