by Susan Mallery
Publishing May 25, 2021
by Mira Books
About The Stepsisters
Paperback: 416 Pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (May 25, 2021)
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 turned to her housekeeper.
“If she can keep the ginger ale down, give her the children’s Tylenol in twenty minutes. It will help with the fever.” She smiled at Krissa. “Esmerelda already put out the baby monitor. Just call if you need something and we’ll come running.”
Krissa managed a faint smile. “No running in the house. It’s the rules.”
“You’re right. Try to sleep, baby girl. I love you.”
“I love you, too, Mommy.”
Daisy and Esmerelda stepped into the hallway.
“I’ll stay close,” Esmerelda promised. “Twenty minutes and Tylenol.”
“Thank you. I’m going to check on Ben.”
Her son’s room was across the hall. Like Krissa’s room, it was large, with big windows and high ceilings. The en-suite bathroom was larger than most master baths—one of the realities of living in a fifteen-thousand-square-foot house. There weren’t all that many extra rooms, but the rooms they did have were huge.
Ben was still in bed, but sitting up and reading on his tablet, Sheba already back in her place in the middle of his bed. Simba the cat stretched out against her favorite dog.
Ben smiled when he saw her. “Hey, Mom.”
He was ten, with sandy brown hair and the same hazel eyes as his sister. More serious and intellectual than Krissa, he’d always been older than his years.
“Your sister is sick. You have powerful germs, young man.”
He grinned and flexed his right arm. “I’m super strong.”
“You are.” She sat on his bed and kissed the top of his head. “How are you feeling?”
“Better. I had soup for lunch and toast. Esmerelda says I can come downstairs tonight.” He looked at her. “Mom, I want to do my homework. If I don’t, I’ll fall behind.”
“I think the odds of you falling behind are incredibly slim.” She glanced at her watch. “All right. You can get up and sit at your desk for an hour, but only an hour. Then back to bed.”
He grinned and scrambled to his feet. Sheba watched to see what was happening, then when Ben only went as far as his desk, she settled back to sleep.
Daisy looked around the room. When Ben had been ready to leave the nursery and move into his “big boy” bedroom, she’d redone the whole space. The neutral, masculine colors would carry him through college. The bed and dressers were new, but the captain’s desk was old—salvaged from an eighteenth-century sailing ship. It was elegant, with just enough scars to be interesting.
This had been Sage’s room, she thought, trying to remember what it had looked like back then. The furniture had been lighter, the drapes more frilly. She remembered a big dollhouse in the corner. A dollhouse that had been relocated from the playroom to Sage’s personal space—something Daisy had always resented.
But her father had reasoned that the move had been hard on Sage. She was leaving everything she’d known to come live with them and it was up to Daisy to make her feel welcome. It hadn’t taken long for Daisy to realize that the only person who didn’t belong here anymore was her.
Even after the divorce, things hadn’t gotten much better. Because of the joint custody arrangement with Cassidy, Sage and her mother had moved into a house in the area and Sage had continued to attend the same private school. Daisy couldn’t escape Sage’s reign as queen of the mean girls. Being smart didn’t matter if you were also overweight and anything but pretty.
“That was a long time ago,” Daisy whispered as she walked out of the bedroom. These days she and Sage were practically strangers. She didn’t need to dwell on the past. Running into her former stepsister had been a onetime thing. What were the odds of it happening again anytime soon? A million to one, she promised herself.
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No.1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives – family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.
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