Title: When We Found Home by Susan Mallery
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’sFiction
Length: 432 pages
Life is meant to be savored, but that’s not easy with no family, limited prospects and a past you’d rather not talk about. Still, Callie Smith doesn’t know how to feel when she discovers she has a brother and a sister—Malcolm, who grew up with affection, wealth and privilege, and Keira, a streetwise twelve-year-old. Callie doesn’t love being alone, but at least it’s safe. Despite her trepidation, she moves into the grand family home with her siblings and grandfather on the shores of Lake Washington, hoping just maybe this will be the start of a whole new life.
But starting over can be messy. Callie and Keira fit in with each other, but not with their posh new lifestyle, leaving Malcolm feeling like the odd man out in his own home. He was clever enough to turn a sleepy Seattle mail-order food catalog into an online gourmet powerhouse, yet he can’t figure out how to help his new sisters feel secure. Becoming a family will take patience, humor, a little bit of wine and a whole lot of love. But love isn’t Malcolm’s strong suit…until a beautiful barista teaches him that an open heart, like the family table, can always make room for more.
In this emotional, funny and heartfelt story, Susan Mallery masterfully explores the definition of a modern family—blended by surprise, not by choice—and how those complicated relationships can add unexpected richness to life.
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Alberto’s Alfresco corporate offices occupied the top three stories of the twenty-story building. The company leased out the rest to tenants that ranged from a dentist, three law firms and Amazon. The latter had six floors where people came and went at all hours of the night and didn’t talk to anyone who didn’t work for their company. Malcolm Carlesso hoped they were building drones with artificial intelligence. He enjoyed sci-fi movies. Seeing one lived out in real time would be fun. Or not, he thought as he headed up to the top floor of the building. He didn’t want to go out in a hail of angry drone gunfire.
Malcolm stepped out of the elevator. It was the middle of the workday and people were everywhere—walking in the halls, having meetings, taking calls in their offices. Alberto’s Alfresco was a vibrant, multinational, multibillion-dollar enterprise.
While the company had always been successful, until a few years ago, it had been much smaller. Malcolm had come on board right after he’d graduated from college. He’d been determined to grow the firm and make his grandfather—the Alberto in Alberto’s Alfresco—proud. Two years ago, Malcolm’s mission had taken on an urgency he couldn’t seem to shake.
He passed his own office and went into that of the chief financial officer. Santiago Trejo had joined Alberto’s Alfresco eighteen months ago when Malcolm had stolen him from a successful hedge fund. Together they made a formidable team.
Malcolm nodded a greeting at Santiago’s assistant, sitting guard outside the open door, then entered the large corner office and took a seat. Santiago was on the phone. He smiled when he saw Malcolm and quickly wrapped up his call.
“Quarterly numbers from the East Coast are messed up,” Santiago said cheerfully. “Our friends down in accounting are scrambling. I had to explain our ‘fool me once’ philosophy here at the company. It won’t happen again.” He paused. “What?”
Malcolm pulled his gaze from the view of the vast Seattle skyline and Puget Sound and looked at his friend.
“What do you mean what?”
“There’s something. What happened? You look…” Santiago frowned, as if trying to figure something out. “Different. What’s happened? Did you discover some new truffle oil vendor?”
“Nothing happened,” Malcolm told him, then held out his mug. “I just went for coffee.”
He’d talked to an attractive woman about something other than business. While unusual for him these days, it was hardly noteworthy.
Okay, maybe it was a little noteworthy, but not anything he was going to discuss with Santiago.
His friend was a “get back on the horse” kind of guy. Should a woman ever break Santiago’s heart, a very unlikely event considering how many women came and went in his life, he would simply find one who was smarter, prettier or both, and make them both very happy. Malcolm had chosen another way to deal with his ex-fiancée’s betrayal, and that had been to withdraw into work.
Still, he’d enjoyed talking with Delaney. And looking at her. He’d never had a type before, but as of today, he was definitely into redheads. Maybe he should—
Santiago’s phone buzzed, then his assistant’s voice came over the speaker. “Alberto is in the building. Repeat, Alberto is in the building.”
Santiago looked at Malcolm. “Did you know he was coming? Do we have a meeting? It’s not on my calendar.”
“No meeting.” Malcolm tried to figure out why his grandfather would show up with no warning, then reminded himself the exercise was futile. He would never guess. Alberto didn’t like talking on the phone—if he felt he had something important to discuss during the workday, he would simply drive himself to the office and find the person he wanted to talk to.
The fact that he was here and not at their warehouse in the SoDo—south of downtown—district meant it wasn’t about packaging or food, and wasn’t that lucky. Malcolm still remembered the rotini-fusilli incident from three years ago when Alberto had discovered packaging that had used the two pasta names interchangeably, which might be fine for some but not for a company that prided itself on selling authentic Italian food.
The entire marketing department had been forced to listen to a twenty-minute lecture on the importance of knowing the different types of pasta as they prepared their campaigns. Information they needed to have, but perhaps not delivered by a man in his eighties who still occasionally broke into passionate Italian.
Malcolm set down his mug, then made his way to the elevator bank to wait for his grandfather. Alberto Carlesso had been born in Italy and brought to America when his parents immigrated in the 1930s. During the Second World War the then teenager had put his cooking skills and family recipes to good use in their Seattle neighborhood. Food was scarce and Alberto’s ability to create delicious meals out of whatever was on hand had made him popular. Every summer, he’d made his own marinara sauce with the fresh ingredients grown on neighboring farms. Some of the bottles had made their way to New York where a few Italian grocery store owners had sold them at a tidy profit.
The elevator doors opened. Malcolm smiled at the slightly bent, white-haired man in a suit and tie who walked toward him.
Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.
Critics, too, have heaped praise on “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!”
Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.
Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life.
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