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The Sister (The Boss #6)
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Sophie Scaife finally feels like her personal life is on the right track. Her marriage to her devastatingly sadistic billionaire Dom, Neil Elwood, is as sexually adventurous as ever. Their relationship with their lover, the glamorous and rich El-Mudad ibn Farid ibn Abdel Ati, is growing closer. Even sharing guardianship of Neil’s granddaughter with his ex is going smoothly.
But a trip to Sophie’s hometown leads to a heartbreaking discovery, and she’s forced to confront a family she never knew. When they ask her for a life-changing favor, she must choose between helping them and healing herself—unless she can find a way to do both.
While she navigates the unrelenting emotional pressure, long-simmering tensions come to a head in her professional life with dramatic consequences. Reconciling what her heart wants with fears for the future, Sophie must learn to let go of the past and embrace possibilities she never knew were options…
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I will not throw up on this woman. I will not throw up on this woman.
The studio lights were way brighter than I remembered from last time I was on the Wake Up! America set. I’d been auditioning for a job at the time, but somehow, I was more nervous today than back then. A very blonde woman of indiscernible age sat across from me on the bright orange curved sofa. I followed the line of her gaze to the teleprompter and accidentally caught sight of myself on the monitor.
The shade of blue they put me in flattered my suddenly green complexion, and my long, dark hair seemed too meticulously curled. Like, approaching uncanny valley perfection.
“And we’re live in five, four, three…”
“Welcome back, America,” the anchor said. “It’s eight forty-six here on a beautiful sunny morning in New York. I’m Amanda Tanner. If you’re just joining us, we’re about twenty minutes from Ariana Grande rocking the block as part of our Rock The Block summer concert series. But right now, we’re talking to Sophie Scaife, founder and co-editor-in-chief of Mode magazine, as well as author of the new memoir, Does She Have to Call Me Grandma?, which is out tomorrow. Sophie, It’s a pleasure having you with us this morning.”
“You, too.” You, too? You, too! Why did you say that, Sophie? Why? You’re going to have to go into hiding after this.
“You have quite a unique story, here. You’re twenty-eight years old. Never thought you’d have children. And now, you find yourself a grandmother. How did that happen?”
I laughed nervously and tried to remember what the answer was supposed to be. I’d rehearsed all of this with a production assistant in my dressing room. “Well, my husband is older than I am, and he has a daughter who’s my age. Olivia is her daughter.”
“But you’re not a grandmother?” Amanda teased, in that friendly, but not overly familiar way that interviewers generally had.
“No, Olivia doesn’t call me grandma. She calls me Sophie.” And sometimes, mama, which really creeped me out, so I tried hard to curb that.
“Now, your stepdaughter and her husband tragically passed away over a year ago, and you talk about that in the book. Can you tell us a little about what happened?”
A little? I could tell anyone hours of information about Emma and Michael. About their love story, about their desire for children and their struggle that seemed hopeless. About how cruel life was to give them the thing they wanted most, then snatched them away from it.
But I was getting better about not doing that. “Emma and Michael died after a car accident when Olivia was seven months old, and my husband and I are her guardians now.”
“Your husband is Neil Elwood, correct?” Amanda asked, and when I answered in the affirmative, she followed-up, “So, here you are, running a brand-new online magazine, you have a very successful husband, and suddenly, you’re mothering this child—”
“I wouldn’t say I was mothering.” It might break protocol to interrupt an interviewer, but I didn’t care. If there was one thing I always wanted to keep clear, it was that. “I’ll never be able to replace Emma.”
“Of course not,” Amanda said, taking control once more. “But you talk in the book about making that transition from, as you described it, ‘Long Island trophy wife who identified as child-free’ to a more parental role. And it hasn’t been all that easy, has it?”
“Well, obviously losing Emma and Michael was very hard for us as a family. And Neil and I never planned to have children. We still don’t. But I don’t see this as taking on a maternal role or being a stand-in for Olivia’s mother in any way. I see it as doing something out of love for Emma and Michael. Olivia is a part of our family. The way I was raised, you take care of your family.” I’d written something similar in my book, and I’d meant it with all my heart. “There’s no way we could refuse to care for a child we love, regardless of what our plans were.”
“What’s that old saying, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans?” Amanda joked mildly. I nodded and laughed in agreement, but inwardly, I cringed at hearing one of the most difficult times in my life reduced to a trite coffee mug quote.
That was the last hard question. The rest of the interview coasted by so easily, I was startled when Amanda thanked me again for being on the show and directed viewers to buy the book.
Before I had time to barf on her, it was all over.
I shook her hand and thanked her, and a woman in a headset put her arm protectively around my back without touching me to herd me away from the set.