The newest addition to The Friessens series is here! A PLACE TO CALL OUR OWN, Book 28, is now available at all online retailers! Plus get another sneak peek below.
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.
You can find A PLACE TO CALL OUR OWN at these online retailers:
Did you miss your sneak peek of Chapter 3? If so, click here.
“I’m telling you, Mom and Dad listened, but they didn’t say anything,” Katy said, taking in Becky and Tom’s open kitchen. “Dad just walked out to take the boys to school and said nothing.”
Her sister’s craftsman house, with its tiny yard, was in a beautiful subdivision in town not far from the hospital. As Becky unloaded the dishwasher, Tom moved behind her and set his hands on her hips, then whispered something in her ear. Becky smiled. Her hair was now layered, a mix of gold and brown, and she was dressed in a green tank top and black dressy pants.
Katy couldn’t help feeling awkward. She never liked it when they did that when she was there, so she turned to Gilly, her niece, who was on the blue and gold area rug in the family room with a tub of toys, her blond curly hair sticking up everywhere, a tousled mess. She sucked on a soother as she dressed up her dolls.
“I guess I didn’t realize you and Steven wanted the ranch,” Becky finally said.
Katy turned to see Tom looking amused. He was in a faded T-shirt, unshaven. She’d thought he was working today at the hospital, but apparently not. “We’ve always wanted the ranch or something similar to it. That was the life we wanted. You know Steven and I have always loved the life that Mom and Dad have, how we grew up. I know you didn’t, and I know how you always wanted something else, but it’s different for me. At the same time, it seems we can never have the kind of place Mom and Dad have. I mean, I know I’m not Dad’s real daughter…” She stopped talking as Becky and Tom stilled in shock.
“Stop right there,” Becky said. “That’s absolutely ridiculous, Katy. You’re my sister. You are Dad’s real daughter. Like, what kind of fucking bullshit is that?” She flicked her hand through the air. “Seriously, get that out of your head. Do you really think Dad would overlook you, say you’re not his real kid, but I am, or Trevor and Jack? The most important thing, which you haven’t mentioned but we should talk about, is that the ranch was never going to go to me or you or even Trevor. It was always expected to go to Jack because of the covenant our great grandfather put on the property. Talk about an egotistical privileged white guy who saw women as nothing! No voice, no say, as if he was still in the Middle Ages and women couldn’t be entitled to property.”
Katy wasn’t sure what Tom was going to say, as he appeared close to laughing. “Well, the man is dead,” she replied. “You’re talking about a different time where women couldn’t even vote. Would you like to bring that up, as well?”
Becky actually made a face and rolled her eyes. “No, I’m making a point that dad’s grandfather was a chauvinistic pig, and I’m completely behind Dad in how he had that covenant dissolved. That is justice. Leaving property to the boy just because he’s a boy is so wrong. I mean, you’re the perfect example. It should have gone to you. Yes, the ranch should have gone to you, Katy.” Becky could really get on a roll.
“I think you both seem to forget it’s listed for sale, and didn’t you tell me last night a pretty amazing offer was made?” Tom said. He pulled his gaze from Becky to Katy. She wondered at times how he really saw her, considering there were still times when she saw him as the doctor who’d saved her.
“He hasn’t taken it yet,” Katy said, and Becky shook her head. She wondered if her sister was about to lecture her as well, something along the lines of moving on and finding something else.
“I think all this is really a moot point, anyway,” Becky said. “If Dad hasn’t accepted the offer yet, it’s only a matter of time. He has to take it and sell the ranch because of what happened, Katy.” She lifted her hand when Katy went to interrupt. “No, let me finish. I have a lot to say on this.”
Tom leaned closer to her, and their exchange was so personal. The closeness between them had changed since Cancun. It was something she couldn’t put her finger on, just something that happened between couples when they went through a life-altering experience, a life or death situation. That gunshot had almost taken Becky from all of them.
“I think Dad was always bothered by the fact that the ranch had to go to a boy,” Becky said. “I never really cared, because I never wanted it. You know that, and you’re completely right about that. I may have been a little shocked yesterday because it’s the ranch, and it will always be home, but at the same time, I was bored to tears growing up there. I wanted a life that was different and fun and exciting and…” She stopped talking.
Katy didn’t miss how quiet Tom had become as he crossed his arms over his well-defined chest, leveling them with the brooding gaze he had mastered well. She wondered what he’d say, considering this had been a source of contention between him and Becky. She wondered too if her sister had yet figured out what she really wanted.
“Let’s just say that Dad needs to figure out what he wants to do,” Becky concluded. “You know what, Katy? I personally think it’s a good thing that Dad’s selling the ranch and starting somewhere new. Both Mom and Dad are getting older, and Dad has given everything to that ranch. He works it full-time, every day, seven days a week. He never takes a break. I mean, it’s time for them to have their time, just the two of them, to travel, to see the world, to do the kinds of things they’ve never been able to do—because the ranch, whether they know it or not, has really held them back. I mean, am I not right here, Tom?”
