The Girls of Mischief Bay

The Girls of Mischief Bay

by Susan Mallery

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460380413
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 02/24/2015
Series: Mischief Bay , #1
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 3,685
File size: 485 KB

About the Author

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Read an Excerpt

"DID TYLER MAKE THAT FOR YOU?"

Nicole Lord turned to look at the picture she'd posted on the wall of Mischief in Motion, her Pilates studio. Three large red hearts covered a piece of pink construction paper. A handprint had been outlined over the hearts. The hearts were wobbly and highly stylized, but still recognizable. Not bad, considering the artist in question was not yet five. The handprint had been traced by one of his teachers.

"He did," Nicole said with a smile. "I promised him I would bring it to work and show everyone."

Her client, a thirtysomething fighting her way back from a forty-five-pound pregnancy weight gain, wiped sweat from her face and smiled. "He sounds adorable. I look forward to when my daughter can do more than eat, poop and keep me up all night."

"It gets better," Nicole promised.

"I hope so. I'd always assumed once I started having kids, I'd want six." The woman grimaced. "Now one is looking like more than enough." She waved and walked toward the exit. "See you next week."

"Have a good weekend."

Nicole spoke without looking, her attention already back on her computer. She had her noon class, then a three-hour break before her late-afternoon classes. Which sounded nice until she thought about all she had to get done. Grocery shopping for sure—they were out of everything. Her car needed gas, there was dry cleaning to pick up and somewhere in the middle of all that, she should eat lunch.

She glanced at the clock, wondering if she should text Eric to remind him to pick up Tyler from day care at four. She reached for her phone, then shook her head and sagged back in her chair. No, she shouldn't, she told herself. He'd only forgotten once and he'd felt awful about it. She had to trust him not to forget again.

Which she would, she told herself. Only these days he was forgetting a lot of things. And helping less around the house.

Marriage, she thought ruefully. It all sounded so romantic until you realized that hey, you not only had to live with someone else, but there would also be days when they actually thought you were wrong about things.

She was still trying to figure out in which order she was going to run her errands when the door to her studio opened and Pam Eiland strolled in.

"Hey, you," Pam called cheerfully, an oversize tote hanging off one shoulder.

Anyone who didn't know Pam would assume she had a clutter problem if she needed to haul around that much stuff in her bag. Those who did know Pam were privy to the fact that her actual handbag was fairly small and that most of the space in the tote was taken up by a soft blanket and a very weird-looking dog.

Right on cue, Lulu poked her head out of the tote and whined softly.

Nicole stood and approached them both. After giving Pam a hug, she reached for Lulu. The dog leaped into her arms and snuggled close.

"I see you're in pink today," she said, stroking Lulu's cheek, then rubbing the top of her head.

"We both felt it was a pink kind of day," Pam told her.

Lulu, a purebred Chinese crested, had white hair on the top of her head, by her ears and on her tail and lower legs. The rest of her spotted body was pretty much naked and an unexpected shade of grayish pink with brown spots. Her health issues were legendary and what with having no fur, she was chronically cold. Which meant Lulu had a collection of sweaters, jackets and T-shirts. Today's selection was a lightweight, sleeveless pink sweater trimmed with shiny gray ribbon. With money tight and her own clothes threadbare, Nicole found herself in the embarrassing situation of envying a dog's wardrobe.

Lulu gave her a quick puppy-kiss on the chin. Nicole held onto the warm dog for a few seconds more. Her relationship with Lulu was the least emotionally charged moment in her day thus far, and she was determined to enjoy it.

Pam, a pretty brunette with an easy smile, wore a loose short-sleeved dress over her leggings and workout tank. Unlike the other clients who came in for the noon class, Pam didn't walk over from an office. Nicole knew the other woman had held a job at her husband's company years ago. She understood how a small business worked and often gave Nicole sound advice. Aside from that, Pam seemed to have her days to herself. Right now that sounded like a dream come true.

"Who's coming today?" Pam asked as she pulled the blanket out of the tote and folded it before setting it in a corner of the room. Lulu obligingly curled up, with her long legs tucked gracefully under her body. Nicole knew the dog wouldn't budge until class was over. She supposed the sweet temperament and excellent manners made up for Lulu's odd and faintly sci-fi appearance.

