CRIMES AGAINST A BOOK CLUB by Kathy Cooperman & GIVEAWAY

crimes

THE PRICE of BEAUTY

In Kathy Cooperman’s novel, CRIMES AGAINST A BOOK CLUB (LakeUnionPublishing), best friends Annie and Sarah need some cash, quickly. Annie’s a brainiac chemist with a Harvard PhD, three kids, and pricey therapy bills for her on the spectrum son, Oscar. Sarah’s a lawyer, who wants nothing more than to have a baby, but can’t, so she’s trying to come up with enough cash for in vitro fertilization treatments. Cha-ching! Annie knows a lot of really rich women in her town of LaJolla. Many of her fellow book club members have more money than they can spend. Sarah has a youthful, gorgeous face that women would die for. Annie creates a “face cream” – Etinav – and together they come up with a get rich scheme to sell the “face cream” for $2,000 a pop. They’ll be rolling in money in no time. The only problem? The “secret ingredient” is … illegal.

You think you know what happens next. Of course, everyone wants Etinav and the “face cream” is a huge success. But as it grows in popularity, eventually, someone finds out that the “secret ingredient” is … cocaine. To save the day ? Someone very unexpected.

I enjoyed the pace of CRIMES AGAINST A BOOK CLUB. The plot was obvious, but Kathy Cooperman creates a completely believable bunch of la-da-da, southern Cal Ladies seeking the “fountain of youth.” I enjoyed the relationship between Annie and Sarah and how they kept one another’s back. There were a few times I got lost trying to figure out who was who. I’d suggest editing out a few characters, or a flow chart at the beginning of the book. May sound like a gimmick, but sometimes a gimmick helps. Those book quotes? Not too sure.In

CRIMES AGAINST A BOOK CLUB is a perfect beach or pool read. And with the warm weather coming, you have the perfect book to pack in your beach bag or tote. I’d couple CRIMES AGAINST A BOOK CLUB with a Cosmo … delish!

kathy

Kathy Cooperman spent four years performing improvisational comedy, then decided to do something less fun with her life. After graduating from Yale Law School, she went into criminal law, defending “innocent” (rich) clients. These days, she lives in Del Mar, California, with her husband and four young children. CRIMES AGAINST A BOOK CLUB is her first novel.

Follow her on Twitter @Kathy_Cooperman.

lakeunionpublishing

Thanks to Lake Union Publishing, we have one copy of CRIMES AGAINST A BOOK CLUB to giveaway. What have you done to make a quick buck? Sell jewelry on EBay? Have a garage or yard sale? Let us know. We’ll announce a winner Monday.

YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT by Giovanna Fletcher & GIVEAWAY

the oneA modern-day fairy tale.

Here’s the dilemma: You’re about to get married and your fiancé, Rob is waiting for you to walk down the aisle and into his arms. Standing next to him is best man Ben, the man you’ve really loved since you were a schoolgirl. What do you do?

In Giovanna Fletcher’s, YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT(St.MartinPress) Maddy, Ben and Rob have been best friends since childhood. They have a bond that’s unbreakable. But Ben secretly loves Maddy and when she ends up coupling with Rob, but loving Ben, well, it gets complicated. Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Giovanna takes the three-way love story that has been done numerous times before and puts a fresh spin on it. I’d love to be best friends with Maddy and know Rob and Ben, too. I was envious of the close relationship she was able to share with Rob and Ben, but we all grow up and I was delighted by the ending. If I had to make one suggestion, it would be, edit out about fifty pages of growing up. We get it. The novel would be tighter and have a quicker pace. But overall, lots of fun and certainly worth checking out. I suggest complimenting the read with a fruity drink, perhaps a daiquiri?

 

giovanna-fletcher-by=jai-stokes

Essex-born Giovanna is an actress, blogger, vlogger and presenter. She is married to Tom Fletcher from McFly/McBusted and is Mum to their two boys Buzz and Buddy. She spends far too much time on social media and/or talking about Nutella.

http://www.giovannasworld.com   @mrsgfletcher

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, we have one copy of YOU’RE THE ONE I WANT to giveaway to one lucky winner. Just tell us what you love most about reading romantic comedies? We’ll announce a winner next Monday. Have a wonderful week.

v-day

THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB by Jane Healey & GIVEAWAY

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Four women forged a friendship that changed their lives one week at a time.

