Shannon here: Patrick Craig shares how he met his wife, plus a romantic excerpt from his Amish Romantic Suspense title, The Amish Heiress. Comment or answer the question at the end of this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Two winners will receive a signed copy. Deadline: April 9th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Patrick:
My wife, Judy, and I met in Bible College. I had given my life to the Lord a few months before after spending many years in several successful rock and roll bands. I was fairly well known in the San Francisco Bay Area, so it caused quite a sensation in my new church when I left that lifestyle and began to follow Christ.
Judy, who grew up in church and had no real knowledge of rock bands, was not impressed by me or my reputation and in fact she wondered what all the fuss was about. It took me quite a while to win her heart. We had to go through a lot of ups and downs before she finally realized that I was the one.
The hero and heroine of my latest novel, The Amish Heiress, had the same kind of difficult path to follow before they finally were married. Here’s the last part of their story, the good part, where God brought all their trials to a wonderful conclusion.
Home From The Sea – Excerpt From The Amish Heiress by Patrick E. Craig:
Daniel stood with Jonathan and Bobby on the porch. The sun was just coming up over the eastern hills, and the sweet fragrance of apple blossoms from the orchard filled the air. Out in the fields of the Hershberger farm a light mist clung to the trees and rose from the ground like gentle fingers reaching toward the awakening sun. Above their heads in the plum trees by the porch, tiny pink flowers were alive with brilliant color as they painted the day with God’s palette. A single wren twittered its call and stillness lay on the land. From within the house they heard Rachel give a great cry. Then the silence of the dawn was broken by the lusty cry of a newborn baby. Daniel looked at Jonathan in apprehension.
Then the screen door flew open and Jenny stood there, breathless. “It is a boy, Jonathan, strong and big. He is fine and handsome and the nurse says he will live and not die.”
Daniel looked at Jenny. She smiled. “Rachel is very tired, but she is well.”
Daniel took his hat off and held it in his hands, nervously shifting from one foot to the other. “May we, I mean, can I…”
“Yes, Daniel, you may go in and see Rachel.”
“May I see her alone for a few minutes?”
Jenny looked at Jonathan and then nodded her assent.
Rachel lay still and quiet, her eyes half-closed and her dark hair spread out against the white sheets. The nurse stood holding a bundle in her arms. Rachel could see the tiny arms waving and her heart filled with a love she had never known before. She reached up. The nurse put the baby down beside her and Rachel took the newborn into her arms. She could see Gerald in the small face and she thought back to all that had happened to her in the last year. Then the door opened quietly and Daniel stood there, his face aglow. The nurse nodded to him. “I’ll let you speak with her for a moment while I go clean up. Do not excite her. She is very tired. It was a hard labor.”
The nurse left and Daniel came and looked down at Rachel. Without thinking he reached out and stroked her brow.
Rachel looked up at him. “The baby is well, Daniel.”
“You have been so good to me, Daniel. Why have I been so blind?”
Daniel touched her lips and silenced her. Then he knelt down beside the bed. He took her hand in his. “Now, Rachel, you will listen to me for once in your life.”
Rachel stared at him.
Daniel went on. “I have loved you since we were children. God has put you in my way, and there is nothing I can do about it. You are going to marry me and this baby will be my son. His name will be Levon King and he will be Amish and his children will be Amish.”
Rachel started to protest. “But, Daniel, I am not good enough for you to love me. I am ruined. I cannot be a good wife to you. I can’t give you what I should, my purity…”
Daniel looked at Rachel. “I, too, am ruined, Rachel.”
“What do you mean, Daniel?”
Rachel could see Daniel struggling with himself. Then he spoke, so quietly she almost could not hear.
“I killed a man.”
Rachel’s eyes opened wide. “Daniel…when?”
“When I came to rescue you there was a man waiting in your room. We fought and I killed him. I violated the deepest tenant of our faith. So, we are both broken. But don’t you see? That is where du leiber Gott wants us to be—having nothing in ourselves and putting our lives in His hands. Rachel, He has given you to me and me to you. We are broken and hopeless, both of us faithless. But it is His plan for us to be together for the rest of our lives, depending on Him and helping each other to walk each day in faith and love. Now, say that you will marry me, and let me be a father to this boy.”
Daniel reached over and tenderly touched Rachel’s face. Then quietly and gently he leaned down and kissed her. Rachel felt a stirring in her heart that she had never felt before and her arm went around Daniel’s strong shoulders and then she was kissing him back with all the strength and passion and love that was in her.
And like the golden sun that awakens the day after a long dark night, the truth and strength of Daniel’s love for her poured into Rachel’s heart and the emptiness and despair were swept away by the power of God reaching through Daniel to her. And like a flash of lightning on a hot summer night, the truth came to her. She loved Daniel. She had always loved Daniel and now their love would somehow make everything right again. And she would be Amish, and her son would be Amish, and she would live her life with this man, and the mighty angel that had turned her away from the gate of the garden would lower his flaming sword and she would return with joy to live again in Paradise.
About Patrick: Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States.
In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. The books are historical Amish Romance. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book in the series is The Amish Heiress was published by P&J Publishing in 2015. The second book, The Amish Princess will be released in August, 2016. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. He and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.
About the book – The Amish Heiress: Rachel Hershberger’s life in Paradise, Pennsylvania is far from happy. Her papa struggles with a terrible event from the past, and his emotional instability has created an irreparable breach between them. Rachel’s one desire is to leave the Amish way of life and Paradise forever.
Then her prayers are answered. Rachel discovers that the strange, key-shaped birthmark above her heart identifies her as the heir to a vast fortune left by her Englischer grandfather, Robert St. Clair. If Rachel will marry a suitable descendent of the St. Clair family, she will inherit an enormous sum of money.
But Rachel does not know that behind the scenes is her long-dead grandfather’s sister-in-law, Augusta St. Clair, a vicious woman who will do anything to keep the fortune in her own hands. As the deceptions and intrigues of the St. Clair family bind her in their web, Rachel realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. But has her change of heart come too late?
Question for Readers: Is there anything that your loved ones could do that would cause you to walk away from your commitment to them?