Excerpt – If I Say No by Brandy Jellum

Book Excerpt

“Reid…” Marco walks in looking like he’s spent the last couple of days rummaging through garbage. From the foul smell wafting off him, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly where he’s been me. “I’ve found him. I’ve found Rhe— ”

“What is that smell?” I cut him off as quickly as possible. He hasn’t noticed my mother in the kitchen.

“Found who?” My mother chimes in. We all turn our attention to her who is studying us with a watchful eye. “Please don’t stop on my account.”

“Ellen!” Marco says with false charm. “I didn’t know we were expecting you…here. Tonight.”

“Why wouldn’t I be here?” she says, grinning. “Apparently, my son is getting married in two weeks. A better question would be what are you doing here?” Her nose wrinkles. “Like that?”

She walks around the bar and toward him. Marco is a big man who can kill without a moment’s hesitation, but this little lady makes him cower like a scared puppy. I watch in silent amusement as he takes a few steps back. His eyes plead with me, but he’s on his own here. I’m already on my mother’s bad side and I’m not going to do anything to dig myself into a deeper hole.

“I’m…I’m…” He shrugs and shrinks a little. “I’m here for the wedding. Just like you are.”

“That’s a load of crap if I ever heard one.” She raises her hand and swats his arm. “I know you’re only around when there is trouble brewing in my son’s life. So tell me what’s going on, or so help me God I’ll beat you to the floor and make you tell me. Don’t think for a second I’m afraid of all this macho muscle garbage you have going on.”

Marco looks over at me again, and I hold back the laughter threatening to escape. This man has seen enough terror to last him a lifetime. He’s been in countless battles—in the military and in his own personal life. He’s built like a monster truck. He has no fears. He can handle anything.

My mother has just crushed him with nothing but her attitude.

“Yes, ma’am,” he says quietly.

“And don’t think I don’t know that you’re laughing back there, Reid Emerson Harder,” she calls out without turning around. “You’re in as much trouble as he is.”

Marco steps closer to me, putting distance between himself and my mother.

“Now,” she says, and she holds up a lethal-looking spatula. “Which of you children wants to tell me what‘s really going on here?”

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