"Just you and Shannon," Nicole said, clicking on her computer's scheduling program to confirm. She was actually relieved to have a smaller class. Lately she was so damned tired all the time. Pam and Shannon could have run the workout themselves, so there wouldn't be pressure to stay on top of every move.

Even better, all three dropouts had come in early that morning. The studio had a strict twenty-four-hour cancellation policy, which meant she was going to be paid for five students regardless. She accepted her momentary pleasure even though the thought made her a bad person, and vowed she would work on her character just as soon as she figured out how to fix what was going on with her marriage and got more than four hours of sleep on any given night.

Pam had slipped off her sandals in preparation for class. But instead of putting on her Pilates socks, she turned to Nicole and grinned.

"Want to go to lunch?"

Pam's smile was infectious. Her hazel-green eyes crinkled at the corners and her mouth curved up.

"Come on," Pam teased. "You know you want to."

"Want to what?" Shannon Rigg asked as she walked into the studio. "I've had a horrible morning dealing with a mi-sogynistic idiot from the bank who insisted on continually asking to speak to my supervisor. When I explained I was the CFO of the company, I think he had a seizure." She paused, her blue eyes dancing with amusement. "I offered to send him a scanned copy of my business card, but he declined. Then I told him that if he didn't get his act together, I would be moving the company's four-hundred-million-dollar account to another bank." She paused for dramatic effect. "I think I made him cry."

Pam held out her arm, hand raised, for a high five. "You both constantly impress me. Nicole juggles her husband, her five-year-old son and her growing business. You're busy frightening men who really should know better. I, on the other hand, will pick out my dog's wardrobe for tomorrow and make biscuits from scratch. It's sad."

"I don't even know what you put in the bowl to make a biscuit," Shannon admitted as she gave her friend a high five, then turned to Nicole. "Do you?"

"Flour, water, something else."

Shannon laughed. "Yeah, that's where I would get lost, too. It's the something else that always gets you."

Nicole thought about how Pam had described her. Juggling sounded so perky and positive. Unfortunately most days she found herself cleaning up what had fallen and shattered rather than keeping her plates spinning in the air.

Okay, that was a confused and slightly depressing analogy. She really needed to think more positively. And maybe learn how to make biscuits.

Shannon had on a tailored sleeveless dress and three-inch pumps. Her legs were bare and tanned, her hair a glorious tumbling mass of auburn waves that fell past her shoulders. She wore expensive watches and elegant jewelry. She drove a BMW convertible. If Nicole could pick, she would want Pam for her mother and to be Shannon when she grew up.

Only at thirty, Nicole had a feeling she was about as grownup as she was going to get.

"Wait," Pam said as Shannon headed for the small dressing room next to the restroom. "I thought we'd go to lunch instead of working out."

Shannon already had her exercise clothes out of her gym bag. She turned back to Pam. "Not exercise?"

"Sure. We're the only two today. It's Friday, my friend. Live a little. Have a glass of wine, mock your uninformed banking friend and unwind."

Shannon looked at Nicole and raised her eyebrows. "I'm in," she said. "What about you?"

Nicole thought about her to-do list and the fact that she was behind on the laundry and had a stack of bills to pay and a husband who had walked away from a successful career in computer software to write a screenplay. She thought of the spinning and falling plates and how she spent her life exhausted.

She pulled the tie from her blond ponytail, shook her hair loose, grabbed her keys and her handbag and stood.

"Let's go."

McGrath's Pub had been around nearly as long as the Mischief Bay pier and boardwalk. Shannon remembered coming here when she'd been a teenager. The drive in from Riverside had taken about an hour, if there wasn't any traffic. She and her girlfriends had spent the whole time talking and laughing, imagining the cute boys they were going to meet. Boys who lived by the ocean and surfed and had sun-bleached hair. Boys not like those they knew in high school.

Because back then all it took to get her heart beating faster had been sun-bleached hair and a retro convertible.

She liked to think that in the past twenty-plus years she'd matured.

As she followed her friends into the pub, her gaze strayed to the sand and the ocean beyond. It was midday and low tide. No surfers out there now. As it was also a weekday in February, there weren't any people playing volleyball. Despite the fact that it was probably seventy degrees.

