Well it’s Sunday and I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! In the spirit of the traditional holiday family barbecue, I’m sharing an extended scene from A Heart Not Easily Broken. This scene is from Brian’s point of view as he takes Ebony to meet his family for the first time. Ebony is nervous because she is unsure how they will except the fact he’s dating a black woman. But as things go, someone in the family always have a funny story to tell!
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“So this is where the party’s at.”
My family turned, startled at my voice. My mother got out of her seat.
“Brian!” She came over to hug me and kissed my cheek.
A chorus of ‘hellos’ came in response as all eyes left me to focus on my date.
“Hey, everybody, I’d like for you to meet Ebony Campbell. Ebony, this is my mother, Laura, and my father, Winfred.”
My mother shook her hand. Dad stayed at the grill, but smiled warmly and waved a pair of tongs.
“I made a cake,” Ebony said, holding it out to my mother.
“Oh, thank you. I’ll just put it in the kitchen.” Mom took the plate inside.
“This is my sister, Lisa, Cody and Hannah’s mother. And this crazy girl is Bridget.”
Both came to shake her hand. Ebony’s voice remained warm despite the fact she squeezed the heck out of my hand.
Lisa sat back down, but Bridget remained next to me, a wicked gleam in her eyes.
“Where is everybody? I see cars out front. Where are the bodies?”
“Andrea and Caroline went to the store to grab a few things. Tim and Randall are working so they’ll be late,” Bridget informed me while studying Ebony.
“Andrea and Caroline are my other sisters. Tim and Randall are their husbands,” I said, turning to Ebony to fill her in.
“Jackson is on the way with Josh and Sara. They went to pick up some fireworks. Aunt Gina and her boys should be here soon.”
I groaned. “Tell me Dad isn’t going to be in charge of lighting them again this year.”
“After last year’s fiasco? Hell no.” Bridget leaned around me and spoke to Ebony directly. “Last year, dad burned down the gazebo. He shot off a rocket that went sideways instead of up in the air, and poof,” she demonstrated with her hands, “instant fire.”
“Oh, no.” Ebony covered her mouth to conceal her laughter.
“Fortunately, Tim and Randall are both fire-fighters. They got it quickly under control.” I pointed to the gazebo’s remains. “He’s supposed to rebuild it, but Mom refuses to let him start until after tonight’s fireworks.”
Bridget’s contagious laughter kept Ebony from being able to continue to contain her own.
“Hey, are you kids talking about me over there?” my father bellowed.
“No,” Bridget and I said in unison.
“I might be getting older, but I’m not deaf. Brian, bring your lady friend over here.”
I winked at Ebony as we walked over to the stainless-steel giant we’d chipped in to buy him on Father’s Day. The savory smell of hot dogs, steak, and chicken permeated the air.
“Dinner looks great, Dad.”
“Me and this grill are a match made in heaven.” He took a moment to flip a row of steaks. “The kitchen is for the women. But this…” He pointed with pride to the grill. “This is man’s work. It’s like the caveman days of cooking over a pit fire.”
“Winfred, cavemen didn’t know how to make fire,” Mom said.
“Look, woman, go grab me a beer,” Dad said. He glanced at Ebony. “So, you’re dating my son, huh?”
My heart dropped to my knees. I should have seen this coming. My dad had no problem getting to the point. We hadn’t been here for more than ten minutes and he’d already jumped to the wrong conclusion. Even though the sexual attraction was there, the only thing we’d done was kiss. I wanted more, damn, I really wanted more. But I didn’t want to push and risk the chance she’d decide we were doing too much. Bringing her to meet my family was more than I thought would ever happen. The last thing I needed my father to do was
“Yes, sir, I am his girlfriend.” She squeezed my hand.
Holy. Shit. My heart started beating again. I studied Ebony to make sure I heard her correctly. Her smile said it all.
“How did you guys meet?” Mom reappeared with a beer.
“She picked me up at the bar,” I joked.
“Brian!” Ebony poked me in the ribs with her elbow.
Bridget laughed. “And he’s the only thing you could find? Girl, I have to take you out sometime and show you where to find a real man.”
“Ignore her, she’s got a few screws loose,” I warned.
Ebony giggled. “I like her.”
Annoyed, I decided to mess with my sister. “So, Bridget, what happened to the last guy you dated? What was his name, Raul? Wasn’t he like twelve years younger than you?”
Bridget’s eyes shot over to our mother who eyed her questioningly. “His name was Francisco, and he was not twelve years younger.” She held her head high. “He was five years younger. I broke up with him a few months ago because we couldn’t agree on the terms of our relationship.”
“Which were?” I pushed.
Her eyes narrowed. “He wanted to get married. I’m too young for that.”
“Bridget, you’re nearly thirty-two years old. It’s time to settle down,” Mom supplied.
“You can say that again,” Lisa muttered, joining in the conversation.
Lisa was my second oldest sister. Ever since we arrived, she’d been watching Ebony. For her to finally speak meant she must have formulated an opinion.
“Ebony, where are you from? You don’t have a California accent.”
“Charlotte, North Carolina,” she replied.
“Wow, you’re a long way from home. How did you end up here?”
The moment Ebony dreaded had arrived. I decided to give her some space, confident she could handle my sisters. I kissed her hand and continued to stand next to my father while she followed them to sit in the patio chairs. I stood in silence, listening to the flow of questions and answers between them. Lisa was obviously filling in for our older sister, Andrea, and would give her and Caroline a detailed report in private once they returned.
Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.
When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.
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