Sep 22 2017 12:00pm

Happy Endings for Susan Mallery’s You Say It First

 You Say it First by Susan Mallery

It is a truth universally known that romance readers have a thing for small-town series. RaeAnne Thayne, the author of the Haven Bay series, explored the allure of inter-connected stories and the community-as-family at Heroes and Heartbreakers. A favorite destination of readers is Susan Mallery’s town of Fool’s Gold. After twenty or so (who’s counting?) books, Mallery announced she had a new series and destination in mind—Wedding Inc. In the town of Wedding Inc. are some of the characters from a community we’ve come to love over the years. Break out the champagne because who wants to say goodbye to family and friends?

Sculptor Nick Mitchell recently moved from Fool’s Gold to the premier California destination wedding venue Happily Inc. Nick is one of the five Mitchell boys. Fans of Susan Mallery will remember his egotistical, domineering glass-artist father, Ceallach Mitchell—Nick’s troubled relationship with Ceallach drove him not only to leave Fool’s Gold but also to abandon his original dream of working with glass.

Because while he’d grown up working with glass, in the past decade he’d fallen for wood. Glass was cold and mercurial, but wood was alive. Wood had a soul.

Atsuko, Nick’s agent, mentions a part-time carpenter’s job at Pallas Saunder’s Wedding in a Box shop. Why not thinks Nick, while he’s waiting to hear about a huge hotel lobby commission in Dubai. Remember the Mastercard commercial that went viral? Specifically the phrase, “That’s not how any of this works.” Welcome to Nick’s job interview with Pallas.

“Don’t take this wrong, but I really need you to take off your shirt.”

Pallas Saunders winced as she said the words—this was so not how she usually conducted an interview. But desperate times and all that.

Nick Mitchell raised his eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

Pallas’s off-hand comment that it’s an emergency is not enough to get him to start disrobing. Tick tock lady.

“I have a wedding in less than an hour and I’m one Roman soldier short. J.T. ran off to LA because his agent called about an audition. Note to self. No not hire actors during pilot season. Anyway, I need a Roman soldier. You’re about the same height as the other guys and you’re here because you need a job, so take your shirt off, please. If you look halfway decent, I’ll sponge tan you and you’ll carry a very skinny girl in on a palanquin.”

“On what?”

“One of those sedan chair things. I swear, she probably doesn’t even weigh a hundred pounds. I don’t think she’d eaten in three months. You look strong. You’ll do great. Please? There’s a check at the end.” Not a very big one, but money was money. And Nick Mitchell had answered her ad for a part-time carpenter, so he must be at least a little desperate for money. A feeling Pallas could so relate to.

Nick tells her she’s weird but off comes the shirt. Pallas tells Nick to prepare for her “to rock your world,” and starts anointing him with fake tan cream. Even in the midst of her consternation, Pallas notices that Nick has big hands.

Big hands? Seriously, because she had time for that in her life?”

Nick’s a big hit as a Roman soldier and he gets the carpentry job. Suddenly, it’s a job he’s desperate to take because it turns out Pallas some old carved wood panels that are “exquisite works of art” with “incredible” carving.

He looked more closely and saw the panels were dinged, dry and in need of some serious TLC. Was this the job Pallas wanted a carpenter for?

Susan Mallery’s wedding destination town is filled with creative types, most of whom are struggling to make ends meet. Readers will fall for Pallas’s girl posse—a group of fabulous ladies who always have her back. Nick and Pallas have a lot in common: her mother is a stone-cold bitch who is never going to forgive Pallas for not working at the family bank. Nick can relate to a judgmental, larger-than-life parent.

But before they start to see each other, Mallery shares a few of Pallas’s burgeoning fantasies about Nick (in his Roman soldier role).

She wondered how wrong it would be to ask him to work shirtless. Because he’d made a fine Roman soldier.

Maybe one of her brides would want a Garden of Eden wedding where the attendants would be naked. Nick could be an extra. A fantasy to brighten her day, she thought as she returned to her office. One she would be sure to remember.

Hey, a girl can dream. You Say It First is a sweet, funny, sizzling story and a great introduction to Susan Mallery’s new Happily Inc. series.


Learn more about or order a copy of You Say it First by Susan Mallery, available now:

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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee moved from the San Francisco Bay to eastern Tennessee. Baseball is my passion: I follow the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Nashville Sounds (farm team of my beloved Oakland Athletics). Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Helen MacInnes. I also review at Criminal Element.

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