Travis Bravo was sick of his meddling mother and her matchmaking ways. So what better way to stop her than to bring a fiancée home for the holidays? One catch--he wasn't even dating anyone. But that was where his rough-and-tumble oil-rig friend, Samantha Jaworski, came in.
An unpolished tomboy, Sam was game for anything for a good friend. But after her girlfriend-ready makeover, she fell easily into the role of Travis's loving partner--and into his arms. Would she be standing under his mistletoe...for keeps?
"Honey, are you seeing anyone special?" Travis Bravo's mother asked.
Travis stifled a groan. He should have put off calling her back.
But he'd already done that. Twice. In a row. Aleta Bravo was a patient and understanding mom, and she got that he wasn't real big on keeping in touch. But she did have limits. After the third unreturned call, she would have started to worry. He loved his mom and he didn't want her worrying.
Besides, when Aleta Bravo started to worry, she might get his dad involved. And if his dad got involved, steps would be taken. The two of them might end up boarding a helicopter and tracking him down in the middle of the Gulf.
No joke. It could happen. His parents had money and they had connections and when they tracked you down, you got found.
So now and then, he had no choice but to call his mom back, both to keep her from worrying and to keep from getting rescued whether he needed it or not.
She was still talking, all cheerful and loving--and way too determined. "I only ask because I have several terrific women I want you to meet this time. Do you, by any chance, happen to remember my dear friend Billie Toutsell?"
He did, vaguely. Not that it mattered if he knew the woman or not. He knew what she had. Daughters.
At least one, probably two or three.
His mom continued, "Billie and I go way back. And I've met both of her girls. Brilliant, well brought up, beautiful women. Cybil and LouJo. It so happens both girls will be in town for Thanksgiving week..." In town meant in San Antonio, where his mom and dad and brothers and sisters still lived. "And I've been thinking it would be nice to invite both of them out to the ranch over the holiday weekend, maybe Friday or Saturday. What do you think?" Before he could tell her--again--that he didn't want to be set up with any of her friends' daughters, she went right on. "Maybe Billie and her girls would even like to come for Thanksgiving dinner and our reaffirmation of vows."
After forty years of marriage, his parents were reaffirming their wedding vows, which was great. They'd had some troubles in the past few years, even separated for a while. He supposed it made sense that they would want to celebrate making it through a tough time, coming out on the other side still married and happy to be together.
But did his mother have to invite him and every available single woman in south Texas to the big event?
What made him so damn special? His mother had six other sons and two daughters and they'd all been allowed to find their own wives and husbands. In fact, as of now, he was the only one who had yet to settle down. That, somehow, seemed to have triggered a burning need in her to help him find the woman for him.
Hadn't she done enough? She'd already introduced him to both of his former fiancées. Rachel, whom he'd loved with all his heart, had been killed eight years ago, run down by a drunk driver while crossing the street. He'd thought he would never get over losing her.
But then, three years later, he'd met Wanda at a family party, over the Christmas holidays. His mother and Wanda's mother were friends. He shouldn't have gotten involved with Wanda. But he had. And it had not ended well.
Evidently his mom thought the third time would be the charm. "Oh, Travis. I'm so glad you'll be there."
"Wouldn't miss it," he muttered. "But, Mom, listen. I really don't need any help finding a girlfriend."
"Well, of course you don't, but opportunity is everything. And you're always off on some oil rig...