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Amish Christmas Bride (PAPERBACK)

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Many said Matt Yoder was the most handsome Amish bachelor in the county, maybe even the country. When he contacted Jane and asked her to return to the community where she grew up, she was convinced all her prayers had been answered. She'd always dreamed of marrying Matt and having a large family.
Her dream turned into a nightmare when she discovered he asked her to come home to help him select a bride. He was tired of being single and declared he would be married by Christmas. He had narrowed his search to five women and was having trouble deciding between them.
Since Matt had always overlooked Jane, was it already too late?
Or can she find a way to make him see that she is and always has been his perfect Amish match?

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Jane Friederman looked up at Mrs. Yoder’s new house and couldn't believe she was back. It had been five years. Five long years of waiting for Matt Yoder to realize he loved her. Seemingly hundreds of letters had passed between them in those years, but not one of them had hinted that he saw her as anything other than a friend. 
Then, out of nowhere the letter she’d been hoping and praying for had arrived. 

The letter had come from Matt and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. 
She’d made a vow to herself that if his letters remained as they were, still treating her as just a friend, she’d forget him—put him out of her mind completely, once and for all. In her mind, she’d given him until Christmas.
‘The letter' had arrived just six weeks prior to that date.
He asked her to return and stay at his mother’s house for a couple of weeks. That was unusual but when he went on to say he had something important to ask, it could only mean one thing. 

“Here's your suitcase, Ma'am.”
She jumped. The driver had startled her from her thoughts.
“Thank you.” Her hand went into her bag to get him some money, but the taxi driver put his hand up.

“It's all been fixed, Ma'am. All paid for.”

“Thank you.” Matt had insisted on arranging the taxi and paying her fare.

“Do you want me to take it up to the house?” the driver asked.

“No thank you. I can manage.” She hadn’t brought but the one suitcase. No doubt Matt would send for the rest of her belongings once she accepted his proposal. She had no wish to return to her life in Holmes County.

When the taxi drove away, she stood looking at Matt’s mother’s house. She’d thought about this moment hundreds of times over the past years.
Every time she’d seen it in her mind’s eye, Matt was there, anxiously awaiting her arrival and then he'd rushed out of the house to greet her. 
Where was Matt right now?

There was no one to take her heavy bag into the house. 
Where was he?
When the front door opened, her heart skipped a beat.
Then she was let down—and immediately felt guilty for it—when his mother, Sadie Yoder, stepped out. Her large frame filled the doorway and her full rosy cheeks beamed with delight. 
“Jane!” 

Sadie was a kindly woman, who always found something to laugh about. The perfect woman to have as a mother-in-law. Mrs. Yoder stepped through the door with outstretched arms and hurried down the porch steps to meet her.
After they’d embraced, Mrs. Yoder, said, “Denke for coming.”

“How could I not? Matt was insistent.” 

Sadie held her at arm’s length to stare at her. “You haven’t changed a bit. You’re still as tall as a man and your head’s still on fire.” Sadie chortled.

Jane didn’t know what to say. She’d been taunted all her life for having red hair, and ever since age twelve for being tall. She chose not to let it bother her now. At six foot even, she was taller than all the women she knew and most of the men.
She was grateful that Matt was a good three inches taller. 
She knew Sadie hadn’t made her comments to be cruel. How could Mrs. Yoder know words about her appearance would hurt her so? 

“It’s good to see you again. I’m so pleased you’re back, Jane. I do hope you’ll consider staying on.”

“I’m not back permanently.” That was how she was playing things for now, until Matt’s proposal gave her a reason to stay.

“We’ll have to see if we can persuade you to move back here.”

Jane couldn’t keep the smile from her face. As soon as she said yes to Matt, she’d waste no time sending her pre-written letter of resignation to her employer at the factory where she worked. She’d written the letter in the bus on the way from Ohio to Lancaster County. All she had to do was put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox. 
 “Let me take the suitcase for you. I've got a guest bedroom and it’s all ready for you.”

“I can take it.”

“Nonsense, let me.” Sadie reached for the suitcase and took it out of Jane’s hand before she could utter another word. Then Sadie looped her other arm through Jane’s and walked with her to the house. “It's not a very big suitcase. Don't you intend to be here for very long?”

“My plans are flexible. I've taken time off from my work, so depending on what Matt has to ask me, I can figure out how long I'll be staying. As long as that’s all right with you.”

“Of course it would be all right with me. I normally do what Matt wants. He's my best and brightest. He's very different from his four younger brothers. They all work with their hands as you know. Matt’s always been more of a thinker, and also a planner. I knew from the start he was never meant for farm work. When he started the horse-feed business, I wasn’t surprised.”

“I agree.” That was one of the things she liked about Matt. He was a very intelligent man and to her that only added to the attraction. 

Sadie took her right to the bedroom at the end of the long rectangular home. The walls were distinctly cream-colored and Jane couldn't decide if they clashed somewhat with the bright-white and blue of the gingham curtains and the matching blue and white starburst-patterned quilt on the single bed. 

“This is a nice room. So lovely and fresh, and colorful.”
“Not too bright I hope.” Laughter tumbled from Sadie. 
“Oh no. It’s just right. Perfect.”

“You must be tired from the journey. Would you like to sleep—lie down and rest—before the evening meal?”
“I'm fine. Will Matt be here for dinner?” Waiting for him was painful. She was counting the seconds till he got there. She assumed he would feel the same and get to his mother’s as soon as he possibly could. “Is Matt coming for dinner?” she asked again when she saw Sadie looking vaguely into the distance.

“Nee, he said something important came up today. Something that he has to take care of. He did say to let you know he'll collect you at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.”

Jane was disappointed. What could be more important than being here with her? Didn’t he have an aching heart that longed to see her, too? 

