Mary Ellis – Romantic Excerpt – Part 1 of 2

Amish romance author, Mary Ellis shares a romantic excerpt from her latest release, Love Comes to Paradise plus a chance to win a copy. Comment on any post dated Feb 4 – 8 to get your name in the drawing. Deadline: Feb 16th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:

How my hero & heroine meet: Excerpt from Love Comes to Paradise 

“Is something burning? I’d heard this was the best bakery in Paradise.”

The booming male voice sounded oddly familiar to Nora. She had been concentrating her overdone batch and not heard the bell above the door. Peering up, Nora met the gaze of Lewis Miller—her short-lived beau from Harmony. “Lewis,” she murmured. Nora dropped the spatula and approached the counter. “What a surprise.”

“A pleasant one I hope,” he said. “You did write and invite me to visit. Or don’t you recall?” Lewis folded his arms against his black coat. “Maybe you send out so many invitations, it’s hard to keep track.” His blue eyes danced with delight, contrasting his sun-burnished face.

Nora swiped damp palms down her apron. Despite having sent a letter, being face-to-face with the man she once thought she’d marry left her weak in the knees. “Nein, I recall inviting only one person—you.” She approached cautiously and offered her hand which Lewis pumped vigorously.

“Happy to hear it. Now, what’s your price for burnt cookies? Surely you can cut an old friend a deal.” He held her fingers moments longer than necessary.

“Ah-hem.” Violet cleared her throat with exaggeration. “Have Emily and I blended into the pastries or have you simply forgotten us?” She straightened taller in her chair.

“Excuse me. Lewis, this is my dear friend, Violet Trask.” Nora placed both hands on Violet’s shoulders. “And this is my mentor and employer, besides my friend, Emily Gingerich. She is also Sally Detweiler’s sister.” Nora encircled Emily’s waist with her arm as she joined them at the counter. “Ladies, this is Lewis Miller from Maine.”

Lewis swept off his straw hat and bent low. “Violet, Mrs. Gingerich. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. I had prayed Nora would meet nice people in Missouri. And I see that prayer has been answered.”

Welcum to Paradise. And call me Emily, especially if you’re planning to stay with us during your visit. Before you argue, you should know we have no hotels or inns or bed-and-breakfasts in town. Even the nearest campground is fifteen miles away.”

Lewis clutched his hat to his chest. “I wouldn’t dream of declining your hospitality. I spoke with your sister before leaving Maine. Sally described your cooking as memorable.”

Emily’s laughter filled the shop and bounced off the ceiling. “Memorable could be either good or bad, so that sounds like something my sister would say.”

While they exchanged friendly banter, Nora focused on Lewis’ hands. Where were the ink-stains from keeping his father’s ledgers? She remembered his hands as large but not as calloused. Had he been working his daed’s fields besides the store? His face had been full and round, with a hint of remaining baby fat. Now his jawline was sharper while his chin dimple had deepened into a cleft. She shook her head to stop staring. “Emily and Jonas have plenty of room,” she said with every gaze on her. “Where is your bag?” asked Nora.

“Bags,” corrected Lewis. “They’re on the porch. I didn’t want to take up valuable shop space.”

“How long will you be here, a couple weeks?” asked Violet, gathering enough courage to speak.

Lewis trained his cornflower blue eyes on her. “Oh, no, I intend to stay a while. My daed gave me a leave of absence from my job, replacing me in the store with my cousin. I don’t need to return until September to help with the harvest.” His focus drifted from Violet back to Nora.

After his bombshell of news, Nora felt the floor tilt beneath her feet. Lewis would be in town for months? When she’d invited him, she imagined a week, two at the most. “It must be nice to take long vacations,” she murmured.

“No vacation, I intend to look for work, so I don’t deplete my savings account. If anyone knows of any job openings, I’d be much appreciative.” He turned back to Emily. “Now that you know my plans, does your offer of a room still stand? I’ll gladly pay room and board, of course.”

Emily began bagging up an assortment of cookies. “Of course, it does. Your first two weeks will be Gingerich hospitality; then Jonas will set a fair weekly rate. You can discuss that with him.”

“You traveled all this way to see Nora and will remain the entire summer?” Violet’s words dripped with admiration.

Tiny laugh lines formed around his mouth as Lewis smiled. “Truth is, Violet, I have a definite goal to accomplish in Missouri. And I’m not leaving until I’m successful.”

About Mary: Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of her current series won the Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Her debut Christian book, A Widow’s Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards. Learn more: www.maryellis.net, blog: www.maryeellis.wordpress.com, and https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236.

About the book- Love Comes ot Paradise: A New Home… A New Friend… A Catastrophe… 

Does she have a future to hope for? 

Nora King is a woman in love. When Elam Detweiler leaves the ultraconservative Amish district of Harmony, Maine, and moves to Paradise, Missouri, Nora boldly follows soon after. But is she in love with the man or the independence and freethinking he represents? Though she soon finds work she enjoys and a new best friend in Paradise, Nora can’t decide whether she wants to capture Elam’s Englisch-leaning heart or commit finally to her Amish faith. 

And then, unexpectedly, Lewis Miller comes from Harmony to offer Nora what every woman hopes for—a lifetime of unconditional love. As Lewis attempts to claim her affections, Elam’s interest piques. Suddenly, Nora is irresistible to him. Wooed by two such different men, will Nora come to her senses before Elam’s thoughtless choices ruin her reputation beyond repair? Will Lewis’s pursuit survive the challenge? 

Love Comes to Paradise is about fresh starts…and how faith in God and His perfect plans provide peace and joy in a turbulent and ever-changing world.

Come back Feb 6th for a second romantic excerpt by Mary Ellis!

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