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Evening Stars

Cover of Evening Stars

Evening Stars

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New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery returns to Blackberry Island with the poignant tale of two sisters on the verge of claiming their dreams.

Small-town nurse Nina Wentworth has made a career out of being a caretaker. More "Mom" than their mother ever was, she sacrificed medical school--and her first love--so her sister could break free. Which is why she isn't exactly thrilled to see Averil back on Blackberry Island, especially when Nina's life has suddenly become...complicated.

Nina unexpectedly finds herself juggling two men--her high school sweetheart and a younger maverick pilot who also wants to claim her heart. But as fun as all this romance is, Nina has real life to deal with. Averil doesn't seem to want the great guy she's married to, and doesn't seem to be making headway writing her first book; their mom is living life just as recklessly as she always has; and Nina's starting to realize that the control she once had is slipping out of her fingers. Her hopes of getting off the island seem to be stretching further away...until her mother makes a discovery that could change everything forever.

But before Nina and Averil can reach for the stars, they have to decide what they want. Will Averil stay? Will Nina leave? And what about the men who claim to love them? Does love heal, or will finding their happy ending mean giving up all they've ever wanted?

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery returns to Blackberry Island with the poignant tale of two sisters on the verge of claiming their dreams.

Small-town nurse Nina Wentworth has made a career out of being a caretaker. More "Mom" than their mother ever was, she sacrificed medical school--and her first love--so her sister could break free. Which is why she isn't exactly thrilled to see Averil back on Blackberry Island, especially when Nina's life has suddenly become...complicated.

Nina unexpectedly finds herself juggling two men--her high school sweetheart and a younger maverick pilot who also wants to claim her heart. But as fun as all this romance is, Nina has real life to deal with. Averil doesn't seem to want the great guy she's married to, and doesn't seem to be making headway writing her first book; their mom is living life just as recklessly as she always has; and Nina's starting to realize that the control she once had is slipping out of her fingers. Her hopes of getting off the island seem to be stretching further away...until her mother makes a discovery that could change everything forever.

But before Nina and Averil can reach for the stars, they have to decide what they want. Will Averil stay? Will Nina leave? And what about the men who claim to love them? Does love heal, or will finding their happy ending mean giving up all they've ever wanted?

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    IN A BATTLE between Betty Boop and multi-colored hearts, Nina Wentworth decided it was going to be a Betty Boop kind of day. She pulled the short-sleeved scrub shirt over her head and was already moving toward the bathroom before the fabric settled over her hips.

    "Don't be snug, don't be snug," she chanted as she came to a stop in front of the mirror and reached for her brush.

    The shirt settled as it should, with a couple of inches to spare. Nina breathed a sigh of relief. Last night's incident with three brownies and a rather large glass of red wine hadn't made a lasting impression on her hips. She was grateful and she would repent later on an elliptical. Or at least vow to eat her brownies one at a time.

    Ten seconds of brushing, one minute of braiding and her blond hair was neat and tidy. She dashed out into the hall, toward the kitchen where she grabbed her car keys and nearly made it to the back door. Just as she was reaching for the knob, the house phone rang.

    Nina glanced from the clock to the phone. Everyone in her world-friends, family, work-had her cell. Very few calls came on the antiquated land line and none of them were good news. Nina retraced her steps and braced herself for disaster. "Hello?"

    "Hey, Nina. It's Jerry down at Too Good To Be True. I just opened and there's a lady here trying to sell a box of crap, ah, stuff. I think it's from the store."

    Nina closed her eyes as she held in a groan. "Let me guess. Early twenties, red hair with purple streaks and a tattoo of a weird bird on her neck?"

    "That's her. She's glaring at me something fierce. You think she's armed?"

    "I hope not."

    "Me, too." Jerry didn't sound especially concerned. "What's her name?"

    "Tanya."

    If Nina had more time, she would have collapsed right there on the floor. But she had a real job to get to. A job unrelated to the disaster that was the family's antique store.

    "You let your mom hire her, huh?" Jerry asked.

    "Yes."

    "You know better."

    "That I do. I'll call the police and ask them to pick up Tanya. Can you keep her there until they get there?"

    "Sure thing, kid."

    "Great. And I'll be by after work to pick up the stuff."

    "I'll hold it for you," Jerry promised.

    "Thanks."

    Nina hung up and hurried to her car. After her cell connected to the Bluetooth, she called the local sheriff's department and explained what happened.

    "Again?" Deputy Sam Payton asked, his voice thick with amusement. "Did you let your mom hire this employee?"

    Nina carefully backed out of the driveway. Jerry's humor she could handle. He'd lived here all his life-he was allowed to tease her. But Sam was relatively new. He hadn't earned mocking rights.

    "Hey, tax-paying citizen here, reporting a crime," she said.

    "Yeah, yeah. I'm writing it down. What'd she take?"

    "I didn't ask. She's at the pawn shop. Too Good To Be True."

    "I know it," Deputy Sam told her. "I'll head out and see what's what."

    "Thanks."

    She hung up before he could offer advice on hiring policies and turned up the hill. The morning was clear-odd for early spring in the Pacific Northwest. Normally the good weather didn't kick in until closer to summer. To the west, blue water sparkled. To the east was western Washington.

    As she climbed higher and higher, the view got better, but when she parked across from the three Queen Anne houses at the very top of the...

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.

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