Chapter One of "Outcast" from the "Shunned by the Amish" series

Chapter One of "Outcast" from the "Shunned by the Amish" series

I am thrilled to share with you the first chapter of Book 1 in my "Shunned by the Amish" series, Outcast.

To set the scene, Trust has undergone a dramatic transformation from the sheltered daughter of an Amish bishop's daughter to a notorious international jewel thief. Her high-flying criminal career comes crashing down when she places her trust in the wrong man.

In this opening chapter, Trust reflects on her childhood, the experiences that shaped her, and the pivotal moments that forged her into the person she is today. Just as all seems lost, she receives an unexpected lifeline: the FBI offers to erase her criminal record if she agrees to consult for them.

Read this first chapter and join Trust on her journey from innocence to infamy, and perhaps, redemption.

shunned by the amish

Chapter 1.

Twenty-three years ago, ten-year-old Amish girl Trust perched on the creaky porch steps, watching the Englisher children kick a ball around one of the neighboring fields. Their laughter floated over, filling Trust with a sense of longing. Serenity, her younger sister, sat quietly beside her, her small hands folded in her lap.

“Wouldn't it be amazing to play like them, just for one day?” Trust mused aloud, a mischievous glimmer in her eyes. She was always the more adventurous of the two, always dreaming of a world beyond their Amish community.

Serenity nodded, her eyes wide with curiosity, a trait that often made her the perfect audience for Trust's whims.

Today, they'd been banished from the Sunday meeting because they had giggled. Their mother had sat them outside their home where the meeting was being hosted and ordered them to sit quietly on the porch. They were to 'not move a muscle' until the meeting was over. Sitting still was boring. Sensing an opportunity for a bit of fun, Trust leaned closer to Serenity and whispered, “Don't turn around, but there's a hornet's nest right behind you.”

Serenity's eyes grew as big as saucers, and panic took over despite Trust's playful tone. She let out an ear-piercing scream so loud that it could be heard in the next county.

The commotion was enough to bring the Sunday meeting to a sudden halt. Their father, the bishop, stopped preaching, and their grandmother and mother hurried out, their stern faces showing contempt and total disapproval.

“What is the reason for screaming?” their grandmother demanded as the bishop started up again.

Serenity, still trembling, pointed a shaky finger behind her. “Hornets! Trust said there's a nest.”

Their mother quickly scanned the area, finding nothing. She turned, her gaze hardening as she looked at Trust. “Again with your stories, Trust? There are no hornets here.”

Trust, undeterred by the scolding, flashed a defiant grin. “I saw a hornet. One flew past. There was a nest, but all the hornets must've gotten hold of it and flown off with it when we weren’t looking. They can do that, you know.”

“This is not the time for your lies, especially not on a Sunday. You should be ashamed of yourself,” their mother scolded, shaking a finger in front of Trust’s face.

Trust pouted. “I didn't mean any harm.”

“You never do,” her mother shot back.

“She did see a hornet,” Serenity said, doing her best to help her sister.

Their grandmother sighed. “You'll both get your punishments when the meeting is over. Sit quietly until the end or you'll both get double punishments.”

When their grandmother went inside, their mother leaned close to them. “With your father being the bishop, we must set an example for others. Do you see any other children misbehaving today?”

Trust shook her head. “Not yet.”

“You're an embarrassment, Trust. And you're dragging young Serenity down with you.” With a final admonishing look, their mother retreated into the house. Trust slumped back onto the step; her rebellious spirit slightly dampened but not defeated.

“Sorry, Trust. I thought there was a nest...” Serenity murmured. “That’s why I screamed.”

Trust’s gaze drifting back to the field where freedom seemed too far away. “It's alright. We'll have our fun someday.” And with that, they sat in silence, the sounds of the meeting behind them, a stark contrast to the world of play and laughter just beyond their reach.

Serenity shifted restlessly on the porch step, her gaze lingering on the distant field. “These meetings last forever. We'll be sitting here until the cows come home. I'm bored. Let's think of a game.”

