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Thrill Me by Susan Mallery: Excerpt

I'm so excited to share something new with you. I often host book tour stops, but today marks the first time I host an excerpt tour today! If you're not familiar, you can probably guess that each host on a tour shares an excerpt from a book. Start at the beginning of the tour, then follow along each day to keep reading. How fun is that!?

I know a lot of you like to see the food or drink that a particular book inspired me to make, or hear little foodie-bites from the book—and that won't change. It may not be in-your-face, but this excert is fueled by caffeine. Hopefully it'll give you incentive to come back on August 20th, when I'll be sharing a review and recipe inspired by Thrill Me, as well.

Until then, welcome Susan Mallery and excerpt #5 from Thrill Me, part of the Fool's Gold series!

Thrill Me: Excerpt #5

     Sophie was a bright-eyed sweetheart. Her traditional white with brown-and-black splotches was very beagle-like but her personality was pure Sophie. She lived with gusto, pouring all her energy into whatever had captured her attention. Right now it was giving her mom a couple of quick kisses before moving to greet Maya. In a few minutes she would probably be figuring out a way to open the refrigerator and devour whatever was planned for dinner.

     “Hey, pretty girl,” Maya said, lowering herself to the hardwood floor and holding out her arms.

     Sophie raced toward her, her soft puppy mouth forming a perfect O as she bayed out her greeting. She then climbed onto Maya’s lap for a proper snuggle. Big paws scrambled as Sophie gave her best kisses and shimmied even closer for hugs.

     “You have the prettiest eyes,” Maya said, admiring the rim of dark brown, then rubbing the dog’s ears. “It must be nice to be a natural beauty.”

     “Unlike the rest of us,” Elaine murmured. “There are mornings when I swear, it takes a village.”

     “Tell me about it.”

     Maya gave Sophie one last pat, then returned to her chair. Sophie circled the kitchen, sniffing the floor, before settling into her bed by the fireplace.

     Maya looked at her friend. She noticed dark circles under her eyes and an air of something—maybe weariness.

     “Are you okay?”

     Elaine stiffened. “What? I’m fine. I’m upset about Del not telling me he was coming home. He mentioned in an email that he might, but there were no firm plans.”

     “Maybe he wanted to surprise you.”

     “I’m sure that’s it.”

     Maya decided a change of subject would probably be a good thing. “How are the plans for Ceallach’s big party going?”

     “Ceallach won’t make a decision whether or not he wants a big blowout or a small family get-together for his birthday. At this rate, I’m going to have to lock him in a closet until he makes up his mind.”

     Maya smiled. Elaine’s words were tough, but there was lot of love and time behind them. Del’s parents had been together over thirty-five years. Theirs had been a love match, when both Elaine and Ceallach had still been in their early twenties. The ride had been bumpy. Maya knew about Ceallach’s drinking and artistic temperament. But Elaine was devoted and they’d raised five kids.

     For a second she wondered what that must be like. To be married so long, it was hard to remember any other life. To know your place in the long line of family members who had come before and would come after. To be one of the many.

     She’d never had that. When she’d been little, it had just been her and her mom. And Maya’s mother had made it clear that having a child around had been nothing but a pain in her ass.

MAYA HAD HOPED that hanging out with her friend would be enough to chase all the Del from her mind. But she’d been wrong. The night had been an uncomfortable experience of being awake more than asleep. And when she finally did doze, it was only to dream of Del. Not current, sexy, stubbly Del, but the twenty-year-old who had stolen her heart.

     She woke exhausted and with memory hangover. Funny how, until she’d seen him, she’d been able to forget him. But now that he was back, she was trapped in a past-present rip in the space-time continuum.

     Or she was simply dealing with some unfinished business, she thought as she stepped into the shower. Because as much as she might like to think the universe revolved around her, truth was, it didn’t.

     Thirty minutes later she was reasonably presentable. She knew the only thing that would make her day livable was lots and lots of coffee. So she left her tiny rental house, pausing to give her newly planted flowers a quick watering before heading to Brew-haha.

     Fool’s Gold had grown in the ten years she’d been away. Giving walking tours of the city as a part-time job in high school meant she was familiar with the history and layout. She had a feeling the schedule of festivals she’d once memorized still existed in her brain. Probably stored next to all the words to Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.”

     The thought made her smile and, humming the song, she walked into Brew-haha.

     The coffee place had been decorated simply, with bright colors and lots of places to sit. There was a long counter up front, a display of tempting, high-calorie pastries and a tall, broad-shouldered man at the front of a six-person line.

     Maya froze, half in, half out of the store. Now what? She was going to have to face Del at some point. Thanks to Mayor Marsha, they would be working together. But she hadn’t thought she would have to deal with him precoffee.

     The downside to an otherwise perfectly lovely town, she thought, sucking up her doubts and joining the line.

     As Del finished placing his order, whatever he’d said had the cashier laughing. He moved over to wait for his order and immediately started talking to the barista.

     Had he always been so friendly, Maya wondered, watching him, while trying to appear as if she wasn’t paying attention at all. A trick that had her still-slightly sleepy self struggling to keep up.

     The line moved forward. Several other customers stopped to talk to Del, greeting him and then pausing to chat. No doubt catching up, she thought. Del had grown up here. He would know a lot of people.

     A few words of the conversations drifted to her. She caught bits about his skysurfing and the business he’d sold. Because when Del had left town, he’d not only gotten involved in a new and highly risky sport, he’d designed a board, founded a company, and then sold it for a lot of money. Which was impressive. And the tiniest bit annoying.

     It wasn’t that she didn’t want him to have done great. But maybe he didn’t have to be so good-looking at the same time as being so successful. Was a disfiguring scar too much to ask for? Something to level the playing field?

     But no. With his three days’ worth of beard and easy smile, he was still movie-star handsome. She would know. She’d seen plenty of him on video and he was impressive. The camera loved him and that meant the audience did, too.

     She reached the front of the line and placed her order for the largest latte they had. She thought about ordering an extra shot of espresso, then acknowledged she would be most likely returning later. Better to spread out the caffeine.

     She stepped to the side to wait for her drink. Del was still talking with a couple of people. She expected him to finish his conversation and leave. Instead he headed for her.
-text copyright ©2015 by Susan Mallery, Inc.; printed with permission of Harlequin Books

about the author: New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame. Connect with Susan via her website, facebook, or twitter.

Open to residents of USA & Canada, ages 18+. 
  • Autographed copy of Until We Touch (first mention of Zane Nicholson, the hero of Kiss Me)
  • Susan Mallery lip gloss (to make your lips “Kiss Me” kissable)
  • Map of Fool’s Gold
  • Susan Mallery pen
  • Heart-shaped Susan Mallery notepad
To enter, simply answer this question in the comments section below, then verify it in the rafflecopter giveaway widget for more chances to enter to win this Susan Mallery Fool's Gold Giveaway Prize Pack:

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Interested in a 2-day Fool's Gold Getaway reader retreat with Susan Mallery in Chicago at the end of June? There are still a few tickets left, click here for details!

tlc-tour-hostFollow the entire Thrill Me Excerpt Tour (before and after me) to read more; chapters go in order of tour date.

Checkout my review of Thrill Me (and see what it inspired me to make) HERE!

Pre-Order Thrill Me (release date July 28, 2015):
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