We’ve arrived at the last Wednesday in November and today’s #1lineWed theme is **TRUST**. In searching for a snippet to share, I’ve discovered that “Trust me” is a phrase I use often in this book. Yeah…that’ll be fixed in revisions. 😆 So, in this installment of the current Red Dirt Royalty WIP, we again meet Katherine Tate, mother of the Tate Boys. She has “home field advantage,” so it’s up to Zoe to stand her ground.
“You’re staying the night.” Mrs. Tate said the words to Tucker, but she was staring at Zoe. “I have your room ready, Tucker.”
Tucker leaned down only a little bit to kiss his mother on the cheek. “Thanks, Mom. What’s for lunch?”
“Fried chicken and all the fixings.” Mrs. Tate fixed Zoe with another long look. A thought hit her. What would happen if Kathrine Tate tangled with Etta Smithee? A scene of the two women wrestling in a WWE ring popped into her head and Zoe burst out laughing.
“Zoe can stay too.”
Yippee, Zoe thought, a touch apprehensive.
“But she sleeps in the guest room.”
Well, that was a no-brainer. Zoe shifted Nash to her other hip, prepared to follow Tuck. His mother cleared her throat.
Who was she to argue, except she was tempted as soon as she saw the determined look on Mrs. Tate’s face. The woman shooed her sons out of the kitchen like they were chickens. Not one lingered. Yup, she definitely needed to stop with the barnyard comparisons.
“Sit, girl,” Mrs. Tate ordered.
Zoe hitched her hip on a tall stool at the kitchen island. What was she, a dog? And still with the critter comparisons. “I’ll be happy to help cook, ma’am.”
“You can help by telling me what’s going on between you and my son.”
She gulped. That was a good question—one she’d like the answer to herself. “Not quite sure what you mean, Miz Tate.”
“Call me Katherine. And don’t play dumb, Zoe. You aren’t. Dumb, that is. You might not have the formal education but you’re smart and you have a great deal of experience and common sense. You’ve slept together, and don’t think for a minute that he won’t try to sneak into your room tonight.”
Zoe blushed and fussed with Nash’s clothing for a moment to regain her equilibrium. Before she could reply, Katherine kept right on.
“My sons are grown men, Zoe, and none of them are saints. Their father and I prepared them for the real world as best we could and raised them to be responsible, caring men. Now that Deacon has settled down—given he was the wildest in the bunch—I have hopes for the rest of them. I want to know about you.”
Her gaze collided with Katherine’s stare. Shoulders square, chin jutting, Zoe faced down the older woman. “Since your daughter-in-law ran a background check on me, I figure you pretty much know everything there is to know.”
“My son Bridger ran the check long before Quin even thought of it.” She poured a glass of sweet tea and slid it over the countertop to Zoe. “Don’t get your panties in a twist. That’s the way this family works. Always has. We like to know who we’re dealing with. You notice that you are still part of Tucker’s life, yes?”
Zoe closed her mouth with a snap. Her face screwed up and her eyes seemed to dart from side to side all on their own. She focused on the glass of tea. “What’s that mean?”
“It means that I trust my sons. And it means that Tucker cares about you. There is no way he’d be caught dead driving a Tennessee orange Winnebago with the UT emblem plastered on the back otherwise. That boy’s a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and his blood runs crimson and cream.”
A snicker escaped and she took a drink to help disguise her amusement. “Yeah. He had to toot the horn a time or two. I thought he was gonna go apoplectic or something.”
“Then it really does play ‘Rocky Top’?”
“Yes, ma’am it surely does.”