****

Let me start by writing while reading THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB, I kept hearing in my head, “nevertheless, she persisted.” It’s the battle cry for Women standing together today as part  of the Women’s March. We will not be silenced.

BookSparks Summer 2017 continues with a slice of history. Escaping tradition and trying to become their own women in the 1900s doesn’t come easy for four young immigrants living in Boston’s North End. In Jane Healey’s debut novel, THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB (LakeUnionPublishing), it’s the turn of the century when women don’t have the right to vote, nor is much expected from them by a society determined to keep them “in their place.” But at least Caprice, Ada, Maria and Thea have one another and their Saturday Evening Girls Club. The once a week meeting gives the group a break from their home lives and a chance to share their hopes and dreams.

Caprice works at Madame DuPont’s Millinery in the North End and dreams of opening her own hat shop. Her parents want her married to a nice Italian young man, and often arrange dinners with prospective suitors, much to her horror. Brilliant Ada secretly takes college classes despite the disapproval of her Russian Jewish father and hopes to be a doctor one day. Stunning Maria is a dressmaker and could marry anyone yet guards her heart to avoid the fate of her Italian Catholic mother, broken down by an alcoholic husband. And shy Thea is torn between asserting herself and embracing the antiquated Jewish tradition of being married off in an arranged marriage.

The four young women face family disappointments, romantic love and heartbreak, work and career struggles, as well as deep cultural prejudice. But their weekly meeting makes it possible for each to have the courage and strength needed to transform their immigrants stories into individual American lives. Each had the odds stacked against her, but persist, believing in their dreams.

I loved learning about this part of history, but what made the novel so wonderful for me are the characters. Jane Healey creates unique personalities in all four of the young women; all of whom I’d love to befriend. There are times I’ve read a novel with several friends/characters and they tend to blend. Caprice, Ada, Maria and Thea are each their own woman and delightful.

*****

It’s interesting to note that although THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB is a work of fiction, there was a real Saturday Evening Girls Club which started as a book club in Boston in 1899. By the 1910s, it had evolved into something much bigger. There were over 250 members of clubs named after each day of the week.

jane

Jane Healey was inspired to write The Saturday Evening Girls Club after learning of the group’s history while researching an article on their namesake pottery, also known as Paul Revere Pottery. She became fascinated by the relatively unknown stories of these smart, sassy, enterprising young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End at the turn of the twentieth century.

In addition to being a fiction writer, Jane is a freelance journalist and consultant. Her publishing credits include the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, AOL/Huffington Post, the Street, Publishers Weekly, and New England Home.

Jane holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree from Northeastern University. She shares a home north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. When she’s not writing, she enjoys running, reading, and cooking. For more information on Jane visit   www.janehealey.com

booksparks

lakeunionpublishing

Thanks to BooksSparks and Lake Union Publishing, we have one copy of THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB to giveaway. Just tell us if you’ve ever experienced cultural prejudice. We’ll announce a winner Monday.

ONE GOOD THING by Wendy Wax & GIVEAWAY

OneGoodThingcover

Midlife crisis come in all shapes and sizes.

You know summer is close, when a new Wendy Wax, novel is published! ONE GOOD THING (Berkley) is being called one of summer’s must reads. This time, Maddie, Avery, Nikki and Kyra are at the end of their ropes and holding on tightly to their fraying friendships and relationships. It seems the girls are in a battle to regain control of their renovation-turned-reality show, “Do Over.” And if there’s anyway it’s going to be saved, the girls are going to have to work together. Once again, all the drama unfolds on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches – The Keys.

Maddie has put her mini-van life behind her and is dating “William The Wild,” an aging rock star topping billboard. But that annoying ex of hers, who lost everything, including his job to Malcolm Dyer’s Ponzi scheme, won’t leave the picture. Avery is trying to renovate a tiny cottage for an heiress who bankrolled their last “Do Over” fixer upper. She’s feeling closed off from partner, Chase Hardin won’t let her help when he deals with his difficult 16-year old son, Chase. Nikki, hugely pregnant with twin daughters hardly recognizes herself when she’s put on bed rest. But she has hubby, Special Agent, Joe Giraldi reading “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” and counting the days until he’s a new daddy.  Maddie’s daughter Kyra, is single mom to 3-year old Dustin and he’s looking more and more like his famous father. Kyra is secretly behind the possibility of  “Do Over,” being done. But there is one option available, so they get the needed money. Her son’s father is willing to cough up the cash, but there are strings attached … a lot of them.

