Get your next glimpse of THE HOMECOMING! Book 23 in The Friessens series is on the way, but you can preview Chapter 3 now!
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 is now available for pre-sale at these eRetailers:
Did you miss your sneak peek of Chapter 2? If so, click here.
“Andy, you hear back from Neil or Brad yet?” Jed said from where he lay on the lounger in orange striped trunks, still wet from the pool, wearing a straw hat and shades under the bright Mexico sun. A waitress took his empty beer bottle from the table beside him and rested two more ice-cold Coronas with limes in its place. He was finally feeling as if he was decompressing.
Andy was in the other lounger next to him, the plastic side table between them. He picked up one of the beers and squeezed the lime in as he shook his head, then lifted it and took a swallow. “Nope, not since Brad texted to say they were at the house. Odd, is all I can say. Hope they hurry up. I thought Rodney and Becky would be at the resort to meet us. They knew we were coming in earlier.”
Diana and Laura were in the pool, Laura in a green and white two-piece bathing suit, Diana in a light blue tankini. Danny, Chris, Mark, Jeremy, and Zac were in the pool, too, playing volleyball and making enough noise that it was hard to miss the competition between them. He was pretty sure JD and Evie were in their adjoining rooms with Ally and Sophie, who were down for a nap.
“Grandpa, I’m hungry!” called Brandon. “And Mom said no to cheesy nachos.” He wore blue swim trunks and was barefoot.
Jed still couldn’t believe Jeremy was now married and had fathered a kid so young.
Andy lifted Brandon and sat him on his lap in the lounger. “Well, you stay here with me. If your mom said no to nachos, you know that’s the answer. Where is Tiffy, anyway?”
Jed dragged his gaze across the courtyard to the other lounge chairs that surrounded the infinity pool, a waterfall bridge to the right and one of the outdoor restaurants behind them. He could smell the food, which he knew from memory was spicy and exceptional.
“She’s over there,” Brandon said and pointed, and Jed had to hide a smile at the little boy’s disappointment. Maybe he had expected Andy to override his mom. Brandon was a charmer and smart as all hell, and he figured out quickly whom he could work and whom he couldn’t. Jed couldn’t help following the direction he pointed, seeing Tiffy walking their way with Elizabeth and Shaunty, everyone in swimsuits and carrying towels. She must have noticed Brandon was with Andy, as she lifted her hand and waved, and they took up three lounge chairs about six chairs down.
“Hey, Dad,” Chelsea said as she appeared behind Andy, her long dark hair wavy, wearing a purple sundress, all smiles. Alaric, her husband, was behind her, dark, tall, and rugged, wearing khaki shorts and a white T-shirt. He just had a look, Jed swore, that said he was connected to the Italian mafia.
“When did you get here?” Andy said. Man, did he love his kids, his family. He jumped up, holding Brandon, then put him on the ground as he pulled Chelsea into a big hug and kissed her cheek before shaking Alaric’s hand.
Laura spotted her daughter and squealed as she struggled to climb out of the pool, and Diana put her hand on Laura’s butt to push her out. It was hilarious.
“Just got here,” Chelsea said. “Checked into our room, dumped our bags, and wanted to find you first.”
“Oh, it’s so good to see you,” Laura said as she hugged Chelsea.
“Mom, you’re getting me all wet!” Chelsea was laughing.
Jed took a minute to just see them, all grown up, even though it seemed they’d been born just yesterday. Time was speeding up, even though he felt no different than when he’d been young and first married.
“Get your swimsuit on and join us,” Laura said.” It’s about time you got here. We’re all in the pool or sitting by it, like your father, drinking beer.” She laughed, and Andy slid his arms teasingly around her even though she was still dripping from the pool.
Gabriel appeared and dumped a towel on the lounger on Andy’s other side. “Hey, sis. About time you got here,” he said and hugged Chelsea.
Jed lifted his hand to her and Alaric, who strode over to him, maybe to get out of the family hug fest.
He held out his hand over the back of the lounger. “Great to see you again, Jed.”
He shook his hand. “You too, Ric.”
“You seen Sara?” Andy asked.
Jed just shook his head before spotting her on the other side of the pool with what looked like some teens—boys, of course, who had moved in on the hot blonde. “In the pool, over there,” he said and pointed, then watched as Andy dragged his gaze over to where she was floating on a noodle. One light-haired boy was helping her float, no doubt looking to put his hands anywhere on her.
Yup, Andy zeroed in, and it took him only half a second to shove his fingers in his mouth and let out a sharp whistle. “Sara!” he yelled as if she were at the other end of the block. Everyone looked, and likely anyone in Cancun named Sara, too. He gestured for her to come over.
Jed just lifted his beer, took a swallow, and did his best not to laugh over his cousin’s predicament.
“Trying to keep her on a short tether, is he?” Alaric said.
Jed looked back at him, wondering what to say, considering he knew well that Andy wasn’t handling the teenage daughter thing with much grace. Right now, he was glad they’d had only boys—but then there were his granddaughters. Maybe he wouldn’t escape the same fate.
“What is it, Dad?” Sara said as she swam over on the noodle. The boy at the other end climbed out of the pool and disappeared.
“Your sister’s here. Why don’t you take Brandon and go share a snack?” Andy said.
