The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…
Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.
Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.
Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.
But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.
Finola could only stare at her, even as her mind rejected the words. This isn’t happening, she thought desperately. It can’t be. Nothing the other woman was telling her could be true. Before she could react in any way, Treasure released her and walked away. Finola pressed a hand to her stomach, hoping to slow the bleeding just enough to not die that very moment.
She had to run, she told herself. She had to get out of here. She had to--
Melody’s voice competed with the very loud buzzing in her head.
“Finola, you need to get on set now.”
The show. She had to do the show. It was live, so there was no second chance. She had to walk out there and face the two hundred people in the audience, not to mention the million or so in their homes. AM SoCal was hugely popular. She was well liked in the community and today they had on a massive star. Ratings would be huge.
She drew in a breath and dug as deep as she could for every ounce of professionalism, not to mention self-preservation, she’d managed to accumulate in her life. She had to survive sixty minutes. Just sixty minutes and then she would be able to collapse. Just the next hour. That was all.
She walked out to face her audience. They immediately burst into applause. She waved and smiled at them, focusing only on the people in the first few rows. Near the center aisle were what looked like three generations—grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, all clapping happily. There were a few of her regulars—those who always came to tapings, but the rest of the audience was filled with teenagers.
The Treasure fans, she thought grimly. How was she going to survive? She glanced at the teleprompter and breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the show. We have something very special in store for you today, although based on the demographics of my audience, word has already spread—Pause for laughter.
She stepped into place and waited for the countdown to live. Normally she would have chatted with the audience a little, but not only wasn’t there time, she couldn’t have done it. Not today.
“Five, four, three.” She watched the fingers indicate the silent “Two, one,” then thought of puppies and kittens playing and how drunk she was going to get later. When the red light on the camera illuminated, she was fairly confident her smile was something close to genuine.
“Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the show.”
Finola worked the introduction. She never fully felt like herself, but the shock and pain faded just enough that she could inhale. She consciously relaxed her body and focused on what she had to get through.
“Here she is, and I’ll confess I’m a little star struck myself. Treasure!”
Finola turned to where the singer would enter. Treasure sauntered across the set, her familiar coltish walk and easy smile bringing the audience to their feet. There were plenty of screams and whistles. Treasure waved at everyone, then looked at Finola. For a second something dark and evil seemed to turn her face into a sinister mask, but then it was gone, leaving Finola to wonder if she was imagining things or if, in fact, the superstar was about to discuss her affair on television.
They sat angled toward each other. Finola was grateful her overly efficient team had loaded questions into the teleprompter. She didn’t have to think, she reminded herself. She simply had to look engaged and ask the prewritten questions.
“Your new album is doing incredibly well,” she began. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks. I’m really happy with the way my fans are responding. Especially to the first single.” She flashed the audience a smile. “‘That Way.’”
“It is a provocative song.”
Treasure leaned toward her and lowered her voice. “It’s about sex.”
The audience laughed.
Finola couldn’t tell if she was blushing or if she’d gone totally white. She was light-headed and hoped she wasn’t swaying in her seat. The potential for disaster was massive and if Treasure said anything...
With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.
Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived.