THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery: Excerpt & Spotlight

Posted August 4, 2020 in Book Tour, Excerpts, Spotlights / 3 Comments



[ ] Dance till dawn

[ ] Go skydiving

[ ] Wear a bikini in public

[ ] Start living

Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…

Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.

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She shook off the thought and started for the weight room. As she approached, she heard voices. Cooper was there, along with Luka. Ellen hovered just to the side of the door, figuring she didn’t get all that much opportunity to eavesdrop and that she wouldn’t be much of a mother if she didn’t take advantage of a situation that presented itself.

“There’s no reason to go,” Coop said, sounding dejected. “I should stay home and get a job.”

Go? Go where?

“You have to take the bus trip, man,” Luka told him. “Don’t you want to see Stanford?”

“Why? I can’t go away to college. Not that far away.”

Ellen pressed a hand to her mouth to keep from making any noise. Not go away to college? Where had that come from? They’d always talked about him going away. It was what he wanted.

“Coop, come on. Don’t say that.”

“You know I can’t leave her. She needs me.”

No, no, no, no! Ellen battled panic. Who needed him? She didn’t even know Coop was seeing someone. What bitch had trapped him?

She went cold all over and the unthinkable pushed its way into her brain. What if some girl was pregnant? There was a lot of that going around.

She closed her eyes. That couldn’t be it. They’d talked and talked about safe sex. She bought him condoms. She reminded him of how hard it was for just the two of them and how using a condom protected him from unplanned pregnancies and STDs. Hadn’t he been listening?

“You know her,” Coop continued. “You know what our relationship is like. She depends on me. She won’t make it without me.”

Who was it? Ellen wanted to scream the question. She ran through the list of girls she knew her son hung out with and tried to figure out which one might be holding him back. Did Keith know? No, he would have said something. Maybe she should talk to Lissa. Maybe—

“That’s no reason to stay here,” Luka told him. “You want to go away to college.”

“I can’t. Luka, I can’t. She’s my mom and she needs me.”

Ellen sagged against the wall as all the air rushed out of her body. Heat replaced the cold as she battled with the impossible. Her? The person he was talking about was her?

“We’ve always been a team,” Coop said. “I’m her life. She doesn’t date. I’m seventeen years old and my mom hasn’t been on a single date my whole life.”

“Not even one?”

“Nope. She’s never gone in the evening, unless it’s to hang out with Unity or Coach Kinne. She doesn’t do anything but work and take care of me. How can I leave her? Who will take care of her?”

The horror returned, but this time it was laced with confusion and shame. How could her son think like this? She was perfectly capable. She’d raised him, she’d graduated from college, she had a good job. She didn’t need her kid to take care of her. Why would he assume he was her everything? She had a life.

Without thinking, she began backing away from the door. She retreated to the main corridor and stood there, trying to clear her mind.

This was nothing but a misunderstanding, she told herself. Coop was reading the situation wrong. Of course she had a life and she would be fine when he was gone. Why wouldn’t she be? She was more than capable of being on her own. He had to know that. He was free to go live his life—be his own person. She wanted that for him, of course, but just as important, she never wanted him to resent her the way she’d always resented her parents.

She would take a second and gather her thoughts, then return to the weight room. She would find out about his plans for the evening, then go home and… And… Well, she didn’t know what she was going to do, but it would be something fun and exciting. Because of course she had things to do. Not dating didn’t mean anything. Lots of people didn’t date. She was absolutely and totally fine and happy and living the dream. That was her. For sure.


About Susan Mallery

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 150 novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal calls Susan "the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live. Her books have been published in 28 languages.

While studying accounting, Susan spotted an ad for an adult education course titled "How to write a romance novel." In the sixth week of the eight-week course, she realized that writing romance was what she was meant to do with her life. She's a born storyteller. Far too practical to drop out, she got her degree but never worked in the accounting field because she was published straight out of college with two books in January 1992.

Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in one of her most popular series, the Fool's Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year. To date, over 80 of her books have been USA Today bestsellers.

Booklist says, "Romance novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling."

Susan began to foray into women's fiction, which she saw as an opportunity to explore some of the other relationships that are so important to women—sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, friends. . . These women's fiction relationship novels are nuanced, emotionally complex, with recognizable real-life situations and have made Susan a very popular perennial book club selection. Her books have received over 146,000 five-star reviews on Goodreads, one of the most popular websites for book clubs.

Her hardcover debut, Daughters of the Bride, came out in 2016, followed by Secrets of the Tulip Sisters in 2017, When We Found Home in 2018, The Summer of Sunshine and Margot in 2019, The Friendship List in 2020 and The Vineyard at Painted Moon in 2021. Susan classifies these stories as "romance-plus," essentially a blend of romance and women's fiction.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats (only one of which is well-adjusted) and an adorable poodle. She's passionate about animal welfare and has served on the board of Seattle Humane, an organization dear to her heart. Because of her love for animals, pets play a significant role in her books.


Follow the tour

Monday, July 20th: Moonlight Rendezvous

Tuesday, July 21st: Reading Reality

Wednesday, July 22nd: The OC Book Girl

Thursday, July 23rd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Friday, July 24th: The Romance Dish

Monday, July 27th: Books and Bindings

Tuesday, July 28th: Jathan & Heather

Wednesday, July 29th: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews

Thursday, July 30th: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Friday, July 31st: PhDiva Blog

Monday, August 3rd: Nurse Bookie

Tuesday, August 4th: The Sassy Bookster


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3 responses to “THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery: Excerpt & Spotlight

  1. Sara Strand

    I’m excited for this one, I’m a huge Susan Mallery fan! Thank you for featuring this. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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