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Excerpt for Loving Ranch City (Ranch City Book 3) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Loving Ranch City

Ranch City Book 3


Copyright © 2018 by Bridgitte Lesley

Published by Bridgitte Lesley

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.


Publishers note:

LOVING RANCH CITY (RANCH CITY BOOK 3) is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or locations is purely coincidental. The characters are a creation of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.


First Printing: 2018

Bridgitte Lesley

P O Box 612, Uvongo, 4270, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa

www.bridgittelesley.com


Acknowledgement

I would like to thank my Mom without whose help this book would never have been completed.


Thank you for your patience and guidance, your use of the editor’s red pen…

Chapter 1

Months had gone by. Mary was a happily married woman. Ranch City was making an enormous profit. Carol had handed the total management portfolio to Mary. Mary hadn’t changed anything but still helped her father when he was short of a hand. Bruce called on her from time to time when he was really stuck. But she managed Ranch City as though it belonged to her. Her projects came in thick and fast and she made an enormous amount of money on every project. Sitting for hours and planning a project brought in a lot of money. Her clients were prepared to pay the fees knowing that Mary would deliver a project that worked. Sometimes they asked her to work out a project with time lines and they would do the rest. Often times she managed a project and made arrangements for every detail of the project right up till she handed over the complete project.


Mary slowly ambled along on her horse. She took a ride in to Ranch City and saw Bruce’ horse tied up in front of the restaurant. Mary looked at her watch knowing he would be meeting with Mitch just before lunch. She looked at the time again. He was probably running late. She suddenly pulled at her reins and watched as Patricia walked out of the restaurant gurgling with laughter. She watched as Bruce followed her. He was in fits of laughter. Mary wondered why Patricia was with Bruce. She felt the knots in her stomach tighten. Bruce suddenly looked up and looked straight at Mary. She pulled the reins and turned the horse and rode off in disgust. Mary didn’t even bother to stick around. They had been married for a few months but Mary hadn’t fallen pregnant. Bruce seemed to have lost interest in the bedroom activities. He wanted Mary pregnant and nothing had happened. Bruce walked to the staircase and called out after Mary. She turned her head and saw Mitch walking out and putting his arms around Patricia. Mary felt like a fool. She thought Bruce was with Patricia. She knew she was wrong but she couldn’t turn around and make an even bigger fool of herself. Mary moved faster and faster and rode to the ranch over the road. She saw Carol standing in the kitchen and stopped her horse and tied up the reins as she climbed off. She knocked and walked inside and went in to the kitchen. Carol took one look at her and poured a cup of coffee. She dished up a slice of cake and put it on the table. Mary sat down and looked at the cake. “I crave cherries. I see the packets they sell and I want to buy but I know once I start I won’t stop. I know I will lose control and put on a lot of weight. I feel so stupid. I am so jealous of Bruce. I saw him with Patricia and felt the jealous knot in my stomach. And then I saw Mitch hugging and kissing Patricia. Standing with Bruce. I am an idiot,” Mary said as she started eating and drinking her coffee. “I thought marriage is bliss. Or it would be. After a few months I have become a bore. Bruce is asleep by eight in the evening,” Mary said. “I feel sick all the time. Because I think he could have done a whole lot better. The money flows in. So much money that we can’t spend. I mean that. Hundreds of thousands in a month. But nothing changes. We haven’t changed. Some things have,” Mary said and put down her cake fork. She put her hands over her eyes.

Adam walked in and winked at Carol who stood smiling. “Marriage is not about money or making love. It is about everything,” Carol said.

Mary wiped her tears away and finished her slice of cake. “Then we don’t have any of that. We don’t make love because most evenings Bruce falls asleep in front of the fire. He has his meal and sits in the lounge and has his brandy and falls asleep. I don’t always cook because if there is no time I buy pies. We don’t chat anymore,” Mary said.

“Bruce is three men short at the moment. They are in quarantine and we can’t afford to get extra hands. We don’t want the virus to spread,” Adam said.

“Well, hell! Nice to know!” Mary said.

Adam opened the cupboard and took out a little container and put it on the table. “Go pee,” Adam said.

“Yeah, sure, Doctor Patterson. Tell me to cry and I can fill that jar up in seconds. Why?” Mary said.

“I would like to check your vitamin intake,” Adam said, and she got up and walked down the passage and came back a few minutes later and handed the container to Adam. He walked out smiling.

