Cade Greene (33)
Co-owner Truth or Dare Brewery
Fisher Greene (31)
Xavier Greene (29)
Pro Football Player
Adam Greene (27)
Chevelle Greene (26)
Water Boat Tourist
* * *
Jed Greene (33)
Co-owner of Truth or Dare Brewery
Nikki Greene (30)
Mandi Greene (28)
Owner of SunBay Inn
Posey Greene (24)
Owner of Fringe
Hank and Marla’s Kid
Rylan Greene (13)
“Hank, I need more string lights. This isn’t enough.” I stare up at the pergola and an entire strand that’s burned out.
Today’s the annual Greene summer bash. Every year, our family hosts a huge barbecue to celebrate the start of summer. We open the pool and enjoy a day with the family, full of laughter and fun.
“I hung two more strands last night,” Hank complains.
He’s tired from his endless string of jobs when the nice weather hits. People want new decks built, boathouses, pergolas. And my wonderful husband hates to turn people down, so he takes on way too much. Which is why we need this Greene summer bash! Plus it gives everyone a chance to see one another and reconnect as a family. All of our children are busy doing their own things.
Cade and Presley are planning a wedding, Lucy and Adam are still rekindling their love, and Nikki and Logan are preparing for the new baby. Then there’s Jed… he’s dealing with a complete upheaval to his life. A good one, but it’s a drastic change nonetheless. Not to mention, I’m running for mayor of Sunrise Bay, and I’m committed to enough projects myself.
“Please?” I ask sweetly. “You know the kids will stay longer this year, and I love when the lights are lit at dusk.”
He chuckles and gets off the couch. “Fine, but I expect payback.”
I saunter over to Hank and run my finger down the front of his flannel shirt. “I promise tonight I’ll wear that red nightie you like so much.”
His hands wrap around my body and he nuzzles his face into my neck, kissing me lightly. “You’re crazy. I’ll be too tired tonight. But rain check for tomorrow.”
I giggle when his teeth latch on to my earlobe. “Done.”
“I’ll be back.” He groans, obviously still not happy to string the lights, but willing because I asked.
He’s the best husband anyone could ask for.
As he heads out to the garage to see if we have any left, I go back to the kitchen and pull out the ingredients to make the caramel brownies the kids expect. I used to have so many mouths to feed every day but now that everyone’s moved out except Rylan, it can feel lonely. I love when the kids come over and I get to be mom to them.
The garage door opens, accompanied by the sound of a bag landing on the tile floor in the laundry room.
“It was fine. He worked on head goals!” Rylan screams, presumably at Hank. He must’ve been dropped off by one of his brothers or sisters.
My youngest son walks in wearing his soccer practice uniform, ignoring me and going right to the fridge.
“Hey, Ry guy, how was it?”
“Fine.” He grabs the leftover pizza from last night and sits at the breakfast island.
Rylan is different than all his brothers. While Jed always gave me way too much information on his friends and girlfriends, Rylan is tight-lipped. Cade was already almost out of the house by the time I married Hank, and Fisher and Xavier were right behind him. By the time they felt as though they could trust me, they were grown.
I did have some time with Adam over the years and he always wore his heart on his sleeve—always talking to me and asking for advice. It’s amazing how they’re all so different.
“Was Calista there?” I try to sound as though I couldn’t care less, but I peek up to see his facial expression.
Rylan’s cheeks tinge pink and I smile to myself. He and Calista, the girl from the town over, keep getting thrown together for practices by their coach because they’re the best in the area. But Rylan’s older siblings are always teasing him, so he never opens up about whatever he feels for her.
“Yeah,” he answers and bites into his pizza. “I’m gonna go shower.”
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