Friday, April 28, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters + Mother's Day Tulip Bouquet Giveaway! (US only)

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters
Susan Mallery

A captivating new novel about the problem with secrets, the power of love, and the unbreakable bond between sisters from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery

Kelly Murphy isn't used to chaos. Her life as a tulip farmer is routine, after all—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sunwashed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son who’s set his sights on Kelly, and her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.

But Olivia's return isn't as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future and, ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She's determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family... whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.

While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big, hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?

The Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives.


He’d known who Kelly was since high school. She’d been a couple of years behind him, but he’d seen her around. She’d been relatively quiet. Pretty, but not in a flashy way. Her freshman year, they’d worked on the yearbook together and he’d gotten to know her. Still, he’d been that guy and she’d been younger. He hadn’t known if he wanted to make his move or not. Then things had blown up with her mother and he’d hurt Kelly’s feelings and before he could figure out what to say or do, he’d graduated and gone off to college.

To be honest, he hadn’t thought about her all that much until he’d moved back to Tulpen Crossing, but now that he was here, he found her on his mind a lot. Her five-year relationship had conveniently ended six months ago. He figured there’d been enough time for her to have moved on. Now all he needed was to get her to buy into the plan. And if the lady said no, well then he would back off.

“Come on,” he said, motioning to the door leading to the walkway between the warehouses. “I want to show you something.”

Her expression immediately turned wary. “Etchings?” she muttered, then flushed. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to imply…” She cleared her throat and stared at the floor, then back at him. She sucked in a deep breath, then asked brightly, “What did you want to show me?”

“Just the other warehouse.”

“Okay.”

Her voice was doubtful, but she followed him along the covered walkway, then into the second building.

It was smaller and currently unoccupied. There were piles of material around the perimeter, plans tacked to the walls and empty pallets next to a small forklift.

“Is this for overflow when you get really busy?” she asked as she walked over to a stack of boxed solar panels.

“No. This is why I do the other work.” He shoved his hands into his jeans pockets. “Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy designing homes for people. They’re so excited and enthusiastic. It’s just there are other places, other people, who are desperate for shelter. That’s the work I do here.”

Her brown eyes widened. “What do you mean?”

“I work with several nonprofits. They collect materials and ship them to me. When I have enough, I ask for volunteers and we put together micro housing in kit form. It’s then sent to wherever it’s needed most.” He pointed to the solar panels. “Those are for sub-Saharan Africa. They’ll be self-sufficient as far as electricity. I’m working with a guy I know in Oklahoma who’s experimenting with different ways to purify water. Right now the units are too big and too expensive, but eventually we’ll be able to send them with the houses. These are more basic than what I sell here, but they’re still shelter.”

He walked over to the designs on the wall. “One of the organizations has me build tiny houses for homeless shelters. Same premise, different materials, depending on which part of the country they’re for. A couple of times a year, they send me interns to coordinate everything. We’re getting ready for a build next month. I’ll be putting the word out for volunteers.”

Her mouth wasn’t exactly hanging open, but it was close. Good. Griffith didn’t do the work for the attention, but he wasn’t above using it to impress Kelly. Because when it came to a woman like her, a guy had to be willing to take advantage of whatever the gods offered.

“I’d like that,” she told him. “To help. This is a great project. All of it. I had no idea you were doing this.” She shifted her gaze from the materials to his face. “It’s amazing. Everyone always says they want to make a difference, but so few of us have the opportunity to do so directly. With this, there’ll be homes for families when there weren’t homes before. That could mean the difference between life and death—literally.”

“You get it,” he said before he could stop himself.

She smiled. “Doesn’t everyone?”

No. Jane hadn’t. His ex-wife had gone along with him when he’d moved to Africa to work with his mentor, but she hadn’t liked it one bit. She’d made that clear on a daily basis. He supposed he had culpability in the problem. He’d been the one who was supposed to join an international architectural firm and design museums and elegant skyscrapers. Instead he’d fallen hard for micro housing. Jane hadn’t approved.

“You’d be surprised how many only want to write a check,” he said instead. “Not that I’m knocking the check writers. They provide the funds.”