“I don’t bake. I never cook. And I never spend time in the kitchen. I clean and that is it. I want to but when I go in to the kitchen Bruce is asleep. I just go to bed,” Mary said.

“Maybe you need to satisfy your cravings,” Carol said and carried on making supper.

“And pack on the weight. I am waiting for Bruce to ask me to leave,” Mary said and rubbed at her eyes. Carol walked over to her and sat down next to her and pulled her in to her arms and rocked her gently.

“Three hands short so he is trying to do it all himself. You can tuck into anything you like and you will not put on weight. You work it off every day. You are so active. Don’t get cross with Bruce. Times are hard, Mary. Maybe he forgot to tell you,” Carol said.

“But why was he out for lunch with Patricia and Mitch?” Mary wailed and Carol held her, holding her head against her chest and brushed her hair away.

“I think Patricia stopped by while they were having a meeting,” Carol said.

Adam walked in and smiled. He sat down at the table. “Mary, go home and tell Bruce I would like to see the both of you together some time tonight,” Adam said and Mary looked at him.

“Am I going to die?” Mary asked.

“Probably at the age of ninety four or ninety five. There is the possibility,” Adam said.

Mary smiled a brief smile and got up. “I will tell Bruce,” Mary said as she walked out and climbed straight on to her horse and made her way home. She galloped all the way to Ranch City and then ambled home.


Bruce walked out of the house. He held the reins of Mary’s horse as she climbed off. “Doctor Patterson would like to see us tonight,” Mary said and walked inside.

“Us?” Bruce asked and Mary turned and looked at him.

“Us. How was lunch with Mitch and Patricia?” she asked.

“Only Mitch. Patricia arrived as we finished,” he said and walked over to her. He put out his hand and held hers. “Something has gone wrong. I don’t want to lose you. I love you Mary. Things are going wrong,” he said. “I saw you when we walked out of the restaurant. I called out to you,” he said.

“I had to go,” she said and looked away.

Bruce put up his hand and held her on her cheek and turned her to face him. He saw the huge tears. “This isn’t right. Come on sweetheart,” he said as he pulled her in to his arms and held and kissed her. “I bought you a slice of cake for after supper. There is a curry in the fridge. I ordered it when I saw you leaving. Let’s go inside,” he said and held her as they walked. He walked to the fridge and took the curry and put it straight in to the microwave. He turned to Mary and looked at her. “I am to blame,” he said.

Mary shook her head, and he pulled her closer and she burst in to tears. He stroked the back of her head. “I am three men short and I can’t replace them. We don’t want anyone else catching the mumps. I am trying to do their jobs as well as mine and I can’t. I get so tired. I eat and sleep and I am neglecting you,” he said. “Have something to eat and we will go and see Doctor Patterson,” he said and looked at her and kissed her. He sat her down and put the curry in front of her. She smiled and got up and took two plates and dished up for both of them. As they finished, they got up and walked out. Bruce walked her over to the jeep and drove her to the ranch over the road.


They walked in and Adam walked them to the study. As they sat down they expected the worst. “So, I will put you out of your misery. Mary you are pregnant. I would like to give you a checkup and we can see how far you are. We can do it here in my surgery. I have come to love my surgery. Eve lies on her back and rolls the ball across her stomach and studies every body part. She is our regular nurse. She even uses the darn thing to try to look at the bones in her foot and her arm. She prints out photograph after photograph. All I do is replace photographic paper. Mary you are so out of sorts. If you crave something, then your body needs it. Bruce, you are taking strain,” Adam said.

“Pregnant? We have to check this out. I flake out on Mary every night and I am walking around feeling guilty. I am to blame. We aren’t active anymore,” Bruce said and looked at Mary. “I love you darling. This wasn’t how I wanted it. The men can’t come out of the bunkhouse. Doctor Patterson has them quarantined. One more week,” Bruce said.

“You have to tell me these things. I will get extra hands in tomorrow. Get them to ease the load. Pregnant?” Mary asked, and they both looked at Adam who suddenly gurgled with laughter.

“Very. And as miserable as sin because your little hormones are out of hand. Let’s go and have a scan,” Adam said and got up. They followed him through to his new medical suite in the house. Eve almost sprinted. She put the jelly on Mary’s stomach and pressed every button she had to. She gave the measurements to Adam, and he grinned.

