The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…
Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgeling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.
Stacey arrived at her office shortly after seven Monday morning. On days Kit had to get to school, their mornings were less leisurely and they both liked to be at the office early.
Except for dinner at Harper’s, they’d spent Easter Sunday getting Bay acclimated to her new home. Stacey has lost her nerve again and didn’t tell her mom about her pregnancy, rationalizing that she didn’t want to monopolize everyone’s attention on the holiday.
She and Kit had taken Bay on two long walks so she could get familiar with the neighborhood. Stacey had read up on pregnant dogs and had researched veterinarians in the office, while Kit had installed a doggie door so Bay could come and go as she liked during the day.
Bay was exceptionally well behaved. She’d slept in her dog bed in their room and had eaten. According to all Stacey had read, the dog seemed to be adjusting.
Stacey reviewed the latest test results from their new research direction. Proteins were an obvious area to investigate, but narrowing down exactly which ones and how they reacted was the tedious challenge. Still, progress was being made.
Stacey looked up as her assistant, Lexi, walked into her office. Lexi, a tall redhead in her midthirties, placed a mug on Stacey’s desk.
“Herbal tea,” she said with a grin. “In case you were hoping I was going to slip you a little caffeine.”
“You’d never do that,” Stacey said with a smile. “You always take excellent care of me. How was your weekend?”
“Good. Busy. The Easter Bunny did his thing on Sunday morning. Oh, Sam fell out of a tree, which had me sweating a broken arm, but he’s fine. Still, what is it with kids and trees? It’s not like the trees climb all over them. It’s a tree—leave it alone.”
Stacey wanted to say that Lexi could simply tell her son not to climb trees, only she knew that advice would not be welcome. She wasn’t sure if it was all children or simply Lexi’s, but hers didn’t listen very well.
Her assistant was bright and capable. As she frequently did, Stacey thought it was a shame that Lexi hadn’t gone to college. She could have been successful in many different areas. Not that she wasn’t an excellent assistant—she was. But with three kids to support, Lexi was frequently scrambling to make ends meet. A career with a more lucrative pay scale would have been appreciated.
But Lexi had gotten pregnant in high school and then again a couple of years later. She’d married in her late twenties and had her third child by her now ex-husband.
People made interesting choices, Stacey thought. Some made sense while others simply confused her. She was never sure how much of that was her inability to relate to them versus the decision not making sense in the first place.
“How was your Easter?” Lexi asked as she took a seat across from Stacey’s desk.
“Very nice. Harper prepared a wonderful meal. I brought plenty of leftovers for lunch if you’d care for some.”
Lexi closed her eyes and moaned. “You know I love your sister’s cooking. What that woman does with brownies should be illegal.”
Lexi’s interest in food greatly contributed to her weight problem. Stacey had tried to explain that she should think of food as fuel—like gas for a car. Perhaps that would allow her to lose weight. Lexi had told Stacey that while she was the best boss ever, she wasn’t allowed to comment on her personal appearance and if she did it again, Lexi would write her up.
It had been the only moment of tension in their otherwise-successful working relationship.
Stacey honestly hadn’t understood what she’d done wrong. Kit had tried to explain that Lexi probably knew she had a weight problem and wasn’t looking for Stacey to try to solve it. Which made absolutely no sense. Not only were there health risks, but Lexi was always complaining about being tired and that she couldn’t buy cute clothes. Simply eating less would make it all go away.
But Stacey appreciated Lexi and wanted to keep her happy, so she had vowed not to say anything ever again. She’d brought in brownies Harper had made as a peace offering and all had been well.
Lexi opened her eyes. “Did you tell her?”
No need to ask, tell who what? Lexi had known about the pregnancy since Stacey had had her first ultrasound. She wanted to pretend confusion as to why it had been so easy to tell Harper and Lexi about the baby, yet so hard to tell her mother, only she couldn’t. She knew exactly why she didn’t want to confess all to Bunny.
Maybe it was a bit like Lexi and her addiction to food. Knowing the right thing to do didn’t make it any easier to accomplish.
Expected publication: January 23rd 2018 by Mira Books