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Barefoot Season

Cover of Barefoot Season

Barefoot Season

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Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she's still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner's suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.

Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn's cheerful veneer.

Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it.

To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It'll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.


Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she's still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner's suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.

Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn's cheerful veneer.

Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it.

To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It'll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book



    "I'm going off to war tomorrow. I might not make it back."

    Michelle Sanderson slowly pulled her attention from the five-year-old truck she was thinking of buying and focused it on the guy standing next to her.

    He was a kid--maybe eighteen or nineteen, with red hair and freckles. Cute enough but way too young. Still stuck with too-long arms and legs and a chest that had yet to fill out. More man than boy, she supposed, but not yet done with the transition.

    "I'm sorry," she said, sure she must have misunderstood. "What did you say?"

    He gave her a wide grin and a wink. "I may not have long in this life. After you buy the truck, we could go get a drink or something. Celebrate me going into the army."

    "It's two in the afternoon."

    "Then we could head back to my place."

    Michelle didn't know whether she should start laughing or tell him he was an idiot in terms that would make him cry like a little girl. The latter would be easy enough. She'd served ten years in the army, nearly half of them in either Iraq or Afghanistan. She'd had to deal with more than her share of horny young guys who assumed they were irresistible. She'd gotten really good at showing them they were wrong.

    Laughing would be a bit tougher. Mostly because every part of her hurt. Not just her hip, which had the excuse of a recent run-in with a couple of bullets from armed insurgents, followed by a partial joint replacement, but the rest of her. She'd spent more time than she even wanted to think about in the hospital. Healing happened in its own time, her physical therapist had told her. She'd tried to beat the odds, which had netted her nothing more than an extra three nights in the hospital before she'd finally been released.

    "Aren't I a little old for you?" she asked.

    He gave her a wink. "Experienced."

    Despite the pain, she managed a chuckle. "Yeah, right. Looking to have your fantasies fulfilled?"

    "You know it."

    He was so eager, she thought, feeling more weary by the second. And obviously he hadn't passed the vision test yet. She knew she wasn't at her best. Her pale, too-thin body gave away the length of time she'd been in a hospital bed. Her eyes were hollow, her color too gray to be considered normal. She had a cane to help her walk. Which just went to show how powerful a young man's hormones could be.

    Before she could figure out how to pass on his invitation, a yellow Lab came bounding around the side of the house. The animal raced up to her and jumped. Michelle took a quick step back to avoid being knocked over. The movement put pressure on her hip and fiery pain shot through her.

    For a second, the world spun. She felt herself starting to black out. Nausea threatened. One or the other, she thought desperately, fighting to stay present. Not both. A surprisingly strong arm wrapped around her body, holding her in place. "Buster, get down."

    She blinked and the cool, damp afternoon returned to focus. The fire in her hip banked enough to allow her to breathe. The kid stood so close she could see the freckles across his nose and a small scar on his right cheek.

    "You okay?" he asked.

    She nodded.

    He stepped back and studied her. The dog stayed back, his eyes dark with worry, a low whine indicating his concern.

    She held out her hand to the dog. "It's okay, Buster. I'm fine."

    The dog stepped forward and sniffed her fingers before giving them a quick lick.

    "Hey, I wanted to do that," the kid said, managing a shaky laugh.

    Michelle smiled....

About the Author-
  • New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan's prose "luscious and provocative," and Booklist says "Novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling." Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. Visit her at www.SusanMallery.com.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 23, 2012
    Gritty and magical, angst-ridden and sweet, this coming-home story by bestseller Mallery (Only His) pulls no punches. Veteran Michelle Sanderson has survived multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, but she’s never forgotten the little island inn on Puget Sound where three generations of her family have welcomed visitors. After Michelle’s mother dies, onetime friend Carly Williams—whom Michelle betrayed by sleeping with her fiancé—is left to manage the inn until Michelle returns. Michelle wants nothing more than to fire Carly and reclaim the family legacy, but with a shotup hip, PTSD, and an unforgiving bank loan, she has no choice but to make their uneasy reunion work. This is only the beginning; Mallery adds layer upon layer to the women’s history, while revealing the raw core of each with expert pacing guaranteed to keep a reader up way past bedtime to see how it all works out. There’s a touch of romance, too, but it’s secondary. This first installment in the Blackberry Island series is about the journey from girlhood to womanhood to sisterhood, and the simple power of an honest apology. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency.

  • Booklist on Already Home "This poignant tale of family dynamics, the jarring impact of change, and eventual acceptance and healing is sure to please Mallery's many, devoted fans."
  • Publishers Weekly "Mallery's prose is luscious and provocative."
  • RT Book Reviews "Susan Mallery's gift for writing humor and tenderness make all her books true gems."
  • RT Book Reviews on Finding Perfect "Mallery sets up some very tough choices for her heroine, making this book compelling and intense."
  • Library Journal on Chasing Perfect "Warm, funny, and sexy, this lighthearted yet touching page-turner is a satisfying, rewarding read and the 'perfect' beginning for Mallery's Fool's Gold series."
  • RT Book Reviews on Hot on Her Heels "As demonstrated in this compelling story, family doesn't have to share blood, just emotions. Filled with emotional drama, devastating treachery and the power of love, this finale will delight fans."
  • Booklist on Straight from the Hip "One of the Top 10 Romance Novels of 2009!"
  • Good Choice Reading on Almost Perfect "[A]n emotional story with a beautiful happy ending! Another must-read by Susan Mallery."
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Barefoot Season
Susan Mallery
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