“I've got a better idea than a game.” With a daring grin, she stood up, her eyes alight with the thrill of rebellion. “Come on, let's go. If we’re back before the meeting ends, they'll never know we were gone.”

Before Serenity could speak, Trust darted off the porch, her feet carrying her swiftly toward the field. Serenity, torn between loyalty to her sister and fear of reprimand, hesitated, watching Trust's retreating figure.

Trust, realizing she was alone, paused and looked back. “Serenity!” she called in a hushed tone. “Don't just sit there. It's now or never.”

After a moment's internal struggle, Serenity's desire for adventure overcame her apprehension. She hurried after her sister, her heart pounding with nervousness.

Together, they reached the field, their laughter mingling with the carefree shouts of the Englisher children. They paused momentarily, absorbing the freedom that lay before them. Then, with a shared look of mischief, they plunged into the thick of it.

Trust, leading the way, twirled and danced through the tall grass, her hands reaching toward the sky. Serenity followed, her initial hesitance melting away as she embraced the moment's joy. They both kicked off their shoes and ran as fast as they could through the field, as wild and free as the wind.

Giggling, they chased each other, weaving between patches of wildflowers and darting around trees.

Afterward they sat down and had a rest. Trust noticed some daisies so leaned over and plucked some and proceeded to show her sister how to make daisy chains. She then made a daisy crown and placed it atop her sister's head with a flourish. Serenity's laughter rang clear, a sound rarely heard within the confines of their strict upbringing.

For a brief time, they forgot about where they were supposed to be. They were just two sisters reveling in the simple pleasure of being young and alive.

Trust glanced back toward their house. “We should head back before they notice we're gone.”

With a shared nod, they found their shoes and made their way back to the porch, but before they got there, the people started coming out of the house. That meant the meeting was over.

They picked up their pace, but they weren’t fast enough.

Trust's heart sank as the familiar figures emerged. She grabbed Serenity's hand, to help her run faster, but their small window of unnoticed absence closed rapidly.

They reached the edge of the porch, a mere breath away from blending into the dispersing crowd, when their mother's sharp gaze cut through the sea of people. With a stern shake of her finger, she marched toward them, her disappointment as palpable as the summer heat.

Wordlessly, their mother escorted them away from the gathering, their heads bowed, not in prayer but in silent admission of their misadventure. The usual post-meeting fellowship, filled with shared meals and lively conversations, was denied to them. Instead, they were sent immediately to their shared room, the door closing with a soft but final click. The room, usually a haven, now felt like a cell.

“They'll be deciding our punishments,” Serenity murmured, sitting on the edge of their bed.

Trust nodded, her mind racing for a way to shield her sister. “I'll tell them it was all my fault. It was because I talked you into it.”

Serenity shook her head, her eyes reflecting a wisdom beyond her years. “It won't make a difference. They never believe you.”

They sat silently; the weight of impending discipline heavy in the air. 

“We were free, Serenity. We were free for about an hour. Wasn't it worth it?”

A small smile hinted around Serenity's lips. “Yeah. It was, so very much worth it.”

The door creaked open, and their grandmother stood there, a stern matriarch whose presence pulled the warmth from the room. Her eyes, sharp and unyielding, fixed upon Trust and Serenity, who sat, the very picture of repentance, on the edge of their shared bed.

“You have disgraced yourselves and our family. You must set an example above everyone else, with your father being the bishop,” she began, her voice carrying the weight of disappointment and unspoken threats of consequence. “I see the spirit of defiance in your eyes, Trust. It's the same look that your Uncle Pete had when he went on his own wayward path, and I will not watch another of my kin go down that road.”

Trust swallowed hard, the unfair comparison tightening like a noose around her spirit. Serenity, her eyes wide with fear and curiosity, piped up, “Who is Uncle Pete?”

The older woman's gaze snapped to Serenity, and she silenced her with a swift motion of her hand. “That is family business, not for the likes of little girls to worry their heads over.”