The ONE GOOD THING you can always count on from Wendy Wax is the power of female friendship, drama, laughter and a good read guaranteed to hook you from page one. I suggest a pitcher of margaritas would be the perfect drink to sip, while enjoying Maddie, Avery, Nikki and Kyra’s … adventure!

wendy

Wendy’s fiction explores friendship, loyalty, self-discovery and the seemingly insurmountable challenges life sometimes presents. Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, she grew up on St. Pete Beach. Not surprisingly, some of her favorite Florida beaches were destined to become settings for her best-selling fiction.

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The mother of a toddler and a newborn when she first decided to write, Wendy admits it may not have been the best timing in terms of productivity.  “I’m still not certain why I felt so compelled to write my first novel at that particular time,” she says, “but that first book took forever.” Since then, she’s written ten others and an e-book original novella.

When not writing, Wendy visits with readers at bookstores and book events, reads, enjoys her and her husband’s newly empty nest and catches up with her sons on the serendipitous occasions when everyone ends up in the same place at the same time.

Wendy loves to hear from her readers! You can reach her @authorwendywax  and  http://www.authorwendywax.com

We’re lucky to have one copy of Wendy’s new novel, ONE GOOD THING to give away. Just tell us which one of Wendy’s many novels is your favorite. We’ll announce a winner Monday.

** WINNERS WINNERS WINNERS WINNERS WINNERS **

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Who are the winners this week?

Well, let’s see.

Melissa A. wins CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH by Colleen Oakley

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Chantelle G. wins THE PROMISE of PIERSON ORCHARD by Kate Brandes

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Amy C. wins four books from HARLEQUIN!

 

harlequin

Suzy M. win Tulips as part of the Susan Mallery, SECRETS of the TULIP SISTERS giveaway.

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and Amy P. win THE ABSENCE of EVELYN by Jackie Townsend

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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF OUR WINNERS! WE HAVE MANY MORE GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK! JUST CHECK BACK!

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK!

 

 

 

THE ABSENCE of EVELYN by Jackie Townsend & GIVEAWAY

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evelyn

“I don’t believe in that kind of love.”

Olivia’s birthparents were in that kind of love, but apparently, her adoptive parents no longer are. Perhaps, they never were.

THE ABSENCE OF EVELYN by Jackie Townsend (SparkPress) tells the story of a mother, daughter, sister, lover – four  lives all connected by one women’s death, that takes place over three continents. It’s one of the four exciting novels that are part of BOOKS SPARKS 2017 – SPRING READS!  #SRC2017.

Rhonda Knight turns forty-seven just as her divorce finalizes. She’s wealthy and from all appearances, happy, but she’s alone and still mourning her estranged sister, Evelyn, who died abroad two years ago. Her children, including nineteen year-old adopted daughter, Olivia have all grown up and are creating their own lives. Rhonda roams her oversized Catalina mountainside mansion in the Sonoran desert haunted by memories of her sister.

Mother and daughter take two separate trips: Rhonda to Italy, hoping to face Marco Rossellini, Evelyn’s former lover whom she still resents and still has some of her sister’s belongings. At the invitation of Marco, a man she’s only heard stories about, Olivia secretly goes to Hanoi to gather items left for her by Aunt Evelyn. In Italy, Rhonda meets Marco’s daughter, Carlotta and her mother, who share stories about Marco. In Hanoi, spending time with Marco helps Olivia learn some answers to questions about her past.

Each woman’s trip stirs up memories from the past and reveals complicated secrets that will change their family forever. I enjoyed the novel. THE ABSENCE OF EVELYN has a melodic feel, coupled with nice pacing and a delicious international feel. But there were times as if I felt I had to suspend reality to follow the plot. It could be because I’m unfamiliar with European Royalty and the Vietnam trip felt a bit abrupt. Ultimately Jackie Townsend explores the relationships between women, particularly mothers, daughters and sisters, once again making it vividly clear, the bonds between women can never be fully understood.

jackie

Jackie Townsend is the author of the novels, IMPERFECT PAIRINGS and REEL LIFE. She blogs about movies, life, love, and her ongoing pursuit to embrace the Italian language at http://www.jackietownsend.com

