a couple of months ago

Here’s another sneak peek of THE HOMECOMING


THE HOMECOMING is coming soon, but you can read Chapter 4 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 22) is available for pre-sale at:

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All pre-ordered copies will include a special link to a free novella!

Did you miss your sneak peek of Chapter 3?  If so, click here.

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Chapter 4

There was so much blood, and her eyes were wide with shock and fear—and who the hell was screaming? No, not screaming. Becky was hyperventilating, panting as Emily held her, blood splattered on her face, her hands in the air, shaking.

The sticky ooze of blood covered Brad’s hands as he pressed them over her thigh, over the bullet wound. Davis had shot his daughter, and he could feel the man standing behind him. He knew the gun was still pointed his way and could vaguely hear Neil yelling, saying something to him, but the words, none of them made sense.

He felt for the first time in his life as if someone was taking someone he loved from him. It was horrible, the feeling of surrealness. He’d never felt so damn helpless in his life.

“Brad, your belt! Take it off and wrap it above the bullet. Pull tight to stop the bleeding,” Candy snapped and pressed her hands over the wound when he moved his aside. She put pressure on the bleeding, and Becky screamed as he fumbled for his belt, seeing the tears streaming down Emily’s face as Becky leaned against her. Emily’s arms were around her chest, holding her against her, trying to keep her calm. She was kissing her cheek, mumbling, “It’s going to be okay. Just breathe. I got you, I got you, I love you…”

Brad pulled at his belt, but it stuck on one of the loops, and he yanked and yanked before pulling it free and slipping it under Becky’s leg. She cried out. Her glasses were crooked, and she knocked them away from her face.

“Higher, Brad,” Candy said. “Right there, yes. Pull it through and tighten it.” She turned to the man and shouted over her shoulder, “We need to get her to the hospital! She’s going to bleed to death.”

Brad pulled the belt tight. Becky was groaning, and he could see how much he was hurting her. Her hands were shaking, and she was so damn pale. “You just stay with me, you hear me? You keep your eyes open and on me. I’m going to get you to a hospital. I’m going to get you help.”

He stood up, seeing the life in his daughter’s eyes draining out of her. She was on the brink of living or dying, and nothing was going to keep him from doing everything to get her out of there and save her life. He didn’t care that Davis was holding a gun. He’d take a bullet first.

“You son of a bitch! I’ll kill you with my bare hands! We’re leaving. I’m taking my daughter to the hospital.”

The gun, which had been levelled on Neil, swung over to him along with the unfeeling eyes of the man holding it. Davis angled his head and shook it, so controlled. “No, you’re not. Sit on down on the ground, or the next bullet won’t be a flesh wound in the leg. I’ll put it right between her eyes.”

In the second in which he pulled in a breath, he could hear the thumping of his heart, long loud, and nothing else. He believed Davis would simply do exactly what he said he would. He took in his daughter’s blood on his hands, and he went down on his knees, seeing the man nod.

“Good to see you learn fast.”

“My daughter needs a hospital. I’ll stay. Let her go,” Brad said.

Davis was shaking his head, and he glanced over to Becky. “I’ve seen worse. She’ll live.” He stepped back. “Bring her inside the house, you and you.” He pointed with his gun to Brad and Neil and then stepped outside, pointing it back at Becky.

It took Brad a second to pull it together. Neil was down beside Candy, his hand on hers, and Brad couldn’t pull his eyes from Emily. She was imploring him to do something. He slid his hand under Becky, around her back, under her knees.

“I’m going to lift you up, baby…” he said—and then what? Neil had his hand on Becky’s other shoulder and under her, and they lifted.

“What is it you want?” Neil said.

Davis just shook his head. “I said move her inside now. You come over here.” He gestured to Candy, who was now standing with Emily.

“Not my wife. You keep your hands off my wife,” Neil snapped as they stood up, Becky between them, her arm now over Brad’s shoulders. He had one arm behind her back, the other holding under her knees, the belt and gunshot leg against him, and she cried out.

He didn’t need Neil to help, and Neil must have known, as he stepped away and reached out to grab Candy, but Davis took one step, grabbed hold of her arm, and yanked her toward him so roughly that she stumbled. Then he had the gun to Candy’s temple, his mouth close to her ear.

“Don’t move, there, chica. Would hate to mess up that beautiful face.”

Brad stared in horror as Candy shut her eyes so tightly a tear slipped out. She was shaking and frozen with fear.

