Mary Ellis – Romantic Excerpt – Part 2 of 2

Shannon here: Amish romance author, Mary Ellis shares a romantic scene from her latest release, An Amish Family Reunion. Every time you comment, your name goes in the drawing. Deadline: Feb 18th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:

The proposal story for my characters

In my Amish romance, my hero and heroine are farm kids. When it was time to write the scene in which Eli states his intentions toward Phoebe I thought: What would be the least romantic place for this scene? My answer: the hog pen in the barn where our happy sow lives with her eight adorable piglets. If I could make this locale romantic, I will have achieved a milestone in my writing career. Read the excerpt from An Amish Family Reunion and let me know if I succeeded. I’d love to hear your comments.

Excerpt from An Amish Family Reunion by Mary Ellis

She left the hamper in the shade, away from the barn, and found Eli herding the world’s fattest hog and her brood of piglets through an opening in the barn wall. “Let’s step lively into your outdoor accommodations,” he said to the sow. “So I can tidy and redecorate your indoor quarters.” He wore knee-high boots and a leather apron, but was still quite dirty.

“Hello, Eli,” she said, stepping as close as possible.

When their eyes met, his held the cool assurance that belied his appearance. “Phoebe Miller, what a surprise. My companions of late have all been porcine.” He bent to gently shoo the runt piglet through the opening to join his siblings.

She reflected for a moment. “I take it ‘porcine’ has something to do with pigs?”

“It has everything to do with pigs.” He closed the flap door and then stepped from the pen. “Why have you come? As you can see I’m in no condition to entertain afternoon callers.” He pointed at the muck decorating his rubber boots.

She fought back a gag reflux from the odor. “I’ve brought food for your family from the Miller reunion. We were all sorry you were unable to attend.”

“Ah, Miss Priss is due to deliver again, so alas, my social calendar has been curtailed.” Eli noticed her trying not to breathe and took pity on her. “Go to the picnic table in the shade. I’ll join you there as soon as possible.”

She turned and ran from the swine barn to the grove of maples, grabbing her hamper and tote along the way. After setting down her containers, she had to wait only fifteen minutes for a refreshed Eli Riehl to appear. Water still dripped from his blond hair, which had been combed straight back from his face. His sun-burnished cheekbones glowed in the afternoon sun. He wore a clean shirt, trousers and suspenders, but only flip-flops on his feet.

He noticed what had piqued her interest. “Don’t tell the bishop about my choice of footwear.”

She peered up. “Your secret is safe.”

“What’s inside?” He angled his head toward the hamper.

“There’s food of every possible sort, made by everyone in the district and beyond. Tell your mamm to keep the hamper and containers until the next social event she’s able to attend.”

Danki, I’ll tell her.” What seemed like a full minute spun out before he asked, “What’s in the yellow plastic carrier?”

“Humble pie,” she answered without hesitation.

That made him smile as he lifted the lid. “Looks like iced lemon cake. I love lemon cake.” He dabbed a finger into the frosting.

“It’s humble pie because I’m here to throw myself on your mercy. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had, and I treated you poorly when life didn’t go my way. I don’t know why I did, other than the fact I’m inexperienced with things romantic. Truth is I have fewer friends than Miss Priss has party dresses and it’s my own fault. I don’t deserve you, but I’d like another chance. I will try to behave like my mothers raised me. Jah, I had two mamms who tried their best, yet I still turned out poorly. I like you a lot, Eli Riehl, and if you’ll accept this cake as a peace offering, I would love to go to a singing with you or to a social or anywhere else.” Phoebe sputtered to a stop, out of air.

His mouth twitched as he tried not to laugh. “Do you ever let a shy guy get a word in edgewise?”

“Not too often,” she lied, “but for you I’ll make an exception.

Eli grinned, revealing white teeth and a generous heart. “In that case, I thank you on behalf of the Riehls for the vittles. Everyone in the family will share and enjoy.” Then he picked up the cake tote and clutched it to his chest. “But this cake was a gift from you to me, and I intend to eat every last delicious morsel of it myself.” He winked, and once again the geothermic plate under Holmes County shifted beneath her feet.

About Mary: Mary Ellis grew up close to an Amish settlement where she loved their peaceful agrarian lifestyle and strong sense of Christian community. She and her husband now live by the largest population of Amish in the country where they take weekend trips to research her books. Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. All three in her Miller Family series made the Christian bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards and Award of Merit for the Holt Medallion. Her current release is An Amish Family Reunion. Mary can be found on the web at her new website: www.maryellis.net , www.maryeellis.wordpress.com , or https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

About the book: Ties That Bind

Julia Miller misses her children. They are grown and have families of their own now, but her mother’s heart yearns for a houseful of laughter and joy once again. She plans to gather her chicks together in a summer celebration to remember. 

At the farm next door, Julia’s niece, Phoebe, meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her—and everyone else—with his exceptional storytelling ability on a rumschpringe trip to Niagara Falls. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people—writing and illustrating a children’s book.

Eli’s kindness and appeal extend beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe’s shy heart. But he is an only son with five sisters, and when tragedy strikes at home, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility on the farm. Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won’t give up his beloved Phoebe.

Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will memories of the past stand in their way?

Come back Feb 10 for K Dawn Byrd.

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