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Family Treed: The Big Uneasy 1.5

Author(s): Pauline Baird Jones

“Family Treed” is 1.5 in my Big Uneasy series. This short story is my amuse bouche, because it is a taste, a quick bite for my readers, a chance to check in on Nell and Alex (from Relatively Risky).

Nell’s not sure why the mob wants to have dinner with her. She is sure she wants a cop at her side.

Alex wouldn’t let Nell dine with the mob without him, despite much unease from his many siblings.

But when Nell’s newly found relatives start making threatening noises, Nell wonders if she’s putting Alex’s life in danger.

Can they survive dinner with the killing cousins?

This short story is about 13,000 words or 31 printed pages.

When I started “Family Treed,” I was determined to keep it a short story. The plot, the characters fought back, throwing complications at me like knives and bullets. I dodged. I ducked. And when they weren’t looking, I trimmed out everything trying to turn it into a novel. And while I trimmed, I watched Top Chef. When they were asked to create an amuse bouche, I had an aha moment.

That’s what “Family Treed” was supposed to be. And an amuse bouche was it is. It’s a peek, a tiny taste of the challenges still facing Nell as she tries to come to terms with what has bubbled up out of the past. Secrets only stay secret if one person knows the secret. And once they start to spread, well, crap happens.

There will be more adventures for Nell and Alex and yes, there will be upcoming adventures for Alex’s many siblings. When one “meets” a family like the Baker’s, it would be crazy not invite them in to play. So I hope you’ll stay tuned for more installments in The Big Uneasy.


Alex’s dad had raised him to respect old dudes, but this was one bad, old dude.

All he felt was a strong desire to punch the guy out.

It was gonna to be a long night. And that was if things went well.

The air was so thick with something, his gut was ready to light the bat signal.  

His sibs had been vocal about this dinner and about the wisdom of dating Nell. They all agreed she seemed okay, but—fill in the blank with twelve varieties of this is bad for your career. And you could end up dead or missing like Uncle Charlie. Uncle Charlie who had made the mistake of falling for Ellie Calvino. Had Afoniki played a part in removing him from the competition for Ellie’s hand?

Only his dad hadn’t said much about Nell. Alex had thought that was good. Now he wasn’t so sure. His family had long experience with bad dudes. He got it. They were worried. Only they didn’t know Nell.

Neither do you.

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Genre: Mystery
Date Published: 06/02/2014
Publisher: Pauline B Jones

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