Thanks To BookSparks and SparksPress, we have one copy of THE ABSENCE OF EVELYN to giveaway. Just tell us your favorite International City, or the one you think might like to visit. We’ll announce a winner Monday. Have a lovely weekend.

booksparks

SECRETS of THE TULIP SISTERS by Susan Mallery

*** CONTEST CLOSED ***

tulip

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

Follow along with this excerpt from best-selling author, Susan Mallery’s new novel, SECRETS of the TULIP SISTERS(HQN) being published in July! Today followers of our blog, Thoughts on This ‘n That get a sneak peak at the first two chapters, and a chance to win a bouquet of gorgeous fresh cut tulips! Then in July, we’ll be giving away a copy of, SECRETS of the TULIP SISTERS – the perfect summer read.

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Kelly Murphy’s life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son, who’s set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, 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?

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Chapter One

Most people thought the main difference between a tiny house on wheels and one that wasn’t had to do with size. But Griffith Burnett knew differently. It was about weight. If you were going to be pulling your 200-square-foot tiny home all over the place, you didn’t want to be weighed down. No granite countertops, no thick wooden flooring, no wrought iron railings on the upper deck. But if your 200-square-foot home was going to stay in one place, then he knew a great hard surfaces vendor who could hook you right up. And because your tiny home was…well…small, you could get first-class material at remnant prices.

He stood in the center of what could, in a pinch, be called his manufacturing facility. In truth it was two warehouses connected by a covered walkway, but not only was it a start—it was his.

The bigger of the buildings held six houses in progress. Two were headed for San Francisco, one to Portland, Oregon. Two were for a family compound in eastern Washington—or as a frustrated middle-aged woman had put it, “My sons are never leaving home. I just can’t stand stepping over them every day. I’ll accept that they’re staying put if I don’t have to deal with them and their mess.”

The last was going to be an elegant guest cottage at a quirky Texas B&B.

That side of GB Micro Housing made the money. Whether you wanted to spend thirty thousand or a hundred and thirty thousand, Griffith could build you a tiny home pretty much to your specifications. Single level, two levels, lofts, upper story decks, high-end finishes or everything recovered from tear-downs. You name it. It was all about weight and how much money you were willing to spend.

He had orders for the next couple of years and the waiting list continued to grow. He’d hired two more full-time employees, bringing his total to ten.

He supposed a money person would tell him to use his other warehouse to fulfill the paying orders, but he wasn’t even tempted. That second, smaller space, well, that was where the real work happened.

In the smaller warehouse, he experimented, he played, he dreamed. He would never make a cent from that work, but it also meant at the end of the day, he could know he’d done what was right. That made sleeping at night a whole lot easier.

He went into the break room to pour himself some coffee only to find his brother sitting at one of the tables. Ryan leaned back in a chair, his feet up on a second one. His eyes were closed as he listened to something through earbuds.

Griffith resisted the urge to kick the chair out from under his brother’s feet. Maybe that would get his attention, although he had his doubts.

Ryan was currently unmotivated. The only reason his brother had come back to Tulpen Crossing was because he had nowhere else to go. When Ryan had blown out his shoulder, the Red Sox had cut him loose. After two years of paying more attention to baseball than college and nearly four years in the minor league, Ryan wasn’t exactly skilled labor. He’d needed a job and Griffith had offered him one—on the line, building tiny houses. It was a decision Griffith was beginning to regret.

He nudged his brother’s arm. Ryan opened his eyes and smiled.

“Hey, bro.”

“Hey, yourself. Break ended a half hour ago.”

“What?”

Ryan blinked and looked around, as if genuinely surprised to find everyone else was back at work. “Huh. Sorry. I was listening to the game. I guess I got distracted.”

Griffith could guess how the conversation had gone. One of the guys would have said break was over. Ryan would have said he would be there in a minute. Had the twenty-six-year-old been anyone else, the shop supervisor would have been notified. But Ryan was the boss’s brother. No one was sure if the rules applied—not even Griffith.

He briefly thought of his parents who had always insisted he look after his baby brother—no matter how inconvenient it might be—sucked in a breath and told himself he would deal with Ryan another time.

“Get back to work,” he said. “Now.”

“Sure thing.”

His brother got to his feet and ambled toward the door.

Griffith watched him go and told himself any annoyance was his own fault. Ryan had never hustled—unless he was on the baseball field. There he could be little more than a blur of activity, but in life, not so much with the speed.