Sara climbed out of the pool in her skimpy red bikini, showing off her great body, and Andy handed her a towel. Evidently, she understood, and she took the towel in one hand and held her other out to Brandon. After she said something to Chelsea, the three of them were gone, Alaric with them.
“Jed, there’re the kids,” Andy said, letting his hand linger on his wife’s ass for a second, her arm around his waist. “Xander, Cat! Steven, Katy!” he called out and lifted his hand.
Jed took in Brad’s crew as the two little boys, Fletcher and Jack, jumped into the pool, splashing everyone. “Is your dad here yet?” he said to Katy, who was still dressed in blue jeans and a sleeveless blouse.
“No, not yet. They were at Gramma and Grampa’s. They’re supposed to be coming back with them. Becky is there, too. Tom was asking if they’re on their way back. I guess she’s not answering. Thought we’d head out here and find you, see if you know anything about what’s going on.” Katy leaned over the back of his chair and lifted his straw hat to rest it on her own head.
“No, all is quiet, apparently,” Jed said. “Was just asking Andy if he’d heard back from them, and he said no. Hopefully they’re on their way here. Great to see you, by the way. You look good.” He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen Katy, not since she and Steven had found their way back to each other.
Katy reached down and patted his shoulder. “You, too.”
He heard a crying child and looked, seeing Tom striding their way, holding a blond toddler in his arms. That had to be Gilly, wearing a sundress, barefoot, fussing.
“Hey, Katy,” Tom said. “I can’t get a hold of Becky. She’s not answering her phone, and Gilly wants her mother. You hear back from Brad or Neil? Anybody?” Tom was rubbing Gilly’s back, and she had her finger in her mouth. Tears were running down her face. Unhappy, overtired, and it looked like she was getting to her dad. Jed remembered those days. He winced as he took another swallow of his beer.
“No, I haven’t. Here, do you want me to take Gilly? Come to your auntie,” Katy said and held her arms out. Gilly, though, said a stubborn no and put her head into her dad’s shoulder. Tom looked as if he was getting close to the end of his rope, as Gilly was still whining and crying—an overtired toddler.
“I just tried texting both Brad and Neil, and they’re not answering,” Andy said. Laura was sitting at the edge of the pool again, this time holding Cat and Xander’s baby.
Steven appeared behind him and lifted his hand in a hello before resting it around Katy. “I just tried calling Brad, Emily, Candy, and Neil on their cell phones,” he said. “No one is answering.”
Xander was holding Cat’s hand, his dark hair wavy, and he had his cell phone to his ear, looking around. Mysterious. Jed still hadn’t figured him out. Xander just shook his head. “Not like them to not answer. Especially Neil. He was texting me nonstop, and now silence…”
Jed had to stifle a smile as he lifted the bottle to his mouth and took a swallow, knowing how much Xander and Neil butted heads, most likely because of Neil’s incessant need to micromanage just about everyone and every situation.
“Anyone hear from Rodney and Becky? No one is answering the house phone,” Xander continued, his phone to his ear.
Tom didn’t look impressed. Seemed as if there was stress or trouble between Tom and Becky, or maybe Jed was reading too much into it. “You know, I have half a mind to just go over there and find out what’s going on,” Tom said.
Xander just pulled his phone away and pressed end, glancing down to Cat, who had said nothing. “No answer at the house. Maybe they’re already on their way back. So why don’t we get changed and come back for a swim?”
Jed knew Andy well, and the glance he exchanged with him didn’t set him at ease. “So no one is answering their phones or texts, and Mom and Dad still aren’t answering?” he said and sat forward. “You know, one or two, no big deal, but everyone?”
Tom managed to pass Gilly over to Katy. “I’m going to grab a cab and head over,” he said.
“Just wait.” Xander put his hand on Tom’s shoulder. “They could already be on their way back. Let’s just give them a little longer. We’re all tired from travelling, and they’re likely just getting caught up and lost track of time. I’m sure they’ll be here anytime, Neil leading the way to make sure I haven’t screwed something up with his grandson.”
Jed nearly choked at Xander’s comment, but at least it brought the hint of a smile to Tom.
“Yeah, Xander’s right,” Andy started. “They’re probably visiting, talking, and…”
“And not hearing their phones?” Jed said. From the look Andy gave him, he knew he was saying it on behalf of everyone.
“That’s a lot of phones no one’s hearing,” said Steven. “One, yeah, okay. Two, sure—but everyone?”
Something about Steveh breaking it all down added to the knot that was tightening in Jed’s gut. He’d felt off for a while and had been hoping a beer or two would settle him.
“I’m going over there,” Tom said and lifted his hands, out of patience.
“Hang on a second. I’ll come with you,” Xander said, all the teasing gone.
“Yup, I’ll tag along too,” Steven said, and the three were already walking the other way.
“Wait,” Jed called out. He put his bare feet on the hot concrete of the poolside patio and glanced over to Andy before standing up, resting his beer on the table, and reaching for his key card. “I’ll go with you. Just give me a minute to get some pants on, and maybe by the time I’m dressed, they’ll already be here.”
Even as he said it, though, he knew deep down that what he was hoping for was a tall tale they could all laugh over, like everyone’s phone batteries had died all at the same time.
“Right,” he said under his breath.
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