Shannon here: Amish romance author, Mary Ellis shares a second romantic excerpt from her latest release. Comment on any post dated Feb 4 – 8 to get your name in the drawing for a copy of Love Comes to Paradise. Deadline: Feb 17th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:
Excerpt from Love Comes to Paradise:
“That’s what you were doing—planning an outing for us?” she asked in a tiny voice. Elam had never invited her anywhere unless it involved one his schemes.
“Well…of course. Now what do you say, Nora, yea and nay? Monday is a work day so I need to hit the sack.”
“Yea, or I mean jah—yes, in English.” She pushed herself to her feet.
“Glad to hear it. See you tomorrow at supper. Gut nacht.” Lewis jogged up the stairs to his room.
After Nora heard his door close, she floated on air up to hers. He had asked her out. He was serious about courting her. It was all she could do to get through Monday’s laundry and then pie-baking on Tuesday. When Lewis and Jonas drove into the yard after work that afternoon she was dressed in her prettiest sage-colored dress and pacing the floor.
“What are you so tense about?” asked Emily, entering the kitchen to start supper. “You knew him back in Maine. I thought things hadn’t worked out.”
“It was Harmony that didn’t agree with me, not Lewis. Everything is different now that he’s in Missouri.”
Emily rolled her eyes, pulling out a head of cabbage. “Okay, but stop pacing the floor ready to pounce the moment he walks through the door. Why not wait on the front porch? He’ll need to shower before you leave.”
Nora exhaled with relief. “Good idea. I don’t want to become all sweated while you boil cabbage and noodles.” She fled down the hall before the men reached the house.
Twenty minutes later, she and Lewis were driving down the road on a perfect June evening. A light breeze carried the scent of freshly-cut hay—sweet perfume in the hearts of farmers—and cooled her overheated face. Lewis kept up the majority of conversation by pointing out three schoolhouses, a cabinet shop, the metal supplier, and a cemetery he’d found two nights ago.
Nora relaxed—something she seldom did around Elam. Lewis put her at ease, even if he didn’t possess Elam’s magnetic appeal. However, inside the Crossroads Restaurant, situated close to the main route to Columbia, she found appeal of a different sort. Several pairs of eyes turned in their direction when they entered the diner. And each of those faces wore a bright smile.
“Good evening.” Picking up two menus, the hostess nodded at Lewis. “We’re all ready for you, sir.”
Nora gasped when the woman led them to a table set with a white tablecloth, linen napkins, bone china plates and crystal goblets. Two tall tapers burned from a gleaming silver sconce. She glanced around the diner. Everyone else was eating supper with ordinary plates, paper napkins and plastic cups, without benefit of a tablecloth. No candles illuminated any other meal. “Why are we the only people getting the fancy treatment?” she asked once the hostess left.
Lewis pulled out her chair. “I suppose because no one else is on a first date.” He sat down and draped the cloth napkin across his lap.
“How much extra will this extravagance cost?” she hissed under her breath. “Did you forget we’re Amish?”
He shrugged, while scanning the menu. “Nothing beyond the price of our meals. These nice people were tickled to make the evening special for us. Even Amish people are allowed to be romantic during courting.” Lewis leaned across his dinner plate. “My daed bought my mamm a potted orchid while they were courting. She had admired one at the garden shop. Can you imagine an orchid in Maine? It didn’t last a month, but my mother cherished it until it curled up and died.” Lewis set down the menu. “I took the liberty of preordering the stuffed peppers. After all, they are on special.” His left dimple appeared. “But you may select your own side dishes.”
Nora scanned daily special sheet, conscious of the attention they had attracted. “I’ll take green beans and the cinnamon baked apples.” When she set her menu on the edge of the table, he covered her hand with his.
“Relax, Nora, worry about nothing but enjoying supper in Sturgeon, Missouri. Life is short—over with in the blink of an eye. Let’s make the most of tonight.”
“Okay, I’ll do my best.”
And so she did. They ate delicious food on elegant china and chatted about their trips across America. They smiled and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Not once did Lewis leave her side to sneak back to the buggy. Not once did he behave embarrassingly bold toward her. Not once did she fear for their reputations in her newfound community.
Along with the check, their waitress presented them with a giant cupcake. “For your dessert, compliments of the owner,” she said. Someone had written “good luck” with white icing across the rounded top.
That night, in the charming Sturgeon diner, home to local Englischers and Amish folk alike, Nora’s world shifted on its axis. Nothing was different in her life and yet, somehow everything had changed.
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, www.maryeellis.wordpress.com, https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236 .
About the book – Love Comes to 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 8th for K Dawn Byrd!