Today’s theme is family. When you’re first dating someone, that first “family dinner” can be a huge milestone. Even if you’ve known the family for years, arriving as the ‘date’ can make the friendliest family seem intimidating. Here’s a sneak peek into Dillon’s family in Texas Tangle. (This is an unedited excerpt–it may change between now and its release.)
On the way to the Barnett’s house, Nikki sat between them. When she reached for the radio, Dillon grabbed her hand and held flat against his thigh. “Stop worrying.”
“I was just going to turn it up.”
“You turned it down less than thirty seconds ago. You’ve been playing with it all the way here.” He shared a glance with Brett. “Do you want me to turn around? Call Mom and tell her we’re not coming?”
“Why did you say it like that?”
“You said you could as if it was a question. What are you implying, Dillon?”
“I cancelled out last week too, remember? Mom said if I cancelled out this week, she’d round everyone up and bring everyone to my place.”
“She would, too,” Brett agreed.
“Then she’d make us do the dishes afterward.” Dillon frowned and turned onto the county road leading to his parents’ place. “And there are a lot of dishes to do on Sundays. Like quadruple the amount we normally have.”
“Dillon, doing dishes is not a chore when you’ve got a dishwasher.” They both looked outraged at her statement. It wasn’t until she settled back thinking she’d won her argument that she realized Dillon was pulling into his parents’ driveway. Shoot. They’d tagteamed her into not watching where they were. Now it was too late to back out.
Dillon parked his truck beside a beat up old Chevy. “Hey, Griff’s home.”
He hopped out of the truck and swung Nikki down. She noticed that Brett kept a decent distance away from them. While she knew it was necessary to maintain the illusion, she wanted to hold his hand at the same time.
The front door swung open and Mrs. Barnett swooped onto the porch with a smug look on her face. She hugged Dillon first, then Brett and turned to Nikki. “I’m so glad you could come. With Griff working up north and Ethan at college, it’s the first time the whole family’s been together in ages.”
She led them into the house, talking over her shoulder as she went. “When Dillon phoned, I thought he was going to try to cancel again. But I told him, that if he did, I’d just pack everything up and bring everyone over to his place.”
As they passed the living room with its faded couch and upright piano, Brett leaned over and whispered, “You didn’t believe us, did you?”
She shook her head as they entered the dining room. While she already knew Dillon’s family, Mrs. Barnett—Faith as she insisted she be called once again—introduced her to his brothers, second eldest son, Griffin, and their youngest brother Matt bobbed their heads, both grinning a smile identical to Dillon’s, though they had their mother’s hazel eyes. Middle brother Ethan and Dillon’s sister, Lilly, sat on the opposite side of the table. Both had Dillon’s brown eyes, but their mother’s smile. His father, with deep chocolate eyes just like his son, nodded to her from the far end of the table.
“Gramma B, you know Nicole Kimball, don’t you?” Mrs. Barnett placed her hands on the shoulders of Dillon’s grandmother.
Another pair of chocolate brown eyes scanned her. With a curt nod of her head, Gramma apparently gave her stamp of approval. “She’ll do. Now where’s dinner? I’m hungry.”
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