The Vineyard at Painted Moon
Book Excerpt Tour
The Vineyard at Painted Moon
by Susan Mallery
Release Date: February 9, 2021
I’m excited to share today an excerpt from the upcoming novel The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery that releases next week! Thank you to TLC Book Tours for including me in this book launch event.
Step into the vineyard with Susan Mallery’s most irresistible novel yet, as one woman searches for the perfect blend of love, family and wine.
Mackenzie Dienes seems to have it all—a beautiful home, close friends and a successful career as an elite winemaker with the family winery. There’s just one problem—it’s not her family, it’s her husband’s. In fact, everything in her life is tied to him—his mother is the closest thing to a mom that she’s ever had, their home is on the family compound, his sister is her best friend. So when she and her husband admit their marriage is over, her pain goes beyond heartbreak. She’s on the brink of losing everything. Her job, her home, her friends and, worst of all, her family.
Staying is an option. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews—but as an employee, nothing more. Or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own. If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.
Two hours and what Stephanie would guess was half a bottle of wine later, she was still processing what had happened. She was happy—of course she was happy. Giorgio was a wonderful man who adored her mother. There was also the happy side effect of Barbara being just a little easier to deal with when he was around, and who didn’t want that?
She’d known about the engagement. She’d been the keeper of the ring and the decider of the timing. She was excited to be helping her mom plan a wedding. It was all good. Great, even. But—and it was a big but—she couldn’t quite seem to wrap her mind around what she was feeling.
It wasn’t just happy, she thought. It was something else. Something that made her uncomfortable and sad and maybe a few other things she couldn’t or didn’t want to name. She stood by the bar, working on yet another glass of wine, when the truth hit her, like a sucker punch to the gut. All her air rushed out as she blinked back unexpected tears.
She wanted a different life. Her kids were great and she loved her family, but she wanted more. She wanted a job she loved— she wanted to be excited about how she spent her day, instead of just going through the motions. She wanted to be proud of herself and strong and brave, and that meant she really had to get off her ass and do something. Wishing was a waste of time. She’d spent the past five years talking about leaving Bel Après and going to work somewhere else and she’d done nothing to make that happen.
“Hey, babe.” The low words were accompanied by a finger sliding from her bare shoulder to her wrist. Stephanie turned and saw Kyle smiling at her.
“Stellar party, as per usual,” he added with a wink.
“You’re still here,” she said, struggling to resurface from her confusing thoughts.
“Sure. I thought maybe we could spend a couple of hours together.”
His tone was suggestive. As if to emphasize the point, he put his hand on the small of her back and then slid it down to cup her butt.
“No. Just no.”
She spoke without thinking, taking a step away and staring at him, fighting the oddest sensation of having no idea who he was. Yes, they’d been married, but they’d divorced over a decade ago. What was she doing, having sex with him a couple of times a year, whenever it happened to fit into his schedule? She didn’t want that, or him.
Why had she agreed to their sad arrangement? Ignoring the gross thought that she had no idea how many other women he slept with on a regular basis, didn’t she deserve better? Didn’t she deserve to be happy, with her own robust life? Instead she’d settled on ex-husband crumbs tossed her way. Kyle was a distraction, and one she’d allowed to go on for too long.
“You don’t have to say it like that,” he grumbled, sounding defensive. “Just tell me you’re not interested.”
“I’m not interested.” Her voice was firm. “We talked about this before, Kyle. I said I was done and I meant it. Stop trying to get me into bed. I won’t do that anymore. We’re divorced. We should act like it.”
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me the opportunity to be on this tour! This book will be released on February 9, 2021. You can purchase a preorder copy here.
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