*

“I love it!”

Olivia Murphy basked in the delighted tone and happy words of her client. Jenny was a sixty-something recent widow who needed to sell the family home to fund the rest of her life. Getting top dollar was a priority.

The ranch-style three-bedroom, two-bath wasn’t anything fancy. In fact hundreds of them existed in the older neighborhoods of Phoenix. Adding to that challenge was the lack of updates and the time of year. June wasn’t exactly peak selling season in the desert—not when midday temperatures routinely topped a hundred degrees. No one wanted to be looking at homes if they didn’t have to be. Winter was far more active in the real estate market.

But Jenny couldn’t wait until winter, which meant making a splash on minimal budget. Olivia had spent hours on Pinterest, had haunted thrift stores and had begged and borrowed everything else. For less than five hundred dollars, she’d transformed the aging, very ordinary rambler into a cute, welcoming Cape Cod retreat.

“I just can’t believe it’s the same house,” Jenny crowed. “Look at what you’ve done.”

“I know,” Marilee Quedenfeld said, her tone a combination of modest pride and look-at-me. “It’s wonderful, isn’t it? The second you walk in, you feel the cool, ocean breeze.”

Olivia kept her smile firmly in place. There was no point in saying anything. Working for Marilee these past four years had taught her that. If there was praise to be had, it went to Marilee. If there was a complaint, well, that went anywhere else.

“You’re a genius,” Jenny told Marilee. “Everyone said you were the best, but I didn’t expect this. Thank you!”

“You’re welcome.” Marilee put her arm around her client. “I know what you’ve been through and this is the least I can do.”

Words Jenny would take at face value, Olivia thought, while Marilee was probably thinking something along the lines of Dear God, why doesnt this woman take better care of herself?

The contrast in their appearances was startling. Jenny was short, frumpy and had obviously surrendered to the aging process. Marilee, by contrast, wore an Akris punto polka-dot A-line dress and Valentino pumps. Her hair was a sleek, shoulder-length, dark blond bob, her makeup emphasized large eyes and smooth skin. She was close to fifty, looked thirty-five and occasionally tried to pass herself off as even younger.

“Let’s go look at the rest of the house,” Marilee suggested. “You’re going to love everything I’ve done.”

“I know I will.”

Chapter Two

Most people thought the main difference between a tiny house on wheels and one that wasn’t had to do with size. But Griffith Burnett knew differently. It was about weight. If you were going to be pulling your 200-square-foot tiny home all over the place, you didn’t want to be weighed down. No granite countertops, no thick wooden flooring, no wrought iron railings on the upper deck. But if your 200-square-foot home was going to stay in one place, then he knew a great hard surfaces vendor who could hook you right up. And because your tiny home was…well…small, you could get first-class material at remnant prices.

He stood in the center of what could, in a pinch, be called his manufacturing facility. In truth it was two warehouses connected by a covered walkway, but not only was it a start—it was his.

The bigger of the buildings held six houses in progress. Two were headed for San Francisco, one to Portland, Oregon. Two were for a family compound in eastern Washington—or as a frustrated middle-aged woman had put it, “My sons are never leaving home. I just can’t stand stepping over them every day. I’ll accept that they’re staying put if I don’t have to deal with them and their mess.”

The last was going to be an elegant guest cottage at a quirky Texas B&B.

That side of GB Micro Housing made the money. Whether you wanted to spend thirty thousand or a hundred and thirty thousand, Griffith could build you a tiny home pretty much to your specifications. Single level, two levels, lofts, upper story decks, high-end finishes or everything recovered from tear-downs. You name it. It was all about weight and how much money you were willing to spend.

He had orders for the next couple of years and the waiting list continued to grow. He’d hired two more full-time employees, bringing his total to ten.

He supposed a money person would tell him to use his other warehouse to fulfill the paying orders, but he wasn’t even tempted. That second, smaller space, well, that was where the real work happened.

In the smaller warehouse, he experimented, he played, he dreamed. He would never make a cent from that work, but it also meant at the end of the day, he could know he’d done what was right. That made sleeping at night a whole lot easier.

He went into the break room to pour himself some coffee only to find his brother sitting at one of the tables. Ryan leaned back in a chair, his feet up on a second one. His eyes were closed as he listened to something through earbuds.

