Special Feature/Excerpt: Sisters by Choice (Blackberry Island #4) by Susan Mallery

There is nothing like the bonds between sisters or in this case, cousins. In this book seasoned story teller Susan Mallery explores the complicated relationships between three women who are more like sisters than cousins.

I haven’t read anything by Susan Malley before but after reading this excerpt I can see why people enjoy her books! It sounds like this book will be full of complicated and nuanced relationships as well as a dose of humor to balance things out.

While this might be the fourth book in a the series, I believe it can be read as a stand alone. I am thrilled to bring this excerpt to you guys for a little sneak peak. This book is releasing February 11th so be sure to mark your calendars because it’s one you don’t want to miss!


Cousins by chance, sisters by choice…

After her cat toy empire goes up in flames, Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island, determined to rebuild. Until small-town life reveals a big problem: she can’t grow unless she learns to let go. If Sophie relaxes her grip even a little, she might lose everything. Or she might finally be free to reach for the happiness and love that have eluded her for so long.

Kristine has become defined by her relationship to others. She’s a wife, a mom. As much as she adores her husband and sons, she wants something for herself—a sweet little bakery just off the waterfront. She knew changing the rules wouldn’t be easy, but she never imagined she might have to choose between her marriage and her dreams.

Like the mainland on the horizon, Heather’s goals seem beyond her grasp. Every time she manages to save for college, her mother has another crisis. Can she break free, or will she be trapped in this tiny life forever?

Told with Mallery’s trademark humor and charm, Sisters by Choice is a heartfelt tale of love, family and the friendships that see us through. (Summary from Goodreads)


Chapter One

Eight years after her divorce, Sophie Lane still wasn’t very good at dating. She supposed she only had herself to blame—if she really “put herself out there,” as her cousin Kristine was always saying, she could find someone.

From Sophie’s point of view, there were multiple problems with that statement. First, Kristine had married her high school sweetheart after graduation and had been happily married for the past sixteen years. She wasn’t exactly someone who should be giving dating advice. Second, Sophie didn’t have a lot of time to “put herself out there.” She was busy—she owned a company and she loved her company and all the hard work that went into keeping it successful. To be honest, her business was way more interesting than any man, which might be a big part of the dat­ing problem. That and, well, the actual dating.

Getting dressed up, meeting for dinner, listening to a man talk about himself for three hours wasn’t exactly how she wanted to spend a lone evening when she wasn’t dealing with some cri­sis at the office. Plus, she never quite understood all the rules.

She was pretty sure it was supposed to be sex after three dates, but that didn’t work for her. If she liked a guy and wanted to have sex with him, why did she have to wait? She was busy. If she had the interest and the time on the first date, then her feeling was, why not just do it, clear her head, so to speak, and happily get on with her life? Because if she didn’t want to do it on date one, there was no way she was interested on date three. By then the guy had probably annoyed her fifty-seven ways to Bakersfield.

Which explained why, on date two with Bradley Kaspersky, she was 100 percent convinced saying yes had been a massive mistake. Not that his sixty-minute explanation of how laser sightings worked hadn’t been fascinating their first evening together. Under normal circumstances she would have ended things when the check—split at her request—came, explaining he wasn’t for her, and while she appreciated meeting him, there was no moving forward. And no, he shouldn’t bother calling, texting or emailing.

She would have except… She was lonely. CK was gone, and she still couldn’t believe it. Going home to her empty condo was physically painful. She’d taken to sleeping on the sofa in her of­fice to avoid all the memories, but then she had to go home to shower and the second she walked in the door, she wanted to cry.

Because of all that, she hadn’t given Bradley the brush-off and now here she was, at dinner two, listening to the practical ap­plications for calibrated laser sighting. Or was it sightings? Re­gardless, she was stuck and to be honest, maybe she should just suck it up and go back to her place and let the pain wash over her. Because CK deserved to be mourned and she had a feeling her therapist would tell her she’d been putting off those feelings for a little too long. Assuming she had a therapist. Which she didn’t. Although more than one person had told her she needed one. Usually an employee she’d fired, or who had quit. As they walked out, the parting shot, often yelled across the company’s open foyer, was something along the lines of, “You’re impossible. You think you can do everything. Well, you can’t. You’re not superhuman. You only think you’re better than everyone else. You have a serious problem, Sophie, and you should get help.” About half the time, the B word was tossed around.



“Your phone is ringing.”

“Oh. Sorry. I forgot to turn off the sound.”

She looked down at the phone she’d placed next to her wine­glass and realized it was indeed ringing and buzzing and danc­ing on the table. She was about to send the call to her voice mail when she read the caller ID info.

“It’s my alarm company,” she said. “I just need to take this.”

She grabbed her phone and her handbag and started for the front of the restaurant.

“Sophie Lane,” she said crisply. “Do you need my authenti­cation code?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She gave the code, then asked, “What’s the problem?”

“We have notified the local fire department that several fire alarms have gone off at the location. Our sensors indicated that there is a fire, Ms. Lane. This is not a false alarm. CK Indus­tries is on fire.”

Twenty minutes later, while waiting impatiently at a stupid light that wouldn’t ever turn green, Sophie remembered that she’d been on a date when she’d bolted for her car. She acti­vated her hands-free calling and said, “Call Bradley Kaspersky.”

“Bradley Kaspersky. Cell phone. Dialing.”

Seconds later she heard ringing, followed by, “You left.”

“Bradley, I’m sorry. My office building is on fire. I’m driv­ing there right now to meet the fire department.”

“How do I know that’s true? How do I know you didn’t just run out on me?”

“Because I didn’t. Because… I don’t know, Bradley. If that’s what you really think then this isn’t going to work. I have to go.”

She disconnected the call and tried to ignore the sense of fear and dread growing in her chest. If there was a fire, she could lose everything. Her inventory, her records, her pictures of CK that she kept on her desk.

Maybe it wasn’t so bad, she thought. Maybe it was—

She nearly rear-ended the car in front of her. Sophie jumped on the brakes at the last second and stopped inches from the pickup’s rear bumper. Up ahead, on her right, dark smoke rose in the sky. No—rose was the wrong word. It shot up, like out of a cannon, spreading maliciously, portending disaster.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Susan Mallery

#1 NYT 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. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Connect with Susan

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Excerpt tour:

Monday, January 20th: The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, January 21st: Sincerely Karen Jo

Wednesday, January 22nd: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, January 23rd: Novel Gossip

Friday, January 24th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Monday, January 27th: Reading Reality

Tuesday, January 28th: Tar Heel Reader

Wednesday, January 29th: Living My Best Book Life

Thursday, January 30th: Jathan & Heather

Friday, January 31st: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Monday, February 3rd: Into the Hall of Books

Tuesday, February 4th: Lori’s Reading Corner

Wednesday, February 5th: Books & Spoons

Thursday, February 6th: What is That Book About

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