3 weeks ago

Get your next glimpse of A PLACE TO CALL OUR OWN!

Get your next glimpse of A PLACE TO CALL OUR OWN!  Book 28 in The Friessens series is on the way, but you can preview Chapter 3 now! 

Brad Friessen knows he has to sell the ranch, but not everyone is on board with his decision or open to a new beginning. He has a plan: Find a nice place with some land where he can retire—but for his children, life has suddenly become much more complicated.

Katy and Steven have called the ranch home and aren’t inclined to see the adventure in their upcoming move. While Emily, Jack and Trevor, and Fletcher are somewhat open to the possibilities, what Brad doesn’t know is that Katy and Steven had a plan, too. The life they’ve always wanted is the kind of life Brad and Emily have, with the ranch, the land, and eventually more children.

Finding a cheap, rundown house to rent wasn’t in the cards for Katy and Steven, nor has it been easy for either to be practical when their dream of having a ranch of their own to run, to raise a family on, seems to be moving ever further out of reach.

As the countdown begins to the date they have to leave, to the sale of the one place they’ve all called home for what’s seemed like forever, Katy and Steven, Brad and Emily, and the rest of the Friessen family might just be crazy enough to find a way for them all to have what they truly want.

A PLACE TO CALL OUR OWN (The Friessens, Book 28) is available for pre-sale at:

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Did you miss your sneak peek of Chapter 2?  If so, click here.

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Chapter 3

Steven was dragging his heels after their long night of tossing and turning. Well, actually, he was the one who’d been tossing and turning, which had kept her from having a deep and restful sleep. She sighed. He was now upstairs in the shower, and she was downstairs in the kitchen with her mom. Fletcher and Jack were at the table, shoveling spoonfuls of cereal into their mouths.

“So what’s going on with you? You’re awfully quiet this morning,” Emily said from where she stirred a pot of oatmeal on the stove. Katy knew her dad was still outside with the cattle. She should wait for Steven, but there was just something about having a second with her mom, without her dad hearing, and she couldn’t stop herself from feeling out the situation. Jack looked over at her, but Fletcher didn’t bother looking up from his bowl. When she heard the door open at the top of the stairs, she knew Steven was now out of the shower.

“So what did Dad decide about the ranch? I mean, has he decided whether he’s going to take the offer?”

Her mom stopped stirring the oatmeal and put the wooden spoon down on a side plate. The kitchen was still unusually neat, and she took in the look her mom gave her. Of course she knew something was up, because Katy had never been really good at hiding anything from her. “Your dad is still thinking about it, and yes, we did talk about it, Katy. It’s all we talked about last night. This is a pretty major decision that affects all of us. Is that what you want to know? Rest assured, we’re still talking, and your dad hasn’t decided yet. There’s a lot to consider, and it is your dad’s decision.”

Katy squeezed her mug of coffee, glancing once at it just as she heard footsteps on the stairs, knowing Steven was on his way down. She shrugged in answer just as he walked into the kitchen, and she heard her dad’s footsteps on the back stairs, too, just before the screen door squeaked and he entered the kitchen behind her. Boy, talk about timing.

“What’s going on?” Steven turned to her mom and then back to her.

She just looked at her mom and then her dad as he strode past her. She didn’t miss his curious glance as he moved beside her mom, and his hand ran over her side, her back. It was always the same, the closeness between them after so many years of marriage. He reached in the cupboard for a coffee mug.

“Was just asking Mom if you considered taking the offer.” She took a swallow of coffee, feeling the way her dad and Steven stilled.

The look Steven gave her said everything, and he shook his head. “Couldn’t wait, could you?” he said. Even for him, it came out a little too sharply.

The exchange between her mom and dad was priceless. Her mom rolled her eyes, and her dad gave her the oddest look, as if he knew she’d done something. “Well, I didn’t ask him anything else, if that’s what you’re implying, so in a manner of speaking, I kind of did wait,” she said. Okay, even to her, that sounded pathetic, so she shrugged again before glancing over to Fletcher and Jack, who didn’t seem to get the gist of the conversation.

“So now that we’re all here, why don’t we just ask?” Katy said. She shuffled a bit and then gestured to Steven, seeing the way her dad leveled his dark, brooding gaze on her. She wondered for a minute what he thought she would say.

“Ask what?” he finally replied while reaching for the pot of coffee. He poured some into a mug before gesturing to the oatmeal on the stove. Of course, he was hungry. It wasn’t lost on her how neat and tidy the kitchen was, so maybe they really hadn’t decided one way or another about the house.

“Steven and I were talking last night about this house, the ranch, the offer you got, and this may sound absolutely crazy and stupid…” She glanced over to Steven, who was now leaning against the counter, his expression amused. He seemed ready to just let her ramble on and on and jam her foot in her mouth. It would likely be better if he talked, considering there were times she was sure her parents really didn’t take her seriously. “You know what? I should let Steven tell you.” Katy gave him all her attention.

Annoyance filled his expression. Obviously, he hadn’t expected that. “No, by all means, you finish. This should be good. Seriously, Katy, I thought we were going to do this together.” He was shaking his head, then stepped around her mom and dad to the coffee and poured himself one. She took in the way her parents glanced over to Steven and then back to her.