Turning her attention back to Trust, she continued, “You think you can be playful, behave like the children of outsiders, but mark my words, child, such thoughts are the first steps to ruin. You think it's fun now to neglect your duties and sneak off and play, but what will you think when you're an adult with no sense of responsibility or standing in the community? You'll be no good, just like him.”

“We won't do it again,” Serenity said. 

“Narrow is the path to righteousness.” The room seemed to grow colder with their grandmother's every word. “You stand at a crossroads, both of you. Down one path lies the order and peace of our ways; the other lies chaos and disgrace. If you continue to entertain these wild urges, you'll both amount to nothing. You'll be shunned, not just by us but by the whole of society. You might end up in jail. Is that what you want?”

They both hung their heads and murmured ‘no.’

Her words hung heavy in the air, a suffocating blanket of inevitability. “Mend your ways or suffer the consequences. The choice is yours, but remember, our patience is not endless.”

With that final chilling declaration, she left as abruptly as she had entered, leaving behind a silence that was not peaceful but instead filled with the echoes of her harsh warnings. 

Trust and Serenity's eyes met a silent exchange of worry and wonder passing between them. Trust's brow furrowed as she pondered the mention of the mysterious Uncle Pete, her mind racing with imagined stories of this unknown relative.

“Who's Uncle Pete?” Serenity whispered.

“Dunno,” Trust admitted, her usual boldness dimmed after their grandmother's ominous lecture.

“But she made it sound so serious like he's really bad. I wonder what he did. She said jail. Is Uncle Pete in jail?”

“I have no idea.”

Serenity pulled her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. “Are they going to hit us?” 

Trust looked at her younger sister, her protective instincts flaring. “I'm not sure. Probably.” 

“Will we be like Uncle Pete when we grow up?” Serenity asked.

“No. We just wanted a bit of fun, that's all. We're not bad. We just want different things to everyone else around here.”

Serenity's eyes blinked rapidly as though she was holding back tears. “What if we're just bad?” Serenity's words struck a chord within Trust, echoing her hidden fears.

Trust wanted to dismiss their grandmother's harsh words, to laugh them off as she did with most things. But the seed of doubt had been planted long ago, and it was growing, watered by the stern looks and sharp words that had followed them all their lives.

“We can't think like that,” Trust finally said. “Good or bad, it's not that simple. We make mistakes, sure. But that doesn't mean we're bad through and through. It's like those quilts Mamm makes.”

Serenity tilted her head, confusion momentarily replacing her worry.

Trust continued the analogy forming images in her head as she spoke. “Each patch might not be perfect. Some are frayed or a bit faded. But when they're all sewn together, they make something beautiful. That's us, Serenity. We're a patchwork. We're made up of more than things people say about us.”

Serenity considered this, the corners of her mouth, turning upwards in a small, tentative smile. “I guess that means we have to start making some good patches so there are more good ones, yeah?”

“Yeah, that’s right.” Trust agreed with a nod. “We're not going to be like Uncle Pete, whoever he is.”

 

I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse into Trust's world. The first two books of this six book series are available to Pre-Order. 

Book 1'Outcast' Pre-Order the ebook on Amazon here.  (June 25 release day)

Book 2 'Chance' Pre-Order the ebook on Amazon here. (August 22 release day)

The paperbacks will be available on release days.

(The 'Shunned by the Amish' series is a freshly reimagined and rewritten version of the 'Gretel Koch Jewel Thief' series, offering a new perspective and deeper insights into the story).

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

7 comments

Sounds great!! Can’t wait to read it, I was carried up in it already.

Melissa E.

I can’t wait to read this book after reading the first chapter.

Connie K Phillis

I thought parts of this story rang a bell.
I enjoyed the Greta koch series.

I am looking forward to reading this updates.
Can I please be added to the ARC team.

🇳🇿💜📚

Julia Robertson

It’s gripping me already. Order going in now.

Ruth McKaig

Loved the first chapter, look forward to reading these books. This feels like a different kind of series. You never disappoint, I think this series will be a winner.

Tresa

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