by Charlotte Hubbard
GENRE: Amish/Inspirational Romance
For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.
Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true…
EXCERPTS (Exclusive Excerpt)
Josiah drove past Leah Kanagy’s garden plots and then in front of Matthias Wagler’s roadside harness shop. The Simple Gifts parking lot was nearly full—which was unheard of in most small towns on a Tuesday afternoon. Willow Ridge was so much more alive than most Plain communities, he’d be a fool not to settle there.
When he’d unhitched the wagon behind Ben’s barn and tended, Josiah headed for the house. He was whistling as he grabbed the doorknob. A shower and clean clothes would feel good after all the packing and hefting he’d—
“Savilla! What’re you and Lena doing here?” he blurted.
His sister stopped stirring the pot on the stove. “I could ask you the same question,” she retorted. “I thought you’d backed out of cooking for the wedding—”
“So I’m helping her,” Lena added in a similar irritated tone. “Nurse Andy says my due date’s so close that I shouldn’t be working in the Sweet Seasons. But you wouldn’t know that, because you took off again!”
“Without bothering to tell anybody!” Savilla chimed in, her voice rising. “Henry Zook’s keeping your meat in the market’s cooler, but again, you wouldn’t know that. What’s with you, anyway?”
Josiah scowled. He felt like keeping his good news for people who deserved to hear it—people who would praise him for making the decisions that needed to be made. “I’ve been taking care of business,” he replied tersely. “Since I’m the man of the family—”
“Could’ve fooled me,” Savilla muttered. She stirred the sauce in her pot so fast that some of it hissed when it landed near the gas flame.
“Suit yourself,” Josiah muttered. “If you don’t want to hear what a gut price I got for selling the farm, then—”
“You what?” His wide-eyed sister looked ready to throw her metal spoon at him. “Why on God’s earth would you do that without asking me? That’s my home, too.”
“And what about waiting to see how the wedding dinner goes?” Lena demanded. “What happens if you decide Missouri’s not the right place to set up your business?”
“In for a dime, in for a dollar.” Josiah bit back the words he wanted to hurl at both glaring young women. “How’d you think we’d afford a place here unless we sold the farm in Bloomfield? Where’d you think the money for more catering events would come from until we’ve got a steady income?” he demanded. “I’m not living under Ben Hooley’s roof any longer than I have to. Everybody’s been telling me to man up, so I have! And all I’m getting in return is your static! I don’t need this.”
Josiah stepped outside, giving the door a satisfying slam.
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community in Missouri, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz Hooley, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Charlotte will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.