“Five months. Four to go. I will be delivering this baby boy,” Adam said.

“Boy!” Eve squealed and sprinted out of the room.

Mary slowly sat up. “Boy. Man child. Boy! Bruce! We are going to have a little boy!” Mary yelled and burst in to tears. Bruce pulled her in to his arms and straight on to his lap. He kissed her all over the face. “We need to tell Dad. We have to tell gran and granddad. Bruce, phone your gran. I will phone Dad. No, you phone everyone. Doctor Patterson our vitamins are finished. I forgot to go and get my script. Oh God! I didn’t tell Carol about the new chemist which is opening in a week. So that is all sorted and arranged. The building is up and everything is arranged. Deposit, three month’s rent. Sheesh!” Mary said and looked at both men.

“Deposit and three month’s rent?” Adam asked.

“Unthinkable but that is how I roll. I had a run of pamphlets because we were running low. We are on the route of a new bus company. Once a week. I am sure I submit these things in the monthly report. The kindergarten visits on a monthly basis and they go to the petting zoo. The restaurant supplies hot dogs and juice for the children. That is on a Wednesday. Horse rides on a Thursday afternoon and horse riding lessons every second day. I do submit all of this in my monthly report. We need vitamins Bruce. I will arrange for a few men tomorrow. Roving cowboys. They are desperate for work. You are going to call them tonight. That might be better. But you can’t employ them full time because they are almost like gypsy's. They fill in when they are needed,” Mary said and sighed. “When is he due?” Mary asked and Adam grinned and gave them the date.

Bruce gurgled with laughter. “Get the gypsy's and I am staying in bed for the day. I need sleep,” Bruce said. Mary grinned as she quickly made a call and made the arrangements. She dialed Bruce’s gran and handed him the phone. He chatted for almost ten minutes and cut his call. She dialed Ray and Bruce took the phone and grinned as he chatted.

Adam chuckled as he got up and fetched the pack of vitamin tablets and sat down again while Bruce chatted. He handed the packet of tablets to Mary. They all walked through to the kitchen. Carol whooped and hugged the both of them. “Wish list coming up. I hate my daughter. Alice always writes the word movie. My son is terrible. He writes CD. David has the biggest selection of CD’s this side of the earth. They started renting out movies but now it is music as well. Oh here they are. And they expect supper,” Carol said and grinned as Alice and David walked in.

“We heard that comment, Mom,” Alice said.

“It is a love thing, sweetheart,” Carol said as she hugged Alice. “Love you to bits! How many movies are out for rental?” Carol asked.

“Today was a nightmare. All my archive movies are out. I am so glad I have five copies of each. And the bus arrived today. The driver rents the movies on a weekly cycle. He has enough to keep his passengers occupied for a week. Am I allowed to sell movies? Well, done! Five sold. Roll on your flight. I need fresh movies,” Alice said and grinned. “Please can I have an ice cream cone before supper? I am craving ice cream,” Alice said.

“Craving or craving?” Carol asked as she took the ice cream out of the freezer and the box of cones.

“Craving. Not craving. Mary your mascara has smudged,” Alice said and Mary grinned as Bruce wiped her mascara away. “You should go to the beautician and have eyelash extensions. We all do. When last did you have your permanent eyeliner done?” Alice asked and looked at Mary’s eyes. “Recently. Nice job! What about a semi-permanent tattoo on your bum?” Alice asked and Mary rolled her eyes and grinned.

“Alice, just pass the cone please,” Mary said and Alice giggled as she passed the ice cream cone to Mary and took another and handed it to Bruce. Carol chuckled as she made one for everyone. Mavis walked in to the kitchen and shook her head and dished up for everyone.

“Ice cream is actually pudding,” Mavis said.

“Mavis, ice cream cones fall in to the category of condolences, sorry foods, I love you and even binge food. Oh Sally has arrived. She needs a sorry ice cream,” Alice said and Sally grinned as she walked in and sat down and sighed.

“I need a condolence vending machine. Sorry for your loss. And then I had to listen to the history of Chester the cat. By the time I had done the perm I wanted to hit Gloria over the head and say sorry for your loss and sorry I murdered you. I accidentally smothered you with the perm lotion. So sorry. Mavis just send that ice cream please,” Sally said and Mavis chuckled as she scooped the ice cream and handed it to Sally who sat with a plate full of food in front of her. “Seriously! When did you buy the rum and raisin ice cream?” Sally asked.

