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Can't wait till release day? We've got you covered! The newest addition to The Friessens family saga is coming soon, but you can grab a sneak peek of THE HOMECOMING today!
Catch up with your favorite family, the Friessens, as four generations come together for what they anticipate to be a fun-filled weekend with babies and children, loads of love, and laughter. You can expect all the drama of young love, from the secrets to the hidden truths in a seemingly perfect marriage.
However, one fateful moment changes everything in this unforgettable story. When three lives are put in danger, the fallout could ultimately shatter the deep love and trust in this family, dividing them forever—and the cost could be something far greater than any of them could have imagined.
THE HOMECOMING (The Friessens, Book 23) is available for pre-sale at:
“So what was that about?” Emily asked, appearing tired. They had just travelled six hours on a cramped overbooked flight from Seattle that had been delayed by nearly ninety minutes. She yawned and swept her fingers through her shoulder-length brown hair, which was slowly becoming lighter from the highlights she kept adding to hide the spots of gray.
Brad glanced at his Android before tucking it in the back pocket of his jeans and taking in the conveyor belt at the Cancun airport. On it were a single black suitcase and two boxes tied together. Not one of the bags from their flight had been unloaded, and they had been standing there for nearly ten minutes. He was still puzzled by the message his dad had left.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Weird, is all—something about whether I could call him back to confirm who all is coming to stay with them…”
Did Rodney mean for the next weekend? He’d give it another listen, as it made no sense. The entire family was travelling there, all the kids and grandkids, to stay at the Cancun resort together for the first time. They had even booked rooms in the same wing. Jed and Diana and their brood were also on the way, as were Andy and Laura and theirs. His mom and dad knew that was the plan.
He was starting to wonder if his dad was becoming more forgetful. It wasn’t like him to leave that kind of scatterbrained message. He rolled his shoulders, feeling restless after having to sit for so long and feeling the angst of his family around him, their ups and downs, the bickering of Becky and Tom.
“Maybe we should swing over to the house first before we check in, make sure everything’s good,” Brad said.
Emily’s jaw slackened, and he wasn’t sure what she was about to say.
“Have you seen Neil?” Candy said, appearing beside him, her long dark hair freshly cut to shoulder length.
He spotted Xander and Cat also walking their way. Xander had a deep brooding look and a perpetual five o’clock shadow, his jeans riding low with a swagger. He held Cat’s hand, and she appeared lost in thought. Brad was still stuck on the sight of her new hair, red with dark lowlights.
“No, I haven’t, not since we got off the plane,” he said. “Trevor!” he called out and waved, seeing his son was holding Jasmine’s hand, pressed against a concrete wall.
Trevor began pulling her along over to them, and what was she doing but holding her hand over her eyes, following him blindly? Of course, a number of odd looks were passed their way. The Cancun airport was crowded and chaotic, and he’d forgotten how loud and noisy it was, concrete and old.
Something seemed to be up, a strangeness, an energy he couldn’t put his finger on—or maybe it had just been too long since he’d been there. They were all feeling the heightened sense of worry, stress, or expectation, and likely the restlessness of having travelled all day, too, not to mention the fact that they were all still dressed for the Seattle rain. Maybe some time to decompress by the pool with a beer, catching up with his family, would definitely help. Yeah, he couldn’t wait.
“Mom, can you take Gilly?” Becky said. “Tom’s on the phone again, and I have to go to the bathroom.” She was wearing a ratty old oversized T-shirt and dark-rimmed glasses, with deep circles under her eyes, and her hair was pulled up in a really messy bun. He’d never expected to see this kind of harried expression on her face. His granddaughter, Gilly, was crying and kicking to get down, her nose running and her blue eyes filled with tears. She was fast coming up on the terrible twos.
“Here, come to Gramps,” he said and reached for her, immediately feeling her soaked-through diaper under her floral dress, which was riding up. She was barefoot like she always was. “She’s wet, Becky—and where is Tom?”
Emily patted Gilly’s back, and she whimpered, staring up at him and tossing her head back. Becky wasn’t the greatest at changing the baby’s diapers, and Gilly, he swore, had the mischief of all his kids combined in one. Becky just lifted her hand and let out a frustrated sigh. He could see her patience was wearing thin.
“Over there, on the phone. Some hospital emergency, he said. Don’t know why he’s insisted on calling back. Family holiday means just that, a holiday, with no work, not sticking me with everything.” Becky actually slipped the diaper bag off her shoulder, and for a second he thought she’d dump it on the ground, but Emily grabbed it. He took in Cat, who was now talking to Candy. Both also seemed on edge as they looked around.
“Dad, where’re our suitcases?” Trevor asked. Jasmine was making a weird noise with her mouth.
“Be patient,” Brad said. “They’ll be here soon.”
Becky was already walking toward the bathroom when Fletcher, Jack, Katy, and Steven appeared. He could smell an odor and knew it was Gilly.
“Okay, you can’t wait. You need changed now,” Brad said as he held out his granddaughter, then spotted the luggage after hearing the thump of the first suitcase dumping down the conveyor belt. “You need to talk to your daughter about taking better care of Gilly,” he said.
Emily frowned and shook her head. “Hey, just as easy for you to have a talk with her, as well. Come on, Gilly. Grandma will change your diaper.”