McGrath's was a three-story building with outdoor dining on the main level. Inside there was a big, open bar. Pam led the way directly to the stairs. They bypassed the second-floor dining room and went up to the top-floor eating area.

"By the window?" Pam asked, already heading in that direction.

The big windows offered a view of the Pacific. Today they were partially open, allowing in some fresh air. When temperatures dropped to anything below sixty-five they could be closed and in the summer, they were removed completely.

Shannon sat across from Nicole. Pam settled next to Nicole and put her tote on the floor next to her chair. The perfectly trained Lulu would stay hidden until they left.

The first time the three of them had played hooky and gone to lunch, Shannon had spent the entire time freaking out about Lulu. Now she saw the strange creature as the mascot for their friendship—odd, unexpected and over time, very comforting.

She turned her attention from thoughts of a Chinese crested to the restaurant location. The view should have captured their attention and left them speechless. Taupe-colored sand led the way to midnight blue water. A couple of sailboats leaned in to capture the light breeze, and in the distance container ships chugged toward the horizon and the exotic ports beyond.

But this was L.A. and amazing views existed around every turn. Whether it was a star sighting at a Whole Foods or the lapping waters of the Pacific. Instead of talking about the beauty of the moment, Pam passed out menus.

"There's a burger special," Pam said with a sigh. "Did you see it? If I get that, will someone eat some of my fries?"

"I will," Nicole told her. "I get the protein plate here."

Pam wrinkled her nose. "Of course you do."

Shannon knew the protein plate consisted of broiled fish and shrimp with a side of steamed vegetables. Healthy, sure, but the low calorie count was of more concern to the body-conscious, bikini-clad locals.

"I'll have a couple of fries, too," she said. They would nicely round out the salad she generally ordered.

Pam poked Nicole in the upper arm. "You're a stick. You should eat more."

"I eat plenty."

"Roots and grubs. Have a burger." Pam leaned back in her chair. "Enjoy your metabolism while you can. Because one day, it's all going to hell."

"You look great," Nicole said easily. "You're in terrific shape."

Pam's brows rose. "If you say 'for a woman my age' I'm pitching you out the window."

Nicole laughed. "I'd never say that. You're nowhere near a certain age. That's old."

So spoke the thirty-year-old, Shannon thought wryly. Time was going faster and faster every day. She couldn't believe she was only a few months away from turning forty, herself. She glanced at Pam and Nicole's hands and saw the wedding bands and diamond engagement rings winking back at her. Not for the first time, Shannon considered the fact that somewhere along the way she should have gotten married.

She'd meant to, had always thought she would. Only her career had been her first priority—a fact that the men she knew didn't like. The more successful she got, the harder it was to date. Or at least find a man who didn't resent her devotion to her career. Lately, finding someone interesting and appealing had started to seem nearly impossible.

She briefly toyed with the idea of mentioning that. All the articles she read said that she had to put herself out there if she wanted to meet a great guy. She had to be willing to tell all her friends that she was serious and looking. Of course, she had a sneaking suspicion that many articles in women's magazines were written by people who had no idea what they were talking about. Besides, she wasn't keen on pity. She was a successful, vital businesswoman. Hell, she was the chief financial officer of a company grossing more than a billion dollars a year. She didn't need a man in her life. Which wasn't to say she might not like having one around.

"How's my favorite young man?" Pam asked.

Nicole smiled. "Tyler is great. I can't believe he's turning five in a couple of months. It's going so fast. He'll be in kindergarten in September." She paused. "In a way, that will be nice. There'll be less day-care juggling."

As she finished speaking, her smile faded and a muscle twitched in her cheek. As if she were clenching her teeth.

Shannon hesitated, not sure if she should ask what was wrong. Because she already knew the answer. The three of them had been in the same exercise class for nearly two years. While she and Pam were faithful participants, the same couldn't be said for anyone else. For some reason, the Friday noon class tended to attract the flakier clients.