Griffith resisted the urge to kick the chair out from under his brother’s feet. Maybe that would get his attention, although he had his doubts.

Ryan was currently unmotivated. The only reason his brother had come back to Tulpen Crossing was because he had nowhere else to go. When Ryan had blown out his shoulder, the Red Sox had cut him loose. After two years of paying more attention to baseball than college and nearly four years in the minor league, Ryan wasn’t exactly skilled labor. He’d needed a job and Griffith had offered him one—on the line, building tiny houses. It was a decision Griffith was beginning to regret.

He nudged his brother’s arm. Ryan opened his eyes and smiled.

“Hey, bro.”

“Hey, yourself. Break ended a half hour ago.”

“What?”

Ryan blinked and looked around, as if genuinely surprised to find everyone else was back at work. “Huh. Sorry. I was listening to the game. I guess I got distracted.”

Griffith could guess how the conversation had gone. One of the guys would have said break was over. Ryan would have said he would be there in a minute. Had the twenty-six-year-old been anyone else, the shop supervisor would have been notified. But Ryan was the boss’s brother. No one was sure if the rules applied—not even Griffith.

He briefly thought of his parents who had always insisted he look after his baby brother—no matter how inconvenient it might be—sucked in a breath and told himself he would deal with Ryan another time.

“Get back to work,” he said. “Now.”

“Sure thing.”

His brother got to his feet and ambled toward the door.

Griffith watched him go and told himself any annoyance was his own fault. Ryan had never hustled—unless he was on the baseball field. There he could be little more than a blur of activity, but in life, not so much with the speed.

*

“I love it!”

Olivia Murphy basked in the delighted tone and happy words of her client. Jenny was a sixty-something recent widow who needed to sell the family home to fund the rest of her life. Getting top dollar was a priority.

The ranch-style three-bedroom, two-bath wasn’t anything fancy. In fact hundreds of them existed in the older neighborhoods of Phoenix. Adding to that challenge was the lack of updates and the time of year. June wasn’t exactly peak selling season in the desert—not when midday temperatures routinely topped a hundred degrees. No one wanted to be looking at homes if they didn’t have to be. Winter was far more active in the real estate market.

But Jenny couldn’t wait until winter, which meant making a splash on minimal budget. Olivia had spent hours on Pinterest, had haunted thrift stores and had begged and borrowed everything else. For less than five hundred dollars, she’d transformed the aging, very ordinary rambler into a cute, welcoming Cape Cod retreat.

“I just can’t believe it’s the same house,” Jenny crowed. “Look at what you’ve done.”

“I know,” Marilee Quedenfeld said, her tone a combination of modest pride and look-at-me. “It’s wonderful, isn’t it? The second you walk in, you feel the cool, ocean breeze.”

Olivia kept her smile firmly in place. There was no point in saying anything. Working for Marilee these past four years had taught her that. If there was praise to be had, it went to Marilee. If there was a complaint, well, that went anywhere else.

“You’re a genius,” Jenny told Marilee. “Everyone said you were the best, but I didn’t expect this. Thank you!”

“You’re welcome.” Marilee put her arm around her client. “I know what you’ve been through and this is the least I can do.”

Words Jenny would take at face value, Olivia thought, while Marilee was probably thinking something along the lines of Dear God, why doesnt this woman take better care of herself?

The contrast in their appearances was startling. Jenny was short, frumpy and had obviously surrendered to the aging process. Marilee, by contrast, wore an Akris punto polka-dot A-line dress and Valentino pumps. Her hair was a sleek, shoulder-length, dark blond bob, her makeup emphasized large eyes and smooth skin. She was close to fifty, looked thirty-five and occasionally tried to pass herself off as even younger.

“Let’s go look at the rest of the house,” Marilee suggested. “You’re going to love everything I’ve done.”

“I know I will.”

Olivia stayed in the kitchen. It was safer there—she wouldn’t be tempted to blurt out a fact only the designer would know. While the momentary satisfaction would be great, she would pay for it later.

Olivia stayed in the kitchen. It was safer there—she wouldn’t be tempted to blurt out a fact only the designer would know. While the momentary satisfaction would be great, she would pay for it later.

.
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About Susan Mallery

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.

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.

Connect with Susan

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Hoping to win those beautiful tulips? Just name one of the Tulip Sisters. We’ll announce a winner Monday!

 

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