Brad passed Gilly over just as Candy tapped his arm.
“I still can’t find Neil,” she said. He wasn’t sure what to make of her expression—off, anxious. Over what, he didn’t know.
“Well, I’m sure he couldn’t have gone far…” he started to say just as he spotted his brother walking toward them with Cat and Xander’s baby boy tucked into a baby carrier strapped across his chest. He looked ridiculous and happy in Bermuda shorts and sandals, working a piece of gum. This casual, laid-back Neil was a lot to get used to.
“Dad, where were you?” Cat said. “You can’t keep taking off with the baby…” She reached for baby Nathan, who was the spitting image of Xander, with big eyes, thick dark lashes, and the same intense expression. He was unbelievably quiet, easy, the exact opposite of Gilly.
“No one thought to grab the bags?” Neil said. “Thought we’d be out of here.” He was still wearing the carrier and had a diaper bag over his shoulder. “And you can thank me, Cat. I changed the baby. He’s hungry, too.”
Over by the conveyer, Katy was saying something to Trevor, and Steven was pulling a luggage cart over and grabbing luggage off. While it was great having a son-in-law to take care of things for him, Brad figured he should help.
“So I had a message from Dad,” he said. “I think I’ll swing by the house first before the resort. He seemed under the impression we’re all coming next week and that we’re staying there?”
Neil gave him the oddest look and then just shook his head. “Seriously?” he said. “Well, if you are, bring them back with you to the resort. I’m sure Diana, Jed, and their crew are already there. Andy, too, I think. I got a text from him that they arrived earlier today. I would’ve thought Jed or Andy would call them.” Neil pulled his iPhone from his pocket and scanned his messages.
Brad then spotted Xander, who had a second luggage cart, over by Steven. The two of them were handling, talking, giving Jack and Fletcher orders, and tossing bags onto the luggage carts. He gestured with his chin. “You think they got everything?”
Neil laughed softly. “Hope so. One of the benefits, I’d think, of having to put up with a son-in-law. Let them get it.”
Emily and Becky were walking back side by side, Emily holding Gilly on her hip. His daughter appeared far from put together, but at least Tom was off his call and was now over by Steven, tossing a bag on one of the carts.
“Dad, Jasmine needs to go,” Trevor called out. Jasmine was now standing close to him, staring at the ground and moving side to side. She was over-stimulated, over-everything.
“Katy, take Trevor and Jasmine and start heading through customs,” he said, but just then, Steven headed over, pushing one of the luggage carts, and he gestured with his thumb to Brad and said, “We got all the bags. Let’s go.”
Neil’s phone dinged, and his expression changed as he stared at the screen.
“What is it?” Brad asked.
Neil shook his head. Everyone was talking and following Steven, Xander, and the carts to the final check point. “Not sure… A text from Andy. He asked if we’ve heard from Mom and Dad.”
Candy was pulling on his arm, saying something, and he just shook his head. Emily, Becky, and Tom were now standing there, staring at them as if they’d just figured out something was up.
“You know what?” Neil said. “Maybe I’ll join you and stop in at Mom and Dad’s.”
“What, why? What’s going on?” Becky piped in. Tom scooped Gilly into his arms and kissed her cheek.
“Nothing, most likely, but…you talk to your grandma?” Brad said. He knew Becky talked more with his mom than anyone else in the family.
Becky pushed the bridge of her glasses up her nose and shrugged. “Not since yesterday. Why, what’s up?” She was looking from him to Neil, and so were Emily and Candy, too.
“Just a message from your grandpa. Seems like he thinks we’re not coming until next week and that we’re staying there. So I think Neil and I will swing by there first. You all go on to the resort and get checked in.”
Becky never blinked and then slowly turned to Neil. “That’s ridiculous,” she said. “They know we’re coming today. Grandma and I are booked in for a pedicure after dinner tonight at the resort. If you’re going to drop in on Gram and Gramps, then I’m coming, too.”
Tom just shook his head and walked away.
“You should go to the hotel with your husband, Becky, and your daughter,” Brad said, but what did his daughter do but shake her head? She was pure stubbornness.
“No, I’m going with you,” she said. “Besides, I want a minute aside to talk to Grams without everyone there and without Tom passing Gilly off to me.”
Then Becky was walking off, and Emily levelled a hard look his way, which he knew well meant he needed to do something about their daughter. That left four: Candy, Neil, Emily, and him.
“Do you think if we hang back here for a second, they’ll forget we’re here?” Neil said just as Candy tapped his chest.
“Oh, stop it,” she said. “Why don’t we let the rest of them head on to the resort, and the four of us can stop in and see your parents?” She lifted her chin to where the Mexican security agents were looking through the largest black suitcase. “And Becky,” she added as an afterthought, likely because she knew well how stubborn his daughter was.
Brad looked over to where Katy and Steven were herding Jack, Fletcher, Trevor, and Jasmine through the checkpoint. Then there were Tom and Becky and Gilly, Cat and Xander and Nathan, and as they all passed through, he couldn’t see them anymore.
This was meant to be a fun-filled reunion, but it seemed something else was brewing in the wind that he couldn’t put his finger on.
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