Mavis gurgled with laughter. “Captain Patterson and I had to go shopping,” Mavis said.

“God yes! Any specials I need to know about?” Sally asked.

“Not in the hair department.” Mavis said and Carol grinned. “Mary and Bruce are expecting a little boy,” Mavis said.

Sally whooped. “Yes! That little chap is going to be born in chaps. Or on a horse. Oh wow! Well done!” Sally said and grinned as she finished her cone and tucked in to her meal.

David walked in and groaned. “Website done. Delivered. Monies collected. Three more to do. CD’s are seriously moving out of the door at a rapid rate. Hey Bruce and Mary! What is news? You need to return that ADCD movie Mary. It is almost three weeks overdue and I will have to charge you a fine. Why are you always late? You are such a good customer but the worst at the same time. What about Black Sabbath and Mick Jagger? I need them back,” David said as he tucked in to his meal. “And REO Speedwagon. You are living in the past. Bruce?” David asked.

Bruce burst in to laughter. “I will return them all in the morning. We might move on to nursery rhymes,” Bruce said and grinned.

Eve gurgled with laughter. “Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary are going to have a baby boy,” Eve said proudly.

“Swell! How did that happen? Every time we see you, you are on a saddle going up or down City Drive. I thought you might not have legs. Wow! A boy. I need to be called Uncle David. We all have needs and that is one of mine,” David said and suddenly stopped eating. “So since when have we got rum and raisin ice cream? Mavis be a doll and make me a cone please,” David asked and Mavis gurgled with laughter as he stopped eating and took the cone from her. He had his ice cream and carried on eating.

Bruce shook his head as he watched the goings on. Everything seemed to happen in a wave. “So, we need to get home,” Bruce said.

“I need movies and CD’s. Put that on your to do list,” David said and grinned.

“Seriously? You have over a thousand movies and CD’s. When are we getting fresh movies?” Bruce asked.

“Mom is flying out at the end of the week. I have already placed my order. Any special requests?” David asked and grinned.

“Cowboy movies. I rather like those. Cowboys and Indians. But real stuff. And GI Jane. You need more of that movie. It is always out. But we need Winnie the Pooh and that one with Piglet. And the three little pigs,” Bruce said.

“You are living in the dark ages. Piglet is in Winnie the Pooh. He is a character. You need fairy tale management. You have seen GI Jane about twenty or thirty times. I will find a few cowboy movies. All those red Indians do is scalp the white blokes. So, you don’t see that. You scare me Bruce. Mary you should worry. I have the Smurfs and loads of other kiddie movies,” David said and grinned.

“We must go,” Bruce said and stood up.

“Good job on the chemist, Mary. I like that woman. She is a chemist, but she knows every herb and herbal medication there is. I call her the Shaman. So she came for a cup of coffee,” David said.

“And David vanished and spent the entire afternoon with her. Introducing her to every store owner, shop keeper, business owner and the animals in the petting zoo. I had to man the fort,” Patricia said.

“So she is cute,” David said and grinned. “Patricia you need to mind your own business.”


Bruce grinned as they walked out. They climbed in to the van and Bruce looked at Mary. She suddenly burst in to tears. He held her in his arms. “Oh sweetheart,” Bruce said.

“I have been so mean. I didn’t know you were short of staff. I thought you and Patricia were having lunch and then I saw Mitch. I was so jealous and then I knew I had made a fool of myself,” Mary said and sobbed.

“No you didn’t. I didn’t want to worsen your load and tell you about my problems. In future I will. I met Mitch to discuss how we would handle this epidemic as well as his salary increase. He needs to move in to the married quarters. Patricia might end up living with him. Well, she will. And then she arrived, and we all walked out together. I am sorry babe. In future I will keep you informed with my side of things too. You are so busy as well. Mary, we are going to be parents,” Bruce said and kissed her all over the face. “And tonight come hell or high water we will be getting physical. That is why I am so grouchy. We need that every day. The way we made love before. Daily. Every morning and every night. Because that is who we are,” he said.

Mary wiped her tears away and nodded. “I know,” she said and smiled as he started the jeep.

“Don’t let me go to sleep so early. And not in the lounge. I can’t fall asleep in front of the fire,” he said and winked as he drove.