Which meant it had often been just the three of them. They'd talked between Pilates moves, had shared various ups and downs. Shannon knew that Brandon, Pam's youngest, had been a wild teenager—to the point of driving so drunk, he'd wrapped his car around a tree. Now he was a sober, determined student in medical school. She'd listened as Nicole had tried to explain her bewilderment that her stable, hard-working husband had quit his job to write a screenplay and surf. In turn, Shannon had shared the tribulations of her own personal life. Everything from the challenge of being the only female executive at a tech company to the difficulty finding a Mr. Right who supported her career goals.

While Shannon searched for a delicate way to ask if Nicole's comment meant Eric was still determined to conquer Hollywood, Pam plunged right in.

"He continues to be an idiot?" she asked.

Nicole wrinkled her nose. "He's not an idiot. He's…" She hesitated. "Confusing. I know it's been six months, so I should be over it, right? It's not that I didn't know."

Pam angled toward her friend. "Honey, everyone says they want to write a screenplay or be on American Idol or something, but no one takes them seriously. There are dreams and then there's real life. Eric has a wife and a son. He walked away from a great job to type and surf. Who does that?"

Nicole winced. "He's writing, not typing."

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The Girls of Mischief Bay 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 261 reviews.
TRATLE More than 1 year ago
This is NOT a typical Susan Mallery Romance It’s a LIFE Story of LOVE and FRIENDSHIP The Girls of Mischief Bay centers on the friendship and lives of the three main characters, Nicole, Shannon, and Pam. The three women are unlikely friends. Nicole is virtually a single mother, trying to maintain her life after her husband quits his job to write a screenplay; Shannon is an almost- 40 year-old Workaholic contemplating her life and the choices she made; Pam is a 50 year-old with grown children wanting to recapture the spark in her 30-year marriage. They met at Nicole’s Pilate’s studio and forged a strong friendship. Unlike typical Romance novels, this book is intense and thought provoking. It’s much easier to relate to the characters because they have lives and problems that mirror our own. Nicole struggles with money and a faltering marriage, Shannon struggles with success –vs- loneliness, and Pam struggles with self-confidence and middle age. Their friendship sees them through it all. Regardless of their difficulties, they are there for each other--to support every success and help each other through trials and tribulations. The Girls of Mischief Bay Love, they Laugh, and they Cry. Somehow, Ms Mallery brings these fictional characters to life so that the reader loves, laughs, and cries with them. I personally related most closely to Pam because she and I have many things in common; long marriages, grown children, and routine day-to-day lives. She wants to find the “spark” to reignite passion and eliminate her restlessness. Pam’s story is a true LOVE story. She has what most of us dream of—a 30 year marriage to her best friend & life partner and a love that transcends pain and heartbreak. Susan Mallery is one of my favorite authors. This is an epic endeavor not only for her as an author, but also for readers expecting her typical light hearted and humorous style. She has elevated expectations with respect to romance novels to a higher plane. She has created the charming albeit fictional California town of Mischief Bay and introduced a cast of characters from which to build a continuity series. Her characters are well developed with complex lives and realistic problems & concerns. Mischief Bay brings life stories of Love, Friendship, Heartbreak, and Survival.
oceanbreezes More than 1 year ago
I couldn’t put down The Girls of Mischief Bay, Susan Mallery’s newest book. The characters and the story are so well done that I feel like I could walk into Mischief Bay. I hope that there will be more to the story of Mischief Bay!
beader59 More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful new series,can't wait for the next book. Three women from three different backgrounds, who shouldn't work as friends but do. So glad she brought these three ladies together.
sfielder More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Mallery. I enjoyed reading about these three women. The characters were believable and I could definitely see myself being friend with them. An excellent read; I look forward to reading the other books in the series. I highly recommend. 
HannajoSol More than 1 year ago
I'm one of Susan Mallery's biggest fan. But I'm also honest. All women should enjoy this book, all ages and all stages of life. If you haven't personally gone through one of these life experiences, we all know someone who has. This book also shows us how to be there for one another, no matter what circumstances we are dealing with. It was well written, funny, sad and encouraging. I cried with Pam and Haley, laughed and cried with Shannon and Nicole, and understood the Widows Club! Very strong adventurous women, but also vulnerable and frightened. Cannot wait for more from Mischief Bay soon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of Mallery's best. An incredible story about life, love, and relationships. It makes you smile, cry, and laugh as you connect with the characters and their lives. I can't wait for the next one in this series and hope we see these characters again and again!
