Will Kat Patterson manage to save her ancestral home when all her brother wants is cold hard cash? Paul’s hired Whip Tyler to develop the property against Kat’s wishes. Whip Tyler of all people! Hasn’t their family lost enough at Whip’s hands?
Hasn’t Paul Patterson caused enough damage in Whip’s life? But if he won’t take the job, Paul will find someone else – a developer who will rape the land and throw Kat’s hopes to the wind. It would be easier if Whip didn’t care. Or if that long-ago promise didn’t stand between him and Kat.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Based on my own Home Place, my goal with this novel was to honor the history of that place while also imagining a future different from what really happened to it. I wanted to see if my protagonist could keep what she loved most about her family's farm intact as my family could not. Could she prevent her Home Place from becoming the golf course mine has?
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Though I leaned on circumstances set by great-grandparents as backstory, I wanted Home Place, the novel, to not be autobiographical. So I invented bad parents for Kat Patterson and her brothers, and while Kat and I share deep feelings for our homeland, that's the only way we're alike. To boost conflict I made her brother Paul love money and added developer Whip Tyler who becomes attracted to Kat. Whip needed his own backstory, one that entwines with the Patterson family and from which neither he nor Kat have ever quite healed. Kat and Whip tell the story in alternate chapters. For fun and to explore deep friendship I added saucy Darcy and her laid-back husband Luke. Numerous minor characters add flavor and exemplify the kinds of rural and small-town people it's been my privilege to know.
Chapter 2: Whip
The place looked much as I expected. Big house with more grace than aerial photos showed. Big lawn and stately trees that must be a century or more old. Perched on a hill above the road, with sloping hills to the south and down to a creek just out of view.
As I came around the sweep of the driveway, the faded grandeur one saw from the road shifted to the ugly utility of a working farm. Not one that worked well. The collection of outbuildings – corncrib, hog lot, shop, a couple of barns – looked as tired as the rusty combine and rickety hayrack in the barnyard. Like so many farms across the Midwest, this one was likely prosperous in its time. But that time was gone. And in its place? Another client hoping to make new money off old land. Not a client I relished.
For one thing, I was no fan of McMansions for people who say they want to live in the country but turn it into suburbia. For another, it was Paul Patterson, and I expected that was what he’d want. He was a greedy kid, and I doubted he’d changed. I shrugged. Business. And…maybe it would help me close a door. I didn’t set my hopes high.
As I stepped out of the truck, I saw a face at a window. Uh-oh. The little sister. Paul said she’d be off to her town job by now, but I should have known he’d miss the mark. Old slapdash Patterson.
The face pulled back, and I glimpsed a bare shoulder and hair the color of a well-worn penny. Like Scott’s. Something odd happened in my stomach. Uneasy if-only thinking that dogged me ever since…
I blinked away old images as the back door opened. She said, “You’re early. I didn’t expect you for another half hour.”
“Ma’am?” I took a step toward the porch. Shower fresh hair hung in wet ropes past her shoulders, and eyes of a familiar green did nothing to settle my roiling stomach. Bare toes. No bra.
She squinted, crossed her arms over her chest, shivered. “You’ve got another truck coming, right? It’s not a big flock anymore, but they’ll still never fit in that.” She nodded to my truck.
“Um…I expect they’ll be along shortly.” Play along, I thought.
“I need coffee. Breakfast. Before they get here.” She turned, laid a hand on the doorknob. “You may as well come in while you wait.”
I hesitated. Not a good idea. But curiosity and something else made me follow her inside where a wood stove pumped heat in a wreck of a kitchen.
“Excuse the mess. Use your imagination. See what it will be. Like a rehabber does. Come back a month from now, and this room will be prettier than when my Great-Gremma came here as a bride.”
I let my eyes roam. Half a bare floor, old linoleum on the rest, a gaping hole in one wall, a layer of plaster dust on every surface. It would take a lot more than a month to make the room look like anything but a bomb site.
She laughed as she reached to get mugs from a cupboard. “You don’t believe me. But it will be gorgeous.” She fiddled with a high-tech machine till steam and the heady smell of coffee wafted.
“That doesn’t look like something your great-grandmother would have used.” I hesitated to venture any opinion, but I felt like I had to say something.
“Not hardly,” she laughed again. “But it makes great coffee
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