Bruce pulled up at the house and looked at Mary. She sat as though mesmerized. He didn’t interrupt her thought processes but waited. She slowly turned towards Bruce. “I was so worried. I thought you may have lost interest in me. Then I saw you coming out of the restaurant. My first thought was that I was right. As I turned I saw Mitch and realized what a fool I had been. But I raced off. I couldn’t face anyone. I rode over to Dad but I couldn’t face him either. He would ask me what was wrong. Basically, I ran. I sprinted off. Fear engulfed me,” Mary said and burst in to tears. Bruce pulled her right over and sat her on his lap.

“Poppet, I don’t even look at other women. I have you right here. With those sexy long legs and your cute little bottom. Your tiny waist and your gorgeous boobs. I often wonder whether I am a boob man or a bum kind of guy but I just can’t decide. I love every little bit of you,” he said and kissed her. He held her in his arms and smiled. “I want to buy this place. It could take years but this is our home. This is where we belong,” he said.

“One year. Give us one year and we will be able to buy it cash. You need to speak to your gran and granddad. I want them here. Dad will eventually move in with us but by then we might even have a cottage for him. He might meet someone and need his own home,” she said.

“One year?” he asked.

“If my projects come in, it will take exactly one year. Doctor Patterson won’t want to part with this place but they will. I know Carol is thinking down the line. In the event of something happening the cash would be handier than a property which they will never manage to sell,” she said.

“Would you be able to negotiate?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Let’s think ahead. I am going to be a Dad. You are going to be a fabulous Mom. I would love my grandparents here. And your Dad. He is more my Dad than my own father. I go to him when I need a little guidance. Not about work but about me. Not that I have problems but when I need motivation, he is there. I go straight to him and tell him what I am thinking and he steers me on the straight and narrow. Things to do with the ranch. Not us. There I don’t need advice. We are who and what we are. And we are a great team. Just the last few weeks have been hell. Trying to keep the men inside without having an argument,” he said.

“I am glad you told me. Once we have bought this place we need to work on the buildings. Proper married quarters. And a bunkhouse where the single guys can really get together. I have given this a lot of thought. Cabins the same as the stores on City Drive. Those are beautiful and will stand the test of time. We can do this, Bruce. That is my dream,” she said.

“My dream is to have a big family. Three or four children. My grandparents right here with us. Men who are happy to work for us. And sheep. We are doing well but that would help. We need a book exchange,” he said and grinned.

“Gran and granddad?” she asked.

“Yes. They need to be kept busy. They could come for a visit and stay. Set up their bookstore and live with us for the time being,” he said.

“Are they keen?” she asked.

“They are. We could order a container full of books and get going. There is no library out here. We need to get it going,” he said.

“Very soon before someone else thinks of doing the same thing,” she said and put her arms around Bruce. “I love you Bruce. I am sorry I had such strange thoughts. I was feeling so blue. Things haven’t been right. If I had known about your epidemic, it would have been different,” she said.

“In future we discuss the day when we have our meal,” he said.

“Meal!” Mary squealed, and he gurgled with laughter.

“A full roast is waiting for you. I ordered the meal and asked them to deliver to Maggie and Eric. They were going to drop it off for us,” he said.

“Every day I love you more Bruce Harris. Is that possible?” she asked.

“More and more every day. I know what you mean,” he said and smiled as they both climbed out of the jeep and walked inside hand in hand. Mary took their meals from the fridge and put them straight in to the microwave. She had them on the table within minutes. They both sat down to a scrumptious meal.

“Thank you for my lunch. The curry was good. I am hungry all the time,” Mary said.

Chapter 2

The next morning was a busy one. Bruce and Mary both felt on top of the world. Things were back to normal. They rode down to the management office and Mary climbed off of her horse. Bruce lingered for a while and Mitch took over from him. An hour later Shaun took over. Paying the staff who had worked for the month took a while. The last person to be paid was Gregory. He walked in and smiled. “Gregory! I can tell your parents are away. Go straight home and pack clothes for the week. You have been booked in at the bed-and-breakfast. Aimee is waiting for you and has your room ready. I expect to see you at one,” Mary said and handed him a thick envelope.

“A week?” Gregory asked.

“Get out of here Gregory. Go home and pack. Your lodgings are paid for. I have already spoken to your parents,” Mary said. Gregory grinned and almost ran out of the office. “Boys!” Mary said.

