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Book Excerpt: The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery

Tuesday, February 2, 2021


It's Groundhog Day!  I'm hoping for an early spring, Lovelies.  How about you?  Today I have a special treat: an excerpt from Susan Mallery's latest novel, The Vineyard at Painted Moon.  This is the second time I've been asked to host a book excerpt for one of Mallery's books.  You can read an excerpt from the popular When We Found Home HERE.  

Pour your self something warm, get cozy, and read this excerpt!  

Step into the vineyard with Susan Mallery’s most irresistible novel yet, as one woman searches for the perfect blend of love, family and wine.

Mackenzie Dienes seems to have it all—a beautiful home, close friends and a successful career as an elite winemaker with the family winery. There’s just one problem—it’s not her family, it’s her husband’s. In fact, everything in her life is tied to him—his mother is the closest thing to a mom that she’s ever had, their home is on the family compound, his sister is her best friend. So when she and her husband admit their marriage is over, her pain goes beyond heartbreak. She’s on the brink of losing everything. Her job, her home, her friends and, worst of all, her family.

Staying is an option. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews—but as an employee, nothing more. Or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own. If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.


With that, she walked away, looking for a safe group to join, then smiling when she spotted her kids talking to Lori.

 “Having a good time?” she asked as she slipped between Avery and Carson. 

“We are.” Her daughter laughed. “Mom, I can’t believe you didn’t even hint about the proposal. It was so romantic. Even if they are, you know, old.” 

“Ancient,” Stephanie teased. She turned to Carson. “What did you think about what happened?”

 Her fourteen-year-old surprised her by grinning. “It was cool, Mom. Romantic, like girls want. Plus, it takes some, ah, courage to ask that in front of everyone. What if she’d said no? He would have been humiliated for life.” 

“Love gives you courage,” she told him. 

Avery sighed. “Great. Now she’s going to make you watch that old movie she loves so much. What’s it called?”

 “Say Anything,” Stephanie and Lori said together. 

Avery groaned. “That’s the one.” 

“I am kind of feeling it’s time,” Stephanie admitted. 

“Do it quick,” her daughter said. “Before Carson goes off to baseball camp. I don’t want to get stuck being the only one who has to see it.” 

“You loved it.”

 “You wish.”

 Carson yawned. “It’s late, Mom. I’m going to bed.” He hugged her.

 Her baby was four inches taller than her already and he still had a lot of growing to do. Of course, she was short, but still. 

Avery hugged her, as well. “See you in the morning, Mom.”


She watched as they made their way across the patio and went into their house, then she smiled at her sister. “Having a good time?” 

“I was until the engagement.” Lori’s tone was sharp. 

“I thought you liked Giorgio.” 

“I do, but now everything is going to change.” 

“I don’t think he’ll mind you living in the house, if that’s what you’re worried about. Besides, Mom would never make you move out.” 

Lori’s expression tightened. “Oh, please. We both know she’d throw me out in a heartbeat if it served her purposes, or if Mackenzie asked her to.” She exhaled sharply. “It’s not that. Did you see how in love they are? I knew they were happy, but the look on her face when he proposed…I want that.”

 “To get married?” Stephanie tried to keep the surprise out of her voice. 

“Of course. Everyone wants to belong. Some of us know when we should keep what we have rather than throw it away.” 

“Are you talking about my divorce?”

 “You had something with Kyle. Maybe you should have stuck with what you had.” 

“A cheater who was never home?”

 “It was a marriage.” 

“We were both miserable. Besides—” Stephanie pressed her lips together. She didn’t need to defend her position to anyone. “It’s better now,” she said. “With us apart. But if you’re interested in dating, I hope you meet someone.” 

“Nothing good ever happens to me.” 

With that, she turned and walked away. Stephanie watched her go, wondering how she and Lori and Four could be sisters when they were all so different. She supposed it was just one more thing that proved God had sense of humor. 

She walked over to an empty chair and sat down. While the rest of the family were allowed to leave any time after ten, she was stuck for the duration. The party was her responsibility and she had to make sure everything was cleaned up and put away. She would be up until at least two in the morning. 

On the bright side, she was apparently done with her ex. It had taken ten years and a cosmic slap in the face, but at least it had happened. First thing tomorrow, she would start looking for a job that excited her. She’d finally escaped from the trap of casual sex with her ex. Now it was time to escape from the family business and strike out on her own.

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Thanks to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be a part of the tour!

What do you think about the excerpt?  Are you interested in reading more?  Check out the links for more excerpts from book bloggers below.

Excerpt Tour:

Monday, January 18th: Novel Gossip

Tuesday, January 19th: Helen’s Book Blog

Wednesday, January 20th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm

Thursday, January 21st: From the TBR Pile

Friday, January 22nd: Jathan & Heather

Monday, January 25th: Reading Reality

Tuesday, January 26th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Wednesday, January 27th: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Thursday, January 28th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Friday, January 29th: Literary Quicksand

Saturday, January 30th: The Romance Dish

Monday, February 1st: Leighellen Landskov

Tuesday, February 2nd: The Sketchy Reader

Wednesday, February 3rd: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Thursday, February 4th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Friday, February 5th: What is That Book About

Saturday, February 6th: Books & Bindings

Sunday, February 7th: Books & Spoons

Monday, February 8th: Books Cooks Looks

Tuesday, February 9th: Romantic Reads and Such

Until next time...
Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. What a terrible choice to have to make! I only like happy me Cinderella, I don't care. I am suspiciously optimistic it turns out ok for Mackenzie. :)

  2. Thanks for the sneak peek, it looks like a great book!

  3. Thank you for featuring this! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  4. I'd probably read the last chapter first!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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