About When We Found HomeHardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (July 10, 2018)
Life is meant to be savored, but that’s not easy with no family, limited prospects and a past you’d rather not talk about. Still, Callie Smith doesn’t know how to feel when she discovers she has a brother and a sister–Malcolm, who grew up with affection, wealth and privilege, and Keira, a streetwise twelve-year-old. Callie doesn’t love being alone, but at least it’s safe. Despite her trepidation, she moves into the grand family home with her siblings and grandfather on the shores of Lake Washington, hoping just maybe this will be the start of a whole new life.
But starting over can be messy. Callie and Keira fit in with each other, but not with their posh new lifestyle, leaving Malcolm feeling like the odd man out in his own home. He was clever enough to turn a sleepy Seattle mail-order food catalog into an online gourmet powerhouse, yet he can’t figure out how to help his new sisters feel secure. Becoming a family will take patience, humor, a little bit of wine and a whole lot of love. But love isn’t Malcolm’s strong suit…until a beautiful barista teaches him that an open heart, like the family table, can always make room for more.
In this emotional, funny and heartfelt story, Susan Mallery masterfully explores the definition of a modern family—blended by surprise, not by choice—and how those complicated relationships can add unexpected richness to life.
AT SIX THIRTY ON AN UNEXPECTEDLY
SUNNY SATURDAY morning, the condo building’s impressive gym was practically a
ghost town. Santiago Trejo split his attention between the display on his
treadmill and the small, built-in TV screen tuned to ESPN and a list of games
scheduled for the first Saturday of the year’s baseball season.
Santiago enjoyed sports as much as
the next guy, but the thrill of baseball eluded him. Seriously—could it move
slower? Give him a sport where something happened. Even if the score was low in
hockey or soccer, the players were always doing something. But in baseball
entire innings could pass with literally absolutely no action.
The show went to commercial just as
the treadmill program ended. Timing, he thought with a grin. He gave the
machine a quick disinfectant wipe-down before grabbing his towel and water
bottle and heading to the elevators.
His condo was on an upper floor
with a view of Puget Sound and the peninsula beyond. He could watch the ferries
and cargo ships making their way to port, have a front-row seat to Fourth of
July celebrations and admire the storms as they blew through. When the weather
was clear—not something that happened all that often in Seattle—he could see
the Olympic Mountains. The gorgeous views and accompanying sunsets were very
helpful when it came to the ladies—not that he needed props, but a man should
have plenty of options in his arsenal.
After showering and dressing in
jeans and a Yale Law School sweatshirt, he went down to his two parking spaces
in the underground garage. A sleek, midnight blue Mercedes SL convertible sat
next to a massive black Cadillac Escalade.
“Not today,” he said, patting the
Mercedes. “I have the munchkins.” Not only would their mother not approve of
them riding in a convertible, there wasn’t any back seat.
Santiago made his way to his
favorite bakery. Unlike the gym, the bakery was jammed with people out on a
Saturday morning. He took a small paper number from the machine up front, then
waited his turn. When seventy-eight was called, he walked up and grinned at the
short, plump woman wearing a hairnet.
“Good morning, Brandi. Is your
mother here? You know how I enjoy saying hello to her.”
The fifty-something woman behind
the counter rolled her eyes. “You know it’s me, Santiago. No one is fooled by
this game you play.”
He clutched his chest and feigned
surprise. “Valia? Is that really you? You’re so beautiful this morning, even
more so than usual and I didn’t think that was possible.” He held open his
arms. “Come on. You need a hug and so do I.”
She groaned, as if the imposition
was too much, but made her way around the counter. Santiago picked her up and
spun her around until she shrieked.
“Put me down, you fool! You’ll
break your back.”
He set her back on her feet and
kissed her cheek. “It would be worth it,” he whispered.
She laughed and slapped his arm.
“That’s why I’m your favorite.”
“You’re not my favorite.”
She chuckled. “How’s your mama?”
“Well. I’m going to see her right
now, then take the rug rats to the zoo.” He’d promised them a trip on the first
sunny Saturday. Both of them had texted him yesterday with links to the weather
“They’re good children.” She eyed
him. “You should be married.”
“You need a wife.”
“No one needs a wife.”
“You do. You’re getting old.”
“Hey, I’m thirty-four.”
“Practically an old man. Get
married soon or no one will want you.”
He held his hands palm up and
winked. “Really? Because hey, it’s me.”
Her lips twitched. “You’re not all
“Now who’s lying?”
She handed over a box with his name
scrawled on the top. He’d placed his pastry order online after hearing from his
niece and nephew.
“My cousin has a daughter,” she
He passed her twenty dollars.
“Uh-huh. So you’ve mentioned before. I love you, Valia, but no. I’ll find my
“You keep saying that, but you
never do. What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing,” he called as he headed
for the door. “I’ll know when I know. Of that I’m sure.”
He crossed the street and got two
grande lattes from Starbucks before driving just north of the city to a quiet
neighborhood of older homes. Most were either remodeled or in the process of
being upgraded, but there were still a few with the original windows and tiny,
He wove through narrow streets
until he reached his destination and pulled into the long driveway.
The lot was oversize and had two
houses on it. The front one was large—about three thousand square feet,
including the basement, with a nice backyard and plenty of light. Behind it was
a smaller house—with just a single bedroom—but it was comfortable, private and
Santiago would never admit it to
anyone but every time he came to visit, he felt a flush of pride. He’d been
able to do this for his family. Him—some farm worker’s kid from the Yakima
Valley. The property was paid for and in a family trust. His brother Paulo and
his family lived in the front house and Santiago’s mother lived in the smaller
one. He parked by the latter and walked up the front steps.
About Susan Mallery
#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.