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Prologue

The place was a ghost town. Despite its breath-taking locale, Appaloosa Plains had become a shadow of what it once was. The residents of the "sleepy ranching town" had drifted off, leaving behind shells of homes, crumbling remnants of Victorian architecture and empty streets.The city tried to save its existence by offering a funding assistance program for repairs, but the program collapsed when it was discovered that nearly all the buildings were contaminated with asbestos, had unsafe lead piping, needed all-new roofs or their foundations completely redone. Historical building legislation delayed construction work to such an extent that people opted to sell their homes to the government at a loss so they could move away from the red tape and renovation nightmare that their neighborhood trapped in. Now almost no residents were left and there was no city government to speak of. Appaloosa Plains was nothing more than a mess that needed to be cleaned up. Luckily, cleaning up mess…
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Chapter 16: The Tevellyn House / Button Ranch

Matthew and Dorothy continued to live at their parents’ houses for another year while their ranch was being built. As much as they knew the young couple loved one another, Bridget and Altman still worried that Dorothy wasn’t the best choice for their son, although her willingness to move to Appaloosa Plains helped reassure them. Perhaps they had judged her too harshly because she didn’t get along well with their other children. They didn’t know what Dorothy wanted for her future, but she was committing to a major lifestyle change to support their son’s dreams – maybe Matthew would be happy with her.Aria’s house would be next, but they weren’t ready to start planning it. For now, she was enjoying exploring her creative passions. As she got older, Aria did less painting and spent more time practicing piano and inventing things. She’d even recruited Ryker to help her make a workbench they could use for their tinkering projects. Aria liked inventing various widgets, while Ryker mostly mad…