Buzboo2LM More than 1 year ago
The Girls of Mischief Bay is the first book in the newest series by Susan Mallery! I truly loved it.  I’ve read all of the Fool’s Gold series and was truly excited about this new place she created!  I am glad to say she didn’t disappoint.  I characters in this book are so real and easy to relate to.  Nicole, Shannon and Pam – they have such a strong bond of friendship even with differing ages of 30s, 40s and 50s as no obstacle.  They are at different points in their lives and from very different backgrounds. But through all of that they are supportive of each other and there with friendship and advice.  I seemed to be pulled into each of their lives at one point or another and found myself relating to what was going on. Susan Mallery has a true knack for creating a community that you so easily insert yourself into a life there. You become part of the community; with the true realistic relationships of the characters and the actual events and curve balls that their lives seem to have thrown at them.  Her writing has from the very first book I read, the ones in between and now this one, become a much sought after escape.  The Girls of Mischief Bay has genuine depth and is to me more emotional and enduring, than just the typical happily ever after stories (I love those stories too).  This book is a perfect balance of….well everything!  This is a MUST READ!! I am anxiously awaiting to find out if these ladies will be a part of the following books or if new ladies from about town will be the lead and these not mentioned OR if the new will be introduced and then the two groups come together to form a greater circle of friendship!! Well done Susan Mallery! I so have fallen in love with this series!
Cgrono More than 1 year ago
Susan Mallory has done it again! The “Girls of Mischief Bay” is a treasure. I love all three of these strong women and of course Lulu, Pam’s “very weird-looking dog”. Being different ages, Shannon, Nicole, and Pam, are all in different places in their lives. They help each other through fun as well as difficult times. Every reader, no matter what their age, can connect with at least one of these characters, and their feelings, triumphs, and troubles. Mischief Bay sounds like a wonderful place to live, and I would like friends Shannon, Nicole, Pam, and Lulu. I can’t wait for the next Mischief Bay book in this series. I recommend it highly!
CarolASM More than 1 year ago
A Mature Multi-Dimensional Book. This book is not typical of Susan Mallery's usual fare. There are three interwoven story lines. Three women who lead very different lives, but have a deep abiding friendship. Her description of raw pain and deep sorrow was so vivid, I suffered right along with them . If you have ever lost anyone, through love, or death or friendship, you will recognize the associated emotion.  Take heart though, the book is not all doom and gloom. It has many light moments, great dialogue and a  vast array of interesting characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it was a mature, fast paced and continually evolving story. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I usually love all of Susan Mallery's book this one was depressing and had no real ending for any of the characters.
nooklooker More than 1 year ago
This book started out slow but then it got so that I could not put it down. These women and their lives are so interesting. Well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the three main characters, but there seems to be no big plot development. I'm 2/3 finished, but am finding it hard to want to finish it. To be fair, I'm more an action or mystery reader. Picked this for the title, but there is very little "mischief" happening.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book on sale and let it sitting on my nook. Unopened... when I did start reading it, I couldn't put it down. I could picture these women in my mind. It was like being there with them. Their story was very believable. I was sad to see it end, but I realized I have the 2nd book in the series. So now I am starting The friends that we keep. Looking forward to this one. R.G
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've had this book sitting on my TBR shelf for a year. I finally got around to reading it. I loved it. Couldn't put it down. It is a wonderful story of three friends and the closeness they have with each other. The book is funny, loving and sad. Even though there can be heartbreak in your life, whatever it is, having close friends can help you overcome anything. I'd recommend this book to others. It was so real.
julieford More than 1 year ago
This is a highly emotional story of 3 friends and the struggles that life throws at them. As their lives implode, you see the strength of the characters and the friendships that they have formed. A wonderfully written story that captures your attention and draws out many emotions. Nicole, Shannon and Pam are all characters that readers can relate to. Susan Mallery creates wonderful stories and characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read and enjoyed other books by Susan Mallery, but this one seemed to drag a bit...well, more than a bit. Good story line and characters, but it was as if the author was straining to meet a word quota and the story bogged down in places. Not sorry I read it, but I enjoyed her other works more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago