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Christmas in Honey Grove

Christmas in Honey Grove

A Braxton Brothers Romance, Book 5

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It's Christmas time and I'm back home and bracing myself for my mother. She's married off my other four brothers, and I'm her last victim. I thought I was prepared by bringing a date, but things go downhill fast. 

Enter Dean. We'd grown up together but now? Now, everything feels different.

MAIN TROPES

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Brother's Best Friend
  • Christmas
  • Terrible at Love
  • Protective Hero
  • Family

Synopsis

Jenna is home for Christmas and she's just trying to survive her mom's insistence that she get married, and her feelings for Dean that haven't really disappeared. Showing up with her new fling seems like the best way of avoiding both of them.

Dean can't seem to move on past Jenna. Even though all the people he knows and loves want to see him married, he can't help but hope that he and Jenna made a mistake. That perhaps, she feels the same way. 

He didn't expect her to show up with a guy on her arm. 

Both Jenna and Dean are determined to move on from the kiss that haunts them both. If they tried harder, maybe their hearts wouldn't hurt like they do. 

Christmas time is a magical time, but does it hold enough power to mend their broken hearts?

Chapter One Look Inside

Jenna

“You’ve got to get moving or you’re gonna miss your flight,” Sasha said as she burst into Jenna’s room and flung herself onto the already crowded bed. 

Jenna had to act fast and pull her suitcase to the side to save Sasha from falling on top of it. She shot her best friend an annoyed look as she balanced the suitcase on the edge of the bed and finished shoving her underwear and shirts into it. 

“I’ll be fine. It’s only a twenty-minute drive to the airport. And with Trent’s benefits we get to bypass the TSA nonsense and walk straight into the terminal.” Jenna stared at the red dress she’d bought last week. 

She had originally thought it would be a good idea to wear it for her mom’s traditional Christmas dinner. But now it felt like a desperate attempt to prove to her family and—even though she wouldn’t admit it—to Dean that she was just fine. Somehow, showing up in a tight, low cut dress would mean her life wasn’t the complete disaster it felt like. 

Jenna blew out her breath as she reached across to grab the hanger she’d tossed to the side just moments ago. She was a fool to think that her family wouldn’t see through her attempt. Jenna was the butt of all their relationship jokes. It didn’t help that she was the only Braxton girl and that her four older brothers had just happened to find the perfect girls for themselves. 

Now, instead of hiding behind their relationship failures, she was going to be the sole focus of her mother, Sondra. If she wasn’t asking Jenna about her reproductive clock, she would be setting Jenna up with every single guy in Honey Grove. 

Which was why showing up single in her hometown wasn’t an option. 

Enter Trent. Sure, they’d only been on a few dates, but she’d managed to convince him to come home with her for the holidays. Lucky for her, Trent was an easygoing guy. When she asked, he’d just laughed and said that it sounded like an adventure. 

“You’re packing that,” Sasha said as she moved to sit up on the bed. Her eyes focused on the red dress, and a devious smile spread across her lips. 

Jenna shook her head as she slipped the dress onto the hanger. “I can’t. I can only imagine what my brothers would say if they saw me in this.” Jenna paused to raise her eyebrows at Sasha. “I’ll be the laughingstock of the family.”

Sasha swung her legs off Jenna’s bed and marched over to her. She grabbed the dress from Jenna, who protested but failed to get the dress back. 

“You have to wear this. Dean is going to freak when he sees you in it.”

And there it was. The one thing Jenna had asked her best friend not to do. Mentioning Jenna’s stupid crush—and her even stupider kiss—was not cool. 

That was her past, and she didn’t want to think about it. 

“Don’t,” Jenna said as she lunged forward to grab the dress away from Sasha. 

“You’ll regret it if you don’t bring it with you. After all, you’ll want to strut your stuff in front of Dean.” Sasha wiggled her eyebrows as a ridiculous smile spread across her lips. 

Heat permeated Jenna’s cheeks as she glared at her best friend. “I should have never told you about that,” she said as she made another attempt to get the dress away from her. 