Sadie placed the suitcase on the bed. “Small bag, but you must’ve packed the kitchen sink. It’s heavy as a newborn calf.”

Jane laughed, then remembered Sadie was raised on a dairy farm. “Very much so.”

“You got bricks in there?”
Jane laughed.
“Not quite. I’m a good packer. I fold things very small and that way I’m able to fit more in. I’m not certain exactly how long I’ll be staying. Matt gave me no idea.”

“While you’re getting unpacked I'll make us a cup of tea.”

“That would be nice.” 
Out of nowhere, an enormous ginger tabby cat jumped on the bed giving Jane a fright. 
“Get off, Mr. Grover.”

“Oh, this is Mr. Grover? I remember him. He was only a kitten when I left.” 

“That’s him all right.” 

Jane reached out and stroked him, and Mr. Grover walked closer to her and meowed. “He’s adorable, and he’s grown so large.”

“That he has. He thinks he’s the boss of this place too.”
“I’d love to have a cat. I’ve often thought about it.”

Sadie put her hands on her hips. “What’s stopping you?”
In her heart, she never felt where she lived was truly her home. She never felt settled or that she belonged anywhere.
“I will someday.” Jane sat on the bed and Mr. Grover took an instant liking to her, smoothing up and down against her arm, looking for more pats.

“I’ll fix us that hot tea.”

“That’d be nice, denke.”
As soon as Sadie left Jane alone with Mr. Grover, the cat jumped off the bed and followed his mistress from the room. Jane stretched out on the bed just for a moment. She’d waited the whole ride in the Greyhound counting down the hours until she would see Matt.
Now she’d just have to keep counting. Still, Gott had listened to her prayers and what did a few hours matter when they had the rest of their lives in front of them?
Then Jane had an idea.
What if he was busy planning her a surprise? 
Perhaps it was going to be just like one of her dreams. He’d purchased a house for them and he was preparing it to show her tomorrow.
Jane’s heavy eyelids closed and she allowed the scene to play out in her mind. Matt would collect her at nine and then take her to the house.
When she was inside, she’d ask who owned it. Then he would say it was theirs and that was when he’d ask her to marry him. 

It was a romantic dream, and hopefully soon it would become her reality. Surely she deserved some grand gesture like that after waiting all these years. 

With renewed energy, thinking about her new house and life as a wife, she bounded to her feet and unzipped her suitcase.
She unpacked her clothes into the chest of drawers and the wardrobe, and then she walked out to get reacquainted with her future mother-in-law. She found Sadie sitting on the couch in front of a roaring fire.
On the coffee table in front of her was a large white china teapot and two over-sized cups and saucers. A large white plate was filled with cookies and on another plate was cake that resembled boiled fruit cake.
“
Sit beside me, Jane, and I’ll pour.”

Jane did as she suggested. “How long have you lived here for, Sadie?” It felt odd to call her Sadie after calling her Mrs. Yoder for so many years, but Jane was an adult now and that was why it would feel even stranger calling her Mrs. Yoder. It was far too formal.

“I've only been here a year. Matt lives in the big house now.”

“Is that so?”

“Why do you look surprised? He always loved that old place and it's not practical for me now since it's only one of me. There’s only me, I should say.” Sadie passed Jane a cup of hot tea. 

“Denke. It’s just that Matt never mentioned it in his letters. He just gave me this address when he knew I was coming, and he said this is where you live now. He made no mention of what had happened to your old haus.” Now Jane knew Matt was not going to surprise her with a new house if he already owned the family home. Without much thought to what she was saying, Jane commented, “It’s a large home for just him. There’s only one of him, too.”

“Matt may not be ‘one’ for very much longer. He’s told me something about what he’s planning. Ach, I shouldn’t say more.” 
Sadie sipped her tea and Jane couldn't stop the smile forming on her lips.
She’d done the right thing moving away so many years ago, she realized now. At the time, she’d done it to heal her broken heart and try to forget Matt. The last thing she expected was for him to start writing to her. It had apparently taken Matt years to realize his love for her, but better late than never. 


* * *


Sadie had cooked Jane a delicious roasted chicken dinner with baked vegetables and minted peas, and after they’d eaten it and cleaned up the dishes, it was late and time for bed. 

As Jane changed into her nightgown, she tried to still the butterflies in her tummy. Tomorrow, she would see Matt’s face for the first time in years, and also, her life would never be the same. 
If Matt was planning something involving her, he had to be planning on proposing. 
What else could it be?

After she pulled off her prayer kapp and tossed it on the end of the bed, she unpinned her hair, loosened the braiding, took out her pure boars-bristle brush—the one that used to belong to her mother—and ran it through her fine, thigh-length hair. With every stroke, she imagined what her and Matt’s children would look like.
Would they have his dark chocolate-brown hair and eyes, or would they have her reddish locks, green eyes and fair skin? Perhaps some would resemble him and her—a mixture of both. 

With brush still in hand, she stretched her hands over her head and yawned. The day’s journey had been long and Matt’s mother, with her constant chatter and chortling over the smallest things, had been tiring.
Still, it was nice to see Sadie again, and having a decent meal at the end of the busy day was much appreciated. 
Jane laid the brush down, and turned off the gas lamp on the nightstand.

Slipping between the cool sheets, she wondered what Matt was thinking right now. As she’d done most nights in her life, she fell asleep thinking of a life where she was Matt’s wife, raising their children.

FAQs Series Reading Order

AMISH CHRISTMAS BOOKS (All stand-alone reads)

Book 1 In Time For An Amish Christmas

Book 2 Amish Christmas Bride

Book 3 Amish Bachelor's Christmas

Book 4 A Blessed Amish Christmas

Book 5 An Amish Christmas Caper

Book 6 Her Amish Christmas Baby

Book 7 Amish Christmas Rescue