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Here's your final peek at my upcoming Friessens release! THE HOMECOMING will be released in just a few days, but here's an exclusive look at Chapter 5!
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:
Did you miss your sneak peek of Chapter 4? If so, click here.
Jed was still feeling a little bit of a buzz from the two beers he’d had with Andy. Add in the hot sun, and he hadn’t expected to be doing anything more than hopping into the pool for another swim, some fun, and then dinner later with the family, along with more beer and a chance to catch up with his brothers.
Instead, here he was in the back of a minivan cab, with three rows of seating. Xander was in the front seat, a spot he noted he had been quick to claim, Tom was beside Jed in the second row, and Steven was in the third row alone as they drove through Cancun to where his mom and dad’s estate was.
The funny thing was the fact that they had to drive all the way around even though the estate was practically next door. They could have walked along the beach and down the long driveway if there had been a gated entry, but the problem was that Neil had made sure when building the resort to cut off public access to his parents’ estate from the beach.
“Still no answer,” Xander said and glanced back to him. “I can tell you this is very unlike Neil. I’m not liking this.”
Tom hadn’t said anything. He leaned forward in his seat, forearms resting on his knees, still in blue jeans. He was on edge. Jed had opted for shorts, khakis, and sandals only after Diana had stepped into the room while he was pulling on his cowboy boots and told him to take them off. Mexico meant the beach, the pool, and shorts—no cowboy boots. He was feeling out of his element.
“Well, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation. Relax,” he said to Tom as he reached out and patted his shoulder. When he glanced over, Steven tossed him a brooding look as if he didn’t buy it, so he decided to change the subject and said, “Steven, are you, Fletcher, and Katy still living at the ranch with Brad and Emily?”
They turned down the tree-lined road, and he knew they weren’t far from his mom and dad’s. He wasn’t sure what to make of the expression on Steven’s face, a wince or a smile. He was leaning more toward a wince.
Tom said nothing but pulled his hand over his face, scraping day-old whiskers. Xander was saying something to the driver, likely where to turn.
“Unfortunately, it’s more for Fletcher,” Steven replied. “He doesn’t want to leave. He’s grown up there, and, well, it’s home, as Brad said. Corinne, my ex, you know, ex-fiancée, is still living in the townhouse I bought when we were together. She managed to get her name on the title after I moved out. I screwed up and am paying the price. She won’t leave, and…long story, but the ranch is now home. It’s over-crowded, but who knows when we’ll leave. Katy’s happy, Fletcher’s happy, so I suppose that makes me happy.”
Jed wasn’t sure whether to laugh or what, but he’d suspected Steven had a sarcastic side, and this was it. “And, Tom, how are you and Becky liking Hoquiam? You’re still there and didn’t head back to London after the baby?”
Tom leaned back against the seat, and he could see how on edge he was. “It’s okay, nice working back in the States, at the hospital. I’m the head of trauma now, which has its perks. It’s where I started out. Not sure if Becky’s happy, though. She was miserable in London after she finished school. Not sure there’s anything I can do that’s going to make her happy—go, stay…”
Jed didn’t miss the way Steven stared long and hard at Tom. Maybe he knew something he didn’t, and he picked up an edge of something that wasn’t quite right.
“Is Becky working or home with Gilly?” Steven said.
Tom pulled in a breath, and Steven didn’t pull his gaze from him. “She’s still home with Gilly. That’s her choice, no matter what she says. I told her I’d support her decision, whatever it is, if she wants to work or not, but it seems as if that’s something I’m meant to figure out, as she won’t tell me. You know that fucking guessing game women do? She wants me to read her mind. I’m supposed to know what she’s thinking and feeling. Sometimes it’s that she doesn’t want to be a mother, and then it’s that I work too much, I’m never home, she’s alone all the time, I’m not spending time with Gilly… Then there’s this jealousy that comes out of nowhere.” Tom let out a frustrated sigh, and even Xander glanced back with that dark brooding look he had.
“Well,” Xander started, “while you’re here in Mexico, you have a built-in family of babysitters, so you can have uninterrupted time with Becky, like a honeymoon of sorts—but with her entire extended family here, all butting in and sticking their noses in your business.”
Jed dragged his gaze over to Xander, who jabbed his finger at the driveway and told the driver where to turn. “You know what?” he said. “All of you seem to have forgotten that you’ve married some pretty terrific women—ones I’m rather partial to, considering they’re family. Tom, I’m sure your problem can be solved with nothing more than you giving your wife the attention she evidently needs and evidently is missing. Xander, afraid there’s not much I can do about Neil, but marrying Cat meant you got him too. Steven, glad you and Katy are together, and there are worse places to raise Fletcher. The ranch is big enough. You’ll figure it out.”
All this young love… Jed didn’t think he and Diana had ever gone at each other like this. Then there were his boys. Mark was just finishing school, and Jed didn’t have a clue what direction he was leaning toward or where his head was. Chris and Danny still had spots to carve out on his land for their wives and his grandbabies, but all either had done was mark out the spot to build more than two years earlier. Maybe here, away from home, he could sit down with all of them and get a sense of where their heads were.
The driver pulled up to the front of the house and parked. The driveway was empty, and everything looked quiet.
“You know, they could be gone,” Jed said as Tom pulled open the side door and stepped out.
Xander tossed Jed a look over his shoulder as he opened his door. “We could have passed them, too,” he said.
“Maybe,” Jed said. “Only one way to find out.” He climbed out after Steven and then poked his head back in to address the driver. “Hey, just hang tight. We don’t expect to be long. You can leave the meter running, and one of these three will pay the extra tip.”
“Si, senor, I’ll wait,” the driver said and flashed a smile, all white teeth, as he turned off the van.
“Hey, it’s locked,” Tom called out. He was pressing the bell, and they could hear the ringing from outside. It was quite the echo. He’d expected to hear something, but he took in how quiet the place was. Tom pounded with his fist on the door. “Becky!” he shouted.
Yeah, he was pissed and evidently hadn’t heard a word Jed had said. Apparently, he intended to continue butting heads with his wife. Great! Jed considered whether he should give Brad a heads-up about that.
“You know what? I think they may be gone,” he called out as he strode to the front door.
Then he thought he heard something. Xander and Steven were talking, and Tom stepped away from the front door, shaking his head. Jed cocked his head, stepping over to the french doors, which were closed. The heavy curtains were drawn, something he’d never seen before. Whatever he’d heard had come from there.
“What is it?” Xander asked as he moved closer to him. He just turned his head and took in how quiet the place was. It was odd, was all he could think.
“Nothing,” Jed said. “I guess I thought I heard something. Just don’t ever remember it being so quiet, so closed up.”
Steven and Tom were already walking back to the minivan, where the driver was waiting for them. The windows were all down, and the heat and humidity had beads of sweat running down Jed’s back, under his arms. He couldn’t wait to get back to the pool.
“They’re probably already back at the resort, by the pool, where we should be right now,” he said and rested his hand on Xander’s shoulder to pat it before taking a step to the van.
He heard the scream—Becky, he thought. The group turned and froze just as a shot fired, and then all hell broke loose.
Xander grabbed him and had him running. Tom turned to the house and was fighting off Steven, who was trying to tackle him and take cover. There was another pop, and glass shattered. Jed felt the bite of it piercing his cheek, and somehow, he grabbed Tom along with Steven and Xander, and they were around the van on the ground.
All he could do was wonder what the hell they had just walked into.
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