“I hear you,” Neil said. “We hear you. Whatever you want, money, anything—you name it, you got it. Just tell me what it is you want. Let my wife go. Let the women go…”

The way Neil pleaded, Brad thought he would come undone. He was saying everything Brad wanted to say as he held Becky, feeling the way she trembled and leaned her head against him. She didn’t look good. Whatever Davis wanted, he’d give it to him just to get his daughter, his wife, his family out of there.

Davis stepped to the side, taking Candy with him, the door wide open. “Take her inside the house, all of you, inside to the living room—and try nothing, because I will shoot her. I don’t want to shoot her, but I will.”

The way he said it, Brad knew without a shadow of a doubt he would do exactly as he said. At the same time, Davis had said nothing about what he wanted from them.

“Emily, go,” Brad said and moved behind his wife to the door. “Neil…”

Neil wouldn’t look his way, but he nodded. Brad could see that much, knowing it was killing Neil to see his wife with a gun to her head. He didn’t pull his gaze from Candy.

Brad followed Emily into the house, carrying Becky. Inside, it was dark from the curtains being drawn, but light came through the skylights.

Becky was whimpering. “Dad…Tom will know what to do.”

He kept moving, and Emily passed him along the hall and to living room.

“Oh no! Becky, Rodney…” she cried out.

As Brad stepped into the entrance of the foyer, he looked right and saw the sunken living room. His mom sat tied to a kitchen chair, her mouth gagged. His dad…where was he? Another guy stood in the living room. He had lighter hair, straight, thinning on top but longish, touching his shoulders. He was thin but the same height as Brad, with an overgrown mustache, a narrow face, and tattoos up his arm. He too held a gun.

“Rafe, get them tied up,” Davis said.

Brad rested Becky on the sofa and spotted Emily beside the fireplace, on the floor. His dad was lying there, blood dripping from his head, his eyes closed. It was horrible seeing his dad like that, and his first thought was that he was dead. The ache in his chest was so painful that for just a second, he didn’t think he could breathe.

“What are you doing?” Rafe snapped. “Bring them in. You were supposed to get rid of them.”

He wasn’t as put together or calm as Davis, and Brad just sat at the edge of the sofa beside his daughter, taking in the way Rafe kept flicking his gun toward each of them in turn as if he didn’t know where to point it. At any second, it could go off. The man was freaking out, unstable, and it had him thinking they wouldn’t get out of there alive.

Brad made himself turn to see his mom, her hair a mess, in a brown floral housecoat. She was gagged and freaking out, and her eyes reached out to him, but what could he do right now? Neil was there now by her side.

“Dad…is he dead?” Brad said.

Emily shook her head. “No. He’s breathing, but he’s unconscious. His head’s bleeding. There’s a lot of blood.”

His mom was trying to talk against the gag. Davis shoved Candy away, and she stumbled, but Neil grabbed her and pulled her into his arms. He could hear her trying not to cry but failing miserably.

“It’s okay,” Neil said. “It’s okay, baby. You’re going to be okay, I promise you.” He had his hand over the back of her head and kissed her cheek, the side of her head.

Rafe was walking closer to Emily, his gun on her. “He’ll be fine,” he said. “Get up. You’re going to tie these two up.” He looked right at Brad. A chair scraped on the floor, one of the dining chairs.

Davis jabbed the gun and pointed it at him. “We’ll start with the big guy first. Brad, is it? Sit.” He tossed some rope to Emily, who was now standing, looking helpless, but she caught the rope. It was orange—used for climbing, he thought. “Tie him up, and then we’re going to have a chance to get to know each other.”

“Dad, please…” Becky started and reached out to him, but Davis was giving him that hard look, and Brad knew what would happen if the orders weren’t followed.

Davis held up the gun to Emily, aimed and cocked. He didn’t have to say one word, as Brad pulled his hand free from his daughter and took a step, then another, to the chair and sat down, knowing Davis wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on his wife. He was racking his brain, trying to figure out what to do. Being tied up and helpless was exactly what couldn’t happen.

“Look, I told you, just let everyone else go,” Brad said. “I’ll stay. You can tie me up, do whatever. Just let them go. You still haven’t told us what you want—money or something? You have to want something.”

“Tie him, hands behind his back,” Davis said, pointing the gun again to Emily.