Sasha laughed as she dodged. “Come on, girl. I’ve never seen you react that way to a guy before. You came back with stars in your eyes.” Sasha held the dress in the crook of her arm so she could thread her fingers together and bring her hands up to her cheek. She blinked a few times like an anime character. 

Jenna growled and glared at Sasha. “You better watch it. I might never come back with treatment like this.” She marched over to her suitcase and zipped it shut with a resolute sound. 

Sasha gasped, but Jenna chose to ignore her. Just as she set her suitcase upright on the carpet, the doorbell rang. Jenna cast one last stern look in her friend’s direction and then walked out into the hallway. She already knew who was on the other side of the door. Trent. 

He was her semi-boyfriend and her attempt to forget Dean and everything that had happened when she went back to Honey Grove for her brother Jonathan’s wedding. 

Her kiss with Dean was a stupid result of stupid feelings. She shouldn’t have ever allowed herself to get involved with him. He was practically a Braxton himself. He’d been raised in their house, and had ended his senior year as their foster kid. He was definitely not someone she should entertain feelings for. 

Especially not with her track record of relationships. 

Jenna pushed out her thoughts of Dean and opened the door. Trent was wearing a black knit jacket with a red checkered scarf. His hands were shoved into his jacket pockets, and when his dark brown eyes landed on Jenna, he smiled. 

His perfectly white and straight teeth shone back at her. “Hey, beautiful,” he said as he stepped up and brushed his lips against Jenna’s cheek. 

Jenna reached up and pulled him into a hug. Then she waved him in. “Come on, I’m almost done. Then we can get out of here.”

Sasha came over with Jenna’s suitcase in hand. “Here you go,” she said setting it down next to them. Sasha then folded her arms as she leaned one shoulder against the wall and stared at them with a strange smile on her lips. 

Desperate to leave before Sasha said something embarrassing, Jenna grabbed her jacket from the nearby closet and slipped on her boots. Then she shouldered her purse and leaned forward to wrap an arm around Sasha, pulling her close. 

Sure, Sasha might love to make her feel uncomfortable, but Jenna loved her friend and was going to miss her. “Have a great Christmas,” Jenna said as she pulled back. 

Sasha grinned. “Will do.” Then she glanced over at Trent. “Take care of her,” she said as she narrowed her eyes and pointed a finger at him. 

Trent’s smile faltered as if he wasn’t sure what to say. He let out an uncomfortable laugh and reached for Jenna. He tugged Jenna’s arm gently. “Will do,” he said, reaching down to grab the suitcase. “Are you ready?”

Jenna nodded. She buttoned up her peacoat and glanced at Sasha. “I’ll see you after the new year.”

Sasha saluted her and followed as Jenna and Trent walked out into the hallway. She waved one final time and then shut the door, leaving Jenna alone with Trent.

Realizing that she was officially on her way back to Honey Grove, Jenna’s stomach sank. She’d spent all of her time since she got back trying to forget Dean and what had happened. Now, she was headed back to the belly of the beast. 

“You okay?” Trent asked as he glanced over at her. He was carrying her suitcase as they made their way to the elevator. 

Jenna laughed, but it came out strained and nervous. Embarrassment crept up inside of her as she forced down her worries and smiled. “Just headed home, you know?”

Trent reached out and pressed the down button. “Eh, it can’t be that bad. It’s just your family, right?”

Jenna snorted. “With my mother and brothers, it’s not just family.” The elevator doors opened, and they both stepped in, turning to face the doors as they closed. 

“Should I be nervous?” Trent asked with a mischievous glint to his eyes. 

Jenna studied him. She contemplated telling him yes, he should be nervous. But she didn’t want him to change his mind, so she just shrugged. “As long as you’re prepared for anything, you should be fine.”

The elevator came to a stop, and Jenna and Trent stepped off. They crossed the foyer of her apartment building and out the sliding doors. The cold Seattle air slammed into them, causing Jenna to raise her shoulders and burrow into the protection of her jacket collar. 