Jody gurgled with laughter. “Men!” Jody said.

Mary chuckled as she walked to the front door. “Aunty Beth would like to see you. Something about elasticized waistbands and jeans,” Jody said and chuckled.

“Ghastly! How do I say no? Bruce has an array of jeans that will fit me. I will have to let her down. Why don’t you go and buy yourself a pair of elasticized jeans?” Mary asked.

“Ugh!” Jody said.

Mary laughed as she walked out and watched as Shaun seemed to amble off. She nodded and smiled as he raised his hat and made his way on to the ranch. She took a deep breath and smiled. She hadn’t realized Bruce had a watch on the go while she paid all the workers. She climbed on her horse and made her way to the bed-and-breakfast. Mary spotted Aimee in the kitchen window and gave the thumbs up. Aimee did the same and waved. She gave a little sigh. Mary always made sure there was someone booked in at the bed-and-breakfast. The ranch hands had all had a turn to spend a night. It was treated as a reward. On odd occasions Aimee had a full house. She was discreet and never chatted about her guests. Mitch and Patricia had spent many nights as guests.


Gregory packed his things for a week and spoke to the neighbor. Making sure they knew no one would be home. He made his way to Ranch City. He drove straight to the bed-and-breakfast and walked in. “Nice to see you Gregory. I have spoken to your mother and father and to Mary. Your accommodation is booked for the week. I think you have the afternoon shift this afternoon and from tomorrow you are with Jody for the morning shift,” Aimee said.

“Aimee, Mom and Dad can’t afford this,” Gregory said.

“Not up for discussion,” Aimee said, and he grinned.

“Can Mary and Bruce afford this?” he asked.

“You know, Gregory, Ranch City is an amazing place. Everything filters down. This and that pays for another this and that. And that this and that pays for another this and that. When I see the cash, I don’t ask questions. I make up the room and make sure all the meals are catered for. Breakfast, lunch and supper. Breakfast will be here and lunch will be at the restaurant. And supper could be here or at the restaurant or possibly at the beer garden. It just depends on the day,” she said and grinned.

“I love working at Ranch City. Bruce hauls me out of the office and makes me work the land. So, I know Mary knows. An hourly rate is an hourly rate. I want to laugh when Ray comes and steals me from under Bruce’ nose. And then you look up from repairing a fence and Bruce is on the wrong ranch. Mary is pounding a pole in to the ground and it is a team effort all the way. It is a family business even though it isn’t. You know what I mean?” he asked.

“I do. Isn’t there a bus arriving today?” she asked.

“At two. I love those buses. I work the bus shift every time. We get super tips. Giving guided tours through Ranch City,” he said.

“I have had some good business from the bus tours. Two couples checked in for a visit weeks later. They caught the bus and spent a week here. Then they caught the next bus home. The bookings are coming in. You need to move,” she said and took Gregory through to his room. He grinned as he looked around. He packed his clothes away and made his way to the management office.


Mary sat on her horse and ambled along. She turned and made her way over the road. She rode on to the property and spotted Carol in the kitchen. She pulled her horse up to the pole and tied up the reins. “I need to speak to you Mrs. Harris,” Carol said.

Mary chuckled as she climbed off of her horse and walked inside. “How can I help?” Mary asked.

“We have a lot of baby clothes packed away. Would you mind hand me downs?” Carol asked.

“I would love hand me downs,” Mary said.

“Good. I will get them out and have someone drop them off for you. Were you coming to see me?” Carol asked.

“I was. Do you think I could have three sets of contracts for Ranch City? It might be easier when I get new tenants,” Mary said.

“That might be a better idea. Adam and I are sitting with a bit of a problem,” Carol said.

“How so?” Mary asked.

“Family,” Carol said and sighed.

“You mean their rent,” Mary said.

“We have our parents involved. The children and our brothers and sisters. So, collecting the rent is a very touchy subject. I am not complaining. But they are always late. Adam and I don’t want to nag and cause a rift,” Carol said.

Adam walked through. “We are thinking of selling. Would you be interested?” Adam asked.

“I am very interested but I would need a year to come up with the money,” Mary said.

“We need to move a little quicker than that,” Adam said.

“Do you have anyone else in mind?” Mary asked.

“We have had a few offers,” Carol said.

“That changes things a bit. That is our home,” Mary said.

“And it will be,” Adam said.


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