“Why doesn’t one of you just ask or tell us? Whatever it is, it shouldn’t be this painful,” her dad cut in.

Steven took a swallow of his coffee and stepped around Brad again, over to the boys, who were unusually quiet. Of course, everyone was now curious as to what was going on.

“Fine, I’ll just ask,” Katy said. “Dad, Mom, Steven and I love this ranch. I don’t want you to take the offer. In fact, I have a lot of objections to some corporate guy coming in and destroying all this.” She gestured to the kitchen. “They would tear down this house! I love this house. I grew up here, Fletcher grew up here, and then there are all the outbuildings, the barn, and what about all the livestock? I mean, Dad, you put everything into this place—love, sweat, tears, us. And now some guy wants to come in and wipe it all away as if it never existed?

“I understand, Dad, that you want to sell the place, and I get it to a point, especially with what he’s offering,” she continued. “The money is a lot…but I love this place. Steven loves this place. We love this place. I know you want to move, and I understand, but isn’t there some way that…” Katy stopped talking. Everyone just stared at her, and for a second, she wondered if her parents thought she’d lost her mind. Steven raised a brow, and she wondered how stupid it sounded. Even to her own ears, it sounded pathetic. Her dad looked away, raising a brow as well, and then exchanged another look with her mom.

“What Katy is trying to say,” Steven cut in, “is that we’ve always wanted this kind of life. I think you both know that, but your nine million plus price will never be in our price range. It had us both kind of realizing we’ll never have something like this.”

She couldn’t remember ever seeing her dad appear so confused as he dragged his gaze from Steven to her and back. The way her mom frowned, though, made her think this entire idea was out there.

Steven pushed away from the counter and set his mug down, then brushed his hands together. “But we wondered on the idea of having just a piece of this. I mean, this guy or whoever he is, as you said last night, doesn’t want the house or any of this. He just wants the land, to milk it of everything, so I guess Katy and I had the crazy idea that maybe, somehow, we could figure out a way to keep some part that this guy doesn’t want…” He stopped talking. This time she was positive by the way her parents were looking at them that they thought they’d lost their minds.

“You want to buy the ranch?” Fletcher finally jumped in. The expression on his face was priceless. Yeah, everyone was confused, so she shrugged.

“Well, no.” She laughed, because the millions it would take to buy this, even though she was family, were out of their reach. “The thing is, honey, as I said to your dad last night, it was our worst fear come true last night to hear that someone wants all this, but not really. They want this place with none of what makes it so special. I think everyone knows how much we love this place, all of us, and I know it may sound ridiculous, because we can’t afford this, but Steven and I talked last night, and we realized if we didn’t ask, if we didn’t tell you how we feel, then there would always be a what-if. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it’s not a good idea to leave things unsaid. So there, I’ve said it. We’ve said it,” she added, and Steven inclined his head.

The way her mom and dad looked at each other, she dreaded what they’d say.

“Great, okay then,” Brad replied, then turned to the boys. “Who’s taking you two to school?”

“You are,” Jack said, so her dad gestured to the front door, and she listened to the scrape of their chairs. Steven shook his head, tired, dismissed. It seemed like they hadn’t been heard.

When her dad started out of the kitchen, he stopped in front of her and took her in. For a second, she didn’t have a clue what he’d say. Then he turned back to the boys. “Come on, shake a leg, you two.” He started to the door, the boys following, and that left Steven and her mom and an empty house.

Just then, Trevor walked in the back door and wiped his shoes. “Oh, I’m hungry,” he stated, and he walked right to the stove.

Katy watched as her mom handed him a bowl so he could dish up some oatmeal. “What was that, Mom?” she said.

“That was us listening. The boys have to go to school. Steven, don’t you have to get to your jobsite, and, Katy, are you watching Gilly again this morning?”

There she went, organizing everyone and not answering.

“Yup, see you tonight,” Steven said. As he walked over to her, he caught in one hand the granola bar her mom tossed him. “Thanks,” he added before he turned to kiss Katy, his gaze lingering on her. She didn’t want to hear what he was likely thinking, which was what a waste of time that had been.

“Well, I guess I’d better go, too,” she said, walking over to the dishwasher and then putting in her mug.

“Katy, you know we heard you, right?” Emily said.

Katy glanced over to Trevor, who was now sitting at the table, eating the hot cereal and not paying them any attention. “I suppose,” she replied. “It’s just that Dad left and didn’t say anything, so there you have it.” She had her answer, and the sinking feeling in her stomach really took hold.

“Katy, I told you already that your dad hasn’t made any decisions yet. There’s a lot to consider. Let him think on it. And, Katy, your dad knows how much this place means to both you and Steven. He didn’t dismiss you. He’s figuring out a lot, and none of this is easy for him. Giving up this place was something your dad never considered. As long as I’ve known Brad, this ranch has been who he is.” Her mom just let her gaze linger.

“So what you’re saying is to give Dad some time to sort all this out?”

Emily inclined her head. “Yup, now you’d better get going before Becky calls, wondering where you are.”

Katy took in Trevor again. He seemed as if he didn’t have a care in the world, but then, he didn’t worry about things the way she did. Maybe she needed to take a page from his book, looking at what she had instead of worrying about what she couldn’t have.


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