“You’re going to come here every Thanksgiving until you start a family of your own,” Rhonda vowed.
“You could be stuck with me for a lot of years.” When she’d moved here with her brand-new accounting degree, she’d been sure she’d find romance. In her home town, she’d been the shy, boring girl who wore glasses, and none of the boys had been interested. She’d figured contact lenses and the big city were the answer, but the truth was, she was still shy and boring. Every time she went out on a date, she got so nervous she couldn’t think of a single interesting thing to say.
“I’d never call it being stuck.” Rhonda gave her a quick hug. “Besides, you’ve got so much going for you, you’re going to find a great guy any day now.”
“Yeah, sure. What on earth do I have going for me?” She wasn’t begging for compliments, she honestly wanted to know.
“Aside from gorgeous hazel eyes, a figure to die for, more brains in your little finger than most people have in their whole heads, and a really generous soul? Well, there’s your offbeat sense of humor, your loyalty, the way you love kids and animals, the terrific photographs you take.” Rhonda broke off and grabbed a wooden spoon from a drawer. “I could go on forever but I need to make gravy. Kari, the fact is, you’re a sweet, beautiful, interesting woman, if you’d only let yourself realize it. Your only flaw is, you never let me fix you up.”
“Thanks but no thanks. You know I hate blind dates. Anyhow, I’m pretty sure all the great guys are gone. You took the last one yourself.”
“There’s an idea. Let’s clone Harry.”
The two of them were still laughing when Harry strolled into the kitchen. He cocked an eyebrow. “Been nipping at the cooking brandy?”
Kari smiled at him. She’d liked her friend’s husband from the moment Rhonda had introduced them. It didn’t hurt that he looked like a grown-up version of her own kid brother Ken. He had her family’s hazel eyes, blondy-brown hair and rangy build.
From what she could see, Rhonda and Harry were a perfectly matched couple. They were so obviously in love and they seemed to agree about everything, and never quarrel.
Rhonda swatted her husband with a dish towel. “We don’t need booze to have fun.”
“Speaking of fun, how long until dinner?”
“Another half hour. Are people starving?”
“The appetizers are running low. Nick didn’t have lunch, so –”
“Nick?” Rhonda asked.
“Yeah, you know. The guy I met at the gym? The one who’s new in town and doesn’t know anyone.”
“What?” Kari yelped, and glared at Rhonda. “I can’t believe it. You set me up with a blind date.”
“Did not!” Rhonda declared heatedly, then glared in turn at Harry. “You never told me you invited someone.”
“Oh.” His face fell. “I guess I forgot. It’s been a busy week.” Then his jaw firmed. “Well, what’s the big deal? Since when can’t I invite a friend for Thanksgiving? There’s lots of food, right? And you invited Kari, so it’s not like it’s just family.”
Rhonda fist her hands and rested them at her waist. “You should have checked with me first. Kati hates blind dates and I don’t want her thinking I was trying to fix her up.”
The two people who Kari’d thought never quarreled were shooting nasty looks at each other. Quickly Kari said, “It’s okay. Don’t fight over it.”
“There, you see,” Harry said. “She’s fine with it.”
Rhonda sighed. “No, she’s not, she’s just being polite.” She turned to Kari. “Tell you what. We’ll seat you at opposite ends of the table at dinner, and you won’t even have to talk to him.”
“It’s a deal.” Relieved that the tension was dying down, she joked, “I’ll do anything, even help you deal with the mothers-in-law, just please, no blind dates!”