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Mixed Up

By:Emma Hart

Mixed Up
        Author: Emma Hart



Life would be so much better if it were acceptable to drink something stronger than a mimosa for breakfast.


That was the only thing that stood any kind of chance at getting me through having a family reunion   at the start of summer. There was absolutely nothing good that could come from my crazy, Greek family descending on Whiskey Key in five days' time.

Because why would they go to where my parents actually lived on Key West? No, no. Let's go to Raven, they said. Let's take over her corner of the Florida Keys, because it it wouldn't be wild enough at the start of summer. It didn't seem to matter to anyone in my family that I was going to be slammed and that closing my cocktail bar for their freaking party wasn't going to happen.

There was no way I was going to be the host for the clusterfuck that would be that reunion  . Nothing good happened when the Archers and the Karras' came together.


Last time, my uncle on my father's side had his moustache burned off by a firework. Marginally funny for us-not so much for his face. Or the two years he'd spent growing it until he'd gotten it right.

Two years before that, my great-aunt on my mother's side-the wacky Greek side-got arrested. Apparently, carrying baby powder in clear, plastic baggies was grounds for arrest.

In the Whiskey Key PD's defense, they didn't know it was baby powder.

It was easy to see why hosting the family reunion   wasn't at the top of my priority list. It was sure to be nothing short of an absolute shitshow, and I had enough of that crap on my hands trying to find a chef for the bar.

The more I thought about it, the more I was coming to realize it was a bad fucking idea. I didn't have much of a choice, though. The kitchen was bought, paid for, and installed. There was no way I was going to lose a few thousand bucks just because the best person I'd interviewed so far was responsible for the burger on the cafe sign downtown.

I called bullshit on that, but I couldn't prove it, so I couldn't do anything except not hire the dude.

Unfortunately for me, chefs were slim pickings in Whiskey Key. It was stupid because we were a tourist hotspot, even if most people did pass through on their way to Key West. We were still enough of a draw to be the final destination for some, and given the success of my bar, Dirty, I didn't think finding anyone to put food out would be hard.

How naive I was. Poor, naive, little Raven.

No. Let me rephrase: I didn't think finding anyone good enough to put food out would be hard.

It was the curse of having a brother for a chef-who was refusing to help me.

"Come on, Ryan," I begged, leaning over the bar and pressing my hands together in a prayer stance. "I'm actually begging you. Help me out, please?" 

"I can't, Ray. I told you, I already have a job for the summer." He grimaced, his dark-blue eyes shining with guilt. "I can't back out of it just because you asked me to."

"But it would be so fun." I slumped right forward. A thud rang out through the quiet room as my hands hit the solid wood top of the bar. "I would give you so much credit. It would be so cute. Brother and sister running a bar and restaurant together. Come on. Please?"

He held his hands up. The air filled with the cringing sound of wood scraping as he scooted his stool back away from me. "If I could, I would, but I already agreed to help out at Porto's."

"Ugh! That's where you're working? You know they're all assholes, right?"

"Just because Callum dumped you when you were fifteen doesn't make the whole family assholes."

"Sure, it does. Assholes by default." I sniffed and grabbed the cloth I was cleaning the bar down with before he showed up. "You're a traitor."

My brother rolled his eyes. "How do you run a business with those dramatics?"

"Not with the support of my brother, that's for sure."

"Oh, come on. I'll help you, I told you that, but I can't work for you. Not to mention that telling people my baby sister is my boss is fucking ridiculous." He scratched the side of his head. "Let me see your menu."

With a sigh, I reached beneath the counter and handed him the notebook I'd been scribbling on. "Camille and Lani helped me," I said, referring to my best friends.

"Helped you do what?" Ryan asked, his thick, dark eyebrows pulling together into a frown. "Ensure nobody will cook this shit?" He threw the notebook down in front of me with a thwack. "I thought you wanted a restaurant, not a sports bar."