She was shaking as she strode to him, touched his arm, and went on her knees behind him. He could feel the rope as Emily wrapped it around one wrist and then the other, tying them together. He held his hands back behind the chair and didn’t pull his eyes from Davis, whose gun was trained on his wife: steady, deliberate. Fucking psychopath.

“Tighter,” Davis said, “because if you don’t and I have to do it, I won’t be happy, and when I’m not happy, someone gets hurt.” He moved over to where Becky was on the sofa, leaning on the arm now, and it took everything Brad had in him to stay seated in that chair.

Emily pulled the rope hard, and it bit into his wrist. He hissed.

“Brad, I’m sorry.” Her voice was shaking.

“Just tie it. I’m fine,” he said, though he was far from it.

Neil still held Candy in his arms, Rafe holding his gun on them. Two guns, two men. If it were just him and Neil, they had a chance, but not with Emily, Candy, and Becky. As he’d already figured out, this man wouldn’t shoot him and Neil first. It would be the women, the ones they loved.

“Legs too,” Davis said. “Tie them to the chair legs, and make sure it’s tight, because I’ll be checking.”

Brad watched his wife crawl on her knees in front of him. She allowed her gaze to linger on him as she wrapped the rope around first one ankle and then the other.

“Up. Up now,” Davis said, and Emily took a step back. “Pull that other chair in the corner over here. Rafe, you tie up Neil here. Once they’re tied up, we’ll get the women—”

“My daughter is shot,” Brad said, seeing how pale Becky was and the pain she was in. “Look, at least let my wife go and get help. Let my daughter get help.” There was so much blood. How long could she hang on?

“I told you before: No one is leaving now,” Davis said. “You just insisted on showing up, wouldn’t take no for an answer. Your daughter’s fate is on you.”

He was a cold bastard, unfeeling. Brad was never going to be able to reason with him, but he pulled in a breath and said, “Fine, I get it. If you won’t let her go, then at least let us bring someone in to help. Her husband is a doctor. Let me call him. I’ll get him to come over, won’t tell him anything, but he can help her. Right now, it’s one thing to hold us here, breaking and entering, but murder is different.”

The man didn’t smile. Brad knew Neil was being tied up by the way he was grunting, but he couldn’t pull his gaze from Davis, who was watching him. He didn’t know what to make of it before a faint smile touched his lips.

“Doctor? Well, well,” he said. “So you’ve all done well for yourselves, all this, all the money, the resort, the family, kids, grandkids…” At the way he said it, the uneasiness that had settled into Brad’s stomach earlier that day now made him feel sick. This wasn’t sounding like a random break-in.

“Who are you?” he made himself ask, feeling numb.

He could hear his mom crying behind the gag but couldn’t pull his gaze from the man who was responsible for the danger his family was in, and he willed some type of sanity to appear in that moment.

“It’s been a lot of years, Brad, Neil—just missing little Jed.”

For a minute, he was afraid to breathe. He shifted his gaze over to Neil, seeing shock that mirrored his own.

Davis shrugged and tucked his gun in the front pocket of his jeans. “Robbie Davis,” he said. “What’s it been, forty-plus years? Was just a kid last time we saw each other. What were we, ten, eleven?”

He blinked.

Neil narrowed his gaze. “Yeah, I remember now. You lived with your dad in that old house, east side of our property.”

Brad was still trying to remember the boy from when they were growing up.

Davis let his arms hang and smiled at Neil, but it wasn’t the smile of a happy reunion. “Yeah, you’d think that, wouldn’t you?” he said. “The thing is, it wasn’t your property. It was ours—that is, until your dad stole it right out from under us.”

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All pre-ordered copies will include a special link to a free novella!


99CENT SALE

Through this Monday, you can pick up IN THE MOMENT (The Friessens, Book 9) for only 99cents!

What happens when you meet a man you can't take home to meet your parents?

"This book is one of the most emotionally provoking books I have read in a long time. Typical of Eckhart's writing, the characters are realistically genuine and heartfelt and the story is non-traditional enough to cause angst for the beloved Friessen family."
 ★★★★★ Aherman, Amazon Reviewer

Becky's story is 99cents through April 29th at AmazonNookiBooksKoboGoogle Play and Smashwords.  Also available in paperback here and in audiobook at Audible USAudible CanadaAudible UKAudible FranceAudible Germany and Audible Australia (regular pricing applies).  Listen to a sample here.


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