Trent led the way over to the black BMW that was parked next to the sidewalk. He opened the side door and held it as Jenna slipped onto the seat, then he threw her suitcase in the trunk. Trent slipped onto the seat next to her and told the driver they were ready. 

They pulled into traffic and were on their way to the airport. Trent pulled her hand over to his lap and entwined her fingers with his. 

Jenna tried to allow herself to get lost in the feeling of Trent holding her hand. And in any other circumstance, butterflies would have been assaulting her stomach. But, instead, dread filled every corner of her mind. 

Dread that she was headed back home. Back to her mother who wanted nothing more than to get all her kids married off as soon as possible. Back to a place where everyone else had someone that they loved and cared about. They were in long-term relationships—opposed to her two-week one. 

She was headed back to the place where she’d lost herself over the summer. Where she’d allowed herself to feel something for Dean that she’d kept at bay for a very long time. That she’d convinced herself she couldn’t feel. 

Jenna and long-term relationships didn’t mix. She couldn’t hold onto anyone—just ask her very long list of ex-boyfriends. 

The last thing she needed was to attempt a relationship with Dean just to break it off weeks later. Where would that put her family? She would never want her family to have to choose between them—and not just because they might choose Dean over her. 

She needed to focus on Trent and the fun they were having together. She needed to forget Dean and move on, just like she was hoping he’d done with her. It was foolish of her to entertain thoughts of something more. 

And even though it felt impossible to forget Dean, she was going to work hard to keep her goal at the front of her mind. 

The car pulled up to the passenger drop-off zone at the airport, snapping Jenna from her thoughts. Trent shot her a smile as he pulled on the door handle. 

Jenna stepped out—narrowly avoiding a speeding cab that whizzed by. Her heart pounded in her chest as she glared after the driver. Trent yelled at the cab as he walked around and rested his hand on her shoulder. “You okay?” he asked. 

Jenna nodded. “Yeah. I’m just ready to get this vacation over with.”

Trent chuckled as he led her over to the trunk and pulled out both of their suitcases. “Well, as a pilot, I do have flight benefits. You say the word, and we can be in Fiji for a tropical Christmas.”

Jenna curled her fingers around the handle of her suitcase as she followed Trent. “Oh, my mom would freak if I left.”

Trent glanced down at her. “It’s that intense, huh?”

Jenna scoffed as they walked into the airport. She waited for Trent to take the lead. He was studying the signs above them and then nodded to the left. 

Confident that Trent knew where he was going, Jenna quickened her pace to catch up to him. 

“Just wait until you meet my mother. She seems sweet, but she’s ruthless. And she’s a professional meddler.”

Trent chuckled as he stepped up to the TSA agent who was checking tickets. Jenna pulled up her ticket on her phone and handed it over with her ID. The agent took them, and Jenna turned her attention to Trent. 

“And my brothers…” She allowed her words to linger in the air as she sucked in her breath. 

“I have brothers,” Trent said. He nodded at the agent, who had given back his ID and phone. 

Jenna retrieved hers as well and headed toward the conveyor belt. She started to unpack her electronics and liquids. “Not like mine,” she said, raising her eyebrows at Trent. 

Trent was slipping his belt off and laid it in the bin next to her shoes. “Are you trying to scare me off?” He shook off his coat and folded it. 

Jenna snorted. “I’m not trying to scare you off, per se. Just trying to prepare you. Preparation is key for surviving a Braxton family Christmas.” 

Trent nodded as he stepped up to the X-ray machine. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

The TSA agent waved him through, and before Jenna could follow after him, a family of six beat her to the machine. She stood there, watching Trent gather his things. He slipped on his shoes and was working on his belt when she sighed.

This was a mistake. A huge, gigantic, colossal mistake. She should be staying away from Honey Grove, not bringing an unsuspecting guy into the middle of her family drama. Add in her unknown—and, frankly, repressed—feelings for Dean, and this was going to be a Christmas from hell.

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The Braxton Brothers Series

Fall in love in the small town of Honey Grove where each member of the Braxton family returns and through some meddling of their mother, fall in love and find their happily ever afters.