“You seem to forget that’s the kind of life Dad loves,” Katy said. “But I know Cancun really messed with him and everyone.”
Tom stood up and pushed away from the counter. “You know what? You two can dance around this issue all day. Do I think it’s a good thing Brad wants to sell?” He actually shrugged. “Only he can decide that, but at the same time, I was there too. I was in that house, and I saw the fear of God on his face when he felt helpless because of that property. When it comes to a choice between life and property, you realize that land and a house are just that. So if Brad wants to sell, he should sell, because right now, that ranch is the kind of reminder he doesn’t want to have. But, Katy, speaking up the way you did is a good thing, and Becky’s right that you’re part of his family, and maybe Brad should consider figuring out a way to leave part of the ranch to you.”
He dragged his gaze between his wife and Katy, then walked around the island and over to Gilly, who was now rubbing her eyes. “So I’m going to head up and take a shower,” he concluded, then lifted Gilly and gave her a kiss. She mumbled something around the soother she refused to take out, and he set her down and left.
Katy took in the gorgeous house, the high ceilings, the way the light bounced off the pristine white walls, the counters, the cupboards.
“Tom’s right,” Becky said. “If you want the ranch, Dad should figure out a way to leave part of it to you instead of giving you cash from the sale of the property.”
Katy just stared at her sister, wondering what the hell she was talking about.
“The ranch, when it sells,” Becky said. “You didn’t think Dad was keeping all the money, did you?”
She wondered if the expression on her face was the reason her sister was doing her best not to laugh. “Uh, well, yeah. It’s his property…”
Becky was shaking her head, and Katy glanced down, feeling the little hand of her niece on her leg, pulling. She reached down and lifted Gilly, who pulled her soother from her mouth and said, “Time for park! I wanna go to park.”
Katy could feel how heavy her pull-up was and could smell the odor. “Well, not yet. First, miss, you need to get changed.” And she needed to get potty trained, something else her sister wasn’t that on top of. She put Gilly down. “Go and take your pull-up off and put it in the garbage,” she said.
Becky was still watching her with an amused grin as Gilly ran around the island and into the bathroom off the kitchen. “You’re great with her,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do without you. You’re a way better mother than I am.” She just shook her head. “Seriously, you always were. I love Gilly, but I told Tom I don’t want any more kids. You and Steven, how come you haven’t had any more?”
Katy just shrugged. It was something she’d thought of, especially as of late. “I don’t know. We haven’t been back together all that long, but it didn’t seem like the time, considering we’re basically living under Mom and Dad’s roof. Having a baby would turn the overcrowded house into mayhem. I guess I always figured it would just have to wait.” She shrugged again, feeling so awkward. She and Steven hadn’t talked at all about any more kids.
“Katy, Katy, well, I for one think you should—have more kids, that is. And I guess I just thought you knew that Dad was dividing the money up between you, me, Jack, and Trevor? He may not have said so, but we understood. So you want the ranch, or do you want something else that’s like the ranch but on a smaller scale? That’s up to you, but what Dad was planning on giving you is going to open up a lot more options that I think you and Steven should consider.”
Katy took in her niece as she raced back and grabbed both her legs, then started jumping, saying, “Park, park, park!” over and over around her soother.
“Okay, but first let’s get you cleaned up, and you can go to the potty for Auntie,” she said, then dragged her gaze back to Becky, who had the oddest expression as she watched her daughter. “And while we go to the park, you’re going where?”
Becky closed up the dishwasher. “Errands I need to run, and Tom has a phone conference at home. Thanks again, Katy, for being here, for being so good with Gilly and giving me this break I need. You know I do love my daughter, but I’m not Mom, and I’m not you…”
She knew what her sister meant, and she reached down and lifted Gilly, who wrapped her legs around her waist. “Becky, go, do your errands, have your break. I get it. No judging here. And you know what? I love spending time with this girl.” She tickled Gilly, who burst into giggles as she sucked on that soother. Katy watched her sister, so different from her, step around the island and reach for Gilly to kiss her on the cheek and blow a raspberry that had her giggling again before handing her back to Katy.
“Okay, you two, I should only be an hour or so,” Becky said and started out of the kitchen.
That left Katy with her niece, who she realized would be in a diaper until she was in school unless she took the reins and started her potty training. Yup, Becky was good at so many more things than her. She was confident and smart, and she hadn’t ever struggled with just getting up in the morning.
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When Gabriel meets a down-on-her-luck gorgeous single mom with a meddling family, a crazy ex-boyfriend, and enough chemistry between them to heat the county, he is determined to show her that the road to love isn’t as dangerous as she believes.
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