“It takes both sides of the equation. Without your work, the check would be meaningless.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

She stood a comfortable distance from him. Her posture was relaxed and open. She’d forgotten why she’d come to see him. Which probably meant it was time to remind her.

“What did you want to talk to me about?”

She blinked in surprise, then her whole body changed as she remembered her mission. “Oh, right.” She cleared her throat. “I, ah…well, the thing is…”

He waited patiently. “Yes?”

“You are, um, around a lot. Around me.”

Around was better than stalking. A lot better. He gave her his best smile again, hoping it would help.

“You’re not imagining things,” he said quietly. “I’ve been trying to get to know you without being too obvious. I guess I suck at the spy thing, huh?”

She relaxed. “Kind of.”

“Sorry if I’ve made you uncomfortable. I didn’t mean to.” Now it was his turn to be nervous. Kelly didn’t play games so he wasn’t going to, either. He was going to put it out there.

“When I moved back, I noticed you right away. You were with Sven, so I figured I had to let it go. Then you two broke up. It’s been six months so I’m hoping you’re over him.”

Her eyes widened. “Okay.” The word was drawn out to three syllables.

“So here’s the thing. I want us to get to know each other. I think we could have fun together. If I’m right, I’d like us to take things to the next level.” He looked into her eyes. “I’m a decent guy. I believe in serial monogamy. I’m not looking for love or marriage or happily ever after. But I am looking for a long-term girlfriend. I’m hoping you feel the same way and we can work something out.”

Her mouth dropped open. She closed it before taking a step back. “Friends with benefits?”

“Something like that, although I was thinking more lovers who are friends.”

“You want to have sex with me?”

He grinned. “Kelly, pretty much every guy who sees you wants to have sex with you, but to be clear, yes. I would like that very much.”

“I don’t understand.” She held up her hand. “I take that back. I understand what you said. It’s just… Wow.”

Wow was better than drop dead or hell, no so he would take it. “You probably want some time to think about it.”

“Yeah. That would be great.” She looked more than a little shell-shocked. “You read Eat, Pray, Love to get me into bed?”

“No. I read it because your book club was reading it and I thought it would be something we could talk about. I don’t just want to sleep with you, Kelly. I meant what I said. I’m looking for a relationship.”

“But not love or marriage.”

“Right.”

“You’re very upfront and honest.”

“That’s the goal. You’ll think about what I said?”

“I would imagine it’s going to be hard to think about anything else.”

“No means no. If you decide to break my heart, I won’t bother you again.” Not that he wanted her to say no, but nothing about his invitation was supposed to scare her.

She nodded slowly, as if stunned.

“Why don’t I walk you to your truck?”

She nodded again and began walking. He fell into step with her. “Thanks for coming by.”

“Uh-huh.”

They went outside. Kelly glanced around as if she wasn’t sure where she was. He pointed to her truck.

“Over there.”

She glared at him. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

“Just a little. Wouldn’t you if you were me?”

“Maybe.” Her brown eyes turned wary. “This isn’t a joke, is it?”

The softly worded question cut him more deeply than he would have expected.

“Kelly, no.” He moved close and took her hand in his. “I’m not kidding. I meant what I said. About wanting to get to know you, about us having potential together, about no meaning no. All of it. I swear. Please believe me. I have no reason to want to hurt you.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

She got in her truck and backed out of the parking lot. It was only after she’d turned onto the highway that he remembered what had happened in high school. How he’d dissed her in front of all his friends. He’d done it for the best possible reason but at the end of the day she’d been humiliated and it was all his fault.

Well, hell. No wonder she didn’t want to trust him now.

About the Author


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.

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.


Giveaway!

Books à la Mode is giving away one gorgeous bouquet of FRESH tulips—delivered straight to your giftee's door. Just in time for Mother's Day, yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
Who would you like to send a bouquet of tulips to? Your sister, wife, mother, father, husband, boyfriend, best friend? Let me know!
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! :)

My family doesn't live in the US (and unfortunately this is a US-only giveaway) so I would send it to my best friend whose birthday is coming up! :)

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 Books!
Giveaway ends May 5th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to 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!